Joan Hadac

Joan Hadac

Cold weather, warm hearts

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By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • joan.hadac@gmail.com

Hi everyone. Welcome to February, the shortest month of the year, jam-packed with holidays like Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday–which are usually bundled together into Presidents Day–Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Super Bowl Sunday. (Some of us just check it out for the commercials.)

Oh, let’s not forget that day where red is the predominant color. Of course, I mean Valentine’s Day. Thank goodness for florists and candy makers.

I checked out the weather report, mostly because I’m hoping spring will come early. It looks like highs in the 20s, 30s and even the 40s for a couple of days–like a teaser for the spring. Yes, you still have to wear your heavy sweaters and jackets. I can’t wait to hang them up for the season.

joanhadac 1

Joan Hadac

But first, please allow me to offer an observation related to winter.

It has been nearly 30 years since my husband and I bought our home in Garfield Ridge. Over those three decades, some things have changed in Clearing and Garfield Ridge. But one thing remains constant: the kindness of people, neighbor to neighbor.

Here’s what that has to do with winter. I recall in the mid-1990s, how I was a young mom with two little ones at home, and my husband sometimes wasn’t home at night, back when he worked three jobs.

There was one January night in particular when the skies opened and dumped a good foot of snow on us. Because my girls were so little, I didn’t want to leave the house alone to go out and shovel our walks and driveway, and I worried about the possibility of my husband’s minivan getting stuck in our driveway because there was so much snow.

Then out of nowhere, three high school boys with shovels come walking down the middle of the street (most sidewalks were impassable). They see me and I wave them over. They agree to shovel my walks, porch steps and entire driveway.

We didn’t discuss price because they said they just wanted to get to work right away. I wasn’t worried because I had enough cash on hand to pay them. I asked them to ring my doorbell when they were done.

But then a short time later, it dawned on me that my bell didn’t ring and I no longer heard them shoveling. So I threw on a coat and opened my front door. They were back in the street, walking away north from my house.

“Wait!” I yelled to them. “You forgot to let me pay you!”

They turned their heads, smiled and hollered back to me that they didn’t want to be paid—and they wished me a good evening.

I was stunned, and my heart was warmed. It was yet another time when I realized my husband and I had made the right decision by moving to this special part of Chicago.

Nearly 30 years later, that same spirit is alive and well in Clearing and Garfield Ridge.

Social media groups have recently been yielding example after example of men with snow blowers clearing an entire block, people with shovels and brooms clearing snow for elderly and disabled neighbors and so forth.

There have even been a few businesses showing their giving spirit by dispatching crews to help clear snow. Perhaps it’s no surprise that I saw Geno Randazzo’s crews from All Exterior Contractors out there, clearing snow for the elderly, people with disabilities, military veterans and others. Once again, Geno is setting a good example that all other businesses should follow.

Mark your calendar

  • The folks at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place, are getting into the holiday swing by hosting Valentine’s Stories from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9.

Kids of all ages and an adult are invited to listen to stories about Valentine’s Day and then grab a craft bag to take home. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call (312) 747-5657.

Masks are required for everyone over age 2, and pandemic guidelines will be followed.

  • Thanks to Patti Tyznik over at the Garfield Ridge Branch Library for letting me know about the program Games People Play. It’s an opportunity for adults to gather from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 10 through March 31 at the library, 6348 S. Archer, for conversation and to play games.

You will have access to Scrabble, chess, checkers, playing cards, word finds and more. You can bring a friend or make new ones.

So, while it’s still cold outside, get warm at the library while having fun. For more information, call (312) 747-6094. Masks must be worn, and pandemic guidelines will be followed.

  • Finally, my thanks to Martha Monahan for letting me know that the Senior Club at St. Faustina Parish will be meeting at 10:30 a.m. Mondays, Feb. 7 and 21, in the old St. Jane de Chantal School building, 5201 S. McVicker.

This is one of the best senior clubs you’ll find in the entire area. So please stop by for a couple of hours of bingo, raffles, door prizes, refreshments and good fellowship.

The club is open to men and women over age 50. All appropriate pandemic protocols will be in place. See you there?

Have a great week, everybody.

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