I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It was one of the last hot steamy nights of an Indian summer years ago. I had wanted to go to the San Gennaro Festival that Friday night. The ride to the City was long, with kids in the back seat continuously asking “are we there yet?” But once we parked, the multitudes enticed us to the festivities.

I didn’t know that San Gennaro was the biggest and oldest Festival in the US or that it’s deeply rooted in religious celebrations, I just knew it was fun. And that night it was.

It is visited by one million people in the 11 days it opens and that night it seemed that the million was all there. One line of people back to back slowly moved in one direction and another line moved in the opposite direction. Kiosks of typical Italian dishes abound the narrow roads. Plenty of games to entertain any youngster are plentiful. And of course, there is the beer and wine and mixed cocktails at an outrageous price.

We wanted to be smart. If alcohol was permitted, we decided to bring our own.

We were walking along enjoying the smell of food and fun in the air when I felt a tap in my shoulder. A man pointed to his badge and asked us to step on the sidewalk. I looked at him with a na├»ve look as he pointed to the half empty bottle of wine in my hands. As he addressed us in his new yorkean accent, I wasn’t listening. I could only think “We’re getting busted for drinking on the streets of New York”!

After mistaking a blue eyed blond kid for my son, and in part due to the extraordinary award winning performance of my daughter crying because her mother was being busted, he let us go not without giving us a lecture on drinking discretely, “pour it in a glass, for God’s sake!”.

We laughed hard feeling the exuberance of getting away with something almost wrong, our kids soon forgetting the incident. Finally the night caught up with us and we drove home. Kids sound asleep.

I never went back. For one reason or another it didn’t happen again. And maybe it’s better that way, great memories are sometimes better left alone.

In that way, they remain great.