On this beautiful, Friday morning, after two days of torrential downpours, my youngest son and I were mulling about on Church Street. He had a doctor's appointment not far from there, and we needed to kill some time.
I drove past a consignment shop that piqued my interest, so I made a u-turn in that direction, and parked the car. My son was very patient with me, as I took a quick look around inside, then I suggested that we walk around for a bit.
Church Street is located in the very upscale area of Vienna, Virginia, running perpendicular to the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, and is lined with small, unique shops and restaurants.
Just a block away from a very busy, heavily traveled thoroughfare, the street is a nice little welcoming surprise.
Walking along with my son, I realized that I had never SEEN Church Street before.
I had driven THROUGH it many times - a quick "drive by", on my way to somewhere else.
Walking the sidewalk allowed me the time to pay attention and really "take in" all of the shops.
As I mentioned, it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining down brightly, enveloping us with warmth, as we walked beneath the periwinkle colored sky. The welcome whisper of a breeze was cool and invigorating, making me feel alive and energetic.
We did not walk long, however, when my son asked,
"Can we turn around and go back now? This is boring."
MOMENT SPOILER. ( Can you hear the needle (on the record) scratch? )
Understanding his age, and appreciating the patience that he had shown me, I obliged his request.
Instead of walking back the way that we came, however, we took a "shortcut", and walked along the backs of the shops, giving us a different perspective.
Along the way, we came across a cute little gazebo, decorated with a bench and an old, "fire engine red" water pump, with a matching metal bucket, dangling beneath.
My son walked over to it, and grabbed the iron lever, pulling it up and down, to confirm that it no longer served a "usable" purpose; rather, a charming decoration, and a reminder from the past.
As I watched him, I was distracted by what sounded like an abrupt knocking on a window, and realized that we were in the backyard of someone's house.
An understandable mistake, given that, from the back, it looked no different than the other shops and restaurants.
My son did not hear the rapping on the glass, but I casually motioned for us to move along, finding humor in the situation.
We turned the next corner, and our car came within sight. It seemed to be smiling in the warmth of the sun.
As we crossed the parking lot, something bumped against our feet - giant, unidentifiable nuts.
Were my grandmother still alive, she would have been able to point to the exact tree, from which they had fallen. Several had been run over by cars, creating unique designs on the pavement.
I could now identify the noise that I had heard earlier, when I first drove into the lot. It had sounded like popping glass, underneath my tires.
In size, I would compare the nuts to those giant super balls in the red colored souvenir machines at the grocery store. When I was a kid, they sold for $.50. The small super balls sold for $.25.
I used to love putting my quarters in the machine and hearing that clacking sound, as I turned the knob around and around, then, putting my hand out to collect my prize at the bottom of the tiny, chrome colored chute.
Unlike superballs, these nuts were not made out of rubber.
Though, apparently, they DO bounce.
My son (the soccer player) began to dribble one around.
Then, he gave it a good hard kick, where it flew to the end of the driveway, and bounced .............................................................................................right into a passing car.
"OH SHIT!" was the expression on both of our faces.
We held our breath, as the car braked for a long second..........................................................................................then continued on its way.
Did I mention that this is a very upscale area?
My childish, tomboy, "not a child of rich parents" instinct...................... was to run.
As we opened the doors to our "nice enough, but not a BMW" vehicle, I realized that we had (unintentionally) committed two crimes within our 45 minute visit on Church Street -
Trespassing and Vandalism.
I inconspicuously backed out of my parking spot, then PEELED out of the lot, setting my autopilot for Annandale, where maybe we would be safe.
Okay. Maybe I exaggerated about that last part. I didn't REALLY peel out of the lot, but it sounds good, doesn't it?