If I were Ms. Claus, I'd lavish gifts on everyone for Christmas, not just kids. I'd include all the guys who panhandle on Lake Street and the el, all the people who make minimum wage, all the soldiers who came home from war to find no jobs, and every homeowner who's up for foreclosure.
My parents seldom talked about family history, but my older sisters did. I used to eavesdrop on my sisters telling stories about various relatives. They'd say "That's rich," which I took to mean funny with a dash of buffoonery. Later on it hit me that many of the stories involved crime.
"The horror! The horror!" (Heart of Darkness) is my first thought when I find out my high school class is having another reunion. This year it's 55 years and starts at 5:30. If they keep these up, we'll eventually be having luncheons and then breakfasts. God knows we like to get up early and avoid rush-hour traffic. And we'll need smaller rooms.
I'm not a lifelong Democrat. My parents were Republicans, largely because they were cynical about Chicago politics and steeped in resentment, which the Irish do so well. I began to make my break when I was old enough to vote by writing in Nelson Rockefeller in a Republican primary.