I have begun to follow the national news at a distance because it is too depressing, even for an optimist like me. I read that COVID-positive tests are increasing in some states that I don’t live in, and in countries I don’t plan to ever visit. 

I was pleased to learn that statues of Confederate generals like Robert E. Lee, astride their mighty steeds, were finally being removed from public spaces. One tiny overdue step for mankind. I guess the horses are a kind of collateral damage. Too bad for Lee’s  horse, Traveler. He should have avoided a racist master. Where is PETA when you need them?

My focus has turned to the local news. I am pleased to report that the news is considerably more upbeat in Lincoln Park, Wheaton and Glen Ellyn.

In Lincoln Park, Ford (age 1) is taking a longer afternoon nap, and Teddy (age 4) is very excited about earning enough “good boy ” credits for a Lego police station. He better be on his best behavior lest it be defunded.

In Wheaton, Jack (age .75) is pulling himself up on furniture and Hazel (age 2) has a new swing set that may prove more popular than her frustrated efforts to catch a rabbit or collect cicada shells.

In Glen Ellyn, there is an outbreak of bicycle riding, water-balloon fighting and trampolining. Although professional sports are dormant, Team Lily (age 11) defeated Team Chris (age 44) 5-4, in a hard-fought soccer contest. It was played before no fans. Veteran players Papa (age 71) and Gigi (age 70) sustained minor injuries to ankle and finger respectively. Team Chris was handicapped because budding superstar Cole (age 5) repeatedly left the pitch because he wasn’t seeing enough of the ball. Teammate Ava (age 9) had a good first half, but lost some focus in the second half over heat and field conditions. There was minor controversy after the match over celebratory ice cream or Slurpees.

Traffic has picked up. Outdoor dining seems pretty safe and popular. Columbus Park and Austin Gardens are in full summer bloom. When I’m walking and running, I see more smiles, at least among the unmasked faces. Life is not so bad.

I’m optimistic that the COVID second wave will be less deadly, and that police departments will get better. 

One thing is for sure, though: I’m going to continue following the local news.

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...