Fiction


​Sunday Morning in the Park
 
 
It is quite ugly.  It is tremendous, nonetheless!  Campground of picnic revelers all summer long, birthday parties, a daytime summercamp for the tykes, the schoolchildren, a playground at the front entrance, entranced toddlers beside the abbreviated barnyard stable and paddock; a beerfest on the weekends.
 
Prospect Hill Park in Waltham, Massachusetts is the emerald crown jewel of the city, a two hundred and fifty-two acre park, home to a campground amidst a wilderness of forested highlands, the peak, Big Prospect is the second highest point in the Boston area, after Great Blue Hill, in Milton, the view from Boston Rock alongside the slope of Little Prospect, is gaie and memorable.   Saturday afternoons come and it is party time till sunset, as revelers arrive from all around Waltham and perhaps Greater Boston's inner city neighborhoods.  Sunday morning comes and the party-goers are gone, a litter of kittens does not belong as a litter of bottles not bottle-brushed up is washed up not far away from the ground's picnic tables.  Oak leaves left behind from last fall hide and disguise the trash that recently fell from the clear Labatt's blue sky.  Say hi to Heineken.
 
Not so many years ago now, (twenty or so I do believe) we, (a neighbor and I) once spent our Sunday mornings clearing the grounds and mud puddles of the trash we had spied or seen, asking ourselves (but not vocally), "Why?" or who could do this, or how could this be?  But it seems as though the trashing of the park predates current events.  A dump was discovered not far from the shelter that is now home to today's post-modern weekend warrior camp.  Post-World War II neglect resulting from the campground's little use had sent the park into an old-fashioned aerial tailspin.
 
Today, a modern mountain road leads to the shelter.  A structure for the summer visitors.  Weekend destination of the party-goers, near beer not on the list; green painted picnic tables for the guests, concrete paving stones and red bricks; the clearing holds level parking for the overflow of "rents," the children understand the costs of playing "House."
 
The enclosed room beside the covered open shelter was cobwebbed with lack of use; the trash was piled up high against the door.  The rain combined with the cooking grill's wine which was "enhanced" by the ever-present odor of urine.  Ruts grew up in the sideyard where parking was the norm. Mud and red cedar wood chips were shaved elsewhere, but close by, the pine scent was wafting and blowing over the terrible and childish air. 
 
With charcoal and ash tossed amidst the muddle, the puddles of rainwater did rise up with the doubled and combined aromas of extra virgin olive oil, Chinese peanut cooking oil, generic vegetable oil and the oilseed of a flowering yellow variety.  Puddles of motor oil leftover from inopportune oil changes created a residue of footprints on the field, and littered the cooking waste with black highlights, opalescent and violet rings and reddened make up.
 
As the tossing of jax and frisbees attest, the park was quickly beginning to become a test, quite a mess (as please, I surely don't want to become a pest), the park in need of being a success, it needed a rest, as it is the next best thing the city has going or has to offer.  Holding groups numbering almost one hundred or more, a delight to find in a minor key or chord.  Believed to be free, it was never used by me except for its audience of raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels and skunks to "sing-a-long with Mitch" in a self-styled acapella musical reverie.  (Yes, I was truly manic).
 
And I'm hungry.  As I am beginning to feel carnivorous, I will borrow a delicious reading of red meat, a reading of "read" meat, the make-up of a police wagon girl, or the creation of some Middle Eastern or Lebanese cooking spices and the watering of stovetop rice-a-roni. 
 
Tremendous the fish is or be, he with a seaweed beard and moustache I can see, the bishop and the Holy See, a meeting of minds that do not necessarily agree.  The lemons are grilled or sautéed on the chicken, a piccata, a medley and a melody, the Italian seasonings, an oregano or a balsamic vinegar to go.
 
A parked car and then another parked car, because they are both stationary, the aerie of the red-tailed hawk taking an old stand over the red oak trees, the white pines agree with me, as he will find an eerie quality to the procedure of the proceedings.
 
As our hour may have arrived to say good-bye, my twilight serenade to beer and red wine might fall by the wayside, to make room for sail boating apparel, an orange road-side construction barrel, or the breathless appearance of a black striped yellow narrow fellow in the grass, a mulch mucked up in the past was guarded by railed brown wooden barriers.  With train whistle stops and hickory blocks, we will hear the herd, a birdcall word, a "bob-white," of a fallow field or an undisturbed meadow.   
 
And then, in a secluded spot, a distance not long or far away, a cart-path, in a quiet location, I happened upon two men guarding each back door to perhaps an automatic transmission vehicle, in park, in the park, a bright red car, yesterday, an import, a Sentra type or perhaps a Corolla, and a young woman steps out, holding a tissue to her lips, a Kleenex perhaps, or a Puffs, or even a bit of goo.  I didn't know what to do, so I hesitated, and then with a purposeful step, a quickstep, I was gone...
 
But if this is true, a true story, a whole story, a story holy and truthful, then what shall we say or conclude?  Good Sunday morning in the park and perhaps I've got my days mixed up?  Maybe they were on an excursion of a sunny Saturday afternoon?  Maybe a visit to a museum or even the zoo?  An innocent day in the park...
 
Maybe that'll do?  Saturday, July 4th, Grant Park, Chicago, U.S.A.
 
July 4, 2016