Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Food from way back when: Got an email Monday from a member at 1st United Church of Christ in Forest Park. She was looking for a little ink for the church’s upcoming fundraiser. 

Kind of tickled me in a Prairie Home Companion sort of way. On Feb. 10, the church will host its “Breaded Pork Tenderloin Dinner” fundraiser. The only appropriate side dish would be Veg-All. And a Hamm’s to wash it all down.

There’s also going to be music from the 1950 and ’60s band “The Affects.” And a 50/50 Split the Pot Raffle.

I’m so old I’m not really making fun. I’d kind of like to go. Except for the promised dancing. Haley men don’t dance. It is a multi-generational thing.

More old food: You have a favorite spot, closer than a North Woods supper club, for nights when you want to eat like its 1957?

The Golden Steer on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park tops my list. Seriously good food that fills a plate and doesn’t mess with any fusion sort of nonsense. A post on Facebook, though, reminded me of another place not too far off. Stacy’s Cafe. On Mannheim in Bellwood, a little north of the Eisenhower. 

You got a place?

You ever eat?: Wednesday Journal is doubling down on food. Next week we’ll be announcing a whole new venture celebrating Oak Park food culture. Dining out, cooking at home, growing a garden, meeting the chef, the social experience of food. You might have noted that Melissa Elsmo, a wonderful local writer and cook, has joined up with us. And David Hammond, our great food blogger, is on board. 

We’re talking new website, videos, events, social media, even a new quarterly magazine. 

That’s the tease. More to come.

Christmas past: Spent Saturday taking down Christmas. Out with the tree. Packing up the knick-knacks. Feels so good putting it all up. Feels so good packing it away. Got to be time for baseball soon.

Out walking my dog. Is there anything more depressing and discouraging than a fully flattened-out Santa, Snoopy, Grinch inflatable? Final Christmas question: Is there a future for those new projection gizmos that put snowflakes, reindeer, baby Jesus floating across the front of your home? Or is it a one-year thing?

More Forest Park: Lots of Forest Park in today’s column. That works because last week a certain local newspaper reported that ex-pat Oak Parkers are fueling a small boom in condo and townhouse development just across Harlem.

If you do move, here are two things to know: Monday morning, Forest Park was trying to send out a robocall alerting residents that snow route regs were about to go into effect. On a smaller scale than ballistic missiles heading for Hawaii, a wrong button was hit and residents heard a call for all off-duty firefighters to report for duty as there was a structural fire in a notable building on Marion Street in Oak Park. Happily there was no fire. 

And last week in a lovely Madison Street restaurant sure to be featured in our new dining extravaganza (see above), one of my most favorite people was honored by the Forest Park Kiwanis. Jackie Schulz has been writing the Talk of the Town column in our Forest Park Review for 47 years. As Chris Harris, the Kiwanian who presented the award, said, Jackie’s column was the weekly diary of life in this lovely small town. Everyone’s birthday and anniversary were noted. Deaths and births were celebrated and honored. Tidbits gleaned on dog walks along Madison were treasured scoops. 

And most remarkably, and most telling, about Jackie is that you’d think a column like this would become increasingly insular and parochial over decades. Never did. There was nothing Jackie liked more than introducing the new folks from Thailand or Mexico who found their way to a home in Forest Park.

Great and good woman, Jackie Schulz.

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Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...