Ask Yourself …

Ask yourself …

Did the media just elect Geritol-ad Joe Biden as president-elect of their sock puppet theater?

Does the media care whether your one vote is disenfranchised by two illegal/invalid votes?

Did illegal votes pour in just like illegal aliens poured in at the behest of Democrats?

Are you buying the narrative that by not conceding to the main stream media/Democrats and by demanding a thorough investigation into alleged election corruption you are delegitimizing Democracy?

Was the NYT headline of Nov. 11, 2020 American Democracy DEMANDS every legal vote to be counted and the rest tossed? Or, was it Election Officials Nationwide Find no Fraud?

Should we just get on with our lives and assume that what the NYT and the media tells us (“Nothing to see here.”) is “good enough for me”?

During the takeover of a country by the forces of a dictatorship, does the media ‘cooperate’ with the power they are in cahoots with?

Do you believe that the media has your best interest at heart?

Are you aware that the media and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.,) pose the greatest threats to democracy?

Are you OK with and feel secure in Groupthink?

Are you Ok with the shadow government of Democrats/media operating to take down President Trump the last four years?

Is the Democrat/Progressive party the party of Bolshevism?

Are you OK with submitting your income, your rights, yourself and your country to Bernie Sanders, BLM and the Socialist spice girls (Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar)?

Are you OK with the intolerance of the Democrats/Progressives/media and their desire to cancel you (your thoughts, your words, your religion) out?

Are you OK with being reduced to the lowest common denominator of life because socialism/Marxism says it must be so for equality?

Are you OK with Biden rescinding, through executive order, the immigration policies put in place to protect the country?

Have you heard of any terrorist attack on U.S. soil during the last four years?

Have you heard of the U.S. starting wars the last four years?

Are you OK with Biden placing America – its resources, its tax revenue and its people – at the behest of the self-serving token Paris Accord (a Tower of Babel) while the American private sector, the last four years, has produced alternative green energy sources and has made America energy independent?

What really matters: numbers of cases and positivity OR deaths directly and solely related to COVID-19?

Are you OK with a state government that shuts down your business and your livelihood as it plays God seeking to control a virus?

Will state government shut down communities and businesses for climate change and racism and “gun control” calling each a “public health crisis?

Who is the “public” in “public health”?

Is the “greater good” proffered by the state as the reason for its coercive and overbearing control of your life really the greater good?

Do you agree with a member of Biden’s new coronavirus task force and lockdown enthusiast, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, that life is not worth living past 75?

Who should have the say about your health: the state or you?

Do you believe the state is the answer to healthcare and not yourself?

Are we to obey all laws?

Am I ready for civil disobedience?

Are you OK with increased cases of depression, drug use, suicides, and child and spousal abuse that the lockdowns have produced?

Are you ready to disobey all state orders that hinder human flourishing, that are antisocial and inhuman and, that produce the negative effects as mentioned above?

Should we obey stay-at home advisories and orders? And, why?

Should we “cancel Thanksgiving” as Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot has strongly advised?

Who should be quarantined?

Who should not be quarantined?

Should you be quarantined?

Who should not be forced to stay at home and to cancel Thanksgiving?

When Democrats propose policies do you challenge them and ask economist Thomas Sowell’s questions: “Compared to what?” and “At what cost?” and “What hard evidence do you have?”

Are you able to challenge them or are you cut off because you are not making them look good and they don’t have the answers to your questions?

Do Progressives care more about their vision than about humans they want to impose their vision on?

Are you able to think for yourself or do you need the state/media to tell you what to think?

Do you operate out of a sense of fear that has been relentlessly generated by the media and the state?

Should casinos operate with greater freedom and flexibility than houses of worship?

Should Illinois restauranteurs defy state mandates that drive them out of business and create massive unemployment?

 Should parents of school-age children in Illinois rally and protest to reopen schools?

Are the U.S. (and world) public health officials joined at the hip with China?

Are the U.S. public health policies driven by China, as are Hollywood and pro-sports?

Will compulsory vaccines, contact tracing and vaccine cards become the means to separate who’s in and who’s out of the New Globalist World Order in the coming days?

Are you OK with abuse of power and a Stalinist type enemies list and another Great Purge?

Do you rant and rave, calling America “racist” and society “systemically racist”, because you grew up in a single parent home without a father and never learned how to succeed in the world?

