My friend, Martha, is visiting from New York for the day and brought her neighbor, Harriet, with her. It is a June Sunday and the weather is beautiful. I suggest taking a walk in Loantaka Park.
Harriet immediately asks, ” Is it buggy there? I hate being swarmed by mosquitoes.”
“I’ve never noticed any particular mosquito swarms there; Loantaka is my favorite place to walk,” I say, reassuringly.
Martha agrees, “It’s a perfect Sunday for a walk. That reminds me of the show by Stephen Sondheim, “Sunday in the Park with George, and she starts singing, “Isn’t it rich, are we a pair? Me with my feet on the ground at last, You in mid-air?”
“Great song,” I say, but that one is from Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”
“I’m not a fan of Sondheim’s,” Harriet scowls. Neither of us comment on Harriet’s musical tastes.
As we drive towards the park entrance we see a policeman, directing lines of cars into and out of the park, an unusual sight at Loantaka Park.
“Oh, something’s going on here today. Look at all the people wearing blue T shirts and carrying balloons,” I say.
“I thought we were going for a quiet peaceful Sunday walk. With all these people around I might just as well have stayed in the city,” whines Harriet.
“Oh, look; they’re walking for a cause,” says Martha. “What do their shirts say?”
“Sure, I know the old story: everyone has a gripe; everyone is marching for something or demonstrating about something,” comments Harriet.
When we finally find a parking spot we see the marchers at close enough range to read “Walk for the Arthritis Cure” on the blue T shirts, and a few “Agile Ankles” on white T shirts.
“Oh, great,” says Harriet disapprovingly. “There goes our peace and quiet. Look over there; some of the marchers have small noisy children with them and some even brought their yappy dogs.”
“I wish we’d known that this walk was planned today,” says Martha. “I would have bought a blue T Shirt and joined them.”
“Maybe we should go somewhere else and leave the crowds behind,” Harriet sounds off again.”
Martha and I have stopped responding to Harriet. We can’t cheer her up or change her perspective, and we’re not going to let her ruin our good time. We all get out of the car and head for the path.
“What a treacherous trail,” says Harriet. “Watch out; here come some bikers. They could run right into somebody.” We proceed down the path and receive another of her dour comments, “Oh those people are blocking our way with their little kids on tricycles. ”
We try to concentrate on the lovely day, the congenial happy people around us and the good cause they are representing.
Martha and I are becoming intolerant of Harriet’s constant complaining. As one of my holistic friends would say, “She is polluting our environment with her negativism.”
Everyone has an off day, and we hope Harriet hasn’t any serious problems that are causing her constant eruption of unhappy thoughts. We wish her well, but wish even more that she would take her complaining somewhere else and keep her dark, unhappy thoughts to herself. We want to enjoy one of the few “Top 10 Summer Days in the Park.”
It is too easy to forget that this year, 2011, set weather records all over the world for devastating, damaging and deadly conditions. I am grateful that the severe, difficult winter is over and that we have such a lovely summer day. It is sad that some people cannot see gloriously perfect conditions when they’re right in the middle of them.