Well, it’s spring ... I think, hope, pray.
I looked over some of my old columns and I have seen where I’ve said how spring is my least favorite season because it points to warmer, more pleasant weather, but so often reverts to colder and less pleasant weather. This year any day without snow and ice is a blessing.
And without snow and ice there can be spring and … baseball.
Personally, I’ve decided to stay retired from “old man” (65 years old and over) softball, though I may not be done umping in the Calumet Memorial Park District 16-inch softball league, where real men don’t wear gloves.
I’ve also taken in a couple of baseball games. I’m part owner of the T.F. North Meteors. And if you don’t understand that, I have the tax receipts to show that I have a stake.
Not too much of an exciting game. There were 12 runs but only two hits. Lots of walks, errors, and batters hit by pitches. But the home town team won. Plus I got the opportunity to talk with renowned Times correspondent and former kid ( i.e. student of mine) Jason Vignone. We were able to solve sundry issues regarding high school sports.
The T.F. North Meteors have some potential though they suffered some bad luck as two of their top pitchers are injured. Hopefully, they can come back and coach Mike Kosiara and the Meteors can have a successful season.
I’ve taught several thousand kids and many of them played sports. But it’s T.F. North’s baseball program that produced my, I’m speaking vicariously here, only major league victories in the person of Steve Wojciechowski. Steve won seven games with the Oakland A’s in the mid '90s. He became a victim of his craft as he blew out an elbow which ended his career.
I have also had a chance, thanks to the graciousness of Nancy Schneider — ultimate Cubs fan — to see my Pittsburgh Pirates at the beautiful confines of Wrigley Field. Out of respect to my benefactor, I will not mention the outcome of the game. Wrigley Field is a pretty cool place to watch a baseball game.
Also synonymous with spring, is cleaning as in spring cleaning. Pretty astute observation, no? Anyway largely through the efforts of Alderman Leni Wosczynski, Cal Citians and others can responsibly dispose of items that are problematic when put in the regular trash and are no longer being accepted in landfills.
All types of electronic devices and smaller appliances as well as paint and oil can be dropped off at the Calumet City Public Works Facility at 1701 Dolton Road between 9 a.m. and l p.m. on April 26. Also on site will be a paper shredder for documents with sensitive information. For further information, you can contact Alderwoman Leni at (708) 891-8192 or email@example.com .
This past winter should be another reminder that human activity has had a negative impact on our happy human home. Our conspicuous consumption has caused numerous complications for the health of the only home we have. It’s important that we realize this and act in our own and in our posterity’s best interests.
To help impress the ideas of being ecologically intelligent on our youngsters, there are Earth Day activities for children through the Calumet City Public Library. Prime among these will be the flower planting at the library at 12:30 p.m. on April 26. You can call the Youth Services Department for details at (708) 862-6220.
Happy Easter everyone. And happy birthday Marie.
Thanks for reading
Well, Dad’s in the hospital.
Not unusual I suppose. After 93 turns around the sun ... well, stuff happens. This episode was gall stones.
One endoscopy using “twilight” anesthesia failed, but the second time around was a charm though Dad had to be put under a general anesthetic which makes the procedure easier, but is riskier. It seems the docs would rather not put older folks into too deep a sleep.
Many stones were removed, some duct work was widened, and Dad woke up just fine. Now some days of therapy to regain some strength and balance and it’s back home.
Pretty amazing for a guy who almost didn’t make it home as a 3-year-old because of a kidney stone, and is now going home as a 93-year-old stone free ... we hope.
What’s probably more amazing is the manner in which he dealt with his adversity which was at times, pretty adverse. The three days without solid food and the up to 18 hours without any water, even ice chips, by mouth would be enough for anyone to endure.
If you know my dad at all, then you know that he is a character. You can ask just about everyone on the third and fifth floors of St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago.
There have been innumerable marriage proposals to nurses, techs, transporters, etc. of all ages, races, ethnic backgrounds, and occasionally of a similar gender. The proposals have often been accompanied by some sweet songs ... sweet, if you’re fond of music of the ‘40s.
And then there are the cars. You see, most anyone who has contact with my father in connection with his or her hospital responsibility is promised a car. This includes the various people he has proposed marriage to.