Are you OK with the individual being crushed, worn down, and reduced to powder in the mortar and pestle of the totalitarian Progressive Left?

Are you concerned about and afraid of firearms because the TV has relentlessly told you that you should be concerned about and afraid of firearms, as it has with Covid-19 and climate change and healthcare and a host of other socialist initiatives to get you feeding from the same trough?

Ask yourself: Am I still in America?

Juxtaposed! News ™ Lightfoot and Barrett

Intersectionality Wins the Day

“For years, they’ve said Chicago ain’t ready for reform. Well, get ready, because reform is here,” announced Chicago’s first openly gay and African-American female mayor Lori Lightfoot during her inaugural address. Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff election, becoming mayor-elect of Chicago. on May 20, 2019.

Lori Lightfoot Mayor of

The mayoral election results confirmed that the threefer intersectionality of Lightfoot (black, female, lesbian) trumped the twofer intersectionality of Toni Preckwinkle (black, female) and that identity politics matters to Chicago Democrats. The election results confirmed that “change” was just one more label away.

“I campaigned on change. You voted for change. And I plan to deliver change to our government.”

In her latest attempt to “deliver change” and show Chicago that “reform is here”, Mayor Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, a former president of the Chicago Police Board and former chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, is taking steps to deal with the city’s crime and the coronavirus. “Change” is just a ticket and a mask away.

Mayor Lightfoot has proposed an intersectional two-fer to handle Chicago’s violent offenders and its budget crises:  a city budget that includes speed-camera ticketing of drivers going over six MPH over the speed limit. If enacted, cars that speed away from drive-by shootings will be ticketed and the city will gain revenue. Reform is here. But, what about the city and state’s Covid-19 initiative?

Defeating Covid-19 and enforcing what some are calling “a culture of safetyism” are behind Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest mandate outlining new rules for restaurants, bars and social gatherings in multiple counties including Chicago’s Cook County. The rules included a decision to close indoor dining. The Governor, throwing the full weight of his office behind the new mandate, said Wednesday that he would send the Illinois State Police to the regions where restaurants and bars were defying his orders.

Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker

In the shadow of Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot, on Oct. 1, 2020, offered her own tour de force – subjecting the Coronavirus to a triple threat of her intersectional power in super hero fashion. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, donned “Rona Destroyer” costumes for a pre-Halloween press conference.

Lightfoot as Rona Destroyer

On May 20, 2019, Lori Lightfoot was awarded Chicago’s four stars. Elections have consequences. So, watch out Covid-19.

Intersectionality at the Crossroad

On Tuesday Oct. 27th, 2020, following a private ceremony in the Supreme Court’s East Conference Room, Judge Amy Coney Barrett officially became Justice Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the Judicial Oath to Barrett, as husband Jesse held the family Bible. Justice Barrett – wife, mother of seven, adoptive parent, lawyer, circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and, academic – became the ninth member of the Supreme Court.

Justice Barrett sworn in

Justice Barrett’s nomination was supported by every law clerk she had worked with and by all of her 49 faculty colleagues at Notre Dame Law school. The American Bar Assoc. Standing Committee gave her a “Well Qualified” rating. Colleagues and close associates lauded her as “Whip smart” “Brilliant writer and thinker” “Intellectual giant”.

Justice Barrett’s family

Justice Barrett revealed her legal aptitude and intellectual prowess during the senate committee’s questioning. Without notes, Judge Barrett answered each question with aplomb. And, unlike her activist predecessor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barrett made it clear during the confirmation hearings that she would abide by the Constitution and not substitute her own views in rulings.

“A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

Yet, the recounting of Barrett’s positive recommendations and stellar qualifications and her adroit answers fell on some deaf ears. The Democratic senators wanted to be heard instead.

During Barrett’s confirmation hearing the Democratic senators decried the timing of the nomination to their GOP colleagues on the committee. They also repeatedly questioned Barrett hoping that she would reveal a bias against the policies and laws they favor. They pleaded with her to recuse herself from cases where they desired favorable rulings, including a probable election case. The Democratic senators then brought in “expert witnesses” to echo their concerns and to provoke an activist sympathy in Judge Barrett. The witnesses gave pro-emotive accounts of abortion and the Affordable Care Act. One of the witnesses spoke of the “real-world harm of ending the ACA”.

