Friday, April 17, 2009

Todd Stoger - I'm Feeling You, Cousin!

Jesus, I feel for Todd Stroger. I am a cousin, too. ( much to the chagrin of many of my hundreds of Chicago cousins and even a few, I am sure, back in County Kerry) However, I would be the cousin resigning - no doubt. Thank the Good Lord Cousins, that I still manage to eke out a living away from the family trades - carpenters, plumbers,electricians and engineers. Likewise, I have managed to avoid Public Service in the employ of City, County, State and Federal programs. Remember that flood in the early years of Mayor Daley's reign? That would have been my doing.

America was built on Family and Family Obligations. My own paternal family came to this country as teenagers - Left County Kerry, Ireland after the families - Sullivan and Hickey - threw an American Wake*. A little girl, Nora Sullivan, age 13 was treated to a party by the family and neighbors in Cahirciveen** and Larry Hickey, age 14, the same on Crinna Mountain, Castleisland***. They would most likely never go home again. My grandfather returned but my grandmother had 'no desire to return whatsoever!'

They met in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood at a Ceili ( an Irish Dance)fell in love and started a family. They brought their young brothers and sisters to America with pennies they saved from cooking for the rich Yanks and working in the Stockyards.

Cousins were taken care of as well. Anyone from miles around their home towns in Kerry were helped to secure work here in Chicago. Strikes and Depressions and hardships were met head-on and better life was formed here in Chicago and more cousins arrived.

I have been taken care of by uncles and aunts and cousins. Many times much to their disappointment -'That nephew of yours in useless!' One of the most important admonitions learned was 'Don't Kill the Job! Your uncle Dan went to bat for you - it is his word that you are working.'

I became a teacher because I liked to read. Teaching made me less of a burden on a family of highly skilled tradesmen with singularly dedicated work ethics. However, I fully understand the familial nature of helping out cousin. As my particular talents and shortcomings do not lend themselves to helping secure work, I am rarely - if ever - asked to 'go to bat' for a cousin.

Todd Stroger placed a cousin on the job. He stuck his neck out for a family member. The Holier Than Everyone Crowd ( Academic Affirmative Action Time-Servers, News Hound Free-Buffet Investigative Journalist -'Where's My V.I.P Passes to the Taste?' and your Boiled Beet Progressives) will heap scorn on Todd Stroger.

I feel for the guy. The bright spot, Mr. Stroger, is that I am not your cousin - you would really be in the jackpot!

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's cousin has quit her job as the county's chief financial officer amid questions about her relationship with a fired county employee.

Stroger told the Chicago Tribune on Friday he asked Donna Dunnings for her resignation and Dunnings agreed.

Stroger spokesman Sean Howard says the resignation follows Stroger's firing of the patronage worker after learning he had a felony criminal conviction. Howard says that after the man was told he was fired he made "explosive" allegations against Dunnings.

Stroger won't detail the allegations or provide information about the relationship between the man and Dunnings. But he says Dunnings has bailed the man out of jail a number of times. Dunnings has an unlisted telephone number and couldn't be reached for comment.
Information from: Chicago Tribune,

*American Wake

Open up the door, she's standin' there
With the smile in her eyes but the gray in her hair
Betrays the fact you strayed far from home
With your drinkin', your smokin', your whorin' around
Sit down by the fire, put your feet on the grate
Spend the night reminiscin' 'til the hour grows late
Always remember at the end of the day
You can always go home - you just can't stay

Then it's off to the pub for to see your old mates
Ah, they all look older, but nothin' has changed
And you drink 'til you're nearly out of your head
"Hey, what are yez all doin' snakin' off to bed"
Then you're outside her flat but she's no longer there
And the tears scald your eyes as you think of her hair
In the photo they sent you of her wedding day
You can always go home - you just can't stay

Then you see her at Mass with the kids at her side
And it all comes back in the blink of an eye
The tears and the laughter, the love and the lies
And that dress she wore the night you said good-bye
Then her husband says "it's good to have you back"
And she smiles for a moment and squeezes your hand
But you know what she's thinkin', she doesn't have to say
You can always go home - you just can't stay

And you swear to yourself time and time again
It was all in the past, she don't mean anything
Now your life is full of laughter and bars
What did you leave behind, just the sun, the moon and the stars

Then it's up in the mornin' at the crack of dawn
With your stomach churnin', she says "c'mon now, Sean,
You'll be late for the plane," but that crack in her voice
Betrays the fact that you made your choice
A long time ago, now there's no turnin' back
'Cause last night you had your American Wake
And the bells are still ringin', can't you hear what they say
You can always go home - you just can't stay

Say good-bye in the wind and the pourin' rain
One last drink at Shannon Airport, then we're outa here,
History around here, catch you again next year
Landin' at Kennedy, all you feel is the pain,
But it's too late, 'cause last night you had your American Wake.
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© Larry Kirwan



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