Plus there are the barrage of off handed comments. Sometimes they are not politically correct remarks, sometimes they are done in feigned accents. Some refer to medical impossibilities. He has been fond of saying how his hysterectomy hasn’t turned out too well. All of his wry comments and observations are intended to elicit lightheartedness among his various caregivers and/or his many visitors.
The point is that my father wants to entertain people and make them happy, feel comfortable, and make them laugh even though he himself is in a time of distress.
Maybe this is because his early life involved a lot of distress. My grandmother, his mother, died when he was 6 and his father was killed in an auto accident when he was in his early 50s and my father was just 16. And a brother was lost in childhood. My father has noted to me often that he has lived longer than both of his parents combined.
Well I give my father a lot of credit. He is as he always has, making a big effort at making folks around him laugh. And he is doing as good a job at it, maybe better, even as he is approaching his 94th year.
And here’s a shout out to the good folks at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. All levels of the staff have shown care and concern for my father. It surely seems they have come to appreciate this man who tries to make them feel comfortable with humor. You have the appreciation of me and my family.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve used that expression periodically and have sometimes gotten some mildly confused looks.
For those of you who may not be familiar, Lent is a yearly season observed in many Christian denominations, especially Roman Catholicism. It’s a time set aside for individual preparation by believers in Christ for remembrance of the central events and beliefs of Christianity, namely the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The 40 days of Lent are usually marked by individual prayer (reflection), repentance for wrongs done, charitable works, self-denial, and almsgiving (donation to those in need).
There are also many rituals, observances, and rules associated with Lent that are, to one degree or another, followed by many.
One of those rules for Catholics is the abstaining from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. Some of you, like me, are old enough to remember when all Fridays of the year were to be meatless.
But I must confess, I have never quite understood how indulging in shrimp, lake perch, cod, scallops, and other gifts from the seas (lakes, rivers) was or is a “sacrifice.”
Anyway, it seems to me the acts of reflection, repentance, charity, self-denial, and alms giving would be well worth practicing regardless of whatever your religious affiliation might be. Or even if you have no affiliation.
In church news ... the Rev. Dave Pavlik, pastor of St. Victor Church in Calumet City, has been asked by Cardinal Francis George to be the temporary administrator of Our Lady of Knock parish, also in Cal City.
After many years of faithful service, the Rev. Pat Lyons will be retiring as Our Lady of Knock's pastor at the end of June. With a dwindling number of priests, there is no current replacement for Lyons as full time pastor.
Along with this, news comes that discussions have been and will be held regarding the closer workings and better utilization of the human and physical recourses of the three Catholic parishes in Calumet City — St. Victor, Our Lady of Knock and St. Andrew.
The day of fully attended Masses and multiple clergy at each of these parishes is not the current reality. As to the future ... plans will be developed.
SPEAKING OF LENT…
Meatless Fridays means some excellent fish frys.
The American Legion Post 330, at 950 Legion Drive in Cal City, sponsors great shrimp, lake perch, and cod dinners from 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday during Lent (and sometimes beyond). There is consistent good quality, both of the dinners and the large crowds that attend.
St. John Bosco School, Cal City native Mark Kielbania, principal, also has a great fish fry. It’s sponsored by the school’s parent organization. There’s a great salad bar, and like at the American Legion, you won’t be dining alone. The school is located on 171st Street right off of Columbia Avenue in Hammond. Times are from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Both of these events benefit worthwhile causes.
St. Andrew’s Rosary Confraternity is having a bingo to benefit the “Restoring Our Home” campaign of the parish. It will take place at 1 p.m. March 30 in the gym at 156th Street and Freeland Avenue in Calumet City.
A SAD NOTE
Don Campbell passed away recently. He was the prop rioter of Aggie’s in Calumet City. The large turnout for his wake attested to the friendliness, care, and concern Don gave to others. Peace to the family.
IT MIGHT BE MY FAULT …
… the endless winter. I put a few snowmen and some little pine trees on my porch as an exterior decoration. It’s been stupid cold and snowy since they went up. I’m taking them down today. Sorry.
Thanks for reading.
I went to a meeting a little while back.
Not at all unusual. As a teacher, library board member, parish council member, VictorFest committee chair, athletic board member, etc., etc. I’ve been to more meetings than I can count. Many were necessary and worthwhile, others not so much.
The one of which I write about here was different than the others I mentioned. It was a totally voluntary attendance on my part and it was not because I am part of a committee, organization, or board.
