It was a while back when I first wrote about English Park and my strong affection for that relatively simple piece of city property.

Unless you're a boating enthusiast, the park offers only a large plot of downhill grass, a large parking lot, three or four benches - a couple shaded - a decorative overlook and facilities for launching and retrieving leisure boats.

Oh, and did I fail to mention a fantastic view of the Ohio River?

Shame on me.

And I think I mentioned before that English Park is one of if not my favorite destination in all of creation. I visited it frequently and my appreciation for it grows with each stop.

My last visit was this past Monday and the occasion was quite memorable.

Getting out of my vehicle, I noticed that a stranger was occupying my favorite bench. Not only was he occupying it, he was sitting in my favorite spot.

But that was OK. He had every right to sit there and soak up some of my personal pleasure. After all, I didn't have a legal hold on the bench, the park or the enjoyment it afforded.

Besides, the gentleman was OK. I said "Hi," he said "Hi" and a nice hour-long conversation evolved. I sat on the other end of the bench and words of unique comparisons spring forth.

Please meet Jim Springer, a native of the Windy Hollow area and a resident of Owensboro since 1971.

Jim didn't recognize me as having any connection with this weekly column until it came up in the conversation. Then he reacted with a measure of surprise.

"Oh, are you Dave McBride?" he asked.

"That's me," I replied.

"Gee," Jim said. "I read your column every week but I had you pictured as a tall, slender man."

I wanted to tell Jim I once was tall - 5 feet and 8 and a half inches - and that I since had shrunk down to just 5 feet and 5 inches. I also wanted to tell him that if I live long enough and that level of shrinkage continues, they will bury me in a shoe box.

Then the similarities came forth.

Jim, I learned, was 86 and just months younger than myself, lost his wife like I lost my bride, was shackled with loneliness without her like I'm still a mass of loneliness, went into the military in January 1951, the same month and year I did, really liked the former Windy Hollow Restaurant like I did and was a faithful visitor to English Park.

I also told him about how I enjoyed Hal Miller's antiques at the old eatery and how I jumped into that aged stagecoach and how suddenly the dust flew from the galloping horses and bullets bounced off the coach from the bad guys following behind.

I'm not sure Jim appreciated my imagination, but it still was a nice visit.

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