Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cougar footprints not the problem in Orland Park

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We have a lot of wild animals in Orland Park, but cougars are not among them. Sightings of Fox and coyotes roaming the streets, mainly late at night or early morning through the neighborhoods and backyards are not unusual. I've seen the coyote packs roam. They walk like they are on their tip-toes, prancing nervously and looking in every direction as they move.

There are the deer that wander into the backyards from the local forrest preserves. And fences mean nothing. They can hop the fences with ease. Giant raccoons with black patches around their eyes also walk like they are tip-toeing, too. is this a pattern of stealth that animals understand? Brown hawks with wing spreads of two feet, swoop through the backyards as they scope for baby rabbits and baby birds. It's a sick thought. I think they are the worst predators.

And then we have the strangest animal of all. Like the Swallows of Capistrano returning to the hills in California on St. Joseph's Day every March 19, 19th Ward precinct captains march out to the polling places to ask local residents to vote for certain candidates.

Now, the snow is mostly melted so we don't see the precinct captains paw prints that easily on the ground. but they return, nonetheless, through some form of patronage instinct that tells them "If ya don't get yer ass out der en work for dis candidate, you just might loose yer jab (job)!"

Political instinct is not that common.

They were here in the last election stumping for Paul O'Grady and you can bet they will be here again in February stumping for more indigenous 19th Ward wild politicians who have migrated to better graving fields in Orland Park.

They hulk around the entrances to polling places with little pieces of paper in their hands. They're shameless and could care less if you don't recognize them -- they're not local.

One thing you can do though is offer them Orland Park politeness. Help them figure out how to drive back to the 19th Ward, the natural mating grounds for some of the region's more spectacular and colorful politicians over the years. you don't want them to be lost. They have garbage can lids to hand out on the weekends in their natural habitat in the city.

They're good at taking orders, they can keep a precise tally of numbers on a narrow slip of election paper produced by the wilds of the Cook County Clerk's office, and they are loyal to a fault, standing out at polling places in the suburbs even when so few voters in Orland Park waste their time wandering out of their homes or lives to actually vote.

The cougars of Wheaton. The 19th Ward precinct captains of Orland Park. Both wild animals who often wander into areas they don't belong.

-- Ray Hanania

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