Besides sittin’on the porch, another thing I love to do when the weather is nice is to take Ellie down by the river to the park.The park is a magical place.You can see a lot of things and people at the park no matter what time of day it is.One time my wife and I saw a big biker guy get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend right at the water.Another time I saw an elderly man singing while playing the guitar on a bench.There are always families going for walks, people fishing, or older couples walking hand-in-hand.It’s a place where you really feel like you are part of a great community… and it makes for great people watching.

When I first started the at-home Dad duties, getting Ellie to go down for a nap was a struggle.So every day we would start the morning with a walk down by the river to get her to fall asleep.Sometimes it would be two or three walks down by the river.We’d walk through the neighborhood, down the main strip, and then hit the park.By then she would be asleep and we’d park it on a bench. I’d read my book praying she wouldn’t wake up.Sometimes I’d stare at the same sentence for 20 minutes stressed out about the sounds of the seagulls.It’s funny what she would sleep through, and what would wake her up.For example, a garbage truck would pull up and grab a dumpster and slam it down.She wouldn’t even flinch.But then one of the car river sitters would sneeze, and her eyes would pop open.Eventually, she needed less and less walks, and it got hotter and hotter so we didn’t come around as much.Now when we come to the park, it’s just for fun.On this particular trip, we played on the grass and people watched.

When we first entered the park, we were greeted by an adult balloon toss.I haven’t seen or participated in a balloon toss since the fifth grade.Now right in front of me was a group of adults tossing water balloons back and forth in the park.I love this place!Then as we made our way to our shady grassy spot (to assume our type 1 activities), we see a group of wheelchair smokers having a picnic.Yep, it looks exactly what it sounds like.A group of old ladies in wheelchairs smoking and sitting around a table having a picnic.Nothing like getting out for fresh air.

Before we get to our regular spot, we had to pass in front of the car river sitters.These people sit in their cars and stare not at the water, but at you.Or anybody else walking by.They think you don’t notice their nosy eyes peering over their newspaper at you, but you do.I always find it weird that they always have the windows rolled up no matter what the weather is.As we get situated on the grass, we see the regulars go by like the jeans jogger.This guy jogs through the park wearing jeans.At first I thought he was running from somebody.Because if you are wearing jeans and running, chances are you are being chased.But when you see him on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you realize maybe he’s jogging.

And then there is Hank.I call him Hank.You can see him not only at the park, but all over town driving his Hoveround up and down the streets.He has a wicker hat and an American flag attached to the front basket.I think this is awesome because when I’m old, and if I need a Hoveround, I would definitely be cruzin’all over town.Ellie didn’t seem phased by any of this though.She was just amazed by the grass.Actually, a little uneasy about it at first.She just sat there afraid to move. “Ahhh… what is this?This is not the soft carpet I’m used to.”Then she realized she could pull out the grass, and then tried to eat it.“This green carpet is fun.”

As Ellie gets lost in her new green wonderland, I reminisce to when my grandparents took me to this very park.For a moment I remember it like it was yesterday.My grandparents with my brother and me, we’re holding a bag of dried bread crumbs and there’s a swarm of seagulls at our feet.And then I wonder if I will I be taking my grandkids here… cruisin’on my Hoveround.

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