Thursday, January 1, 2009

Year-End Roundup

We rang in 2009 at our favorite neighborhood bar with two of our favorite people. It was a nice way to cap off a splendid if exhausting year. Our friend Jon delivered the countdown for the entire bar, and Alex, the bar owner, handed everybody a glass of champagne to raise at midnight, which they did between some marathon lip-bussing.

Today we're a little groggy, and hoping to avoid an anniversary: it was exactly a year ago that the first Chicago homicide of 2008 was clocked just a block from our house. I'd like to collectively resolve that our street make the news a bit less in 2009.

Here are a handful of other updates from the year just passed:

I. I've just retired as chair of the block group. It was an incredibly satisfying year, with a multi-household yard sale, clean-up day, spring potluck, block party, caroling event, and neighbors who generally know and rely on each other a little better than they used to. Most recently we waged a group effort against a rise in gang tags on nearby buildings. It feels good to see people working together and know I helped to plant those seeds.

II. William resurfaced, but seems to have disappeared again. I'm still hoping to give him that cooking lesson one of these days. Be careful out there, William. The world could end up a little rough on you.

III. Super Pollo finally closed its doors for good. The last time I tried to go, they were out of pollo, and I knew they weren't long for this world. There seem to be some ceramic cookie jars in the window now, and I don't have high hopes for the next incarnation.

IV. The horn honker hasn't been back in more than 6 weeks, and I'm sleeping easier than I have in years.

V. My favorite police officer was reassigned from our community policing center. With his blessing, several of us started a letter-writing campaign to get him back, and we hear the superintendent is giving our pleas consideration. Below is an excerpt from Officer Mattson's gorgeous thank-you letter. If everyone had a guy like this on the force, I have to believe our urban centers would be a whole lot better off:

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with the command staff. I have to confess that I feel a little like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It's a Wonderful Life, when everyone steps up and helps George Bailey at his lowest moment in the movie.

It's nice to know that my efforts in the CAPS office were not in vain, and that I had a positive impact on the communities in which I served.

I bid you peace, happiness & prosperity in the coming year.

VI. Finally, the mural at Christopher House is finished. Feast your eyes, my friends; it's a lovely addition.

As for a wish for 2009, I think Officer Mattson probably said it best.

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