Porch Day

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The last race goes off, audible in the distance but only when the light turns green and the cars fade, heading to town or to the Northway, the harness track or the eastside of town.

In a matter of minutes, the traffic builds, by foot and by rubber.

A kayak goes one way, a horse van goes the other. Rain lies in the crevices, pooling in the holes.

A man in a Lakers T-shirt, pulling his son’s Radio Flyer with a cooler and a chair wedged into it, smoking, then flicks the butt into the grass, he obviously lost today.

A groom rides a yellow bike the wrong way of traffic, plastic bags dangling from the handlebars, hoof pick still in his pocket.

Captain Giveaway, Saratoga T-shirt on his back and new Saratoga bag in his hand, so proud, like a dog who stole a bone. 

Two tanned girls wait for their tanned mother; one sings, “Talking about my girl, I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day . . . “

Tevas, cargo shorts, checking his phone, new Form in his hand.

Unbrellas everywhere.

A woman in a blue dress eats chocolate chip cookies, still in a napkin.

Bearded man looks he stepped off the Appalachian Trail and can’t find his way back.

Brownies and drunks. A man in a denim shirt opens up his giveaway bag, like he’s expecting a genie to come out.

Old men, Hawaiian shirts.

Hunched old men, overweight, huffing from the weight of the walk.

Three boys, chairs on their shoulders, talking about their next night out.

Three college kids, one in a Duke shirt, talking golf.

Binoculars hanging around necks of old men.

Beautiful woman, peach skirt, carrying a Form, my kind of woman.

A man with a clipboard, a chair and a sandwich bag.

“I enjoyed your column today,” a random reader says as he walks past, never breaking stride.

A woman shakes the sides of her flowery dress as her man talks on his phone.

Two yellow-shirt clad boys, still nursing their last cans of Bud Light.

A Range Rover, a low-in-the-back Suburban, a man smoking a cigar, puffing, puffing.

“I was up until the last, I only lost 40. I think.”

A slow-walking couple, stroll, it’s funny how couples adapt their own tempos, their own speeds.

A Hyundai with American flags fluttering.

“Andrea stop at the driveway. Stop at the driveway. Stop at the driveway.” She stops.

Three drunk kids yell to a friend driving, I hope he’s had less to drink than they have. He beeps the horn and swerves.

I wish I invented the folding chair in a bag. Or the rolling cooler. Or the giveaway totebag.

The coolers grittily rumble down the sidewalk, you can hear them from the Hall of Fame, gaining ground, getting closer and then going out of sight.

The lemonade stand is doing good business.

A woman walks past with a backpack, Duct tape dangling from the a buckle.

Two couples, women in front, men in back, sucking the last drag from a cigar, carrying their cooler into the Brunswick Bed and Breakfast.

A cop goes whizzing past, siren whirring to alert the world of his chase.

Cars. So many cars. A Pontiac drops off a shaved-head, notebook carrying, madras-shorts wearing 20-something, he jaywalks over the grass median and disappears out of sight.

A runner in cotton, sweating through his gray T-shirt runs in place, waiting for the light to change.

A Pinkerton scuffs past, looking lost, eating a brownie, then walks into traffic and hitches a ride, folding into the back of a red Infiniti.

More coolers. More chairs. More bags.

A kid, rolls up his apron, rips off his tie, pulls out his shirt, summer’s nearly over.

A woman wears a blue plastic sheet, like saran wrap, it’s sunny.

I guy wearing an Embrace the Race hat grabs two papers off the porch, “thanks for paper.” No problem.

Every kind of music pumps and blares, the younger the driver, the louder the beat. Noise pollution.

A burned-out artist rides his 10-speed down the sidewalk, handlebars upside down.

A cook, checkered pants, in a Boston Red Sox hat, counts his money, looks up to cross Nelson Avenue, then counts some more, must have been a good day.

Siro’s starts to wind up the music. A waitress carries a tray of Heinekens to a table in the garden of the Reading Room.

Five fat men waddle through the Reading Room parking lot and get in a clown car.

Cell phones glued to ears, men cursing, showing the world they lost at the track today.

Billy Castle drives by in his convertible Porsche, Jerry Maguire.

The Clancy Boys, ties loosened, shirt tails out, “Saratoga’s over. No more, man.” Father talks on his cell phone, boys disheveled and forlorn, coming home, going home.

I let out a yawn and check the word count – another column written, another race day in the books.