On Saturday, Sharon and I were tasked with getting pizza for the gang (my brothers, sister and all our spouses). Our rental cottage was in the hills outside of Brownsburg which is very near the town of Lachute where I had gone to High School fifty years ago.
Lachute is a hub for the surrounding agricultural community and is a fairly large small town. When I was a teen the place to get pizza from was Princess Pizza. My exact memory of that place is gone, but when I got to Main Street I did remember another place with booths that I had gone to as well. Chez Carole was still there, so I went in and ordered three huge pizzas “to go”. They told me it would be about twenty-five minutes so I went out to wait in the car with Sharon.
The layout of the street is somewhat like a very wide boulevard. When I visit this street, I am always reminded of 50’s era movies of American small towns and/or small town scenes painted by Edward Hopper. They used to have angled (zig zag) parking, but switched to parallel.
There is parking next to the sidewalks and on either side of the median. I was parallel parked next to the median facing east. When I got in the car after placing the order Sharon remarked on the number of motorcycles and mullets she had seen. I replied “Small town, Main Street, Saturday Night” as an explanation. Clusters of teens walking in groups, older couples looking for a place to dine out, etc. Driving up and down the street itself were several restored vintage cars and many Harley Davidson motorcycles.
We watched a couple on the other side of the median getting prepared to mount their bike. Each article of biker clothing carefully put on in a ritual dance. Chaps tightened, vests attached, bandanas adjusted helmets fastened and sunglasses donned. Then some little stretches and the rider got on followed by the driver who had an extra adjustment of his junk before straddling his hog, kicked off the kick stand and fired up the electronic ignition. They rode away slowly and deliberately showing off their leather and poise. I said to Sharon that everyone is on parade tonight.
Just then we saw two identical fire engine red Mazda convertible sports cars in tandem. They slowed and the first driver made a gesture to the following driver and they parallel parked in unison. I was amazed. It was like some synchronized swimming choreography we were watching. They backed in as if attached and then went forward about a foot and then back about half that, all in unison. The passenger doors opened as one and two former trophy brides got out and turned to watch the tops of the cars glide into place and then the two drivers struggled to get out. I recognized the effort of two large bald men with bad knees attempting to look effortless. They succeeded and rounded their vehicles to join their companions and cross toward a restaurant. It struck me at the time how unhappy they presented and I imagined that the men had probably been relevantly employed in industry, but had been cruising on their initial success for the last twenty years and now were too entrenched in their ways to be able to handle any change. The expressions on the faces of the female companions had a strange fadedness to them. Bottled blondes in clothes just a wee bit too tight and shoes that pretended to be stylish, but weren’t.
I thought that maybe these people were former classmates of mine (they certainly could have been) disguised by fifty years. My imagination placed them in this same scenario every week-end since the mid seventies. I could see at a glance that they played golf, but probably didn’t enjoy it.
As they walked away (still synchronized on auto-pilot) I forgave myself for being so judgemental and turned to look at Sharon and I was filled with thankfulness for her, for the week-end away, for the time with my siblings at Thanksgiving.