There is nothing like a good friend to share your life with everyday. In Middle Village there exists a community that is quite special for friends. Yes – it is a great place to live; it is a super place to raise a family; you can have a nice house there; you can appreciate having good neighbors; and you can enjoy convenience stores in walking distance from your home. However above all these things, there is a spectacular neighborhood park there– Juniper Valley Park. It is here where the community’s special qualities can be easily found.
For within this park, on any given day, the love of a pet owner for their dog is where one can understand the lyrics to the old Carole King song, “You Have A Friend.” As you walk along the park’s swirling walkways, you will see two friends, pet owner and pooch, enjoying a day together. As one passes these pals on their walk you will notice tails wagging and owners smile so spontaneously that you feel warm inside as they walk past you. Something is clearly special here in Middle Village.
The chance encounters with other pet owners and their furry friends is fun to observe too. With paws up in the air and smiles on their open mouths the four legged ones greet each others enthusiastically. The owners watch the interactions carefully to make sure the pets like each other. In Juniper Valley Park, most pets know each other and greet one another with behaviors of clear excitement – like good friends greeting each other with sincere joy for being reunited again. It is so charming to see pet owners talk and catch up on local events while their pets touch noses and give snoot kisses with their tongues as happy tails wag from side to side. I thought to myself perhaps all members meeting at the park may feel they are all part of the same great big person/dog pack of the area. They all look so happy together.
After experiencing these things on this past Easter Sunday afternoon, I realized how lucky one would be to live in Middle Village and to have this place as your neighborhood park. As I drove away late Sunday afternoon, I watched the pets playing with each and I saw the peaceful and positive relationships with their respective owners. I imagined my own nose up against my car window as if I too was a dog leaving this fun place for the day. As I drove away that day I caught myself humming and singing a couple bars from that Carole King song: “You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come runnin’ to see you again. Winter, spring, summer, or fall – all you have to do is call, and I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend.”
By Joe Abate
Joe Abate is a freelance photographer, creative writer, and a research analyst in the health care industry. He resides in Island Park on Long Island and currently works for a health organization on Austin Street in Forest Hills.