I ran back forth between the faculty and visitor parking lot on the southwest side of 79th & Sangamon and the big student/parent/visitors lot on the northeast side of the street.
One person who helped keep me centered and happy through the day is a little lady who became my pal seven years ago, Her name is Miss Sharon J----.
Sharon has had a tough life, but is a remarkably chipper lady. She walks all over the 17th Ward and lives in a small apartment near 87th and Carpenter.
Sharon graduated from the now closed Visitation Girls Catholic High School in the early 1970's and went to Jackson State University where she became friends with the great Chicago Bear legend Walter Payton. Like Payton Miss Sharon is a Mississippi gal and her chats with me always segue to 'homecoming' near Columbia with all of her cousins.
Miss Sharon's nephews went to Leo High School and she is always asking me if I came to know so-and-so, or knew what they were up to.
Sadly, Miss Sharon is out of touch with some in her family. After Jackson State University, life went off the rails for Miss Sharon. Miss Sharon is neither down, nor out. Miss Sharon struggles.
Her very sweet and thoughtful heart was never damaged by anything that harmed her otherwise. Some people say heartless things about and to her. That is all too human. Aldermen, State Senators and even school teachers can thoroughly rotten bastards who would take the last chair, or the parking spot of a disabled person and say some of the warmest and nicest things. Some people never see past the resume, the title or the human tinsel. I like to tear into gifts, be human or boxed. I get excited about opening new gifts and enjoying old ones. I love the gift of speech. I like words. I like deeds better. Me, I take people as they act toward me and Miss Sharon is and has been my pal.
On the day, of the Stanley Cup Visit, Miss Sharon refused my offer to escort her into the event. " No, thank you, I don't want upset anyone. One teacher told me 'Stay away, Crackhead,' one morning, 'the boys don't need to see you hanging around.' I don't want anyone upset."
Miss Sharon and I stayed out and had some laughs.
I wish I knew who said that to this lady, or anyone. Miss Sharon is always welcome.