Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Going to Be A Meeting. . .

       The other day, we had just embarked on our 'walk-Bridie-our-dog' morning jaunt when we encountered a lady, paused on her bike, about to put something in our mailbox.  We saved her the trouble, inquiring about its nature.  She said it was a Civic League memo and pedaled off.  Seems our neighbors are all a-whisper about some potential City Council business.

       Reading the memo, we were reminded of a very old Kingston Trio song about a railroad train - "Number 97":

    "Buddy better get on down the line;  Buddy better get on down
    the line.  Here comes ninety-seven makin' up some time.
   Buddy this is Ninety-Seven at your back; Got a ton of
    coal poured down her back.  Here comes Ninety- 
    Seven roarin' down the track."

       In our version of the song, "Ninety-Seven" would be our area's new light rail system - the TIDE.  Rumor has it that among the citizenry - landed gentry and peanut farmer alike - the 'Fathers' (city fathers) are planning, spelled, p-l-o-t-t-i-n-g.  They are going to venture over the rim.  (Thus far, the TIDE hasn't been the subject of particularly favorable ink.  I mean any fool knows that "mixin' electricity and water can bring nothin' but trouble.") Indeed, this area is known as the 'Tidewater Region".  It is also a fact that New York City has been 'coasting  along' on the East and Hudson Rivers and flirting with the Atlantic Ocean all the while being connected by a rail system - built by Indians and immigrants - that prides itself on the technical reliance on a very 'hot', live third rail for power.  Imagine my surprise when  this phenomenon escaped an entire population that just didn't 'get' the TIDE.

     The advance PR allowed as how the TIDE would bring the cities closer - unite Hampton Roads by making it oh-so-easy and affordable to "Park and Ride" from Norfolk to Virginia Beach faster than you could say in-te-gra-tion.  They built it and people came - to and fro, saving gas on our very own 'speeding bullet'.  In fact, the Big Picture brings our brothers and sisters from as far as Suffolk and Portsmouth into the Loop.

       They can drive to the Portsmouth Harbor and 'Park and Ride' or float on the ferry to Norfolk where they can see baseball and hockey games, attend the opera as well as several live theater venues, visit internationally-known museums and top of the line restaurants.

        Then they can head on East to the land of surf and sand.  (I see a billboard:  "They say the world is a book but if you don't travel, you've only read one page.")  Well, our TIDE is a tome of monumental proportions.  In fact, as to monuments in particular, once in Downtown Norfolk, the traveler can avail himself of the "MacArthur Memorial" as well as the eponymous 'Side-scapes' in its environs.  Similarly, Virginia Beach sports a magnificent "King Neptune" and is studded with artistically-rendered mermaids throughout the city.  Portsmouth - at its own, nationally recognized Children's Museum, now honors the Ayers Family in a stunning bronze sculpture of children reading. (The element of common denomination here - if you've not already guessed - is the accessibility of these treasures via our TIDE.)

       I say, "Here, here" to all of this movement.  Brooklyn-raised, I was never one for driving anywhere - regardless of how economical it is made to sound.  But it seems our Fathers, who art in Virginia Beach (hallowed be ITS name) agree and now want to give us even more of our daily bread of transport via the TIDE.  They want to add a slice or two of variety into the kneading.  (Some may say that insodoing, they want to lead us into temptation!)  Hmmmm. . .
       Now the rumor is in its inchoate, 'we-had-a-dream' stage.  (Pssst. A dream is just a dream.  A goal is a dream with purpose and a deadline.)  It - the rumor - purports a plan to divert these straight and narrow tracks at strategic points such that some TIDE pellets will pop out, plopping down in some of the better-known, recherché shopping centres so that ALL of Hampton Roads will have access to, shall we say, "Marquettes for All Seasons" or "Rides for all Reasons."  Or not.
       So, folks, the citizens of Virginia Beach are going to a meeting - just to make sure since we seem to be the projected pellet targets - that the philosophical as well as the gustatorial and sartorial questions are asked and responses are provided lest we find ourselves on the far side of the rim with no going back.
       The philosophical question for our neighborhood is:  "Who's to say if this is good or bad for Virginia Beach?"  The first order of business, then, would be a look at the subject. It has become a city steeped in tradition and marinated in its cultures.  During that marinating process, a new native culture with its own population identity evolved.
       It has become a bustling, well-earned hive of tourism, hosted by its natives.  They, in turn, are a many and varied group unified by their diversity. This same quality permeates its co-existent civilian/military components.  The majority of the civilian population has its roots in the older, more conservative city of Norfolk.  The heritage of the military population: the world.  Visually, it is a climatically warm, appealing coastal town.  The community is a tangle of sprawling neighborhoods and copses that seems to embrace that 'uneven pavement' essence of cohabitation of the landscaped 'swells' with the 'average-Joe-DIY-ers' sharing the same piece of God's little acre with impunity.
       Of course there's more to this.  My thumbnail sketch seems (and is) reductive.  But it does function as a filter that would equip a meeting attendee/potential question poser - YOU - who have what it takes to GO TO A MEETING, ponder AND comment on the likely effects of the TIDE further infiltrating the easternmost borders of the city.
       Ultimately, however, what you plus our neighborhood and any other potentially affected areas, can do is comment.  You see, the city Fathers meet as well - and all are invited to attend.  Should we feel trespassed upon, we can always forgive.  If the feeling is deliverance from the evil of exclusion, we can revel in the glory that accompanies such good fortune. You have 'happened in' to a win-win participatory adventure.  You may go to the meeting and profer an opinion as to whether the Fathers' plan is good or bad for the kingdom.  For thine is the kingdom and, if you've become a 'TIDE-ie', yours is the glory.
       Oh.  Guess that leaves just one more thing.  It wasn't in the memo, but if memory serves, (Lord knows, no one else seems to) the Fathers have the POWER.  Still want to play?
Later, Lorane. . . .


Post a Comment