What: Kick in 4 Kordas
When: 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park.
Information: Tom Kordas (773) 330-8224 or www.kickin4kordas.com.
I love the south side of Chicago. The very best in human instincts towers above the nonsense, agendas, snobbery, self-interests, disinterested morality and ethics and societal narcissism. I am sure many other communities boast fine human qualities and, empirically speaking, I have experienced similar qualities in other towns and states. However, the close-knit ethnic ( read Catholic), tribal, fiercely loyal southside of Chicago nurtures the very impulses that sparked Chicago's 'do-gooder' imitations - Settlement Houses/Community Organizing/Social Services & etc.
Jane Addams took and imitated the work of the Daughters of Charity's work with the poor and homeless more than she did from the Malthusian Settlement Houses of England.
She also took more from Ward-healer bosses, like Ald. Johnny Power than from radical Progressives.
At this morning's Salon at Kean Gas on 111th & Talman I talked with Tommy Kordas who lost his sister-in-law, Sue to cancer just weeks ago. His brother Pat is a Chicago Fireman and the single-Dad of three lovely girls and a teenage boy. I know the drill. I have been twelve years a widower and my kids are still home with me.
When a south side neighborhood loses a beautiful person to disease or disaster, the tribes band together and kick-in to help the bereaved. My family and friends overwhelmed me with their love and showers of support. When Mary died of brain cancer, the Kordas/McPolin Family swarmed in to help.
Sunday, every family and friend within driving, walking and in some very touching cases carrying distance of Bourbon Street will thicken traffic and bedevil the laws of physics to get into that venue in support of the Kordas Family.
While gulping dark roast with the intellects and Worthies of Kean Salon, Tom Kordas spoke of the first guy in line at Sue Kordas's wake - former Alderman Edward Vrdolyak. Public people tend to make a great show of arrival at wakes and generally have coat-holders pop-in early to set the buzz. Mr. Vrdolyak's early arrival is indicative of a genuine courtesy that too often evades elected and appointed personalities. On the south side, kids are taught that it is better to be a 'person than a personality' and kids learn by the example set by gentlemen like Ed Vrdolyak. Tommy Kordas told me, "Eddie V. and his son stood in the parking lot until all the family had gotten in and waited to offer his condolences, but later I got a call."
You see Ed Vrdolyak is not a WTTW Type and though a political antagonist of many of the Irish pols in my neighborhood is nevertheless one of us. You see, Joyces and Sheahans also take the trip to Hegewisch for such sad matters as well. After all politics is blood sport -life is and doing good at the most radical of levels is what is important.
The call sent Tom Kordas to 35th Street near Sox Park and to a sports memorabilia store to pick 'autographed photos and jerseys.' Gayle Sayers hand picked many of the items. These items are worth thousands of dollars and will be available as part of the silent auction and raffle prizes. Tom said he went with a check to purchase the items with seed money, but was told 'It is all taken care of.'
Ed Vrdolyak lives over in Hegewisch, which requires that a St. Cajetan resident get on the Ryan at 111th, drive north to I-94 take the Bishop Ford to 130th East to Burnham Ave. along the South Shore to & etc. In short, while Ed Vrdolyak and his family live on the south side, to be sure, they live a hell of long way from the Irish Riviera of Morgan Park/Beverly.
The Croatians, Serbs, Mexicans, Poles, Lithuanians and African Americans of the east-south side have the same culture of support as the Mick-thick Morgan Park/Beverly/Mount Greenwood and Evergreen Park folks.
They are not very Progressive politically - they are wonderful.
Get over to Bourbon Street tomorrow, drop a minimum of Thirty Bucks - eat and drink comes with your kick-in -but otherwise enrich yourself through association with the best people on earth.
Click my post title for Rob Rakow's touching Daily Southtown ( Southtown Star) feature on the Sue Kordas Benefit.