It was a planning workshop held at Calumet City Cty Hall on Feb. 20. When asked to sign in, I did, and under the column labeled “association or group” I marked “citizen."
A comprehensive plan for Calumet City is being made by a professional city planning group. They were contracted with a grant form the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
An extensive survey, 15,000 in number, was mailed to Calumet City residents and the survey was also available online. Almost 1,000 surveys were completed. These have been tabulated and reveal some interesting findings.
As a trustee of the Calumet City Public Library, it was edifying to see the library received the highest number of “satisfied” (as opposed to “needs improvement” and “no opinion”) responses in the category regarding people's opinions of various community services. Fire protection, garbage collection, and 911 response weren’t far behind.
As for the categories that had a higher “needs improvement” than “satisfied” rating ... I’ll let you speculate about that yourself or better yet, go to the website and view the report for yourself. calumetcity2013.wordpress.com and click on “documents."
In the “favorite things about Calumet City” category, location by far received the highest rating.
There’s a lot of talk about flooding in town, but 60 percent of the people in the survey have not experienced flooding.
I’ve mentioned before that Calumet City’s proximity to Indiana is detrimental to business in town and the survey backs that up. Most people in Cal City do their shopping in Indiana with groceries being shopped for more than anything else. That is also true of people going to eat out.
And there are a lot of other interesting insights in the report. Check it out.
Anyway, the workshop I attended was to get direct input from citizens and to let them help design what the future of Calumet City might look like. This meeting was about what they call “City Center," the area around City Hall and Memorial Park. Not too many folks came, but it was another of those nasty winter nights we’re all so tired of.
Another workshop took place earlier at the library and it was better attended. I believe there are to be more workshops too.
I don’t know if all the ideas I heard are really plausible, but I was impressed with the professional expertise shown at the workshop and in the survey report. There are realistic possibilities for Cal City’s future.
I also know the city is concerned with the future of Calumet City and that Jimmy Gigliotti, fair housing director for the city, and new economic development chief, Bryan Swanson, have been and will be working to make Calumet City a viable city in which to live, work, and do business.
A lot of people have written off Cal City and we do have significant problems, but it’s equally true that a lot of people are happy with Calumet City, speak well of it, and want its future to be progressive.
If we are to prosper, we need more of the latter.
GOOD FOR ST. FLORIAN SCHOOL
Congrats to all those who worked so hard to convince the Archdiocese to keep St. Florian School in Hegwisch open.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve never really been much of a gear head — you know, way into cars. I’ve been around for a long time, but I’ve only owned three new cars. I’ve had used ones and I tended to keep those a long time. I was a good friend of Terry Nelleman, of the former Terry’s Motors in Calumet City, but not a very good customer. He’d say if he depended on customers like me, he would starve.
But I did find myself at the Chicago Auto show last Sunday. I think it’s only my third visit. I’m not much of a fan of paying money to be advertised to. And I didn’t pay this time because I got some comp tickets from a cousin.
The Chicago Auto show is the largest on the continent and McCormick Place is probably the largest enclosed space I’ve ever been in, or is Grand Central Station larger? (I’ll get back to you on that.)
The crowd was enormous too, at times, uncomfortably so. And everyone has a camera, mostly as part of their phones. But then there’s me who not only doesn’t have a camera on his phone ... that’s right, he doesn’t have a phone.
Anyway, there were some awfully nice vehicles and their presentation and marketing was pretty impressive.
Automobiles have been and are a huge part of America. They have symbolized America’s industrial, creative, and entrepreneurial prowess. And they are the epitome of those very American traits of mobility and freedom.
On the down side, the automobile has pretty much addicted us to the burning of fossil fuels in enormous quantities. And unless you’re one of those folks who are still confused why Columbus didn’t fall off the edge, you know that burning all that fuel has caused some adverse effects on our climate.
At the auto show there were still plenty of massive vehicles which, even with efficient engines, burn a lot of fuel.
But on the flip side, there are more and more hybrid technologies which depend much less on gas. And some that don’t use any gas. Plus there were a good number of much smaller cars available
It was also interesting to see that the price of the 2014 model of the Toyota Prius, a hybrid, was the same or even a little less than what I paid for my 2008 Prius. As new technologies become more widespread, price often comes down.
I just hope we are wise enough to see and disciplined enough to act in ways that lessen the threat to our environment.
