The deadheads are leaving the neighborhood and I'm sure going to miss them

The deadheads are leaving the neighborhood and I'm sure going to miss them
Photo/Chicago Tribune

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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