The media, along with the Democratic Senators speaking outside the hearing, presented Barrett’s intersectionality – her faith and the law – as a problem. As a Catholic, conservative and Constitution Originalist, Justice Barret is seen as a triple threat to LGBT rights, abortion rights and healthcare rights held sacred by Progressives. Social media echoed the main stream media’s negative take.

After Justice Barrett was sworn in, the Girl Scouts of America congratulated her on their Twitter and Facebook pages. But the posts were quickly deleted after social media erupted and began spewing vitriol against “the 5th woman appointed to the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789.” 

Replying to the deletion, actress Amber Tamblyn tweeted “@girlscouts thank you for deleting the tweet. Be on our side – the side of girls who grow up to become women who fight for other women and girls and not the opposite.”

The Days of Cain

 

In fourteen hundred ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;

He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;

He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know

How to find the way to go.

-Columbus Day poem

 

So, here we are. The summer of 2020. And we find, once again, activists without actualities, wandering through a universe circumscribed by themselves. That which stands in their way, whether human or representation, must be removed, cancelled, done away with. Only their likeness must stand.

The statue of Christopher Columbus was removed from Grant Park during the night. Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot said the likeness was a “public safety issue”. So, to appease the raging horde who had emerged from their cramped safe spaces (perhaps a darkened basement in their parent’s home lit only by the glare of a computer monitor) Lightfoot removed the static and mute reminder of a discoverer who used fixed reference points outside of himself to voyage to a new world.

As we have come to witness in Chicago, Portland and, Seattle, wanderers with no reference point other than their own solipsistic compass create a world of lawlessness. There is nothing new or Progressive about the ways of the lawless wanderer. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked when hearing about the toppled statue, “People will do what they do.” The way of the wanderer is a return to the old world of Cain.

You remember the story of brothers Cain and Abel. Their relationship was removed, cancelled, done away with. The sibling dysfunction began with their mother Eve. After giving birth she declared “I have created a man with the Lord”. Her words go well beyond acknowledging God’s help in the birth of her son. She ascribes to herself equality with God as a source of life. And so, she named her first born Cain (translated in this context: “to create”), imparting to her firstborn the same delusional thinking, the same self-actualization and self-divination, that she and Adam had chosen when they ate from the forbidden tree and were kicked out of the garden for doing so.

(It is interesting to note that Eve named her second son Abel, meaning “breath” or breeze”. Perhaps Eve, after seeing herself in Cain, chose the name to acknowledge that man is ephemeral, transient and, mortal and not equal with God after all.)

Both Cain and Abel worked the land, exerting dominion over it as God had charged in the first chapter of Genesis. Both were aware of God’s presence. Both offer the fruits of their labor to him as a sacrifice. But there is an issue with one of their sacrifices. The issue is not so much the quality of the sacrifice. They both offer yields from God’s good creation. The issue lies beneath the surface.

Abel offers the best cuts from the first born of his flock. Cain offers portions of what’s growing. It cost him nothing to do this. Abel’s sacrifice is a recognition that the growth and flourishing of his flocks were gifts from God. His sacrifice is a recognition that God is God and therefore deserves respect and the best creation has to offer, no matter the cost. Cain’s sacrifice is a recognition that Cain is co-creator with God. He had worked the land and thought of himself as the one who made it grow and flourish. As such, Cain’s sacrifice is an attempt to bribe God into blessing him as caretaker, to make things go well for him.

When his sacrifice is rejected by God, Cain became angry. His face became downcast. Cain felt that he had rights by placing God in debt to him. He did what he felt was required and now God must do what is required and give him his favor. Freedom from anxiety, peace of mind and pleasure were of the highest priority to Cain. He traded some token of produce in order to receive back empathy for his epicurean life.

Cain’s quid pro quo religion – seeking to broker with the god/s for order and harmony in one’s life, would go on to become the religious practice for many in the world, old and new. But religion is mere formality. Doing what is right is more important than sacrifice before God. Doing what is morally and ethically right begins with the acknowledgement of and respect for God as God. So, God gives Cain a choice: do right and be the offering that is accepted or continue his self-divinization; rule over the works of God’s own hands or let the works of his own hands rule over him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4: 6-7

Cain made his choice. He brought Abel to a field and out of jealousy killed him. Perhaps he thought, “I shall have no other gods before me”. But what happens on the field does not stay on the field. Abel’s blood cried out to the Lord. And the just Lord came looking for accountability.

