Monday, July 25, 2011

My Irish Tan and Leo High School Culture

Irish tan
An Irish tan occurs when a very pale-skinned Irish person gets too much sun, causing their skin to become even more red and uneven. An Irish tan is not a sunburn; turning red and splotchy is just how some very fair Irish-Americans tan.
Urban Dictionary

The day off at Leo High School, and yet I rose before Phoebus as is my habit. The Busy old sun who bothers lovers' locked arms and bids farmers to hie to the fields of corn and soy bean and the daily assessment about God and the Government in league to cheat a man, as well as that bastard Cotter over to the grain elevator in Herscher . . .; the Sun who bakes and breeds.

I showered and did not shave. I eschewed my nattier work day wear, for Chicago Yeomanry togs - a Leo High School polo and my white-guy hillbilly denim shorts and play shoes. Looking good,Hombre! Out into misting morning air.

I needed my morning amble for coffee and took the long route east so I could swing by CVS on Western at 111th Street and pick up some stuff that I forgot to get yesterday and County Fair opens at 8AM.

At 109th & Western next to the Dubliner Pub a crowd of maybe thirty folks, mostly African American, were lined up for jobs at the Security Guard Company. Folks would wait another hour or so in order to beat back the waves of economic mayhem, God Bless Them.

CVS was emptier than a politician's words and I picked my items discounted by the handy red Extra Care Pays You Back card. I reflected on my tasks today.

Leo High School is hosting a Comedy Night on the Friday after Thanksgiving at the Beverly Fine Arts Center just parallel to my morning's manly amble.

I needed to call back Leo Man, Comedian and Green Activist Paul Kelly about the performers - Leo Lions all and Kings of Comedy: John Caponera, Soups Campbell, Paul Kelly, and Kenny Howell.

Leo Men are rock-ribbed givers - not philanthropists, Philanthropists generally make more from their charity giving than they actually dispense. Witness Oprah, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and the robber barons of old Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt. No, Leo Men, like people and foundations of good will, give. Huge difference.

Leo Men also will say exactly what is on their minds. I noted this fact in 1995 when I attended my first Leo Banquet at the now vanished Martinique/Drury Lane Theater. I was carrying three big boxes of Leo Sweatshirts for sale, through a throng of Brawny Stalwarts from the 1930's -1980's.

A tall gentleman from the Class of 1932 was making his way at his top speed through the beefy likes of Tom Hopkins, Joe Ramos, Moose Gilmartin, Barney Bulfin, Jack McNamara, Bill Holland and the saintly Jack Howard. At some point, I rather shyly asked the gentleman's pardon, in order to make a detour around the thick Alumni throng.

"You didn't go Leo, did you Kid." The well dressed gentleman who looked like he might have been the retired CEO of General Motors -Thomas Aquinas Murphy stated a fact and not a question.

"No sir. I went to Little Flower High School and . . ." I word- weaseled out.

" No kidding. You'd gone to Leo; you'd a told me to haul my #$%^ing old ass out of the way." concluded this Captain of American Industry Emeritus.

On this poignant encounter, I had good cause to connect - The Beverly Arts Center is run by a Leo Man -Mike Nix - who had run the Martinique. I was passing the Arts Center in my westward jaunt for coffee at Kean Gas - operated by Jimmy and Rolly Kean relatives of Leo President Dan McGrath and home to Leo Alumni patrons.

I bought my coffee, said hello to Kean Pumps Man and hero Ray and took my path homeward north on Talman. The white pick up truck of Leo Class of 1970 Man and plumber Mike Regan pulled in the drive before I hit the sidewalk. 'Hi, Hick!'

Leo men! Givers and Diogenes' Sons - the lamp of honest assessment and cant free courtesy.

At 109th Street Mike Regan's white pick-up slowed portending hearty fellowship and salutations of good-will.

" Next time you're at the beach, Hickey, try getting out of your car!"

This is but one of the rough hewn granite blocks of human experience that forms the pyramid to God's All-Seeing Eye!

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