Wednesday, May 14, 2008
A beautiful day in the neighborhood
It's the time of year when my neighborhood comes to life.
The warm weather draws nightpeople (thugs, drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, drunk Wes students) up and down the street at all hours. This morning at 3 a.m. I was awakened by one such who said, loudly and repeatedly as he walked: "Goddamn." Well, goddamned be your soul, sir.
Wes students are embroiled in end-of-semester projects and exams, but in a few days, the undergrads will begin to flitter away like flies from a carcass well-cleaned, and the about-to-be grads, will hang out and drink and smoke and throw frisbees and cookouts. Then, on graduation/reunion weekend there will be activities and tents, a lots of cars driving down the Russell House driveway.
This weekend is a favorite. I live around the corner from St. Sebastian Church, an amazing yellowstone structure modeled after a church in Mellili Italy. Legend has it that the original church in Sicily burnt to the ground, and they came to Middletown to copy the structure so it could be rebuilt in Italy.
The St. Sebastian Festival begins Friday, but the ferris wheel has already risen. I really like the festival for its juxtaposition of carney life and Catholic iconography. Our street is closed down, and typically blocked by a giant slide (which was taken advantage of last year, very early Sunday morning by a quartet of Wes students sliding on their own bath towels and laughing like pre-schoolers). The rides at the festival are as expensive as hell, but my kids enjoy them. The Sunday morning run of the Nouri (and the brunch hosted by the Masselli's) is a spectable to behold. But I could do without the constant smell of fried dough, and Sinatra and Dean Martin overpowering my iPod all day long, and into the night (to be fair, the noise shuts down promptly in the evenings). The outdoor broadcast of the Catholic mass also strikes a mordant fear into my heart, and into the hearts of some of my Jewish neighbors. I'll be spreading mulch and when the priest says, "The lord be with you," I find myself responding, "And with you also."