CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Ozella Goode was asked what she would want if she could have any wish gr anted, her answer wasn't one of money or some fancy vacation. The 94-year-old mother of 4, told the activities director at her skilled nursing facility she wanted to go to the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade.
"I didn't even think anybody was listening to me but I'm getting my wish," Goode said.
The resident of Avante skilled nursing was sitting on the front porch a few weeks ago and struck up a conversation with Melanie Evans, who leads the activities program at the facility.
"I asked what she would want if she could have anything in the world," Evans said, "and she just wanted to go to the parade."
Goode told her of the fondest memories from decades ago. Goode would bundle up her children and walk from Charlotte's 3rd Ward to the square in Uptown. "Everybody was just so happy to be there. It was cold but we were happy," she said.
As soon as Goode suggested her simple wish, Evans started rolling a much bigger ball. She contacted WBTV and Charlotte's Center City Partners, who produce the parade every year.
Instead of just sitting on the sidelines, Goode will actually be featured in the 29th spot in the parade itself. She will be pulled in a horse-drawn carriage down Tryon Street in style.
"I don't know how I'm going to feel sitting up there," Goode said with a pensive look, "I know I'll be happy though."
Years of her happiest memories will come flooding back Thursday morning as the parade kicks off. Her entire family will be sitting in VIP seating to watch the Queen come by in her carriage.
Goode has practiced a very special wave that she's seen for years from the spectator's perspective. Tomorrow, instead of waving from the crowd, she'll be waving to it, in style, and with a whole lot of happiness.