Listen, listen! Do you hear the trumpets? Stick with me people. A proper level of hoopla must be established before I begin blatantly tooting my own horn.
No doubt, I am feeling a little giddy about being honored with the West Cook YMCA’s Family of the Year Award. I still can’t believe it. All six of us stood proud last Thursday night at the annual gala event with enough cheese on our smiles to take first place in Rachael Ray’s fondue cook off.
As we posed for the paparazzi, my youngest son, Troy, leaned towards me and inquired, “Why did we win?” Great question. Then again, maybe the little crumb snatcher was worrying about having to relocate his basketball trophy to make room for my, ahem, our new plaque. Nevertheless, as an official Family of the Year parent, I felt obliged to provide an answer that sounded believable. I whispered back, “My people will call your people.”
As we returned to our banquet table, my brain continued to cycle through any and all possible answers to Troy’s query. Really, why did we win this award?
Oh, did I mention that Mayor Anthony Calderone stopped by our table to congratulate us and give Troy a high five.
OK, seriously; time to answer the boy’s question. Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” surfed in on my daydreaming brain waves. It’s not about you, I realized. Alas, my 15 minutes of fame ended in 7 minutes and 45 seconds.
I turned to Troy and explained to him that we did not “win” anything. I shared that the event celebrated all families that believed in the YMCA values. From his basketball league experience, Troy recited the big, red words that are painted on the YMCA gymnasium wall. Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Caring.
“Exactly,” I smiled. “This trophy gives us permission to spread the good news that families can enjoy our community and be proud to show YMCA values anytime. It also means your dad pays his monthly dues on time.”
When we first moved to Forest Park, the north side of town featured a big smiley face on the water tower. I can honestly say that all sins are forgiven to those responsible for removing the smiley face.
All consciences should be cleansed knowing that the new YMCA facility will be the real anchor of Forest Park and the surrounding villages. With all due respect to those who have dedicated themselves to the renaissance of great condominium and business development here, no establishment will be able to make a greater declaration in Forest Park than a state-of-the-art YMCA. No zoning board variances will be mandated to accommodate honesty. No neighbor and property developers will be pitted against each other to debate how much respect should be incorporated into the new center for health seekers. No loop holes will be required to include or exclude a club centered on responsibility. What other Madison Street enterprise stands on the foundation of caring and available parking?
Listen, listen! Do you hear the Village People playing in the background? Toot your horn Forest Parkers and Forest Parkians. The smiley face of the YMCA is coming soon.