Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bubbles and Ice Cream, Friendship, Picnics and Brooms

Today was the However Many Annual International Children's Festival in Oakland. They showed clips on the news last night from last year's and there were jugglers, ladies on stilts and (why is this so prevalent?) facepainting. Today was also the Bubbles and Ice Cream Party.
I had seen this flier when Donny and I went to the rather sad little farmer's market in Bloomfield on Thursday. I took the above photo to remind myself about it and, if you look closely you will notice a few things about the flier, namely that it just says "Bubbles and Ice Cream Party." Who is giving this party? The Bloomfield Civic Association? Kids for Christ? That strange bald guy who's running for city council?

I should also explain Friendship Park, especially for those of you familiar with the rather impressive Pittsburgh Park System. Friendship Park is basically a glorified traffic median. It's a nice, grassy green space that is circled by Friendship Avenue and it separates the West Penn Hospital Complex from some very nice old houses. It is about 2 city blocks long and maybe 2 houses wide. One end of it is near a church and there is a house with a great big Holy Mother statue in the little tiny front yard plus at least one angel attending her with a torch that doubles as a porch light. The park has some benches, some trees and a flagpole. And maybe a garbage can.

I opted for the Bubbles and Ice Cream Party. Donny has the rest of his life to be international.

We caught the 54C and walked to the park and at first I didn't see anything. Once we got closer, tho, I saw a card table set up with two industrial size tubs of ice cream, about a dozen kids from Donny's age up to about 12 or so, and some grown ups, one of whom was in a floor length orchid dress and another who was blowing some fairly impressive bubbles. The little kids were playing Ring Around The Rosie and running around in the grass. I tried to get Donny to join in but he was a little too clingy. He did watch them tho--I think part of him wanted to join in. Sorry about the social awkwardness gene, kid...

I wasn't sure how this was going to go, but then he saw the big, fluffy tissue paper flowers

There were a bunch of these flowers hanging from a string and Donny thought they were the best thing ever.
While he played with them a very sweet and pretty young lady was nice enough to bring him some bubbles. He was too shy with her to try blowing them but she blew some for him and that was appreciated.

We had probably been there about 20 minutes or so when Donovan finally decided he wanted to run around. That's when it started to rain. I thought we had best pack it up and, as we were leaving, I asked a few folks if they knew who put the party together. Turns out it was the gal in the orchid dress who, apparently, just decided that it was something she wanted to do. I was very tempted to tell her about LUPEC and the Archival Cabaret and my cemetery tours and how I LOVE when people get an idea for an event and just do it, no holds barred. In a rare moment of restraint, however, I gave her a fiver and told her to put it towards the cause. She seemed genuinely surprised and I felt genuinely middle aged--but what the hell: Mike's payday was yesterday and if I want to give some gal in a sparkly dress five bucks, I'm gonna. Damn it.

By the time we left the park the rain was coming down in earnest. I wanted to find a place for Donny to eat the lunch I packed for him but I didn't want us to get soaked. My solution has resulted in a new phrase, which you are free to use:STOOPNIC: A picnic on the stoop of a building, preferably one of a business or public nature.
The stoop in question seemed to be left over from some 19th century building the hospital used before the 1970's parts were grafted on. It had some nice rosettes and glazed white brick. Donny was hungry and ate his PBJ and a big serving of cantaloupe. And it was great, while we were sitting there, some lady ran over to us from across the street through the rain to say, "Yinz should take him dahn to the park and get him some ice cream! They're giving it away free!" I had to break it to her that we'd just come from there. She seemed pretty amused for a lady who was using a newspaper as an umbrella.

We still had some time to kill before the bus so we waited in the Mellon Lobby of the Hospital. I felt a bit odd doing that but we only needed to kill about 10 minutes and Donovan had a good time trying out all the chairs.
After that, we came home and did some cleaning up. Well, I did. Donny tried to help me sweep the kitchen floor but he's not quite got the idea. For him, it was more about whacking the dirt across the floor and less about sweeping it into pile. I'm just glad he finally paid some attention to the broom I got him. Next up: a lawn mower.

He's being very fussy for Mike right now, which is a shame because he was so sweet for me today. Going to sleep can make a kid grumpy, I suppose...

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