What Spring Sounds Like in Windows-Open South Philly

You haven’t lived in a Philly rowhouse until you’ve heard Hot Cross Buns butchered on a clarinet.

Dickinson Square Park | M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Dickinson Square Park | M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

There are a lot of ways to measure the arrival of spring in Philly.

Technically, it began March 20th, before the last snow of the year, weeks after that deadbeat groundhog waddled out of bed. Easter isn’t usually a bad benchmark—although that, too, was followed by snow this time around. I used to welcome it the first time my cat delivered a dead baby animal to the doorstep, but ever since Saffron retired, I go by a more optimistic milestone: the first weekend that the windows stay open.

Which is to say, finally, happy spring.

Did it feel good? In true Philly fashion, it was almost too warm. Did it look good? Let’s just say there were a lot of jean shorts and tube socks walking down my block Saturday afternoon. Did it smell good? “Sweet” and “breeze” very rarely go in the same sentence around these parts.

But damn, did it sound good. From Friday night through Sunday evening, last weekend was a pitch-perfect snapshot of the finest season in the finest city. (Brief disclaimer: I’m from here and can’t distinguish the rolling tide of the ocean from the rolling tide of I-95.)

This is what spring sounds like in windows-open South Philly: 

Dueling ice cream trucks
Growing up in the city, the opening bars of Pop Goes The Weasel are the equivalent of a choir of bluebirds chirping Amazing Grace. True, ice cream truck music gets a little old — especially when the competition pulls up across the street and blasts The Entertainer on loop — but before you protest, remember this: Complaining about ice cream is a one-way ticket to dying alone in a pile of cats and TV Guides.

Spring recital cramming
You haven’t lived in a Philly rowhouse until you’ve heard Hot Cross Buns butchered on a clarinet. And a flute. And a recorder. And a dented saxophone. Keep practicing, kiddos — we’re (kind of, mostly) rooting for you.

Phillies play-by-plays
I didn’t watch Sunday’s game. But as someone who lives right off Second Street, I can tell you exactly what happened, whose fucking fault it was, why this fucking team is a bunch of fucking losers, how we’re never going to win a fucking championship in this fucking city — and, of course, how my neighbors knew the Phillies were going to win the entire time.

After a little more than six months of living in Deep South Philly, I can almost tell the difference between friendly yelling, neutral yelling, concerned yelling and this-can’t-end-well yelling. Almost. After this spring, I hope to be fluent.

Assorted Mummery
Where two or three are gathered in beer’s name, there is a banjo in their midst. To which I can only say, alleluia, spring — you’re noisy, but I missed you.

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