A great big crowd was in place for the annual meeting of T.F. North and T.F. South’s basketball teams. Since I’m “on the north side of fractional” I was a little down about the double defeat the Meteors (North) were handed by the Rebels (South). Particularly in the boys contest where a last-second shot by North that would have sent the game into overtime just missed.
But between the large crowd, the enthusiastic tumblers, the dance and cheer squads, the band, the honoring of the North seniors between games, the number of staff and administrators in attendance, it was a pretty good evening.
This Saturday is the annual Candlelight Bowl sponsored by the Friends of Jim Perniciaro. The event remembers Jim Perniciaro and raises money to fight cancer, the disease that took him much too early.
The time is 8:30 p.m. at the Lan-Oak Lanes, 2524 Ridge Road in Lansing. It’s a fun event and supports a great cause and remembers a great man.
For further info contact Denny Halloran at (708) 862 4874.
Thanks for reading.
Well I see that St. Florian Catholic School in Hegwisch is slated to be closed next school year by the Archdiocese of Chicago. That’s a shame.
But it’s an unfortunate financial reality that’s not uncommon these days with a lot of worthwhile enterprises.
Many factors are at play here. There are fewer school age children overall, as our birth rate continues to decline. There are fewer active Catholics these days. Various reasons can be cited for this. And some, like the priest sexual misconduct problem that’s been in the news again lately, are pretty sad and unfortunate.
The economic reality is tough. When St. Florian School like almost all other Catholic schools from around that era began, it was staffed largely by nuns. The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago served the school when it opened in the early 1900s.
As time went on, the numbers of women who dedicated themselves to service as nuns dwindled. And as many orders of nuns allowed their members to pursue ministries other than teaching, more and more lay teachers comprised the faculty and administration of the school.
Until more recent years, the good sisters were paid very little. School budgets were easier to balance and tuitions were easier burdens to bear.
That isn’t the reality anymore.
To attract and keep good lay teachers, salaries must be decent and benefits must be adequate. With that reality and the fewer numbers of kids, and not being in a high-end suburb in unsteady economic times, having a Catholic school is a tough slog.
I’m not pretending to be an expert about St. Florian. But I lived their reality 10 years ago when the Archdiocese of Chicago closed St. Victor School where I had taught for 34 years. Five other Catholic schools closed, too, that year. There was some seeming consolation then, as a new consolidated school, Christ Our Savior, was created. But that hardly made our closing any easier. And the consolidation itself created some new problems.
I do know St. Florian School as a friendly rival when I was in charge of the basketball program and was the academic coach at showdown contests for St. Victor. Also, a good friend and former co-teacher at St. Victor with me, Lyn Keever, was the longtime principal of St. Florian.
I knew St. Florian was, and I’m sure still is, a good school.
I also don’t want to be writing an obituary for St. Florian School. An effort has been mounted to save the school from closing. Since the announcing of the closing several weeks ago, the Archdiocese has given St. Florian time to arrange a plan to make up the budget shortfall.
Efforts by the school, church, alumni, and community are underway. There is a short time to convince the archdiocese that St. Florian can remain financially viable.
The school is asking people to become “angels” by making a commitment to support the effort to keep St. Floiran a viable educational option in the Hegwisch community as it has been for more than 100 years.
If you would like to help, I suggest you call the school. The number is (773) 646-2868.
Gook luck in your effort.
Thanks for reading.
Well, it’s gotten cold again.
But it’s not what I call stupid cold like what we had a week and a half ago that shut most everything down. That was pretty brutal.
I had to travel on the Monday of the polar vortex (we all learn new phrases now and then). And for an unfortunate reason, namely a funeral. And on the Tuesday it was off to Midway Airport to get my son on his flight back to New Mexico — two cancellations, but the third time was a charm. He tells me that when he got there he was amused as folks were complaining about it being cold. It was in the 40s.
We all survived though not without some travail. The notable and sad exception being the three children who lost their lives in the Hammond fire that apparently was caused by circumstances trying to heat a home against the terrible cold. A massively sad situation.
In all that cold and snow however, where would we be without the help of our intrepid TV weather reporters?
There were such great insights shared by them with us. Here are some I found particularly enlightening:
- It’s really cold outside.
- You should put on warm clothing if you go outside.
- There is a lot of snow outside.
- When the wind blows, the snow piles up in drifts.
