All night I kept getting up almost every hour on the hour but not with any intestinal issues. My brain kept whirring in a kaleidoscopic tangle of past images and present fears. I envisioned my grandmother whisking towards me, closely cropped white holding a yellowed and tattered newspaper clipping about the Egan Rats, an Eastside gang at the beginning of the twentieth century. She was an Egan, but of no relation to the thugs described in the paper. Or so she claimed maybe a little too loudly. She always wore a white ankle length dress with a flowered design. I think the flowers were blue; at least that’s what I saw in my mind’s eye. Grandma loved the Saturday tamales, I recalled. She towered over her husband a full six inches. Then came Grandpa, holding court in his overstuffed chair, the cheap pine stained to resemble cherry wood, stoking his omnipresent pipe, the smoke encircling his face. He had come to this country as a nine year old under some illegal but all too common labor contract and worked in the coal mines from age nine until he turned twelve and then ran off to work for the railroad, three years for the Union Pacific and then fifty more for the Frisco line. He claimed the years in the closed quarters of the coalmines had stunted his growth. Maybe he was right. Then the rest was a jumble, the tamale man calling out “tamales, get your hot tamales, “ pushing his two-wheeled reddish-brown cart slowly pas each house as he trudged his way. I don’t remember his face only his hand raised high with an order of four tamales wrapped in light brown cornhusks. Simultaneously, my mind slipped back to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner, with my father carving and distributing out measured slices of white meat to each of the twelve of us at the table: my grandparents seated at either end, my two aunts and their families, and my father and I on the sides. My mother was never seated but always bustling to and from the kitchen, and calling out almost in a litany, “Do you have enough to eat?” She must have lost weight on Thanksgiving, rushing back and forth in a frenzy. For the most part, traditions dominated although my one aunt had broken an unwritten and, for that matter unspoken family rule, and married an Italian. After the Thanksgiving gorging, my grandfather would sit in his favorite chair and light his pipe and then fume a bit about how “The next you know we’ll all be eating lasagna or some other confounded Italian concoction instead of turkey and potato stuffing.” Then spray painted images of blacks and reds and yellows and whites swept through my mind in grand yard long swirls, gradually coalescing into a the face of an old bearded man with red skin, black trousers, and a yellow tunic, almost the length of a priest’s cassock, swallowing the black pants. Then the headlines roared past me like a freight train: break-ins, thefts, crime on the rise.