Sunday in the Park
July 1, 2006
I knew right away the handsome Frenchman was not someone from my neighborhood. He came sauntering over to my yard from the house he was visiting, right around cocktail hour. He was stylishly attired and he boldly asked in a language that was English but deliciously laced with French, he if could offer any assistance with my tasks. I must have looked overwhelmed, as I often do at that hour. I come home from work and madly try to plant and dig and water and nurture before the sun sets.
I learned his name was Thomas and he was house sitting for my neighbors who had taken a petite holiday. He was full of questions and had sparkling dark eyes and a wicked grin. I was smitten. When he implored again, in the most charming way, if he could help me, I had to allow it. For a woman who lives alone and is used to doing chores herself it can be very difficult to accept help when offered. Still, that voice, that accent, inquiring, "Me water, too?" I knew I would share the hose
He was wearing his pajamas actually, tight knit pants and a tight knit top that were so very European. Sandals, no socks and no visible diaper line, which for three years old at night seemed admirable. His father came over shortly thereafter and later I met his mother and little brother. I learned they were partners with Jean Louis, famed local chef, and together would be opening their very first restaurant in a matter of days. Over the course of several evenings we had several visits and Tom (I felt I could call him Tom, now) and I continued our exchange of conversation and evening chores.
My neighbors returned and the guests left the neighborhood, but at the first Concert in the Park, I was delighted to see Tom and his family there. It turns out Motherlode Canyon Band was the perfect music for Tom to show me his inherent dance abilities, complete with a small blanket which became a rather versatile cape. He giggled and danced and danced and giggled. Ah, to be three and growing up in Park City. It is a magical time
The next evening I, along with half of Park City, attended the grand opening of the newest restaurant on the Park City scene, named aptly, Jean Louis, located at the corner of Heber Avenue and Swede Alley, in the Gateway building. (Remember Renee’s, which we all miss? That great location.) Inside, the place was hopping. New residents and long-time Parkites were toasting each other and the summer. There was fabulous food and waiters pouring wine and bubbling champagne. There was that feel of comfort and elegance but not stuffiness. French but without all the France, as the folks at a neighbor restaurant, Easy Street, like to say.
Karen Coleman was there and she sighed and said this time of year she always wanted to push July 1 back to June 1. The town is perfect in temperature, the flowers are blooming, the nights are pleasant and cool. She has lived here since the ’70s and knows as well as anyone how fleeting the summer season is, and how precious.
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A grown-up Tom, newly fulltime to Park City from Los Angeles but who formerly wintered only in Aspen, told me how much summer in Park City "reminded him of Aspen and how the two communities were so alike." I gently, I hope, corrected him, in my best Dorothy voice, saying there is no place like home, if home is Park City. Aspen. Sniff. Huff. Indeed. But I kept up a bit of banter, shared my hors d’oeuvres and bid my adieu in time.
As I was exiting, I had a chance to actually see the artwork that is the bar, which had been three deep when I first arrived. The stunning solid rock counter is some exotic mix of oranges and yellows and whites, which was lit from underneath and had a transparent glow about it. Soundlessly and out of seemingly nowhere, Ira Sachs appeared. (How does he do that?) He explained the rock came from a quarry he owns and I think in the din he told me the name of the beautiful rock but it was so loud I nodded, complimented him on the execution of the stunning bar and made my way home.
I set about the evening chores, which really are a form of meditation. In what I suspect is the last house in all of Park City without a sprinkler system, I must be diligent to attach the hoses and start the water in time to move it several times before the sun goes down. It had been a busy week at work with a busy summer ahead and time for reflection is limited, so when I sat on the porch swing and the mourning doves sang their evening songs, I was grateful. Somewhere, over The Colony, the sun was setting and the clouds were absorbing the last light. Even in the big box of 64, there are no names for these summer sunset colors. The clear blues and soft pinks became vibrant oranges and rich indigos but that in no way describes them. It was still and warm and quiet and powerful. "In the gloaming" as the Scottish call it. The whisper of time between day and night.
The days ahead are rather like that new bar at Jean Louis, when viewed as a hunk of time unpolished, they can appear average. Easy to overlook. But a trained eye, like that of a three year old, can see the beauty, can delight in it and can feel joy in sharing it. The evening sky can be as backlit as that rock bar and you don’t want to miss either one on the string of jewels known as summer days, including Sundays in the Park