Entering the park was like pulling on an old, familiar sweater. The smells, the sights, the noises.

The flattened grass, cool and refreshing underneath my hot feet. Giving me the desire just to lay in it. And the powder fine dirt, like silk smoothed between my toes.

Each booth I recognized felt like an old friend. Just a friendly reminder that there are things that aren’t changing at breakneck speed in life. The pottery, the clothes, the spoon hats, the salmon for goodness sake. All of them charitable smiles to my soul.

The faint odor of grease, ice cream, barbecue, and teriyaki sauce whispered to me. Beckoning a sample. Not even needing food, it makes my stomach cry out.

Noise is everywhere. But pleasant. People chatting, bargaining. There are small squeals of delight, or sighs of appreciation of the oart. People seeing other people who they never see or talk to save here. It’s a monolith in time. A trademark.

Music wafts continuously through the crowd. Big band, marches, bagpipes, singing, belly dancing tunes, all of it. The soundtrack to the gathering.

All of this, human and not, physical or not, it’s family to me. There as long as I can remember. Waiting. A tradition. I can always return.