Thursday, November 7, 2013

Things you find on a walk

It's easy to go stir crazy as the approaching winter temperatures begin rolling it. I try to combat this by forcing myself to go for runs or walks, even if it feels like I am inhaling sub-zero gasps of air. Regardless, tonight's walk was a mild, beautiful one and the orange and red was in full burst, much of my route covered by a thin layer of shapely fallen leaves. When you live somewhere for a while, yet do not fully know the actual routes surrounding your house, you pinpoint locations and set them as mental landmarks for future travels.


Well, when we first moved here a year and a half ago, I noticed a dirt and stone lot with a small concrete building wedged in the corner, almost completely sealed up. In the middle of a suburb it stood out. It looked like a utility building that you would find in a hidden reach of a campground or amusement park. It was less than fitting and literally surrounded by residential homes. It was an odd building, but it was just that. Out of place. Almost a year later I discovered a detail that added to the myth of this place.

Taken on tonight's stroll. Smartphone quality, my apologies.

I usually run at night, so maybe I simply didn't see it in the dark, previously, but today, as I was walking at twilight, I cut through this lot and noticed a piece that was vastly newer than any other component of the building. A cream-colored sign was centered on the door:

QUEEN CITY PIGEON CLUB

At the time, I had never heard of our town (or its surroundings) referenced to as the "Queen City," so my imagination immediately started running. There was no light or visibility through the iron-coated windows and the door was bolted up. I irrationally hoped that this was some sort of bizarre speakeasy in the middle of a New Jersey suburb. Smiling to myself, I kept walking and thought that I would have to look into that name when I got home. 

As I circled back, my brain decided that this name really did make me curious, so I pulled out my phone and checked. I found a rather plain website fitting for a local organization. However, for one fleeting moment, I felt myself on the threshold of falling into an urban legend (akin to the classic "Normal Porn for Normal People" Internet myth) when I read the site's description:
Our site is dedicated to promote our club and the pigeon sport. We would like to let everyone know that we are also a normal people that spend time with our family that also love pigeons. 
 "We are also a normal people that spend time with our family that also love pigeons" -- I was honestly startled at how simultaneously normal and uncannily creepy this sat with me as I read it. It was just a simple typo, but the need for these hobbyists to declare themselves as normal was noteworthy.

Now, in hindsight, this is simply the club website of a group of people who enjoy the racing and breeding of these birds. I had no clue this was an event, certainly not in North Jersey (which I also, upon further reading, learned that our neighboring town of Plainfield is nicknamed the "Queen City). But upon viewing the rest of the site (which was registered in 1995), you can tell that this is just a happy group of people promoting what they like. I write about this discovery that first sat as a macabre run in with an unknown group with both the utmost respect for the group and a tongue-in-cheek recount of my imagination bounding away from me.

Thought it was fun to share. Finally, a story that didn't open up a labyrinth of possibilities, ultimately leaving me, a casual investigator of the abandoned and forgotten, empty handed and grasping at history. Although, I am always more than willing to embark on such a trail...

Thanks for reading.

Further information: 
Queen City Pigeon Club - Site
Plainfield, NJ - Wikipedia

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