Today’s Worcester Common Ground CDC ribbon-cutting ceremony was …

By Rosalie Tirella

… eye opening! Got there, the WCDC tot lot, on the corner of Austin and Newbury streets, a bit late and saw my pal Billy Randell. We are disagreeing about the city’s housing policy. The great thing about Billy and me is that we can disagree on a lot of stuff and still give each other a big hug – and mean it! – when we see each other in the city. Maybe it’s because we both know and love Canterbury Street, maybe it’s because we both love greyhounds and I still miss Billy and his family’s late (beautiful) greyhound, Tyler. Several years ago we put Tyler and Billy’s wife Vanessa and Billy’s little girl Vangella on the cover of InCity Times .. fun. Maybe Billy and I are still pals no matter what because we are both pretty OK people who roll with the punches and have known each other for a decade and like each other – no matter the politics. I took a nice photo of Billy! He’d looks happy and cute!

Then there was the food – beyond mere hamburgers and hot dogs! A wonderful spread – a feast, really! – put on by an ebullient black man with a damp towel over his head to keep cool in the 93 degree heat and hell hot sun. This guy is a gifted chef! I had the best tortellini salad of the summer, courtesy of this man, who called everybody honey!! It is so nice when you see a person being nice to everyone at an event –  the high and the low, the poltician and the recovering drug addict. Jesus’ way. This black caterer’s way!

Then there was State Senator Mike Moore. I had blogged about him this morning. This afternoon I told him I was against the slots parlor coming to Millbury. I said SHAME on you for being for it! He was very sweet to me. Spent 10 or so minutes telling me all about the slots casino project. How he really felt it was gonna be an entertainment hot spot, since it was gonna have a spa, a high-end restaurant, a bar and a middle-tier pub. He said there would also be a venue for music/concerts! I love concerts! He said the venue would double as a convention center. I said: THIS IS WHAT I WANTED FOR THE WYMAN GORDON SITE before everybody in Woo got demanding and screwed things up. Moore told me the jobs would come – $50,000 a year jobs with benefits. This sounded good to me. He said he was gonna ask the Millbury town planner to ask the Rush Street gaming guys to reconstruct the roads so the traffic wouldn’t go down my beloved Greenwood Street or McCracken Road, that the cars would get on to and off the slots casino site via Route 146. He sounded earnest and nice …

I am not a big speech listener. I prefer to hang and blab to peeps and eat and drink. The desserts – decorated cakes – were gorgeous! Pictures of the units on the cake – in frosting!!!! Windows, doors and everything! PLUS: Veggie burgers!!!

Back to the events. I saw State Senator Harriet Chandler, too, who was so nice to me, who looked happy to see me! I think she wanted to talk to me about my late mom. She has told me she loves my columns about her. But Senator Chandler is an important person and District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera horned herself in between the two of us, making sure Harlee talked with her – and not so much to me. Kinda rude and agressive. Relax, Sarai, I just wanted to talk about my dead mother with someone I know liked reading about her in my rag. … I think if Harlee had known my mom she would have loved her, too.

Then there was my favorite part, the part of the event when all the politicians and social workers and do gooders had gone home and the regualar people were just hanging … . Got to talk with a lovely woman in a wheel chair who told me about her housing problems. I saw that someone had come in with a young pit bull bitch. He had her on a heavy chain – tied to a bench. She had teats and looked a little underfed. She was panting so hard, her rib cage going up and down. Her tongue was out and a bright pink. I asked the lady in the wheel chair to hold my bowl of excellent pasta salad and I went to the refreshment table to get the pit bull a nice bottle of water. Then I went to the main table, got a styrofoam bowl and poured the water into the bowl and gave it to the dog. She drank it all. I poured her some more water.

“You’re a good woman,” the lady in the wheel chair said to me, not smiling, just being direct. I walked up to her and said, THANKS. YOU’RE A NICE LADY. She gave me back my little bowl of pasta salad.

I did not tell her that she had said to me the exact words my mom used to say when I had done something fine: “You’re a good woman.”

I left a while later, vowing to fight for the lady in the wheel chair … but to be open to Billy and Tim McGourthy’s points of view, too. I hope they also have her best interests at heart.