Perched on a bench in the park, in passive observation, to quote Pete Hamill, like I’m watching a parade pass by.
Everyone seems to be out, enjoying the warmer climes.
Couples, young and old, hold hands while fathers push strollers as their wives take five.
Women are in sun hats, men Yankee caps, kids in shortie coveralls while dogs pant alongside.
Rented bicycles glide by like an ad for tourism, an occasional rider stopping to take a selfie beside a breathtaking tree.
There’s a girl of 20 texting to my right, a man next to her, maybe 70, reading the Times. It’s Sunday, so there’s a commingling of ease almost as though we were all sitting for Seurat or Claude Monet.
A couple of birds bathe in a puddle while squirrels sprint by, halting like gray-haired panhandlers.
Spare nuts…spare nuts. Can ya help a guy out?
Bells of a Mr. Softie truck chime in the distance.
A man of color sells bottles of Poland Spring for a buck a pop.
The hotdog vendor is busy feeding tourists while locals, knowing better, opt for the deli.
A Latino family enjoys a picnic at one of the many redwood tables strewed with paper plates and cups, festive napkins, bright colored bowls I’m guessing, filled with beans and potato salad. A little boy is eating a chicken wing with a napkin tucked under his chin. I smile, remembering my grandfather who too would shield his white Fruit of the Loom from the perils of oil olive and mayonnaise.
A Beagle is about to pass, but stops to sniff my pockets. “Oh I’m sorry,” says his mistress, “he’s such a little beggar.”
“More an optimist, I’d say, since you just never know who may have a cookie on hand.”
She grins, loping off to answer her flashing phone.
Note to self: biscuits, bread for the birds and nuts for impoverished squirrels.