Great again

Opinion: Editorials

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By Jill Wagner

Been writing once a month for five years. I've found that a little wine can help overcome my writer's block. And the man behind the 2-inch glass at the nearest liquor supplier also happens to be a neighbor on my block — Hirsh. When I stop in on these nights, he always asks if I am going to write about him.

He critiques and makes suggestions on what I should write about, as he finds my columns to be "too positive" for him. Most of his suggestions on what to write about are related in one way or another to the red MAGA hat tucked under the counter. I prefer to keep the topic local, so I urge him to shovel and salt his sidewalk on our block, so we can both enjoy the communion of Making Sidewalks Great Again. 

I like chatting with him, a born-and-raised Forest Parker, Proviso East alum, with his own brand of humor: a little theatrical. 

 Hirsh's mom is a neighbor I adore and look forward to seeing on the porch when the weather is better. She knitted a beautiful hat for me a decade or so ago, from remnant yarns, which I wear every winter. She is generous, kind and thoughtful.

 See, it is so interesting to me how neighbors can think and act so differently. We all live here and share alleys and community and taxes, yet we can have such different points of view. What could be more American? I even have another neighbor who hasn't spoken to me or looked at me since The Review took a stance on video gambling — even left a message with our receptionist to cancel her subscription, emphasizing that she was not speaking to me. 

It's OK; it's the best she can do.

According to one of my closest friends, my most undesirable quality is that I say, "Well, that's the best people can do," and move on. Perhaps it is dismissive, but it is just the best I can do.

I was impressed that my dad came along on our trip to the Mexican Museum of Art this past Saturday in Pilsen. I respectfully didn't talk to him about the exhibit on education in 1968 at Harrison High School — now Benito Juárez High School — transformed through activism, art and the many community members who love education. 

When he said he was going to wait in the hall, after visiting the political room, the last room in the main exhibit, I was aware he was uncomfortable. Humanity is complicated and sometimes sitting in the hall quietly is the best we can do. 

Creating boundaries can really keep the discomfort out and, well, some people have the good fortune to control the comfort and discomfort in their lives.

In a couple of weeks Forest Park's Madison Street will welcome the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Our town will swell with locals, former locals, and visitors as the tradition of the early March parade kicks off. 

I'm sure those who prefer an afternoon of boundaries will avoid our community, whereas the rest of us will relish the Forest Park atmosphere and cheer on our businesses, friends, neighbors, nonprofits and schools, all of whom come out to be a part of the celebration and take part in the revelry. 

It's the best we can do.

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