Monday, October 18, 2010

Rain and the arena.

The rain started late in the afternoon Wednesday last week. It had been August 23rd since we had more than a sprinkle of rain in Louisville. The weather heads had maps showing the approach of rain, so it was predicted. I was skeptical as this kind of thing had happened several times during the past six weeks without result.
From the New Yorker, October 18, 2010 issue.  I scanned it so no link.
I had been reading and dozed off sitting up with the book fallen from my hands. The cat must have heard it approaching as she came running up the steps to sit near the chair. Her growl woke me.

There on the skylights was rain. I sat at the top of the steps looking out the smeared window as water fell onto the dry acre out back. It was pouring so after a while I went downstairs to stand at the door watching. There's something comforting about a hard rain after a long dry spell.

It continued all night and early the next day. The rain had left traces on the asphalt parking lot. Moisture had already gone from the big pot of lavender by the door. The grass was still brown and it wasn't long until leaves crackled again with the bunny family moving in and out of their den under the holly bush.

By afternoon you wouldn't have known it rained at all.

At Keeneland the turf course was a bright green and the horses running over it were beautiful, dark and fleet. But off that ribbon of grass the lawn around the clubhouse was brown and dry.
From the Courier-Journal, October 17, 2010
The $256 million Yum Center opened Saturday night for the first performance. The Eagles came to town to excite and entertain us. The previous week the police and mayor had a press conference where they reviewed the way traffic moves around the new building now. One hundred police officers were assigned to help with all the cars expected. Extra TARC buses were being put on the route. An official counted all the on street, off street and garage parking within five blocks of the arena and our Mayor announced, "There are 19,000 parking spaces nearby."

Yet ticket holders to the Eagles' performance were told to get to the arena early. No one wanted to talk about getting home afterwards.

The restaurants near the venue were all excited and new menus had been previewed. Extra help was put on shift and provisions bought. The effort was justified. Waits for dinner were over an hour everywhere, though most believed the wait was exacerbated by people who had eaten a late afternoon meal and were sitting at their table waiting to walk to the arena, thereby hogging the seats for later diners.

The Mayor had tickets and was being interviewed just prior to the show starting, "There are thousands of people walking on the streets this evening. This is the kind of thing a mayor likes to see." Well I think we all appreciated seeing real live suburbanites on the streets of downtown Louisville near dark. It's something that's seldom been seen since the late '60's, when most all entertainment was downtown.

Today there was a letter to the editor in the local paper. The writer had been to the Eagles' concert Saturday night and thought it was a great one. They even had compliments for the wonderful lux NBA worthy arena. But they said they would miss our old arena Freedom Hall. I will miss that place too.

I remember going to my first Toys for Tots concert there.  I went with a GI I had met at a USO dance.  It was 1969 and he finished his training at Ft. Knox.   We both thought he was going off to Vietnam.  We walked two miles from my apartment in the December cold to the arena.  I wore my brown Chesterfield coat, dress shoes, stockings and my nicest Sunday-go-to-meeting dress.  He wore his Army green uniform.  We were the best dressed and most sober people there.  Everyone else at the concert was stoned out of their minds in tie dye and bell bottoms.

Somehow I don't think the YUM Center will ever have that ambience.