There are good and bad aspects to summertime in Forest Park”mostly good. The pool is open, Little League, softball and soccer are in full swing and we just had a great party on Madison Street. At the same time, some of us are sweltering, waiting for a scary thunderstorm to cool things off. The heat can also trigger stupid arguments and at times be a danger itself.
We were reminded of this when one of our children was overcome by heat at North Avenue Beach. Prompt treatment by lifeguards, paramedics and emergency room personnel kept her condition from becoming a crisis. I now have a rhyming mantra, “Drink and eat when you go out in the heat.”
As for stupid “heated” arguments, I reached a new low when I yelled at someone because I couldn’t remember where I parked the car. A friend of mine topped this by telling me he got into an argument with his wife because he criticized a poor parking job in Constitution Court. I guess his wife took the anonymous stranger’s side of the discussion.
To paraphrase a t-shirt I saw, “If you say something in the woods and your spouse doesn’t hear it, are you still wrong?”
Constitution Court, by the way, was the heart of Summerfest 2005. It was where that great rhythm and blues band Our Gang had the throng dancing in delight.
Forest Park festivals are much more fun than any other I’ve attended, because the people here know how to let themselves go and not worry about how they look sashaying to the songs of Earth Wind and Fire. Being surrounded by saloons further adds to the festive atmosphere.
At Summerfest, I spoke to a man who attends festivals all over the Chicago area. He said Forest Park’s was by far his favorite. He likes Forest Park so much, he used to drive here as a teenager from Chicago Heights. But underage drinking is a subject for another column.
We not only had a great time at Summerfest, it’s really been fun coaching Little League.
My son and I discovered that the main benefit has been social. He would never have gotten to know the local boys if he wasn’t on the team. Plus, the players get a kick out of having water poured on their heads during hot games.
We’ve also had fun away from Forest Park. On the day we picked up our dehydration victim, my 10 year-old and I attended the Bluesfest. We also sat by Burnham Harbor and listened to the halyards clanging against the masts”it was like a symphony of wind chimes.
And since I had tickets to the Chicago Symphony in my pocket, he also got to attend his first classical concert. On the way, my mother’s ghost took over my body and I bought him a new outfit to replace the t-shirt and basketball shorts. The orchestra played a piece about the ocean and during it a percussionist struck a hammer against a long metal tube to mimic the clanging we had just heard at the lakefront. Summer”it’s worth enduring six months of crappy weather to get to this.