- When the wind blows it feels colder.
- Ice is slippery.
- It’s harder to drive when roads are icy.
Pretty good advice, no? I wrote a lot of them down for future reference. Maybe you’d like to also.
End of sarcasm.
Can anyone please tell me why the TV people say and do such inane things to show us it’s cold and/or snowy? Do they assume we’ve never been outside before? Why do you tell us about the danger of frostbite while your standing out in sub zero weather often hatless? If you announced that it’s snowing outside from inside the studio, do you think we wouldn’t believe you? Can we get at least one credit hour toward a degree in meteorology by listening to Tom Skilling?
I feel better now.
I was out on Jan. 5 — that was the day of the blizzard and the cold — to see if the streak would continue.
The streak would be the St. Victor Community Meal. Every Sunday for 27 years without a miss, a meal has been served to those who need it on Sundays in St. Victor rector hall. Our recent frightful weather didn’t break that streak.
Props to Alderman/state Rep. Thaddeus Jones’ group for being there to host the meal. And a shout out to Norma Lessner and her core of helpers who organize and coordinate the endeavor.
All things considered, I believe the public works folks did a pretty decent job keeping Calumet City moving during our polar period.
Some people complain, but if we had streets and alleys cleaned as fast as some would like, we’d be paying taxes that would make Barrington's tax bill look like a bargain.
Congrats to T.F. North coach Tim Bankston and his team for the success of the Coaches vs. Cancer basketball tournament held at the high school last weekend. Some great basketball was played and money was raised for a great cause.
I note the passing of Ray Scoleri whose six kids I taught. He was a great father, coach, ref, and all around community- and church-orientated man. Peace to the family.
On Jan. 25 Ed Vockell and I will be hosting our periodic Trivia Nite Out at St. Victor church hall at 7:30 p.m. Bring snacks, buy beverages from us, have your brain tested. We always have a good time. Contact me for details.
Thanks for reading.
Well, we’re barely into this new year. This is usually a time when folks think about people of the past year and look forward to the next. So will I.
Last year saw the rise and demise of two remarkable men. Both are of great age. (I’m starting to call anyone older than I am, a person of great age.)
Jorge (cool name) Mario Bergoglio, in an unanticipated development, became Pope Francis after his predecessor did something not done in centuries; namely retire. The pope has the platform and the high profile to be heard, seen and heeded.
In a short time Pope Francis has generated, for lack of a better more theologically appropriate word, quite a buzz.
He hasn’t changed a thing about the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. Changes in these matters take time, sometimes eons of time. But he has changed the tone and emphasis of the focus of the church. He’s talking about less scolding and warning about what not to do and more about lifting up and feeding those in distress and need. He’s done this with words and more powerfully, in his actions with the poor, the ill, the marginalized.
When it comes to issues that seem to divide the church and our society, I have already found myself using one of his profound comments — who am I to judge?
Hopefully, his witness will guide us in our families, our communities, in our nations, to lift up those in need.
The other man is Nelson Mandela. Earlier I used the word “demise” in regards to him, but reaching 95 years in a life so amazing, and passing on to your reward, is hardly a “demise.”
Anyone would be hard pressed to find someone more revered by a larger number of people than Nelson Mandela.
From prisoner to president. He had 27 years to foster and breed disdain and hatred for the people and the system that had unjustly imprisoned him.
But what did he do? He found ways to reconcile with the people and the system that had kept the majority of his countrymen including himself, in a kind of semi-slavery.
Sadly, in so many places today we can see how political power is fought for and used to the detriment of the people who are supposed to be served by those in power. And not just in faraway places, but here at home.
My hope for the new year is that we and our leaders are moved more in the direction that these two titanic figures have shown. From Congress and the White House to the Statehouse and governor’s mansion, to the City Council and City Hall in Calumet City, may we and our leaders tend to those in need and reconcile their differences for the common good.
SOME GOOD SIGNS
The Calumet City Fraternal Order of Police, the Calumet Memorial Park Distinct, Victor Care, and Calumet City Recourses as well as others, individually and in groups, worked to see that numerous families that could use a little lifting up were taken care of. May that spirit continue and expand through this new year.
With more that a few buildings abandoned and/or torn down in Cal City, it was neat to see one go up. Well, not actually go up, but a 12-unit apartment that had been uninhabited for at least three years has been completely rehabbed. It was cool to see some Christmas lights twinkling in one of the windows. I’m taking that as a good omen.