After Adam and Eve made their choice, God asked “where are you?”. Adam answered “I was afraid…” After the murder, Cain was asked: “Where is your brother Abel?”  Cain answered “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain denies culpability. Perhaps he thought, “If I remove the competition the god will have to deal with only me. Besides, I did my due diligence and have nothing to show for it. So there!”. Maybe he said, “People will do what they do”.

Genesis 2:15 tells us that The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Mankind’s vocation was to care for God’s creation, His Temple. That care would include God’s image bearers placed in the temple. Abel did the work of caring for creation and bringing its best back to God. Cain would have none of it. He evaded his responsibility with self-deception and denial. He canceled it. So, God dealt with Cain. Cain was cursed.

The curse God imposed on Adam, Cursed is the ground because of you is similar to but lesser than the curse imposed on Cain: You are cursed from the groundWhen you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. The land and now a man are cursed.

The form of justice to be imposed on Cain could have been a life for a life. Instead, Cain is exiled by God. He is to be a wanderer. But Cain decides to be a whiner and not a repenter.

 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Genesis 4: 13-14

In exile, Cain has a chance to repent and turn back to God. God will look after Cain. God put a mark on Cain so that anyone who came across him would not kill him. The mark of protection, not described in Gen. 4:15, reminds me of the Passover lamb’s blood put on the two doorposts and lintel of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. Clearly, God is patient and merciful with Cain. He could have canceled Cain from the face of the earth. Yet, God watches over Cain; God does for Cain what Cain should have done for Abel.

But none of that matters to Cain. Cain will watch after Cain. The self-indulgent Cain goes his own way. Instead of wandering he builds a city. He wanted to make a name for himself and become the kingpin of his own domain, his own safe space. Cain’s descendants glory in their barbarism and in possessing women as objects (Gen. 4:19-24). The dysfunction that began in the garden continued in the line of Cain. He is the father of the self-reliant god-like superheroes who control their own destinies with force.

Genesis chapter 4 ends with the birth of Seth to Adam and Eve. Eve has had a change of heart after the tragedy of Cain and Abel: God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him. There is no talk of being a god-like superwoman. And the line of Seth does not go the way of autonomous Cain.

So, here we are. The summer of 2020. And we find, once again, activists without actualities, wandering through a universe circumscribed by themselves. That which stands in their way, whether human or representation, must be removed, canceled and, destroyed. These are the days of Cain.

 

It is easy to rail against the anarchists and their subjectivist view of morality. It is easy to condemn the barbarism and destruction of the wanderers. It is easy to denounce those who kneel to false gods before games. It is easy to deride the Democrat pols who appease and dismiss the angry mobs with “People will do what they do”. But what about the choices we each make to go our own way and to do what we do thereby creating dysfunction and havoc in our relationships? What happens when we cancel relationships by not forgiving? Some may thumb their noses at God under the guise of American Individualism and self-sufficiency. Some may have even offered some token to God (going to church, putting money in the plate, etc.) hoping to receive back the American Dream (a “Made in the U.S.” sticker placed on a cask of Greek Epicureanism). We make relational choices based on our relationship with God. We become what we do with God. Have you become a likeness of Cain?

In addition to the behavior describe above, Cain is impatient, short-tempered and, 

…self-referring.

…demands tokens of assurance, of victory, of winning.

…uses fear mongering to gain and remain in power.

…avoids all risk to obtain security and protectionism.

…seeks to replace the timeless with the temporal.

…obtains identity from tribal sources and denigrates all others

…is self-centered and narcissistic in his demand for self-preservation.

…makes everything personal.

…has no problem inflicting pain on others

…shuts down discussion and debate

…goes his own way; is his own man.

 

The choices presented to Cain are the same choices presented to each of us. But we don’t have to live the days of Cain. If someone has made wrong choices and has wandered far from God, they should know that God, as he had done with Cain, is asking, “Where are you?” God is ready to show mercy. He wants to bring the wanderer back from exile and to redeem his life from the garbage pit and crown him with love and compassion. God seeks to restore His likeness in His image-bearers. No other likeness will stand before him.

 

He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:10, 11 

Identity Politics or American Like Me

Do black Americans want to be called African-Americans?

