On a Beautiful Day in May


As I was saying…Since I wrote here last, we had a wind and ice storm (in February) which knocked out power for five days (longer in other neighborhoods). After about the third day, without electricity inside and freezing temperatures outside, I decided to call my local “commissioner,” a woman named Cheryl Gelber. Her attitude was basically: Who the eff are you and what do you want me to do about it”? So I then wrote my Pennsylvania state senator, one Daylin Leach the Fifth (I made up the last part of his name, I think), and he gave me the same song and dance and in addition, he didn’t like my “tone.”

Goodness gracious, we’re without electricity and heat for about five days and it’s in the single digits out there and Sir Daylin doesn’t like my “tone.” He even noted that his family was without power for two days. I emphasize the word family because I took it to mean that he was toiling in the feverish swamps of Harrisburg where at least the lights were on.

Just to be bi-partisan (Cheryl and Daylin are card carrying Democrats), I also wrote to the Republican governor of Pennsylvania and next morning got a call from one of his mouthpieces who joined the Gelber-Leach chorus, ie, what the eff do you want me to do about it?

Just a thought:  I would have thunk that the prime requirement for going into politics is a very thick skin. But these “folks,” as our Dear Leader likes to say, are extremely touchy. I mean, I didn’t expect them to get up on the pole and get my power back on;  all I wanted was a little Clintonian I feel your pain jazz. Nup, they couldn’t fake a little sincerity even.

So fast forward a couple of months. The lights are on, the flowers are starting to bloom, and I am out for a constitutional, as they used to say. I run into a local neighborhood activist (Democrat) who is very close to both Daylin and Cheryl. So I mention my experience with her putatively public servant friends.  She immediately bristles and calls the ice storm and the power outage “an act of God.” Being me, I couldn’t help myself from pointing out to her that when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans (which I believe is below sea level and is a bullseye in one of the country’s hurricane alleys), I didn’t remember any liberals calling it an act of God. I guess I really meant: If our neighborhood was run by people of the opposite party, she would not be calling it an act of God.

I forgot to mention that I had circulated my email exchange with the politicians among some of the non-politicians in the neighborhood.  Rosa Serota, the aforementioned neighborhood activist, asserted that many in the neighborhood were outraged over my “tone” and took it upon themselves “to apologize” to Cheryl for me. I never knew how you apologize for someone else but whatever….

Fast forward to Memorial Day.  I am at the annual Memorial Day block party, which I have attended for, perhaps, decades. I’m enjoying a beer and a chicken wing when a neighbor nudges me and points to a woman across the street whom I had never seen in attendance at past block parties. (My wife even went up to the woman and said: Who are you?)  Well, you probably guessed already – It was none other than Cheryl Gelber.

I looked around. The flowers were in bloom, the weather was fair, temperature in the 70’s. And if I had been inside, I would have noticed that the lights were on. And on a beautiful day in late May, our “alderwoman” was mingling with the masses.

Just perfect.




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