1985 Chicago BearsThe season is officially upon us. And I couldn't be any more excited, but not for the reasons you may think. Allow me to explain:

Growing up in Chicago, every Sunday Mass ended with some derivation of  "Go in Peace". If this happened to be during football season, the translation would be the equivalent of "Gentlemen, start your engines". Everyone would race home in time for the earliest scheduled kick-off. Whatever your favorite team, there was always the common denominator of...Da Bears.

By default, if it was football season, there was typically some amount of snow. And returning home from church services, what you were likely presented with was the following:

Chicago Streets

By placing a furniture "marker" on a space you had previously shoveled, you were essentially calling "dibs" on that parking spot. This was a completely acceptable practice. Given the severity of the snowfall, if you had a "marker" ranging from a garden gnome to a couch (yes, I have seen it), your spot was "safe". Deviating from this unwritten rule typically resulted in an unexplained loss of air in your tires, frozen key locks and windows, or even a shattered window. Alas, there was no recourse. Municipalities, city officials, and cops looked the other way...even the mayor practiced this custom.

But at the end of the day, it didn't  matter if "Da Bears" won or lost or who ninja'd your coveted parking spot...it was all about a sense of community that transcended everyday differences, class struggles, color/creed, and political affiliation. And to that I say, "Amen!". Come Monday?  Well, that's another story.

I now live in Seattle. There is no snow. There are no "markers". But, on Sundays, you will find me sitting along the curb on a broken-down lawn chair randomly mumbling, "Da Bears, God Save da Garden Gnomes". Just because, someone's got to.