Tille & A Placed Called Asbury Park


All too often in life we’re reminded that time stands still for nothing…Emptiness has a silent sound you can’t see, but if you listen to the wind you can feel and hear their presence…

Asbury Park -Tillie

 

Music pours from the open doors to the empty street outside and Tillie tries to keep a smile, but there’s an empty look in those eyes… He sits up high upon the teal sea-green wall suspended in a state of ignorant bliss as he smiles gleefully while the cancer eats away at his insides… Unscented winds blow through the empty boardwalk tunnel while the broken and misshaped planks lay ominously at my feet with rusty nails protruding from weather weakened boards… Beyond the boardwalk the sandy beaches are deserted as if they were fool’s gold and the pilgrims weep for memories and tell stories of yesterday as they cry for the last chance to ride again on the Tilt-A-Whirl and pray that they “bring back the carnival lights to the boulevard once more”… They search to find the town they knew from an old postcard, where the air was filled with the laughter and joy of those who went before and where the faithful breathe the breath of their heroes as they wander in the door, could the gypsy ever of told the fortune quite as grim as it would be.

Marquees that scroll along the abandoned storefronts and game stands with missing letters and hand-painted signs…Convention Hall returns my stare and looks away indifferently like a sick giant who has become resigned to his fate… Broken windows and chipped concrete create shadows beyond the Casino’s frame; that once proud building that was a beacon and is now nothing more than a seagull sanctuary…The salt air off the crashing waves cools sunburned skin no more, but whistles through the broken panes and underneath the boarded doors… Where is the town they fell in love with on that old postcard… As darkness creeps in to blanket the entire town, the pilgrims board their train of faith and listen to its lonely sound, leaving from the promised land with Tillie’s empty eyes and fading smile in their hearts and that old postcards in their hands…

He smiled through the snows of winter, the breezes of fall, through the pollen of spring, and the beating rays of summer…His smile reminded us of our own smiles, his ear to ear grin reminds us of simpler times, those of days filled with the carousel’s song, the smell of popcorn, cotton candy and the days we wished would last forever, days that ended way to fast… Still he smiles, weather-beaten and chipped, marked and defaced, reminding us to smile, when there is every reason not to… We cannot allow his lifework to go in vain, we must also smile and persevere through the seasons, we learn through life’s lessons that many things that we hold dear may shatter and crumble, but memories last forever “sleep well my old friend, it’s time for us to carry that torch for you”…I found the magic of Asbury Park many years ago and she has been an inspiration that no matter how bad things get, the sun always rises with the hope of a better day.

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