Spiderman at the Best Greek Diner


sam-george-s-restaurantSpiderman’s bright eyes and blonde crew cut just above the tables. Mom and Dad right behind him. When it’s breakfast at S&G’s, the smell of bacon and coffee and skillet meals like art and you’re hungry because everything is good. It’s after the rush, a quiet summer holiday morning, Spiderman drawing smiles from every table. Mom and Dad are regulars, Johnny motions to the back room and tells Mom and Dad to sit anywhere they want. Everyone is welcome at the S&G. Hospitality as natural as breathing.

Spiderman scanning the room after he settles on the pancakes. He locks into the round table in the corner and starts pulling on Dad’s sleeve. At the table, four young members of Chicago’s Finest, fresh faced young guys fueling up for a day that could include literally anything. You wonder how many years since these officers were Spiderman’s age. And it’s not all that many.

Dad finally relents; Spiderman pulls his facemask over his head. Now in full dress Spiderman uniform. Sharp like the creases in the young cops blue short sleeve shirts.

Approaching the table, the four cops all put down their forks and coffee cups. Smiles beaming like summer morning suns.

“Hey Spiderman!”

“We’re glad you’re here Spiderman! You gonna help us today?” Which draws a vigorous nod from Spiderman. Each of the cops reaches out to fist bump Spiderman.

At that table, unlocked if only for a moment, what it’s gonna take to get through the shift, through the danger, the temptations, through cleaning up what the rest of can do when we are at our absolute worst. Through running towards the horror when the rest of us pause or run the other way. At that table is the moment  that starts the wisdom of the streets.

Spiderman talks to heroes.

The cops, and anyone who cares to listen, hear the start of a summer day, like Springsteen sang, they hear “The fireworks are hailing over Little Eden tonight” and of course nod with someday weary smiles when Springsteen sings,

“The cops finally busted Madame Marie
For telling fortunes better than they do.”

Spiderman takes Dad’s hand, walking back to the table, looks over his shoulder.

His heroes are still there.

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6 Responses to “Spiderman at the Best Greek Diner”

  1. Tom Cordle Says:

    What’s the old line? Nobody wants anything to do with cops or lawyers till they need one. Thanks for this tip of the cap to Chicago’s boys in blue, who have a job to do that’s far more difficult than any of us can imagine.

    On a lighter note, this had me flashing back to long ago days when I would don whatever garb I could throw together and play Robin Hood or d’Artagnan, off to rescue fair damsels and right the world’s wrongs. Ah, to be that innocent again, if only for a moment – or as I once wrote:

    I long to be like Peter Pan
    And live in Never, Never Land

    Sadly, these days I’m living in a land I could never have imagined even a decade ago.

  2. paulhaider1974 Says:

    The cops won’t have to bust Madame Marie in Asbury Park anymore because she died in 2008, but I had the good fortune of getting my fortune read by her in 1991; her granddaughter read my fortune ten years ago in Asbury Park on the boardwalk. Being a cop is a thankless job in Chicago, and it must be the worst for them tonight in a city where the sound of firecrackers is more commonly from the result of gunfire. Hats off to Chicago’s men and women in blue on this hot day and long night of red, white, and blue.

  3. chicagoguy14 Says:

    Paulie–So was her reading accurate?

  4. paulhaider1974 Says:

    Madame Marie said that I wouldn’t become a famous rock star, and she was correct about that in 1991. However, she also said that I’d be married at the age of 29 with a son and a daughter by then. At 29 years of age, I was thinking about divorce because I didn’t want to have either a son or a daughter anymore. So, Madame Marie had a .500 batting average with me. Yet, Marie’s job wasn’t as tough as being a cop in Chicago, as 101 people were shot during the 4th of July weekend; 14 of those people were shot fatally. Who could have predicted that Americans would feel the need to shoot and kill each other in a “Christian” nation of peace, love, and forgiveness?

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