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Miracle on 42nd Street

Story ID:4067
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:New York New York USA
Year:2008
Person:Canada and the USA
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Miracle on 42nd Street

Happy July 4th!

Ginny and I are off to celebrate the day with a
great friend of ours in Brooklyn.

For those who don't know, July 1st was Canada Day.
This story came from an experience I had on July
1st in Manhattan.

The picture is of my granddaughter Elizabeth. She is
praying for everyone to be safe on this July 4th Holiday.

Mike

Miracle on 42nd Street

Many Americans will not be home to celebrate their July 4th holiday. Some are
traveling or working abroad. Others took residence in different countries. Many are in the
armed forces. Those brave men and women are voluntarily spending their holiday
fighting and dying for the country they believe in.

On July the 4th, friends and families back home in the USA gather together. A
grill is fired up. The smell of charcoal filters throughout their old neighborhoods. Their
families gather to laugh; grandfathers toss baseballs to grandsons; fathers tend to burning
meat; and later, everyone stands under a dark sky and watch fireworks explode over their
heads. At the end of the day, they walk hand-in-hand, as they make their way home after
a day of love and celebration.

Those who aren't home feel lonely. They don't have a day off from work. It's
business as usual in the country they reside,. No one to wish them a happy July 4th.

I know how they feel. On July the 1st Canada Day, the Canadian equivalent of
July the 4th I walked through our Lexington Ave. office in Manhattan office. I wished
everyone I passed a happy Canada Day. Most people had heard of it, but had no idea how
important a day it is for their neighboring country. They didn't know Canada celebrated
just as the USA does for Independence Day.

I felt lonely. I was working on a holiday I hold dear. I had no one to celebrate
with. Back in my home country, the party was on. They celebrated. I worked.

The work day came to a close. I dropped beneath the concrete jungle and
followed the crowds to the "E" train of the New York Subway system. Beneath the
streets, the platforms were hot and crowded. An "E" train came. It was so packed, I
waited for the next one. I pulled my handkerchief from my pocket and wiped the sweat
from my forehead and neck. Another "E" came five minutes later. It was less crowded. I
hopped on.

Fifteen minutes later, I reached my transfer point to the "A" train at 42nd street.
The 42nd street subway station is one of the largest in Manhattan. It spans for several
blocks beneath Times Square. It's a connecting point for five different subway lines.
Above ground is the Metropolitan Authority bus station a huge complex for the major
bus lines into and out of Manhattan. There are people everywhere. They transfer from
train-to-train, bus-to-train, and visa versa.

I exited my train, walked up the stairs, down a hall lined with shops, and down the
another set of stairs to the "A" train. I waited in the heat. People jammed all around me. I
felt sorry for myself alone on a New York subway station. I wanted to celebrate my
country.

A splash of red caught my eye. I turned to my right. Twenty feet down, a young
woman stood by herself, waiting for the same train. She wore a jersey with a maple leaf
on the front. I walked up to her. She had earphones plugged in her ear. I leaned close,
"Happy Canada Day!" I said loud enough to be heard over whatever music she listened
to. I said three words and started to walk away.

"Hey!" I heard behind me. I turned. She pulled her earphones out. "Are you
Canadian too?"

"I sure am!" I smiled.

"No way! Are you kidding me? So am I!"

Laura and I stood, chatted about our memories of Canada, and waited for our
train. Our subway train came. It was packed. "You know what?" I asked. "When the
train is that packed, there is usually one close behind that is empty. I'm going to wait."

"You're right!" she said. "I'll wait too." We wanted the moment to last a chance
Canadian on our day.

The next "A" train arrived. It was practically empty. We stepped in, sat beside
each other, and chatted for the next 133 blocks. Laura was a beautiful young girl from
Toronto. She was in New York to study dance, music and singing. Her energy and love
for her country was contagious. The heaviness in my heart vanished. I had a moment of
Canada beneath the streets of New York City.

At 175th street, I had to get off the train. I shook her hand. "Laura, thank you. I'll
see you again, but I want to thank you for making my Canada Day special."

I stepped off and watched the subway pull away. As it disappeared into the
tunnel, I thought to myself, "There goes my personal 'Miracle on 42nd Street'".

Michael T. Smith