The ghosts of springtime past

Opinion: John Rice

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By John Rice

Columnist / Staff reporter

I'm too exhausted from Easter weekend to write a fresh column. Holy Week used to be tiring from attending so many church services. Now we've become heathens who are tired from too much fun.

We observed Holy Thursday by celebrating a birthday at Gaetano's. It wasn't exactly the agony in the garden, unless you consider an overdose of tiramisu to be painful.

Good Friday was officially a no-fun day growing up. This year, I did much merry-making with my Friday gang at a house on Hannah. We had a real reason to celebrate. One of us had landed a full-time job designing kitchens and bathrooms. The job came with health insurance and, dare I say, a pension plan.

Holy Saturday used to be another day to spend in church. Instead, we tackled the lawn. Then we went to my son's house to watch him paint. While there, we mowed his grass and put together a couple of gourmet meals from the stuff we found in his refrigerator.

Sunday was kind of like going to church. There was organ music and much singing. We did a lot sitting and standing and the pews were packed. It's unfortunate the Cubs lost 6-1, but did you know the craft beer only costs $.50 more than the crappy stuff?

Beyond our little family, signs of Spring abound in Forest Park — most of them are encouraging.

For a town that suffered declining home values, there's a healthy level of rehabbing and new home construction in progress.

More Forest Parkers are going green, cutting grass with those old-fangled push mowers.

Homeowners with shaded lawns are making the tough choice between planting grass seed and doing the comb-over, or using sod as a toupee to cover the mud.

Beltless punks with baggy pants are once again walking down the middle of the street, defying motorists. I saw one of them accidentally walk right into a parked car — made my day.

Holes are appearing among the storefronts on Madison Street — in the pavement of our streets, and our garden hose springs new ones every year.

Trees are blossoming, puddles are widening and an Easter bunny has taken up residence in my backyard.

Grills are being fired up, bike tires are getting pumped up and TVs are finally being turned off.

Thanks to the return of sunshine, some of us are sprucing up our ghost-like appearance with a little third-degree burn.  

Cars are clean again, sidewalks are being swept and some extremists are even washing their windows.

Restaurants have opened up their sidewalk seating, park benches are being used again and lounging on lawn chairs has replaced collapsing on sofas.

Some of us are sore from yard work and playing sports. But it's that good kind of springtime soreness that reminds us: Hey, my arms and legs still work!  

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

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