Why do black Americans hyphenate their identity?

What do conservative black Americans think? And, why do we talk about minorities? There are no minorities in America. There are only legal Americans.

After watching the video ask yourself why Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson and Eric Holder and Al Sharpton and the SPLC (the “Hate Watchers”) et al want to divide the country into black and white, rich and poor, big “G” Government versus John Doe and Christians? Why create class and race division and also animus towards Christians (remember “bitter clingers” comment?) among the people of the United States of America?

Take a look:

 

Al Sharpton’s Chicago Town Hall Erupts into Anti-Machine Revolt

Black Americans are rejecting Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the whole Obama-Liberal-Progresive-hate America agenda

Chicago at a Glance

Everyone comes to Chicago.

When I take my lunch-time walks through Millennium Park I hear cacophony:  voices from foreign lands.  I hear Mandarin, Polish, German, Portuguese and Spanish –  a Bable of noise from everywhere.  And, everywhere I look there are cameras and iphones – e-devices capturing the moment to share with another.

Chciago 6-5-2013 025 -R1

The Grant Park Orchestra rehearses for its weekly concert at Wednesday noon under the Pritzker Music Pavilion.  Recently I  was lucky enough to listen to them rehearse the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s Fifth SymphonyAllegro Non Troppo. This is one of my favorite pieces of music. I had to stay.  I became enamored like the rest of the foreign gaggle.

(Did I mention Lurie Gardern shown in the bottom third of the photo that I had taken that day? Lurie Garden is a garden only a Dutchman could create. The stainless steel  waves of the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Music Pavilion appear just above the hedge. The “Bean” is off to the left of the pavilion and not shown.)

Chicago 6-5-2013 Lurie 1

Lurie Garden

Chicago 6-5-2013 Lurie 2

The Walk along Lurie Garden to the Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute

Chicago 6-5-2013 entrance to Lurie

The Entrance to Lurie Garden from the Great lawn and the Pritzker Music Pavilion

Chicago 6-5-2013 Pritzker Gehry Bandshell

Chicago 6-5-2013 Art Inst Piano Ramp

In Lurie Garden looking toward the Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute designed by Renzo Piano.  The half-tube ramp across the middle of the photo is the Piano-designed walkway connecting Millenium Park and the Art Institute.

(I work in one of the buildings in the background.)

All photos © Sally Paradise, 2013, All Rights Reserved

Vivian Maier – Street Photographer


You have to check out this extraordinary street photographer Vivian Maier
– a nanny with a Rolflex camera.

Punxsutawney Phil Bites Back

CHICAGO:

Snowfall, 20-25″.

Winds reaching 60-70 MPH.

Chicago Public Schools are closed.

LSD is closed.

Travel bans are in effect.

Tonight: Wind chill to create temperatures of 25-35 degrees below zero.

Advised to stay home: Snow day. Pajamas. My car waiting for the gallant snow plow to arrive.

Not quite the Chicago blizzard of 1967. Not yet.

Mayor Daley is praying that he doesn’t see the shadow of Mayor Bilandic in a blizzard of Brrreaucracy!

The True Myth of Friendship

The True Myth of Friendship Part One: Lena

Friends come and ago. At least in my life they have. I moved away from my first friend and then later another friend moved away from me. Some friends were friends in my mind only: these three ‘friends’ had other plans for me. One friend left me when I decided to make a life change and another close friend died. Friendship has always meant more to me than any romantic relationship. Friendship meant people liked to be together and do things together, sharing their imaginations. And, friendship wasn’t loneliness.

1957. Lena is the first friend that I can recall. She lived downstairs just below my family’s apartment. Lena’s parent’s, both of them immigrant Swedes, were the landlords. The three story apartment/house was situated in the middle of a quiet block on Long Ave. in Chicago. Beside the house was a stretch of grass, a garage and a food garden. Lena’s parents tended the garden daily. I can still taste the tart garden fresh strawberry-rhubarb pies my mother made from scratch.

Lena, a couple of years older than me, was in second grade. I had just started kindergarten. We attended the same school, Lowe Elementary, not far from our home. We would walk together. Lena, as I recall, looked as if she had walked out of a Carl Larrson painting: golden-blond hair, rosy cheeks, blue eyes and a snow white complexion. It was usual at any given moment, apart from school and sleep, for me to head out the back door of our apartment onto the open porch. I would run down the noisy wooden stairs to the first landing and from there jump down to Lena’s porch floor. The impact was enough to let Lena know that I was ready to play. Through their screen door I could hear Lena tell her mom that she’d be on the back porch playing with me. Her mother would respond in Swedish. The smell of cardamom bread often followed Lena to the porch.

