Wednesday, August 22, 2018

If only Republicans could confront their fears, over ice cream







     Only afterward did it strike me.
     I had been to the belly of the beast, the heart of darkness, the nightmare haunting Republican America.
     And didn’t even realize it, at the time.
     It happened last week.
     A friend of my wife’s was having a party at a bar in Highwood.
     The Wooden Nickel. Big, boxy place. One hundred and 18 years old, the bartender told me when I was ordering a tequila for the birthday girl.
     We stayed an hour. Talked about kids. Others ate dinner. Bar food. Burgers in baskets.
     The fare did not look appealing to us.
     Highwood is known for restaurants, my wife said, as we left. Let’s drive around, look at restaurants.
     OK, I said. 

     We drove around. Nothing called out to us.
     Then I saw a pink-trimmed building.
     La Michoacana Ice Cream Parlor, 2641 Waukegan Ave., just steps over the border in Highland Park.
     “Let’s have ice cream for dinner,” I said.
     My wife wasn’t so inclined, but said I should go ahead.
      Inside, we saw it wasn’t your standard malt shop. There is a big currency exchange, first of all. A gaggle of teenagers stood chatting at a case of frozen treats.
     “Do you have horchata ice cream?” I asked. I really like horchata, a sort of cinnamony Mexican vanilla. Usually it comes in the form of a drink.
     They did. I bought a small scoop. $2.25. In a cup. Two spoons.
     We repaired to a corner. I started on our ice cream.
     T
hat’s when I noticed it....


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10 comments:

  1. Try Longitude 315 before heading over for the ice cream. Or go low brow at The Mean Wiener where the immigrant Spanish speaking crowd mixes unironicaly with the US armed services officers from the nearby base.

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  2. Cute. And remarkably to the point. Only someone completely out of touch with in the street American life would assume that an Asian or an Hispanic was not American born and bred.

    Though I have to admit that I'm not immune from making erroneous assumptions regarding Hispanics: when I saw the address "2641," I was sure it had to be in Pilsen, probably on Pulaski or Kedzie just South of La Magnifica, 26th Street. Surprise, surprise -- Hispanics also live in the North suburbs. Who knew? Everybody but me, I guess.

    john

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  3. Well said, but now I have a problem. It's 10 in the morning and I really want some horchata ice cream.

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  4. There are a couple of La Michoacanas in Elgin (which is about 33% Hispanic), and they are awesome. Some of the best ice cream I've ever tasted. The scoops are beyond generous. And the place is spotless. Whoever owns them takes "time to lean, time to clean" seriously, and has imparted it to the staff, which is always wiping down counters and tables when not waiting on customers.

    Loading up on those whole-fruit bars with a cooler and ice packs is a great idea. I'll have to try that sometime.

    Most times I go there, I'm the only Anglo customer in the place. Would that make certain of my pale-hued brethren uncomfortable? Good, let them stay away. More for me.

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  5. Como se dice en español, Pistachio? I need to know as I don't have to go too far out of my way to stop by and I expect to return after tasting the horchata.

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  6. Having struggled to attain a very minimal competence in a second language I view with some envy the checkout clerks at my local Garden Fresh switching from Spanish to flawless, and quite idiomatic, English depending on the complexion, dress or other cultural aspect of each successive customer. I can't help thinking that people who grow up bilingual in this world civilization offer a net benefit to our citizenry. And the ice cream is indeed very good.

    Tom

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    Replies
    1. I second that. And i also admire the Spanglish overheard on the El. Worth a study to look into how and why people switch mid sentence from one language to the other. Koreans do the same, interjecting English words that have perfect Korean equivalents into their conversation, apparently just for the sake of variety.

      john

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    2. My Greek relatives, both immigrants and American-born, did that constantly.

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  7. "Republicans don’t hate Hispanic immigrants because they’re criminals; they portray them as criminals because they hate them." So true.

    Sadly, the rural Iowa murder of that poor college girl, Mollie Tibbets, turned out to be at the hands of an undocumented Hispanic immigrant. This high-profile missing-female case stayed in the national news for weeks, and it will only pour more gasoline on the gasoline that the GOP haters are using to fuel the fire of anti-Hispanic prejudice and persecution. Que lastima!

    How long will it be before the name of Mollie Tibbets spews from the mouth of His Orangeness at one of his Il Douche "campaign" rallies? Perhaps a couple more weeks...maybe another month, tops? Que lastima!

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