Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Beautiful Afternoon in Portland: Sunday Parkways North Portland

I knew something was happening when Dolly-girl and Kitty were yakking in the kitchen. I'd been on the road, talking with people that needed talking with, as you've been reading. I was in the parlor. The show was on the Zenith and I was listening while I read the broadsheet. I could hear Dolly-girl and Kitty--community...parkways...bikes....Sunday. Oh, never mind. I supposed they had something worked up, but I knew come Sunday morning I'd be looking at a Saturday Rex Parker, drinking a coupla-cuppas from the percolater on the Tappan, and scratching the neck of a cat. Sunday's my day off and for the last two, the Boss had me on the road and this wasn't going to be another one.

Sunday dawned and Dolly-girl was out of bed before the hens on the other side of the alley started clucking. "What's it?" "I told you Jack, Parkways. Fun for everyone. Me and Kitty are helping out. I tell, you Jack, you don't listen." I got a look through what would have been the wave if she hadn't just got out of the tub that said I better say, "I remember, Dolly-girl. I'll meet you over there." I did.


Me and Dolly-girl usually depend on Shank's mare to take us places, but it seemed like a good day to try a more modern mode of transportation. We've had bicycles for some time. Every time I ride one, I remember Butch Cassidy and Etta Place: "Meet the Future. Do you know what you are doing? Theoretically. [Butch sings] Don't ever hit your mother with a shovel, it leaves a dull impression on her mind..."


It was Sunday and the Reverend and Congregation at Lifeline Christian Church were warming up. It's not a place me and Dolly-girl usually find ourselves on a Sunday morning. They have things other than a Rex Parker and a blond with sand on their minds there and I hand it to them for that.


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Dolly-girl and Kitty were both at their appointed spots by the time I got there. Seems their jobs were to monitor an intersection and stop the perambulators when someone who lived on the block needed to take a roadster out for a spin. What is it when you hand a girl a piece of chalk? First Kitty, and then Dolly-girl, both of them with chalk on the street. At least there weren't any hop-scotch squares in sight!

The crowd passing by in an event like this one seems to lose all hostility as well as ability to judge art. Sure, the girls did some nice drawing, but people were talking like they were drawing the freakin' Mona Lisa...


I rode back and forth between their posts for a while and then they were released from their civic duty. We headed over to Peninsula Park where you can find--without going to THE Rose Garden, why Stumptown is also called the City of Roses. The park was in full bloom, all maintained by volunteers. I gotta give them some snaps.
Along the way, we passed this beautiful, but half dead, madrone, Arbutus menziesii, one of Dolly-girl's favorite trees. She says she thinks spirits live in them and when we used to live down the valley we had a beauty in our back half.

We kept on pedaling to see what we could see.





I like to keep my eye on what's going on around me, and you never know when a case down the road might need something you saw back when you didn't see anything, so I turned on the handlebar cam.



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Kitty, now there's a bike rider. She rides that damned thing all over the place. Hell, she's riden in foreign countries even. When me and Dolly-girl set the brake in Italia, it ain't bikes that are singing our tune I'll tell you. Besides, those seats are not that comfortable...


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We made it to Peninsula Park and I spotted some nude stilt walkers. I was sure this caper was gonna end bad, but then, it turns out all the flatfoots were busy flattening their feet at intersections to let all the perambulators go through. So, these nude stilt bugs got away with it clean. People even seemed to get a kick out of it. Like the little girl at the end of this clip.


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About the time the sun dial said noon--remember, the sun doesn't know anything about daylight savings--Dolly-girl whistled and the three of us headed over to what she called a "venue", to check out the Sprockettes, a local troupe of tough chiquita bananas that like to dance for the public. Check them out.



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So the afternoon came to an end. I headed off to pick up some pork and beans at the local A&P while Dolly-girl and Kitty rode home. By the time I got home, my bicycling parts were singing the blues and I remembered when Butch parted ways with his bike--"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles." Give me shanks mare and I'll thank you for it.



1 comment:

Ronna said...

You're the bee's knees, Johnny Boy.