Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Barefoot in the Park

Today was a welcome respite from the seemingly non-stop rain we've been having. To celebrate, the kids and I took a walk through Elizabeth Park, which boasts "the oldest municipally operated rose garden in the country."

We couldn't have picked a better day for it. The blooms were glorious. And even though the trellised roses haven't opened yet, they have lots of buds on them, so we'll have to go back again soon.

However, this is the thing I wanted to share. This weathered old bench seemed so lonely to me. In a park that is otherwise immaculately groomed, this bench stands out for its neglect. It looks like it will be swallowed up soon.

The bench bears a plaque dedicating it to the memory of Frances Perelman. Who was she?

In my mind, I picture a silvery-haired lady, but beyond that, I can't imagine. Was she shy, sassy, wry? Was she short, tall, slim, pudgy? Did she wear glasses? I don't think she came to the garden alone -- at least not usually. I think she came with someone special because somebody loved her enough to want her name to be remembered. I try to picture Frances, but the only thing I really understand about her is why she liked this quiet corner tucked away in its shady place.

Weeds poke up through the slats that form the bench, but I make the kids sit for a spell. I take a seat, too. I can't really explain why this is important to me except that she was important to someone and brightened the world for a time. That seems reason enough.


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