I highly recommend the animated feature film Inside Out from a few years back, which cleverly creates characters representing the emotions of a young girl. I watched it with my grandsons and the three of us sat on the couch, laughing, crying and cowering. So I was curious how these five characters would feel about Forest Park.

Joy – “Oh, what a cute little town. Look at all these adorable shops. Hey, some are offering sales and big discounts!”

Fear – “That’s because they’re struggling to make it. Empty storefronts scare me.”

Sadness – “I feel terrible when one of them has to move, or close.”

Anger – “Save your tears. It’s these bargain-hungry shoppers that make me mad. They shop online just to save a buck. Don’t they know they’re killing their own economy?”

Disgust – “People are so selfish and lazy.”

Joy – “Right all they have to do is spend their money here and half would go back to Forest Park. What’s this? They have two train lines? It must be a dream to travel downtown!”

Fear – “Are they safe? I hear terrible things happen on the trains.”

Sadness – “Remember when that train left the station with no driver and crashed into another train? When I saw the damage, I almost cried.”

Anger – “I’m not afraid on the train. It’s these same people begging me for money every day that drive me crazy. Someday, I’m going to blow my top.”

Disgust – “Look at this station, pitted concrete and peeling paint, and what’s that smell?”

Joy – “OK, so you don’t like the train. Isn’t this the most unique village hall you’ve ever seen?”

Fear – “I went there once for a hearing in the basement. I was scared they were going to fine me.”

Sadness – “I don’t like how it looks. Remember how beautiful the old one was?”

Anger – “I don’t care about the architecture. It’s the stuff that goes on inside that makes my blood boil. I thought this was supposed to be a democracy but they rammed through video gambling against our will.”

Disgust – “I was in a bar where they had video gambling. The people kept going outside to smoke, until the whole place smelled like an ashtray.”

Joy – “Yes but our bars couldn’t compete with Berwyn. They say a rising tide lifts all boats, or something like that.”

Fear – “Are we going to have a tsunami?”

Sadness – “No, it means the other businesses are like boats. I’m just worried video gambling is going to sink them.”

Anger – “Who wants a tide of red ink? It’s just going to help a few fat cats while the rest of us drown.”

Disgust – “Red? That reminds me of these red light cameras. They don’t make anyone safer. They just bring in millions for some connected companies.”

Joy – “What’s wrong with all of you? This is one of the most charming communities around and it’s just getting better! Look at all the dumpsters. People are renovating their houses because they take pride in their property.”

Sadness – “Sniff, most of them are foreclosures. Just think of all the people who have lost their houses!”

Fear – “I’m worried about losing mine.”

Anger – “It burns me up when I think of all the Wall Street types who profited from our misery.”

Disgust – “My house is so old and gross, maybe it would be better to lose it.”

Joy – “You mean leave Forest Park? Are you crazy? Just when the high school’s getting better! Besides, remember that time I got a royal flush and won $200?”

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.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.