The signs of spring are everywhere around us:

  • Dumpsters sprouting from the streets, some in full bloom.
  • Golfers sporting sweatshirts and stocking caps. Parkas still in fashion just two weeks from Memorial Day.
  • Little League games rained out, while soccer players, unfazed, kick it around in the cold drizzle.
  • Three exciting building projects: Revitalizing Harlem & Madison, replacing Brian Boru, and the project planned for the former Kevil’s Restaurant site. Speaking of Kevil’s, I would like the photo of my folks back, before they tear it down. 
  • High water on the Des Plaines River feeds fears of basement flooding.
  • Enjoying walks again, feeling that familiar strain while climbing the Circle Bridge. 
  • Moving trucks add to traffic, while containers full of household goods sit on the streets.
  • Your first robin, your first cardinal — I’ll settle for my first sparrow. 
  • Worms sunning themselves on sidewalks while ants boil out of cracks in the pavement. 
  • The Roos Fitness Center opening! My adult kids are jealous it wasn’t built when they were young, but they’ll use it just the same.
  • The All-School Picnic is upon us, with teachers and students trying to keep it together until summer vacation. 
  • Buds on the trees giving way to leaves, except for our tree in front that has obviously given up the ghost. 
  • Loud family celebrations return but who can complain about a neighbor blasting James Brown?
  • Restaurants restoring their outdoor seating, perfect for couples wearing coats.
  • Fruity beers are the seasonal rage although I can’t see how anyone drinks them.
  • The White Sox are firmly anchored in last place, while Cub outfielders pray the ivy will thicken.
  • The annual ritual of switching out sweaters for short-sleeve shirts.  
  • Somehow managing to be overdressed, or underdressed, every day. 
  • Strolling couples holding hands, proving the old adage, “In the Spring a young person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
  • Hearing the excited screams of children freed from their wintry prisons. 
  • Leaving the garden center with the firm faith that we finally have grass seed that will grow.
  • Sticking to the sunny side of the street whenever possible. 
  • Loud car stereos, motorcycles screaming down the Eisenhower, and your neighbor cutting his lawn just before dark.
  • The smoke from fire pits, laughs and excited voices — what is the protocol for crashing backyard parties? 
  • Sidewalks sales, garage sales and just plain alley-picking.
  • Becoming reacquainted with fresh air and learning that the strange light in the sky is called the sun.
  • Tulips, roses and lilacs blooming, along with a healthy crop of dandelions. 
  • Roofers resuming their roosts, nail guns thumping and saws whining. 
  • Spraying down the patio furniture and firing up the grill. 
  • Fans adjusting from the frantic speed of basketball and hockey to the glacial pace of baseball and golf.
  • Being startled by exposure to some really pale skin. 
  • Celebrating spring, even if this year’s version lasted about two days.

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

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.