Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Charlie the Bird lives at Happy Foods.

Very rarely am I in my own neighborhood. 6 out of 7 days I am on the West side in Lawndale where I work, in East and West Garfield Park and Humboldt Park where my friends live. Or you can find me in Lincoln Park where I go to school and love the family I babysit for frequently. I come home to sleep, paint and hang out with grandma. But yesterday my usually independent grandma fell in the snow so today I didnt want to let her run her Christmas errands in this crazy weather alone so I was her chauffer. What a funny day in the neighborhood. First, getting the car down the street was hard enough because it seems that the snowplows totally forgot our streets. I wanted to take a different route that led right to a busy street (Milwaukee) instead of her usual neighborhood side streets all the way route. She was mad as this was not the way that we usually go. I tried to explain my rationale of safety and ease of navigating as she argued that Alderman Daughtery is her friend and he plows the streets himself. Apparently, one year like FOREVER ago my grandma and grandpa could not get out of the garage because the snow was so deep in the alley. My grandma made a phone call to the alderman's office and TEN minutes later they came and plowed the alley. This is one of her only real intersections with the local or national government and this has given her great faith that the system here works. Milwaukee looked like snow never fell on it, while the side streets looked like a huge grey slushee and winter wonderland. But I let her talk and complain for approximately 11 blocks. We got to happy foods, a tiny grocery store with huge yellow smiley faces all over it, and it was INSANE. Like food was going out of style or a famine had engulfed the land. People everywhere. Everyone knew everyone. It was funny, a blast from the past as all the kids around me had Irish dancing coats on or jackets from the Catholic schools around there (St. Thecla (Thats where its at!), St. Monica, St. Mary of the Woods, St, Juliana). A few men had an Irish brogue ( = accent) and most of the kids had oodles of freckles.
As we navigated the tiny cart down the even narrower aisles, the people shouted back and forth about their Christmas eve plans (drinking, eating, drinking). We came to the end of an aisle and my grandma told me to go knock on the door and ask for Jack. I was like what? Why? I did. Jack appears and is excited to see "Ol Mrs. Murphy" and appears with our Christmas Roast which costs way too much to be made out of just meat. She slips him some money and he tries to refuse once, twice, then accepts what we all knew he would all along. A small brown bird is flying over our heads and sitting on the hanging christmas displays in all the aisles. People are pleasantly surprised by the little creature and kids ran around following his flight path. As we rounded the fruit aisle, I asked the kid working there about the bird and he said it had been there for a few days and they had no plans to remove it. They tried once to shoo it but it didnt work as we could see. When we were checking out, I asked them about the bird and they said "Charlie? Yeah he lives here now." I asked how he eats and the girl admitted some of them leave crumbs around when they lock up at night. She also said that there are now 2 birds and she hopes they mate and have Happy Food babies. When we were walking to the car, I asked my grandma how she affords that meat. She said she buys cheaper paper towels all year long.

And the funny thing is....She is serious. She likes ViVa paper towels but for some reason we always get the plain white Bounty!!!!!

1 comment:

Marquis said...

That was funny! Happy Food babies.