Sunday, August 4, 2019
So much part of America we hardly notice
This is an unusual circumstance. I wrote today's blog post last night, when I came home from Northbrook Days, updating it first thing Sunday morning to incorporate the Ohio slaughter. Upon reflection, it seemed a more fitting column to run in the newspaper than the one I had prepared—a trifle about a Twitter phenomenon called #ManholeCover Monday. My bosses agreed. So this links to Monday's column, posted early. We'll boot Manhole Cover Monday to a week from tomorrow, assuming there aren't even worse mass shootings next weekend which, sadly, is not exactly a safe bet.
Northbrook Days, a mid-summer carnival, is usually held at the little park in the village's downtown, the funnel cake stands and Tilt-a-Whirl set up among the giant oak trees and on the ball field.
There's live music, games, a beer tent. It's fun.
But this year the festival was abruptly moved from its usual location for the past 95 years to the parking lot at Northbrook Court, on the edge of town. All our neighbors were abuzz about it. The park district said something about soil being impacted, but that seemed dubious; the scuttlebutt was, there were personal conflicts among various officials. Dark Forces were at work.
My initial inclination was to simply not go. The boys are grown and gone, and while my wife and I like to stroll over—we live a couple blocks away—for a look and a corn dog, hopping in the car was something else entirely. And when we got there, what fun would it be to wander a concrete parking lot next to the shuttered Macy's? I assumed no one would go.
But curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to see the new locale for myself, and I suggested going to my wife, who readily agreed.
We arrived at twilight, had our traditional Boy Scout lemonade, explored a bit, ate some pretty good Indian chow from a Wheeling place called Siri, ran into some parents of our boys' friends we hadn't seen since previous carnivals. Hands were shaken, hugs and information exchanged.
There was a pretty decent turn-out. And a good amount of police officers, which was natural and comforting, given the 20 people slaughtered at a Walmart's in El Paso, Texas, earlier in the day. My wife had been worried enough to tell me that she loves me just before we left for the fair, in case we were killed at mass-shooting. I thought that was overdoing it a bit. Our nation had already had its gun massacre for the day, and so we'd probably be safe until tomorrow.
That was true, but just barely. Another shooting, nine dead in Dayton, Ohio, took place at 1 a.m., while we slept.
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