Thursday, January 25, 2007



I work in a cubbyhole office with a desk, a chair, little more, on the the floor above a discount store where I keep track of what goes out, what comes back. When work is slack, I have a small window to look through.

What I see is majesty. A bright green lawn, an old oak tree greeting squirrels lovingly, a bed of leaves to rest upon, birds singing at break of dawn, wild flowers whiling away hours waiting for Spring showers that will be late this year. There's a bench, a seat to ease tired feet. A swing, a slide, on Sunday morn, a free pony ride. A life-like swan carved in stone stands all alone in a pond of its own. All this will soon be gone. In its place will rise---a parking lot.

A swarthy crew of blacks arrived with all the gear they need to make this garden spot disappear. A dump truck waits to haul the greenery and other debris away---the grass, the flowers, the old oak tree, the sculptured swan, the pond where it stands majestically. The memories of initials carved in the trunks of trees, where children played and old folks stayed almost till dark. They loved this little park. It was their place of peace to schmooze and discuss the news of the troubled world across the sea. It was their place to be, their beloved sanctuary.

When folks heard the park would become a parking lot, they were mad as hell. "Absurd!" they cried. "A terrible thing! They'll bring trucks and busses in. Trash, beer cans. Place for bums to hide at night, JUST AIN'T RIGHT!"

They knew old folks lacked the power to halt progress. "What about the press?" someone said. "My grandson works..." A reply: "Forget it, you old fool. He just delivers papers after school." And: "We can holler but they don't care. It's the all mighty dollar what it's all about." They grumbled as they watched the park disappear. And so did they, wasting away in wheelchairs. One by one they forgot. And turned to rot.

Couple days later I looked out my window. You'd never' know a park had once been here. All that was left was the swan, lying on its side on top of the limbs from the old oak tree. "Damn thing weighs a ton," the crew boss said. "I'd like to smash it to smithereens."

"Can I have the swan?" I asked timidly. "That bird means a lot to me."

"Don't know why you'd want that monstrosity. But get it out before I take the sledge and crunch it up."

I took the swan and got the blacks to haul it to my place on the edge of town. They lovingly set it down in my yard, refused the money I'd agreed to pay. They loved the swan just like me.


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