Eva Cantu: encounters with her were brief but always pleasant. She charmed customers with her pleasant demeanor, her smile and her musical Spanish accent. Several weeks ago Eva, a widow, decided it was time to retire from CVS Pharmacy at Circle & Harlem, where she had worked for years. She would go back to Texas to live with her sister there. So her friends at CVS had a party in her honor. The party, complete with balloons, laughter, speeches and a big cake made Eva happier than she’d been in a long time, even though she was sad to leave. She loved them all, and they loved her. But Eva never got back to Texas.

Several hours after that party, Eva Cantu died. Sad for her friends, but a beautiful death for a beautiful person. Good-bye, Eva Cantu, thanks for the mini Spanish lessons, the happy conversations and most of all, thank you for being you.

Congratulations to Community Gardeners Jessica Rinks, Gina Thomas, Debbie Kong, Kara Kong, Julia Moran-Martz, Michelle Woehrle and Korky Caldwell. These urban farmers started the Community Garden you have been hearing so much about lately. They  spent hours in the unbearable heat of last summer, growing beans, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, kale (very good for you) spinach, carrots and more. The gardeners tell us it’s not too late to put in the fall crop of veggies such as lettuce, kale, and swiss chard.

If you don’t care for the taste of kale, Debbie says it tastes better after the first frost. The gardeners plan to donate most of their crops to the food pantry so that the recipients can include some fresh veggies in their diet along with the non-perishables they receive.

They maintain a big compost pile and collect rain water in several barrels. The gardeners plan to work with our schools to get the kids involved in raising their own fresh vegetables next spring and summer. Maybe even work on community service credit. If you would like more information on this worthwhile operation call 312.434.7542.

On Saturday ,Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. you might want to drop in on the rummage sale at First United Church, 1000 Elgin. You’ll find just about anything you might want except, no adult clothing. For more information call 708.771.2478.

If your spirits need a lift may I suggest a pumpkin-gingerbread ice cream cone from Brown Cow?

Sing happy  birthday this week to Allen Latall, Jason Fabiani, Gary Aelmeroth, Yo Yo Ma,  Angela Spinato, Patrick Michael Olson, Todd Cote, Samantha Thiesse, Jan Behnke,  Cody Healy, Marissa Mullen, Morgan Hosty, Anthony Bartolotte, Kevin Doss, Lily O’Neill, Riley Nee, Bob Sullivan, Mark Hosty, Eve Dudzik, Bernice Abbott, Donna Eggers, and happy anniversary to Fred and Roberta Marunde, Karen and Craig Curey, Karen and Tim Hawkins, Todd and Dolores Marler, Katie and Johnny Tricoci.

Thanks you for your time. Call 708.657.4229, my (temporary, I hope) phone number.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.