A little tyke came speeding by on a two-wheeler with the confidence of a racing pro. Most children his age need tricycles, or at best a bike with training wheels,
“Your kid is amazing!” I exclaimed.
“Yes,” answered the mother . . . no humility, just certainty. And with a hint of an Eastern European accent, she called out as she rushed to catch up with her son.
I continued down the pavement. The waters of Tampa Bay defined the shoreline to my left. The Safety Harbor Resort and Spa bordered the expanse of grass to my right. A miniature ballerina approached. Resplendent in her tutu, and tights, the graceful preschooler skipped along the walkway, her blond curls flipping from side to side. Was she destined to be a stay-at-home mom, an engineer, or would she eventually fulfill her childhood dream and dance the Nutcracker on the stage of Ruth Eckerd Hall?
Further along the pathway, a smile flashed my way.
“How ya doin’?” greeted a young dad, as he and his son kicked off their flip flops.
Stepping onto the sand, they dashed into the bay and savored the ankle-deep water. The strip of sand was tiny, about the size of an average living room. But to these two, it was their own private beach. Hoisting his son on his shoulders, the dad pointed into the distance, then looked back at me
“Dolphins. Five of them!”
I approached the end of the walkway. From under the triangular canvas shade sails, I had a clear view of the pier. A dozen black youth spread out at two picnic tables. Their laughter and camaraderie rose in the air as they jostled back and forth. Then, gathering up their belongings to leave, they policed the area, making sure not a scrap of paper or food was left behind. Respect for common ground.
January 2019. Children, families, older adults, kindness, diversity, community, hope.
The best that life has to offer for the New Year, exemplified here at our Waterfront Park.
Author of You Can Go Home Again