Parks & Rec and permits
Recently I had some business at the local Parks & Rec office. Ollie’s birthday party required a permit for public gatherings and the office is in the park directly across from our house. Heading over I found a note that said the office was closed and the staff relocated to the Senior Center just north of the office in the park. Doubling back I heard the sounds of an orchestra playing big band music, I peeked in to see the auditorium filled with elderly couples spinning and swaying in rhythm. Completely adorable.
You never know when you’ll get swept off your feet.
The automatic doors slid open and a young woman sat at a desk facing me. I quickly learned that she was who I needed to speak with. Her office displaced by the recent storms and flooding. I had just grasped the permit application when a deep voice spoke from behind me.
“May I have this dance?” I turned to find an older gentleman, warm olive toned skin contrasting against his gray hair. Dressed in cream from head to toe, his hand extended his invitation out to me. The Park girl looks at me shaking her head and shrugging, I laugh and immediately oblige. We leave the application on the desk and he whisks me into the ball room.
His name his Joe, I laugh telling him that’s my name too! He gives me his card and introduces me to friends sitting this one out, then even more out on the dance floor. Most are quite gracious and play along with his silly shenanigans, some of the old birds don’t seem quite as pleased by the charade. We continue on. Spinning and twirling across the floor Joe tells me of his ex-wife and son, the drug and alcohol addiction that has plagued them. His desperate hopes for recovery and peace. I am stunned at the honesty and the close hitting similarities. For a moment there are actual tears in his eyes and then he twists away. We continue our dance and let the beat carry us back towards the door.
We find our kind
“Thanks for the dance Joe. I truly appreciate it. It was quite the unexpected surprise.” Shaking his hand he pulls me in towards him in a gentle hug. Backing up I let him in on my secret. “I think I know what drew you to me. I am an alcoholic too.”
With that he disappeared. Never have I seen a person escape as immediately as he did. Must have been something I said.
Well played, Joe, well played.
When I got home I sent Joe a letter thanking him for our dance and his honesty, a prayer for his loved ones and even slipped in a few Sparkle Cards for the next girl he sweeps off her feet.
Thanks for the dance, Joe. Until we meet again…