Being best friends meant that Lena and I spent a lot of time together playing house, playing doctor/patient or playing doctor/nurse. We also played baseball and kick ball along side the house. When we did, Lena’s mother would anxiously look out the kitchen window. Her mother was very concerned about the ball coming near her garden or a window. When we hit the ball too close to the dining room picture window, we were scolded in Swedish. In English, we were told to go find something to do, but “not here.”

Finding something to do in the neighborhood was easy. It wasn’t long before we found out that a group of us kids could unscrew the nearby fire hydrant cap. On very hot summer days we would open the hydrant and let the gushing yellow water cool our feet. The splashing and laughing would go on until fire trucks came whirring around the corner. Heavily dressed men with big open eyes and mouths would jump out of their trucks. They would chase after the rapidly scattering crowd of waders hoping to give each one of us a disciplinary talk. Escaping their clutches, Lena and I would run and hide on her back porch. Once there, we would play firemen and fire. It was a Curious George time in our lives.

Friendship with Lena was an easy give and take. Each of us could easily imagine characters we wanted to be when we grew up. We would often role play a mother and father situation. When we did, Lena would always choose to be the father. I was to be the mother. As designated mother, I was relegated to making supper and having things ready when “father” came home from work. I would stand on the back porch stirring imaginary stews on an imaginary stove (the porch bench). At some point, “father” would come home, walking through the screen door out onto the porch. “Father” would give me a hug and say “How was your day, honey?” In return, I would say, “The kids were terrible.” The days of our parent’s lives were enacted again and again until the time had come for my family to move.

Besides Lena, there were other friends, too, whose names I can’t recall. I do remember that I would often walk down Long Avenue to the busy West Chicago Avenue. I would go with a friend or by myself (I was six years old. In those days, parents were not afraid of letting their kids wander through the neighborhood. I don’t think, though, my mother would have approved of this if she knew.) On the Avenue, I would sometimes visit and sit in on the service at the Salvation Army Center for the homeless and the drunks. The Captain knew me as a regular. To him, I must have looked like a lowly street urchin from a Charles Dickens’ story.

I would also visit a deli just next door. The sights and smells (and conversations) would delight my senses. There, I could buy a huge kosher pickle for only 5 cents. After paying the owner of the deli, I would reach into the pickle barrel and pull out a pickle that had been floating at the top of the briny vinegar water. I would eat the whole pickle, puckering my lips from the sourness. This is a memory that is as sweet and sometimes as acerbic as the friendships I’ve had.

Recalling the day we left our Long Avenue apartment, I was a terribly sad when our car slowly pulled away. We waved goodbye to our many friends who were gathered on the side walk. There were moms and dads, tree house friends, kids on bikes, the ice cream truck guy and, of course, Lena. That night, I couldn’t hold back the tears as I lay in my new bedroom in the new house on a new block in a new unfinished subdivision. I thought of the gushing fire hydrant, of Lena, and of the back porch where we staged our make-believe lives. I wondered, too, as I lay in my bed: Would there be fire hydrants and friends on this new street? The next day I would meet Billy and Blackie dog.

*************

Part Two: Billy the Kid, Bill the Buddy…continued here.

Monroe Harbor Midday

Thursday noon I walked along Chicago’s Monroe Harbor.  There, anchored sailboats bobbed on top of Lake Michigan’s rolling green-blue water.  It seemed that each boat’s mast had become a swinging pendulum of a winding-down metronome.  A chorus of bell sounds could be heard.  The boats’ block and tackle, loosely fitted, clanged and clinked against the mast with each back and forth of the boat.

 In Monroe Harbor there are sailboats with names like Trade Winds, Sea Odyssey II, Aquatics Synonymous and Blind Ambition. This quietly undulating waterfront scene provided the bottom half of my horizon. Above, the solid sun shone directly over my head like a much hoped-for halo, burning a hole into the cloudless cerulean sky.

 … I come here often during my lunch times.  I need the sights and sounds of sea and sky for my moorings