George Chigas on Foot

From his home hub in downtown Lowell, writer, scholar, and teacher George Chigas covers a lot of territory on foot. Like Henry Thoreau who “traveled a good deal in Concord,” George will send us occasional reports on his movements and what he sees, hears, and feels.

Walking Home from Market Basket Tonight . . .

by George Chigas


North Common Village (web photo courtesy of Lowell Housing Authority)

Walking home from Market Basket tonight with my chocolate soy milk and dried dates, a warm night for mid-September, mid-seventies . . . passing the “Historic North Common Housing” on Broadway I looked left and saw a TV set up on a table outside the backdoor of one of the apartments and, beyond, the gold dome of Holy Trinity shining in milky moonlight. Drawn in I turned down the path between the row of brick apartments and when I approached the backyard (small, fenced-in, about fifteen feet square) with the TV playing, a tiny dog ran up yelping. “She don’t bite,” the woman watching the TV (college football) said. A man in a t-shirt was sitting on the back step smoking a cigarette not interested in the game it looked like. “Who’s winning?” I asked. “UAB,” she said. I’m not a football fan, so I had no idea. “Enjoy the game!” I said, walking on. The man in the t-shirt looked up and said, “Have a good night.” “You too!” I said, happy I had turned. So few chances to talk to people these days. I noticed the small tree in their yard was decorated with homemade Halloween ghosts (four or five of them, at first I wasn’t sure what they were, first time seeing anything Halloween this year, except [almost forgot] the plastic gourd and fake autumn leaves in the Subway plate-glass window across from St. Anne’s) hanging from the branches, strips of black cloth and something (a tennis ball?) to make small heads. Leaving the project, I looked up and saw the quarter moon (waxing, a few nights ago it was a hairline crack) in a cloudy haze, Like a Covid mask! I thought to myself smiling . . .

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