Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

September 04, 2001 - 10:48 p.m.

Anyone wanna buy an election?

Okay, so it wasnít a total loss. I still am blessed with Son2. We go for bike rides.

Those huge machines that grind up asphalt to make way for new layers of pavement leave interesting patterns on the road. Itís noticeable in the car. Itís sheer hell on a bike with skinny 27 inch wheels. Itís the Vibrator From Hell that wouldnít give anyone satisfaction, least of all me. Sadly, I couldnít share that analogy with my son.

We arrived ten miles later at Catholic Central in the old neighborhood. CC is always good for a party on a holiday, and they never mind if we crash it. Mr. CC has good taste in beer. Well Iíll have one beer because we have to ride back. As if.

Iím sitting out back with Mr. CC and his dad and Uncle Jim. His dad is a staunch Republican, and Uncle Jim is a Union Democrat. You have to live in the Chicago area to fully appreciate the power of the Union Democrat. Iím still trying to understand it. Itís the stuff legends are made of. A thing to behold. Iím not talking about your garden variety Detroit area UAW slouch that gets drunk on Fridays and slaps together pickup trucks in Wixom. Iím talking about the hard working craggy faced blue eyed tradesmen that built thousands of brick bungalows in countless Chicago neighborhoods with ceramic tile bathrooms and hardwood floors. They make life hard for those that ainít got the card or paid the dues. They do good work.

Uncle Jim is made of that stuff. Heís got the hard edge Chicago Accent and like me, a taste for Mr. CCís Heinekens. He and dad are holding forth on the Good Old Days, an era Iíve obviously missed. Itís too bad too because life was tougher, the cars were better and the kids never sassed back. If they did, you smacked Ďem and they thanked you very much sir, may I have another please?

I was there with two other guys with children obviously not from the Good Old Days. We listened quietly as the dinosaurs croaked and chortled and swapped stories. Eventually they tired and had to move on to whatever fate awaited them, and we bid farewell to them and their glimpse of When Things Were Better.

After they left, we looked at one another with the same thought in our mind: ďIt Sucks to be Us, doesnít it?Ē

Then we laughed, a shared laugh in unison at the rheumy-eyed wistful old men whose memories were twisted with time. Surely our Good Old Days will be better than theirsÖ someday.

I got back on that bike fortified with an afternoonís worth of Heinekens, about a half dozen. Son2 and I set off in a different path, one free from profiled pavement. We like taking the four lane busy roads because it gives the cars a passing lane. We illegally took the sidewalks whenever we could because it was getting dark and we liked the buffer.

And despite Son1ís petulant and irrational behavior, we had a good holiday weekend. Neither one of us wanted it to end but it did.

the last one -*- the next one

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