You know you live in a city when…….

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by Jackie Alfonso | May 21, 2009 • This game can be fun: from my own life I can contribute facts such as “there are two or more movie theaters” or “parades happen at night” or “items from Zabars are carried by grocers”

Lemonade Chronicles is a blog written by Jackie Alfonso, a local writer who is deeply concerned about food … and other issues.

Perhaps the most telling, however, is what happens on a day like today: The previous week was dry, the temperatures set records, the tap water smells and tastes like mummy dust, and the chipper weather guy with clumsy syntax is delighted to announce that there is no rain in sight.

This is when I remember the joys of Maynard Spiess and his cohorts, reading the grain reports on WCCO at noon, when the farmers would be at table. In those days drought was a bad thing, not something that interfered with the evening’s party. Nearly everyone had some sort of garden for vegetables, most families lived from those gardens all winter. A week like this meant no peas to can, less variety on the table, and patient hand watering of each plant. Our days were not structured by the “Smart Set” but by the direct needs of children, the discomfort for elders, lowered milk production because of stress to the cows and reduced graze.

Children spent hot afternoons under the trees, seeking fitful breezes and reading comic books because anything more complex was too hard for concentration. A small pond, a still-active creek, could be life savers for curiosity.

In the small town where I grew up, the movie theater owner endeared himself to parents by offering free films on Saturdays all summer. Parents could get their shopping done, have a cup of coffee with friends, and the kids were entertained in the dim coolness for several hours. Infinite repeats of Larry, Moe and Curley, old (even then) Gene Autry films and once, oh joy, Tex Ritter himself came charging down the aisle on his wonderful horse. scaring us all out of our wits.

Now that lively Art Deco building has been razed to widen a highway, and its black glass and mirrors gone forever.

The saving grace these days comes from the neighborly folks at the Riverview, who open their doors to their neighborhood for many events small and large.

Today is a day when I wish that all the weather actors would bear in mind that there are some people still whose lives are not measured by whether the new hip bar’s roof-top terrace will be closed due to much needed rain.

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