Jessica and I watched “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” together on Thanksgiving, the appropriate day to introduce her to this holiday classic*. During the scene where Steve Martin is desperately trying to get a cab in rush hour New York, Jessica turned to me and asked, “Is it true that Megan can always get a cab?” I told her that the legend was true, and she was suitably impressed. Now that we live in a taxi-free zone, this talent has evolved into CHP ESP and the ability to find parking spots just about anywhere (some more successful than others, however).
Megan’s amazing parking locating ability found us a place right outside the front door at the Botanical Gardens. It seemed too good to be true: was it a loading zone? A handicapped spot? But no, the only caveat was “Compact”, and her little red car fit right in between the lines. And we were early enough to avoid the lines: when we left, the line was snaking through the parking lot, where no spaces were to be found, even by Megan. I imagine the one we vacated was taken in about a millisecond.
The Botanical Gardens are always a magical place. They consist of almost 50 acres and flowerbeds that reach all the way to the sea. Something is always blooming, year-round. They are home to so many species of birds that the local Audubon Society holds weekly bird watching sessions there (one of which I enjoyed very much back in the good old jobette days). On winter evenings, they are transformed into a winter wonderland, with lights sparkling in the trees and flowerbeds, and surprises like giraffes looming out of the cypresses:
reminding me of Jagger and Buster at the B. Bryan Preserve and the wonderful visit there for Jessica’s last birthday.
Jellyfish floated in the chilly air:
and, appropriately enough for this maritime area, a ship sailed through rough seas (don’t miss the whale’s tail):
There was a fire pit where you could toast yourself and some marshmallows before heading out to see the rest of the lights and sights. Leaving the busy parking lot and weaving our way through the would-be spectators, it soon became apparent that we had left the lights behind in the gardens, because there were none in the car. No headlights, that is.
Fortunately for us, the high beams worked, even though the regular beams didn’t. Needless to say this, like everything else car, was a total mystery to me, but at least we could get home. We did feel like complete jerks on the way home, though, since we were unable to dim the high beams, which was highly disapproved of by those who flashed theirs at us. But there was no choice – there were no streetlights and no ambient light on the 20 miles of dark, winding country roads between the Big Town and Hooterville. Luckily Rob was able to fix the lights before Megan started her four night shifts of the week. We passed each other in the driveway on Monday evening, me on my way home and Megan on her way to work, both of us with our headlights glowing in the darkness.
*I was shocked, shocked, as Louis Renault would say, to learn that Jessica is unfamiliar with the oeuvre of the late, great John Hughes. I can’t wait to watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Pretty in Pink” with her. We need to schedule a sleepover.