Today I went for a long walk with my best friend, Cajun, in the Virginia Highland neighborhood. The intersection of two streets gives this village within Atlanta its name. I used to live on Virginia Avenue and have eaten many memorable meals in the restaurants that are on Highland Avenue. I love this neighborhood also because it includes John Howell Park. This park was created in large part due to the efforts of gay people during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. John Howell, in fact, died from complications of HIV.
There is a brick walk in the park in memory of people affected by the epidemic. Many of my friends, including myself, donated money for the creation of the park and our names are etched in the brick pavers. I hope my ashes will be spread in the grass nearby. The park is for the living to enjoy. Today there were children drawing on the brick walk with colored chalk. They had drawn a rainbow in many colors and there were yellow stars and blue water. There is a playground and a volleyball lot filled with beach sand at the west end. There are benches for old people and many times I have seen dogs chasing frisbees in the park. In the old days there was always a candlelight memorial service there on World AIDS day. I'm sure that won't happen this year.
There was an old man repairing some stone posts in the park today. I talked with him for a few minutes and he petted Cajun. I cannot explain this but as we were leaving he said "everyone's ashes have to go somewhere."