We get to see a lot of different kinds of neighborhoods traveling around to Margaret’s clients. Occasionally we will wind up having a little spare time and we try to find something to do in the locale because there is no time to go home. We were on the North Side of Colorado Springs (not to be confused with the North End, as Northenders will tell you) and had an hour to kill. She needed to go to a neighborhood called “Trail Ridge at Northgate” off of Voyager. I apologize to those of you who don’t know this area, but it is a very nice, upper middle-class area where the big, cookie-cutter houses go for $300k — $700k and beyond. Covenants protect the scenery and make sure that no one has a purple house with an orange door or a ’76 Chevy pickup truck leaking oil on the driveway or a transmission that doubles as a lawn ornament and bird bath. Not in my league and I’m not sure how well I’d fit into a neighborhood like that.
There is a scenic, almost idyllic park not far from there called Mary Kyer Park. It is down the hill from a school that emphasizes arts and creativity and science called the Da Vinci Academy. Everything about the school, from the classroom design to the landscaping is made to enhance creativity and learning; a high-class, high-end school, to be sure. There is nothing like it on the South side. I don’t know if it’s public or private or whether you need a code to get in there or not. In the park there is a manmade little waterfall that runs into a pond that bubbles with aerators that recycle the water back to the top. A pair of geese and a pair of mallards live on the end away from the playground. Picnic tables with generous space between them separated by scrub oak that seems old enough to have been original equipment surround the pond and the safe, modern playground equipment is equally separated by wide expanses of lush green grass, so you could easily see your child from any part of the park. Of course the young boys play on the rocks of the manmade waterfall (even though the sign says not too) and make up games as they have done for thousands of years in real rivers on real rocks and then accuse each other of cheating and rewrite the rules over and over again. There is nothing new about that. On the South side of town we would probably have to drive toFountain Valley Park to get a similar effect, with the bike and hiking paths and water and such.
If the distant sound of children playing doesn’t bother you it is a very nice, peaceful, even serene place. I had fetched us a couple of lattes and a couple of ice creams from a nice place on the other side called Summit House Coffee and we sat watching the occasional mom stroll by or child on a bike. Margaret likes Mint Chocolate Chip and I try the Raspberry truffle. Very good.
We sit at one of the picnic tables under the shade of the scrub oak, Margaret thumbs through an old magazine while I laugh at the antics of the boys. There is litter blown about here. Someone has recently had Subway at this very table. As we sit, a group of teenage boys on bikes rides up and starts rummaging about through the bushes looking for something.
“I think mine is over here.”
“That one is mine.”
“You boys looking for something?”
“We had to find our cups from Subway so we could get refills, but they blew off this table.”
I point around at the littered underbrush, “Any of this other trash from Subway belong to you fellas?”
“Oh no sir, just the cups. Bye!”
Uh-huh. The only thing worse than no respect is fake respect and the only thing worse than fake respect is condescension. Oh well. They were obviously never Boy Scouts.
We settle quietly again. Maybe I was too hard on them boys. Maybe they didn’t leave their trash in the bushes. I scan the sky for a flock of pigs. We sit. It is quiet, serene, calm, the way you might picture a high class neighborhood. In the midst of the stillness comes a sound.
“HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK!” It’s not the geese, “Herkimer! Herkimer! HONK! HONK! HONKITY-HONK!”
Our nerves are jangled and Margaret says to the air, “She could get out of her car and go look for her kid, rather than disturb the rest of us.”
Suddenly three kids come flying over the hill, mouths full of apologies.
“$*#@#$&! Get your $#*@#$#^@# ^% in here NOW! #*#%^#*@)_!@)$#@)$(#!”
As peace returns Margaret observes, “Well, that’s the way to act in a classy neighborhood.”
To which I reply, “Well, I guess that just because you have a big house and more money doesn’t mean you automatically have class.”
Remember, The Good Book says, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”