On the Beat

All lost in pursuit of the Bridle Path

I was as lost as the hearse that pulled up beside me.

Starting my venture at the entrance to Glendon College, my goal was to reach The Bridle Path — swaths of land carved into manicured lawns, gardens and monstrous fortifications.

But I was still a little unsettled by the funeral coach and its possible contents as it followed me up the road.

Adding to that foreboding atmosphere was the song “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)” emanating from my headphones.

Nevertheless, I continued plodding along, winding my way down to a path behind the college thick with trees and mosquitoes.

The descent was fairly lengthy, and I wondered if I should dare continue into the unknown, much like Samuel Taylor Coleridge did when he came upon the River Alph.

I felt bold — and not influenced by laudanum — so I persisted down slate stairs to what I believed to be a ravine but, to my surprise, was Crestwood School’s parking lot.

Confused, I asked the first person I saw for directions. He was an addled young man in a day camp shirt.

I told him of my pursuit of The Bridle Path. He mentioned that I should go up yonder road to Lawrence Ave. East, then continue until the third turn on my left.

So I pressed on along what felt like a backwoods country road, while Brooks and Dunn yammered on about “playing something country” in my ears.

And, much to my chagrin, I got more than I bargained for venturing up the large hill to The Bridle Path.

Lenny Kravitz tried to give some encouragement by singing, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

I wanted to throttle Lenny right about then. The hill kept spilling out and up in front of me like the hallway did before Jo Beth Williams in Poltergeist.

I could have been halfway to Timbuktu for all I knew, so instead of looking for The Bridle Path, I took the first left, which was Park Lane Cir.

The first home I spied, I thought, could have been a golf clubhouse. But no, it was a stone monstrosity of a house, kept in a cage of wrought iron and granite columns.

I pondered who might live there: Norman Jewison? Mats Sundin? Linda Evangelista? The latter, I hoped. But who knows. Just staring at the monoliths wondering about life within, I felt like I was casing the joints.

And just as that thought crossed my mind, a security car buzzed by, turning left onto Lawrence.

Surprisingly, plenty of traffic followed the rent-a-cop. And I wasn’t alone on the sidewalk, either.

A jogger pushed a breeze by me. A cicada whirred up his mating call.

The area was peaceful, with massive seas of green fescue and elder tree canopies fanning the mansions and small little nuggets of flowers sprouting in random bunches.

Gin filled the air — or at least the smell of fresh-clipped juniper limbs as I passed one home. It was a contemporary design that would be the bane of Santa Claus, should he try landing his sleigh on its jagged roof.

The last two manors before Post Rd. were the pièces de résistance. One had a tennis court and an ornate garden in the middle of a circular driveway. The other, on my left, sported a sun-bleached Greek-like statue of a bearded gent reclining.

I turned left onto Post Rd., and walked under the crabapple trees that dotted the boulevard. A gentleman tended to his two schnauzers, which gazed at me suspiciously.

Finally, I made it to Bayview Ave., but not without having one last shot of eeriness. Another hearse passed me by while John Mellencamp sang “Hurts So Good”.

I could only hope it wasn’t foreshadowing some impending doom.

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