As I write this, the deadheads are leaving the neighborhood. In droves.
It's the end of an era, the end of a weekend--punctuated by cop whistles at midnight making sure no deadhead gets run over by dispersing Grateful Dead traffic at Roosevelt and State.
The South Loop dresses up like 1960s Haight-Ashbury.
It was fun. A costume party. Make believe.
I can't say that I enjoyed the music wafting over the elegant townhomes of Central Station (where Richie used to live), a stone's throw from Soldier Field. I found a number of secluded areas in and around that complex late Saturday night--surprisingly undiscovered by deadheads--in which to sprawl out on the grass and listen in the dark--with only the soft glow of patio lights from the nearby patios for illumination. I find Grateful Dead music kind of boring.
Still, I totally loved the way the deadheads peopled our neighborhood at the foot of the mountain that is Soldier Field. I loved the way they patronized the restaurants. Like old favorite Kroll's at 18th and Michigan; I've never seen so many people in front. And a new restaurant with a beautiful courtyard at 18th and Indiana called Spoke & Bird. The proprietors were positively giddy about 5 PM with all the business they had.
I loved all the crowns of roses. I loved the rainbow t-shirts--especially on all the employees at Jewel at Roosevelt and Wabash, which was lit up with advertising--on one of its brick walls outside--the imminent sale of the concerts' DVDs, et al.
I loved the crowd of hippie garb that swayed past all weekend in every direction.
I loved the diversity of the deadheads--especially the age diversity. Every generation was represented. I loved how peaceful and quiet the deadheads were. Not a troublemaker in the bunch.
They were nice to have around. Good guests. Simple, sweet and kind.
I'm going to miss them.
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