Wednesday, August 15, 2007
August 15th, Velika Gospa, Moje (pronounced mo-gee) Feast, the festival goes by many names, but basically it is the feast of the Assumption, and an excuse for all the neighborhood Italians to co-mingle with the beautiful Croatian girls from all around Chicago. At least that was my vantage point this year as I ventured into the bar area across the street from the church, (yes bar across from the church). Throughout my 12 years of Catholic school every opportunity to was made to make fraternizing with the opposite sex what amounted to a mortal sin. However I soon learned that when you can charge $ for alcohol that benefits the church, the more you drink, hey, God Bless You.
It is always a good opportunity for me to re-connect with friends that I only get a chance to see about once a year, and I have never missed a fest. Sure, when I was younger I used to run up in my house and hide in the upstairs front room and watch the parade pass by from the front window. But in my defense it was only when the nuns passed in front of the house. It's hard to smile and wave as they pass by when your only real memories of them is when they used to beat you with rulers and paddles. This year I stayed outside the whole time and not once did I have a flashback of my 3rd grade teacher Sister Lucile. I guess all those years of therapy paid off.
As I walked through the festival I was amazed at how many people remembered me, and how unfortunately, I had forgotten half of their names and some of their faces. For instance, this guy came up to me, talked to me for 15 minutes, knew my name, where I lived, everything, and I didn't have a clue who he was. The other thing I realized, and I realize this every year, is that our neighborhood puts out some of the most attractive people per sq foot than probably any other area in the city. I think its the Italian/Croatian mix, but there are so many tall, tan, beautiful people at this fest, and they stay that way into their 50's and 60's! It's quite amazing. I think it's all the salt they put on the lamb, it must act as a preservative or something.
I've included some shots of the parade as it passes my house complete with authentic Croatian dress and a shot of the priests! (It should help me one day with St. Peter).