People who live in Jaffrey or Claremont have a lot in common. One similarity is that they don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. That was also true in the 1950’s when I got my license and first drove downtown to the Pleasant Sweet Restaurant. When the space right in front was taken, I felt like I’d been skunked.
So, all my life, I have refused to worry about finding a parking place. If someone asks, “Where will we park?” my standard answer is “don’t worry, I’m from Claremont.”
One time, for example, we drove to New York and stayed at a mid-town hotel that had “free parking.” We had tickets for a show at Lincoln Center, and the question was how to get there. We were meeting friends afterwards for dinner somewhere on the West Side, so I told the Pianist, “We’ll drive.” She shrugged her shoulders but knew better than to argue. So off we went.
We got close to Lincoln Center, I took a right turn on one of those streets where nobody can afford to live, and a car pulled out of a legal, metered space. It was a block away from the theatre, and I apologized. “Sorry, this is the closest I can get.” When it comes to parking, I just can’t seem to help myself.
After the show we drove off to meet our friends. I parked right outside the restaurant, shades of the Pleasant Sweet but a lot pricier menu, and met them inside. After we ate, the four of us stepped out on the sidewalk and I pointed to our car. “You what?” our incredulous friends said. “Hop in,” I replied in my best, nonchalant tone of voice, “We’ll drive you home.”
Until recently that was my best parking story, but no longer. On Friday, July 24, I surpassed my Manhattan success.
My daughter was visiting from California, with my 5 3/4 (he insists) year-old grandson. The Red Sox were in town to play the Tigers after a disastrous road trip, and I had tickets. So off we went.
First we drove on Beacon Street towards Kenmore Square, hoping to park near a restaurant called Audubon’s. It was about 5:30, and I spotted a space, put quarters in the meter, and then read the fine print. “Resident Parking Only After 6.” That took care of leaving it there and hiking several blocks to Fenway Park. But we chanced it, had our dinner, and got back in the ticket-free car at 6:30.
“I will drop you off near the ballpark,” I said.
“Where will you park?” my concerned daughter asked.
“I’ll figure something out,” I answered, thinking of the parking area hawkers offering a “not blocked” space for only $40. At those prices you’d think the Red Sox were having a good season.
I drove through construction on Park Drive and took a left on Brookline Avenue, inching my way along. As we approached Yawkey Way on the left, I looked ahead and guess what? An on-street parking spot manifested itself in the shadow of Fenway Park! Even I was surprised, but I recovered quickly and grabbed it.
As I was once again putting quarters in the meter, a meter maid came along, and I said, “I’m legal. What do you think of this parking space?”
“Awesome,” she replied. “How did you manage that?”
“Claremont karma,” I explained.