And there is a new business going up on Sibley on the site of the old Lincoln’s sandwich restaurant.
Happy and a hopeful new year everyone, and thanks for reading.
The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, I went to River Oaks recently. Christmas shopping should be easy for me, just the wife and my father. And it should be even easier this year than most. That’s because we are getting a new basement floor, newly painted walls, and of course, sundry other items to compliment the “new” room.
And since all this involves a notable outflow of funds, my wife and I decided to buy each other half a new couch for Christmas and not much else. But the “not much else” is the kicker for me, especially the “much” part. I shouldn’t complain. She does all the heavy shopping ... she’s very good at it. My part is the heavy check writing part.
But still what to get?
Another quandary struck me as I wound through the corridors of River Oaks in Calumet City, which is the city’s economic engine. There was a load of people, but was that enough? Carson’s and Sears always had business, but in the tight, cut-throat world of retail, they figured it was not enough, I guess, and just left. Even with some tax breaks and favorable rulings on tax appeals, Sears, an original tenant of River Oaks since its inception in 1966, left. From what I know there was little if any advance word that this might happen. Surely Sears realized that the departure of a store that large and that rooted in the community would have a profound effect. And if they didn’t have a legal responsibility to say something, you would think there would be a moral obligation. I guess business doesn’t work like that anymore.
I guess it’s good that they only recently came to a City Council meeting and expressed their concern for the well-being of the community that had for so long supported it well. Hopefully they will work with the city in doing something with the property which, unlike other tenants of River Oaks, it owns. We’ll see.
It’s sort of contradictory that the season of such important religious importance symbolized by a baby being born in a stable, is so wrapped up in consumerism to the point that the nation’s economy holds its breath to see how well the holiday spending season turns out.
Jim Bolda was a longtime Calumet City resident. He was a proud military veteran, and, like his twin brother, Jerry, was a longtime carpenter for the city of Calumet City. He and his brother also did a marvelous job at redesigning and building an almost new choir loft for St. Victor Church. Jim, like his brother Jerry, sang in St. Victor choir. A fitting tribute at his funeral was the playing of his singing of "Ave Maria." It was great hearing his powerful voice once again echo through St. Victor church.
Joe Horvath was someone, like so many others, who I met when he was a kid. I didn’t teach him, but I got to know him first as a softball player from Blackburn Park in Burnham. Back in the day when the Calumet Memorial Park District had softball leagues for both kids and adults, and I coached the Downey Park teams, I remember Joe getting the big hits to beat us.
He went on to play many years in the adult league where I saw him play many times. For my money, he was the best player I ever saw in the Cal City league. He passed way too young.
Peace to both families.
May the Christmas holidays find you and your families in good cheer and in God’s good grace.
Thanks for reading.
I hope I haven’t given up the fight, but I caved early this year.
Christmas is a grand feast day, holiday, holy day. But much of the secular Holiday Season is troublesome to me, especially the near iconic status bestowed on that most onerous, contrived “holiday”, Black Friday (which now starts on Thursday and lasts the whole weekend). I have taken to calling it Thanksgiving’s evil twin sister.
The caving in part is that I’ve decided, with urging from my wife, to help get the Christmas decorations out of the crawl space and do a little lighting of the house. I don’t do well with this. Cold weather, tangled light strands, and general ineptitude are to blame.
But I’m thinking this is all right. The religious Christmas season doesn’t technically start until Christmas Eve. The Catholic Church considers the four weeks before Christmas as Advent; a season of waiting and preparation. I’m not seeing a lot of Advent stuff in the stores or in the avalanche of advertising. But my lights and snowmen are there in preparation and watch.
There are a lot of cool things about the weeks before Christmas. One of them will be Friday. At 6 p.m. at Calumet City Hall on Pulaski and Wentworth, the city will light its Christmas decorations and welcome Santa, who, in the true Advent spirit, will be watching (he does that a lot) and preparing.
After that, a short walk to the Memorial Park field house down Wentworth Ave. will bring one to the lighting of the park district’s trees and buildings. The very fine TF North band under the able directorship of Mr. Joe Malik will perform as will the Hoover School choir. Yours truly and the St. Victor choir will also be laying out a few tunes.
