Fasten your seatbelts, Villagers; here comes the first weekend in May. You’ll never survive it without professional help, so just sit back and let us arrange everything for you. Please do not attempt to organize your calendar by yourself. A man we know tried that last year and was discovered weeks later, paralyzed at his kitchen table, a Wednesday Journal in front of him, opened to the Calendar section.

Fortunately for all of us, National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 3. We can’t think of a better way to center ourselves for the rigors ahead than to go to Oak Park Village Hall at 7:15 p.m. Thursday to join in a session of prayer led by pastors from a variety of local churches. Whomever or whatever your gods may resemble, you’ll want to touch base with them while you’re still capable of breathing deeply.

On Friday, May 4, you’ll be at Jazzin’ Down to the Bone, of course, at FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Rd. (358-5690), where the Oak Park Area Arts Council and the Oak Park and River Forest High School Alumni Association are throwing a do that includes dinner at 7 p.m. and a performance by Willie Pickens at 8:30 p.m. Hopefully you’ll find a couple minutes between the music and your dinner conversation to decide where you’re going Saturday morning.

Here’s how we’d do it:

Lite-hearted Laughter Yoga Club of Oak Park meets at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St., on Saturday at 7 a.m. (975-9300). We’re sorry, did you just start whining about how early you’ll have to get up? We’ll never get you safely through Sunday if you don’t shut up and let us take charge. All right, then. The best way to gear up for a strenuous Saturday is with a little exercise and a little humor. And no, you can’t eat first, or you’ll just throw up. You’re eating afterwards, right after you stop by the 18th Annual Herb and Scented Plant Sale at Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St. ( You can’t miss that, because they’re offering vegetables and ornamental plants especially suited for small urban and container gardens. If you skip it because you’re too hungry you’ll only kick yourself later.

Now you may go to First United Methodist Church’s Spring Pancake Breakfast, which runs from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday morning at 324 N. Oak Park Ave. (383-4983). You’ll have plenty of time to get uncomfortably full and check out their bake, book and craft sales before you need to be at Whittier School, 715 N. Harvey Ave. The annual Ethnic Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. with a parade down Cuyler Street (524-7700). Go ahead and relax on the grass by the curb while the parade goes by, but stay alert or you’ll get beaned by the candy the marchers throw or stepped on by an excited Girl Scout. Do not any eat any candy, please; you’ve got a long day ahead of you, and we don’t need complaints of stomachaches, plus there are all kinds of ethnic food on sale when you get back to the school after the parade.

At this point, you may want to find a quiet bush to lie under and grab a refreshing snooze. Go ahead. We’ll wake you up when it’s time to get on over to the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest’s Fourth Annual Housewalk. We forgot to get a ticket in advance for you, so you’ll have to pay the extra $5 for a ticket at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest (848-6755). Sorry about that. You’re not going to whine, we hope?

You’ve got six homes to tour before 3 p.m., all built in the 1920s in the “Northwoods” section of River Forest. We don’t know where that is, either. They’ll tell you when you buy your ticket, and they’ll give you a map so all you have to do is follow directions and ogle all the architectural and decorative details that have earned these homes a place on the walk and not yours. You are not bitter, and you behave yourself and don’t touch anything. No pointing and giggling, either or you don’t get to finish the day at One Stop Comics, 111 S. Ridgeland Ave. (524-2287), for Free Comic Book Day, an annual event celebrated world-wide. They’re open until 8 p.m., but we’re not promising there’ll be any giveaways left if you’ve spent too much time dawdling over the homes on the housewalk.

All right, your Saturday is complete. See you tomorrow.

Everybody out of bed! It’s Sunday, and
you’ve got another big day. First you’ve got to be at Toomey/Treadway Galleries, 818 North Blvd., at 10 a.m. for the beginning of the 20th Century Art and Design Auction (383-5234). No, you may not skip this event. You’re just scared because you’ve never bid on anything before and you’re afraid you’ll scratch your nose and end up owning some ugly vase (pronounced vahz). This will not happen. You can’t stay too long, anyway, because the annual CROP Walk for Hunger steps off at 2 p.m. from Pilgrim Church, and you’re really going to need lunch and a few minutes to put your feet up before then, inasmuch as you have to complete the entire 6-plus miles of the walk in time to get to the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest Concert at 4 p.m. at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St. (218-2648). You’re already going to miss Carl Grapentine’s pre-concert “Conversation” at 3 p.m.; you don’t want to walk in late for the concert itself, which includes Polay’s Sparkle, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8.

We hope you’re still with us. If we leave you at the concert and you fall asleep during the music, you are obviously not made of the stuff we want in our fellow citizens. We never said it was easy to live here. It takes energy and endurance, dammit. We know you can do it. Now go! You’ve got a glorious, action-packed weekend ahead of you. Come back with your shield, or on it!

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