Lean On Me

People watching fascinates me.

Especially at an outdoor venue.

It’s the beginning of a beautiful summer in Anaheim, California. We spent the day at Disneyland. Middle of the week the park was lightly populated with families, youth groups, and couples meandering from amusement ride to ride.

Most often folks aren’t looking at each other . . .  they’re intent on the task at hand: planning their next move – which ride has the shortest line or the most appeal; stopping for a bite to eat – a hot dog, an ice cream cone, a turkey leg; or making a restroom stop.

The perfect time to observe people being themselves.

I was sitting on a bench waiting for my party. During the lull I  appreciated relaxing outside in a pristine environment. I pulled in a deep cleansing breath.

As I sat there, a dad in his 30s with his 5-year-old daughter came into view. He was loaded down with the day’s paraphenalia, while she walked along beside him hands-free, ponytail swishing side to side, sundress floating round her petite legs. The protector and his princess.

He stopped. Looked down, eyes searching her face. His body language conveyed protection, ready to meet her need. Together they turned toward the Icee cart a few steps away. He purchased a small drink for her. She smiled her thanks and they continued on their journey.

While she busily slurped her drink, I counted the various items hunging from his coatrack of a body: a fully loaded backpack slung over his shoulders, three baseball caps hung from a belt clip, 35mm camera hung from his neck, a pair of sunglasses secured the cap atop his head. In his hands he held three Goofy character stuffed animals.

Obviously, from the gear in dad’s custody they were part of a larger group, but here they were, for a moment in time, their communion lovely and sweet. So striking and poignant. Daddy taking care of his baby girl.

They won’t remember the moment. They’ll never know they were being observed. But I took their picture because I didn’t want to forget them in that place and time . . .




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