And, along with some goodies, the good folks of the Calumet Memorial Park District and the City of Calumet City will present a fireworks show in the ball field behind the field house.
These season beginning festivities have always been pretty cool. Plan to stop by.
On Sunday Al Jackson the South Suburban Chorale accompanied by several excellent soloists and the Chicago Gargoyle Brass Ensemble will give a concert at St. Victor Church on Memorial Dr. and Hirsch Ave. at 4:00 pm. This is the 13th Christmas concert by the Chorale at St. Victor and the last for Al Jackson as he retires from South Suburban College. If you like really good music, do yourself a favor - stop by.
Congrats to Artie Rogers, head coach of T.F. North football, as he steps down from the position. His teams always played hard and were fun to watch. Thanks for maintaining a class program.
Congrats to the Mount Carmel football team on last week’s state championship. With coaches Frank Lenti and Mark Antonietti among others, and many of the players, there are plenty of South suburban connections.
The Calumet City, Il Pride Facebook site has doubled in size. And Carrie Steinweg has started a similar Facebook site for Lansing. Sign up.
Mike Pivoriunas passed away recently. He was a football coach at St. Victor and a baseball coach in Cal City and just a generally good guy who passed too soon. Peace to his family.
Jack Sullivan passed recently in Florida where he had retired. Jack was a policeman in Calumet City for 35 years and retired as the chief. He was the father of eight kids, five of whom I taught. And one of his granddaughters was my first grand student (child of one of my students).
Jack was just a great family, community, and church oriented man. He is one of my “breaking in” parents. Those are the ones who taught me as a young teacher about life and kids and Cal City. Peace to his family.
Thanks for reading.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
Well, it happened again.
I was visiting a local establishment for some relaxation and refreshment. As happens, I ran into an acquaintance and exchanged a few pleasantries.
The conversation was quickly turned by him into a diatribe, very colorfully expressed and in terms not fit for a family newspaper, about the evils of his hometown, Calumet City, where this establishment happens to be (he had moved out of Calumet City some time ago).
I made it clear that I did not agree with his robust attack, much of it charged with nasty racial overtones, against his childhood and my adopted hometown. (I also think he may have ingested some bad ice.)
The instance I described is certainly not the first time I’ve encountered folks who have moved from Calumet City who in one way or the other, rant all kinds of invective about where they used to live. Other people I know who have left Cal City don’t engage in that kind of thing and often find reasons — church, park programs, civic activities, old hangouts — to come back to their former town.
I wonder what makes the difference.
It reminds me of my brother who moved to Florida. I loved him but he had this thing about bad mouthing the area where he grew up and thinking that people who stayed in the “Region” were less than smart for doing so.
I don’t get it. People move or stay in a place for all kinds of reasons. Folks may or may not agree with the reason others have for staying or leaving a city, but why not accept people’s choices without all manner of incriminating comments?
I guess some people are nostalgic and want places to be the idyllic haunts of their childhood.
Along these lines, there is a new Facebook group started by Ryan Pammer called Cal City Pride. The group looks for postings that reflect the title of the group. Pammer, as I do, peruses other groups on Facebook about Calumet City. He started this group because he was tired, as am I, of so many nasty and brainless comments bashing Cal City that seemed to crop up in some of those groups’ postings.
There are around 50 members of the group and hopefully, more to come. If you’d like to check it out, go to Cal City Pride or Ryan Pammer on Facebook. Sign up.
Congratulations to the volleyball team from Bishop Noll. They made it to the state championship game. Though they couldn’t quite pull off a state title, they had a fabulous run, and have great prospects for next year.
Speaking of volleyball, the St. Francis de Sales girls team made it to the “Sweet 16” this year. Congrats to them and their coach Arlene Ramos who is retiring after a fine coaching career at my alma mater.
Even though these aren’t the “good old days” (if there ever was such a time), we have much to be thankful for in our country and in our little piece of it. One thing for sure is our luck in escaping the worst of the storms last Sunday.
But as bad as some places in Indiana and Illinois were there was the disaster in the Philippines. I hope many will use one of the myriad vehicles of help to reach out to the survivors.
If you are looking for a way to give thanks, come to the St. Victor Thanksgiving day Mass at 9 a.m. St. Victor is on the corner of Hirsch Avenue and Memorial Drive in Calumet City. There will be some refreshments and fellowship after in our newly floored church hall.
Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading.
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