So I’m home in Birmingham this weekend after a freak snowstorm a couple of weeks back forced me to take a rain check on plans to take my niece to the McWane Science Center. I’ll link up with her tomorrow for a few hours of fun and excitement. Today was all about me though. Since getting married and relocating away from the area, my trips home are significantly fewer than when I was a single dude living in Opelika that happened to have every other Friday off. I made my rounds to all of the usual spots today, linked up with a couple of people I haven’t seen in a bit, and ate some good local cuisine. One of the things I did today that’s not part of my usual itinerary here is driving up to the Redmont Park neighborhood. It’s usually only one reason for me to venture into those parts. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the view at Stratford Road.
How I first came across this moment? Let’s go back to 2002. According to Triumphs & Tribulations II, the date is January 12, 2002. A little over a week after acquiring The Deuce, I made my first career delivery at Domino’s Pizza. My 9am-4pm shift as the Saturday morning opener had wrapped up but there were still 3 deliveries waiting on the rack and there was no available driver. As uncomfortable as things were between the 4pm-2am closing manager, mostly on account of his mother, I was still very much a team player. So I took the Argyle Road delivery since they were paying cash. I could make the delivery and ride nearby Highland Avenue to Clairmont Avenue all the way to the East Birmingham. After making the delivery, I circled around Stratford Road to get back on Arlington Avenue for Highland. And that’s when I saw it…a beautiful winter sunset over my city. I sat there for a minute and marveled. It was a beautiful view.
What it meant to me then? As a 17-year-old who was suddenly mobile and ready to seriously jump into the teen dating scene, the view along Stratford Road was a gold mine…a legit lover’s lane. And even more, I was of the belief that absolutely nobody I knew closely outside of work knew about it, meaning it was all mine. For somewhat of a hopeless romantic, it was an ace in my pocket…one that I only used once, during one of the pivotal moments of my first romance.
What it means to me now? Until earlier today, I hadn’t been up to Stratford Road in at least 10 years…since before the Japan military assignment. I guess you can say I’ve purposely avoided the area because of the emotions surrounding what happened in the one and only time I took Valorie up there. You could also add the city ordinance on not parking along that road too. Being up there today brought out all of the old feels. The place is still special, no doubt. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a use for it now. In fact, today might have been my last time up there. If I want the view of the city skyline from up top, I’ll just go to Vulcan.