I hear the music. Faint sounds of a band. Rehearsing maybe? In the park nearby? I step outside and I see it right away: a small gathering down the block, by the Independent Living Center.
The neighborhood where I live has a reputation: now greatly yuppified, it once was anything but that. Mention the Hilldale area to oldtimers and people will nod: where the seniors and foreign students live, right? That certainly was my take on it.
Oh, it’s changed alright. New condos east of my building, new stores, new fitness center, new hotel, new this new that. But, all these high end lures haven’t chased the others out (thank God) and so you still run into the seniors and the foreign students, and similarly situated folk.
The gathering is not large: a small parking lot lined with chairs on one end, and space for a band (the Capital City Band) on the other. They’re playing the usual: JP Sousa alternating with American Tale, the soundtrack. People tap and nod and daydream.
And so do I. It is wonderfully peaceful here, in the parking lot, where no one cares if roots are three inches deep because of cancelled Jason appointments. The event is free and the afternoon moves slowly from one song to the next. Interspersed with ice cream, eaten with small plastic spoons.
There are children here, too. I’d like to believe that they’re visiting grandparents and some may indeed be doing that, but most appear to have stopped by for the ice cream and the music, and that’s okay because it is an old fashioned ice cream social and isn’t that what one does? Eat ice cream, tap one’s foot and shake hands with the person next to you…
I stay longer than I intended. I don’t eat the ice cream, but I listen to the music and watch the faces. It is time well spent.