Wednesday afternoon in Elmhurst Park

ov powell neighborhood reflection 1It’s Wednesday July 2nd at 3:36 p.m. I’m at Elmhurst Park located between C Street and B Street on 98th Avenue. I feel a breeze on my arms, face, and chest. My bare feet feel the grass as I sit on the concrete platform located in the middle of the park. The basketball court and the playground are empty. One guy sits alone on the bench at the tennis court with a bag and a jacket lying next to him.

I hear bells ringing from the ice cream man pushing his ice cream cart down the street. I hear base thumping, but no words from a white 2002 Buick Century with four guys sitting inside bobbing their heads to music. I hear leaves fluttering in the many trees that surround  the park. I hear laughter as one of three middle-aged men sitting at one of the three tables in the park yells “DOMINO!” I hear firecrackers popping every five to seven minutes coming from where young males are sitting in the shaded area. I hear cars going by. The driver of one toots the horn and nods at another guy sitting in the park; he responded “HEYYYY!”

An OG wearing shades rides by slowly, his left arm propped up in the window of a pickup truck, playing the blues really loud and looking extremely chill in his demeanor. I see a few guys sitting on the same platform as I am, facing the opposite direction, drinking Modelo beer, relaxing.  First two guys, then a third,  join the older fellas playing dominoes. A girl with dreadlocks, in her mid-twenties walks by pushing a stroller; a toddler traveling about five steps behind follows her as she talks loud on her cell phone. She turns and cuts across the grass with the small children. She then pulls out a blanket, hands the toddler some cheese puffs and takes the infant out of the stroller to change a diaper while they sit on the blanket.

ov powell neighborhood reflection 2

Author Profile

My name is Le'Ana Powell; I was born and raised in Oakland California. I am a bartender, student, advocate, domestic violence survivor, and a single mother of a 10-year-old son, JaRae Rutledge. I love music, dance, and many other forms of creative art. I also have certificates of completion in electronic assembly and as an EMT. I volunteer with numerous non-profit organizations addressing a wide range of poverty issues of Californians. One of my most immense accomplishments was in mid-2013 when I testified to the Senate Budget Committee and it voted unanimously to restore DentiCal benefits to low-income adults, effective May 2014.

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