The sun goes down the night rolls in. You can feel it starting all over again. The moon comes up and the music calls. You’re getting tired of staring at the same four walls. Nobody knows where you’re going. Nobody cares where you’ve been. ‘Cause you belong to the city. You belong to the night. Living in a river of darkness beneath the neon light.

Friday it was fucking 92 degrees hot and I had been feeling horrible w/ allergies all week. Thursday it felt like I had a cactus in my throat. I woke up Friday listening to the morning news and they warned about “air quality index” and I closed my windows and put the AC on again. I also cancelled my after work dinner plans w/ Max. AQI never meant a thing to me till Friday and then I googled it:

Poor indoor air quality can cause a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing or wheezing, headache, burning eyes, or skin rash. People with asthma or other breathing problems or who have allergies may have severe reactions.

Then I realized my dilemma. Due to allergies and lack of sleep my work productivity suffered and I hate falling back on excuses like my allergies are so bad I can’t speak. Which is often true.

Saturday morning I was up and out early. Had to bike to the local Walmart Neighborhood Market to pick up my sleep meds at the pharmacy. After I biked up the lakefront trail to Peace Park and came home to wash the sweat off of myself. At 8 AM it was already 80 degrees. As I was preparing to head back out I felt a cool breeze on the back deck and then it started getting dark. For about an hour I sat outside and watched the rain and lightning and listened to the roaring thunder. It was short lived and I wasted no time in getting back out.

This time I went to Lincoln Square to shop at Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen. I wanted to pick up some good in house made bratwurst for the upcoming July 4 holiday. It took literally no time and then I ordered 2 cabbage rolls and some sliced Dill Havarti and Habanero Havarti cheese.

In March of 1972, two young immigrant brothers from a small farm village in Malopolskie, Poland, John and Gene Luszcz, opened a small neighborhood deli specializing in homemade smoked sausage and other Polish delicacies. Drawing upon their family’s sausage-making recipes and smoking techniques, John & Gene’s on West Roscoe Street, gained almost instant popularity and a loyal clientele catering to the largely Polish Chicago neighborhood anchored by St. Ladislaus church. For 8 successful years John and Gene personally served and greeted hungry customers providing a taste of “home” to the local community.

In 1980, in need of additional space, the store moved to nearby Belmont Avenue where it operates today as Gene’s Sausage Shop & Deli. Gene’s famous life-size sculpture of a cow which dominates the outdoor sign welcomes Gene’s Sausage Shop customers to its 20,000 square feet of 40 types of smoked sausages, fresh meats, prepared foods and European imported specialties. The artisan handmade sausages are made fresh on-premise every day by traditional sausage-makers from Europe, and fresh meat is served up the old-fashion way, cut straight out of the meat cooler by trained butchers. Gene and his wife, Alice, have gained national media attention for their delicatessen and have been featured on the Frugal Gourmet Show, 190 North, Taste, Fox News and numerous publications.

2009 marks Gene’s Sausage Shop’s 37th Anniversary as well as the beginning of a new chapter in its history. A second full range European market opened September, 2009 in Chicago’s Lincoln Square area occupying the old space of Delicatessen Meyer, a 53 year German-American institution which closed in 2007.

Halfway between the sausage shop and home there is a Culvers which delayed opening till after COVID finally came to an end a week ago so I went since I needed to eat. It’s hard for me to eat in the heat and even harder when it hurts to swallow food or even water. My throat was raw. It’s a nice big restaurant with a massive dining room and everyone was nice.

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