Summertime is a time of festivals, parades, we venture out from our homes and other humans swarm around us. We greet old friends and lovers. Memories swarm around us too. For some of us, there is a special someone. For others, the special someone is still a dream.
I was in Madison a few weeks ago, and a friend suggested I check out the Marquette Neighborhood festival.
“It’s only three blocks away,” my friend said. “You might see people you know.”
“Ok, can I park my car and leave it in your driveway? It won’t be but an hour or two…” I said.
“Feel free,” my friend said. “The wife and I aren’t going anywhere.”
The Marquette Neighborhood festival was on the lakefront and there were lots of people with children and dogs running about here and there.
The first person that simply walked up and shook my hand, I didn’t know. He didn’t say anything, simply nodded, and I did the same. I did run into three others I did know and stopped to chat with them a bit, but the one I didn’t know stood out in memory, a memory that quickly faded. As far as remembering what the person looked like; there was the gesture, the handshake, the nod. The moment.
I walked the entire festive festival grounds, three times. Just to walk among a human swarm. I tried to feel things and fix them to memories of things past (I think we always do that).
Who are we when we go places? Are we the same person we are at home?
Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
and I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.
I returned to my friend’s house after an hour to pick up my car.
“How was the festival?” he asked.
“Well, I ran into three people I knew and one I didn’t know,” I replied.
It sounded like a wonderful reply to me. A week later I told the story to another friend and she said, “The one you didn’t know probably knew you…”
We were at a parade and as we were talking, someone I didn’t know walked up and shook my hand.
“It happens all the time,” I told her. “Ordinary fame is fleeting.”
Parades are fleeting things too. The little boy with the big drum is equal to the old veteran carrying the flag.
Never think that you are someone who doesn’t count.