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.
That’s when I noticed it....
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