Erma Bombeck to Lead Parade--No Kidding

Erma Bombeck, columnist and author of “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries--What Am I Doing in the Pits?” and “The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank,” was named today as grand marshal of the 1986 Rose Parade, the 97th.

Tournament of Roses Assn. President Frederick D. Johnson Jr. described the 58-year-old Bombeck (“I look 67") as the epitome of the 1986 Rose Parade theme, “A Celebration of Laughter.”

Bombeck is the first journalist to be named grand marshal on a list that includes three former Presidents. Asked if that means the standards are going up or down, she laughed: “Are you crazy? . . . They may not be able to equal this ever again.”

As grand marshal, Bombeck, a resident of the Phoenix area, will ride down Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 1. She said she is “shocked, amazed, awed and excited” by the prospects--in that order. And she said the theme of the parade is perfect.

“I think laughter is just about the most important thing in the world,” she said. “And besides, parades, along with dust collecting, have always been a favorite hobby of mine.”