It is always a joy to go to North Riverside Day because it is so much fun.
Most villages have these little mini fairs of some sort of another. I have been to many around the state. But few are as friendly and as inviting as North Riverside Day. Although I am sure it is not true, it would seem as if everyone knew each other. If nothing else, they quickly got to know one another as no one acted the stranger, especially for newcomers. Everyone is welcome, and Mayor Richard Scheck and First Lady Judy Scheck preside over it all, kind of like a mother and father of the village.
North Riverside belies its size and acts almost like a small, rural village. There is no central business district, but that does not seem to hold the community back for pulling together as a whole. The booths represented at the day reflected the interesting groups within the village.
I enjoyed chatting with the Quilting Club, which was raffling off a beautifully done quilt and were kind enough to talk to me about the fine points of quilting. Since my daughter in law, Christina, quilts, I was interested in knowing as to where their quilts go, whether they are hand or machine made and where they get the materials. It turns out, quilting is not an inexpensive undertaking.
And then there was the Greyhound Rescue booth with a sweet, retired greyhound wearing a red vest with pockets for donations. This is an active group which saves greyhounds from a sorry fate after they retire from racing. I happen to think greyhound racing is one of the crueler sports out there involving animals, because so many dogs are killed early on if they cannot run, and then are killed off at about age 4 when they can no longer race. They make great pets, and the Rescue finds homes for many of the gentle dogs.
I got to meet Sam, the police dog, and Officer McClintock who minds him and speaks commands in phonetic Czech, as that is from where Sam hails. I tried my regular Czech on Sam, but I think he has been completely Americanized, as he did not respond. But then, he had a tennis ball in his mouth, which kept him pretty quiet in any language.
The food tent was probably the most popular place on the grounds of North Riverside Commons. The sausage sandwiches, and their toppings of onions and peppers, were so huge, that no one dared put them down once they had a grip on them else they would be totally out of control. At least one man told me that he could barely get his mouth around them. The Presbyterian Church was selling pieces of cake and cups of coffee, which pretty well rounded out a great, high-cholesterol afternoon.
Young reporters from the Riverside-Brookfield High School television station went about recording it all, getting interviews whenever they could. The Girl Scouts were especially winning, offering to do my nails in some kind of glowing polish. I turned down the opportunity because I still bite my nails and did not want to have to call attention to the “remains.”
I was especially impressed with the young scout who had sprayed her hair a gruesome red, which had come from some other booth offering such colorful sprayings. Having dyed hair to begin with, I passed by the opportunity to get yet another color added on.
The community theater group was hyping “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” their next production. I skipped an offer to try out for one of the productions, noting that too many years of public speaking and too many cigarettes have destroyed my singing voice. But, I did offer that if they ever did “Hello, Dolly!” I might consider auditioning.
The parties which the village holds for its residents all reflect the same, small-town charm. I always come away from these get-togethers wondering that if North Riverside has any problems, they surely cannot last long as the people get along so well. In other words, it is a very nice place to live.
It has been fun going about and enjoying the wonders of Riverside Township these last 10 years as the Landmark celebrated its ownership by the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park. Unlike other community newspapers, it has concentrated on local news and plenty of it. It only gets better.