The View From Here

musings by John The Irishman

Archive for April 2007

Scene On The Street

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Lakewood is a city of close to 60,000 that shares it’s eastern border with Cleveland, and is only about 3 or 4 miles from the heart of downtown.  With a population density of close to 10,000 per square mile, it’s also a very diverse, bustling place – very ethnic as well, with close to 20% of the population being foreign born.  Lakewood has all the great big city amenities, a fantastic restaurant and bar scene, as well as shopping and a performing arts center. I often compare it to some of the great neighborhoods I’ve visited in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere – we feel very fortunate to live here.

After living here and spending a lot of time here over close to the last 20 years, I pretty much know the city as well as anyone.  Due to the population density being one of the highest in the United States, we pretty much see it all on a daily basis – the homeless, punkers, “emo myspace cutters” (thx sk8), the “ghetto fabulous”, various ethnicities, the crazies – you name it.  All of this adds to the fabric that is Lakewood – it’s a fantastic place to call home if you love urban living like we do.

We try to walk “the girls” – Roxie & Terra – daily when time and weather permit, and those walks are always down Detroit Avenue.  Detroit is one of Lakewood’s “main drags”, so the people watching and getting the “full Lakewood” is always at it’s best.  Detroit is lined with more bars, restaurants, churches, and storefront businesses than you can imagine – you see it all !  There’s also my “regulars” : Gandhi, The Colonel, Omar, Frenchie and The Eaters, to name a few.  This and future posts are just about what I see as I go about my business, and the people I meet.  I hope to do future posts on the subject, as it amuses me greatly !

Yesterday was a typical walk interweaving with the “typical” crowd :  two girls with face paint on dressed like Kiss Army members; a younger, thinnish woman in a storefront restaurant window reading a book about “The Thyroid Diet”; a herd of Ambercrombie & Fitchers that didn’t understand the concept of a crosswalk right-of-way; a “Veronica Mars” look-a-like (seriously – I know – Slim’s been watching the show – coulda been her twin); and an elderly man pushing a Black & Decker electric lawnmower down the street and talking to himself.  All this in under a half hour – such a deal, and well worth the price of admission…

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Written by johntheirishman

Saturday, 28 April, 2007 @ 7:19 at 7:19

Posted in 44107

The Greatest Generation

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Our Grandparent’s generation is often referred to as “The Greatest Generation” – primarily for their role before, during and after World War II.  Unfortunately, as we experienced recently with a member of our extended family, their numbers are dwindling by the day.  As some of this generation passes on they are often dismissed as “they were old” and “lived a good life” – but I see something else.

I have often thought of all the history, stories, traditions, and what-not that these souls take to the grave.  It could not have been more clear last night at the funeral service for my wife’s cousin’s grandmother.  The service was called a Parastas – a Ukrainian Orthodox ritual performed with incense and administered by several priests and monks, spoken in part in Ukrainian.  I had never experienced a service like this, but in the way the Funeral Director knew every step it was clearly not something new to him.  The clergy belonged to St. Herman’s Eastern Orthodox Church in the Cleveland area.

 The deceased was a 97-year-old immigrant from the Ukraine, and she was fortunate enough to survive the horror that was WWII – very similar to my wife’s grandmother’s story.  We visit her weekly to hear her stories, traditions and recounting of family history.  With the way most of society is “disposable” these days, I truly appreciate these individuals, and what they have brought with them – please appreciate and respect these people.  They are so much more than the “forgotten elderly”.

I say all that to only say this – it saddens me that after this generation has passed that these traditions, histories, rituals, and even some languages will no longer be a part of the fabric that helped make this country the melting pot it has been for generations.  Think about that…

Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 26 April, 2007 @ 6:45 at 6:45

There, But For The Grace Of God, Go I…

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6 Billion + : different lives, hopes, dreams, beliefs, souls. It is mind boggling to think of all those people doing all their different daily activities, all their thoughts, the opportunities to serve good or evil. Many don’t care about spiritual issues, many are pagan, many just don’t believe. People are sleeping, eating, drinking, driving, flying, screwing, cheating, hating, killing, stealing, fleeing, working, dying, praying, worrying. Some are in severe pain, some have mental or physical issues, some are just sitting alone awaiting death. Some have lives torn apart by tragedy – murder, death, natural disasters, crippling accidents, betrayal, war, man’s inhumanity to man. Some are being held against their will or drugged, forced to be sex slaves, drug mules, servants, workers, commit crimes, kill. Some are addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, hate, murder. Some are obsessed with appearance, aging, wealth, success, possessions. Some are fundamentalists, extremists, terrorists. Some die old, die young, by their own hand, by someone else’s, by accident, some never get a chance. Some are poor, hungry, thirsty, cold, diseased, lonely, hurting. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters – all are one of these. All need Christ.

Written by johntheirishman

Monday, 16 April, 2007 @ 19:30 at 19:30