Having been born in Los Angeles, and raised in Chicago, I am the definitive city boy. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens and early twenties that I discovered what the “outdoors” really were. To me, spending the day outdoors meant going to a Cubs game and sitting in the bleachers (Oh, how I long to go to a Cubs game again). Being a “city boy” I don’t have the innate fear that some have of living in an inner city neighborhood. It is part of the cosmopolitan flavor that I am used too, and enjoy.
My neighborhood/street only has six houses on it; one vacant for several years; one with, what could be called a “redneck” family; one with a Hispanic family that runs a business out of the home, and has live chickens in the yard. The chicken get out and run the neighborhood scratching up grubs and insects. Two of the houses have black families that have lived there as long as I have. And then there is me, the grouchy guy that tries to grow flowers in his front yard and gets pissed when some fool blocks his driveway.
We have had our share of drama on my street over the years. Several years ago the twenty something son of one of the families was shot and killed on his front porch. It was sad, but inevitable, as he was alleged to be a drug dealer, and raised pit bulls to fight. I remember the night he was killed. I was sitting in my living room, it was around 11PM and I heard the gun blast and then a woman screaming. I went down to the house, and there the boy lay in the doorway, one round to the chest. Sick as it is, all I could think of was a Bon Jovi song, I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure out which one. His brother was trying to do CPR, but all he was doing was pumping more blood out the bullet hole. I checked for a pulse, there was none, and called 911 and advised them to send everyone. The street was closed off with the yellow tape that I had become professionally familiar with over the years, and several minutes later a chopper was overhead looking for the shooter(s).
Fast forward to this past weekend, and Easter. A close friend of mine is a professional hairstylist, and works in a tony suburb of Indianapolis. Zionsville, IN is one of those towns that once was populated by farmers and what some would call “people of the land.” Hard workers, who survived the uncertainty of weather, market forces, and pest infestations. Over the years it has become a mecca of the well-heeled and wealthy. While not a millionaire’s paradise, it does have its fair share of wealth, and with new wealth and a greater tax base the town has, at times, gone over the top with some of its celebrations.
Last year, for Easter, the town sponsored an Easter egg hunt, and the Easter bunny. To make sure Mr. Bunny got the proper entry due a rabbit, the town’s leaders cordoned off an area with yellow tape, and had Mr. Bunny brought in on a helicopter.
When my friend was telling me about this little bunny adventure, we couldn’t help but start laughing. In my neighborhood, if there is yellow tape and helicopters, it would have meant that Mr. Bunny had pissed someone off, and his eggs had been scrambled.
I love my little street, and the “flavor” of the neighborhood. We get a mix of Latino music, rap, hard rock and country, and Jimmy Buffett wafting through the air. The smells of barbeque, catfish frying, greens cooking, and tostadas often mix in an aroma that some might find off-putting, but I find comforting.
While I can appreciate the efforts of a Zionsville or some other up and coming, posh community, I think that I will stick with living in a neighborhood that is closer to the real world. Plus, I don’t have to worry about six-foot tall rabbits dropping in from the sky.