Former Ald. Richard Mell cooks up happiness for his aging neighbors

Mell, who always has done the cooking for his family, prepares and delivers meals to four women three days a week.

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Former Ald. Dick Mell preparing meals during the COVID-19 pandemic for his elderly neighbors. | Provided photo

Richard’s in the kitchen!

And he’s rattling up those pots and pans!

Former Ald. Dick Mell, 82, who was once a 33rd Ward political powerhouse known for his efficiency as well as his short fuse, is now battling the pandemic one pot at a time.

For the past month, Mell has been cooking up and delivering homemade meals to four elderly, single, neighborhood ladies since the coronavirus closed their doors a month ago: Betty, Lorraine, Dorothy and Guadalupe.

“I make ‘em, bake ‘em, and deliver ‘em in the back seat of my car three days a week,” chirped Mell, who called Sneed a few days ago blasting a local grocery store for basically giving him the runaround.

“All I did was request more unused plastic ‘hot food’ pocket trays theyhad initially given me for free,” he said. “I only had one tray left. So when I asked for more they told me to call their corporate office.

“Hell, I told them I’d pay for them. But no dice and no call back. Amazing!”

Mell’s recent culinary journey began last month when his son, Richard,took a pass on an offer of homemade stuffed peppers his dad had cooked up.

“That’s when I thought maybe Betty, my late wife Marge’s best friend, might like them. She did. So I got the idea to cook in batches and spoon up some veggies and ribs and meat loaf and pasta and mac and cheese plus dinner rolls,” he said.

“It’s been great fun. All the ladies live within a four-block radius of each other and are basically trapped at home,” said Mell.

“He’s been like my knight in shining armor ... except the knight wears an apron,” chirped Lorraine, 89. “Dick’s delivery of a warm meal is delicious.And he always wears a mask and stays six feet away.”

Mell claims he has always done the family cooking.

“My late wife, Marge, worked full time and was always the main breadwinner,” he said. “So I cooked all our meals and made sure her car was washed, the laundry was done and we had a cleaning lady.”

(He and wife, who died in 2006, also have two daughters; former Ald. Deb Mell and Patti Blagojevich.) Mell subsequently remarried. “I’ve been honored to have married two wonderful spouses: Marge and Yomaira,” he said. “And I still do the cooking!”)

So here’s the happy ending.

“I’d like to thank DJ and Carmen at Mariano’s grocery store on Lawrence Avenue for volunteering the needed plastic trays,” said Mell.

“China plate delivery was a bomb. My back seat was a nightmare.”

No Rx for R. Kelly . . .

Singer R. Kelly is writing new lyrics these days via email.

The lyrics?

“Please. Please. Please.”

The words are from three recent emails sent to Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg by Kelly, who petitioned the court last week to release him from incarceration at the Metropolitan Correctional Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greenberg said the emails were sent by an “emotional and despondent” Kelly, who is not only awaiting trial on a myriad of sexual assault allegations — but in fear of becoming a victim of the virus.

According to Greenberg, the first email said: “Please.”

It was prefaced by a phone call from Kelly “expressing anger over being held in lockdown in his cell in a place where the noise is deafening; people are coughing, complaining, sneezing and screaming out from anxiety over the coronavirus,” said Greenberg.

Kelly’s second email stated: “Please. Please.”

“The third email was basically three words: “Please. Please. Please.”

Fearful of undiagnosed as well as unreported COVID cases at the MCC, Kelly has recovered from last year’s hernia surgery; reports no coronavirus symptoms yet; but fears lockup is an easy breeding ground for disease.

“It’s very difficult for prisoners, who are permitted no visitors and one phone call a week, to feel safe talking after wiping off the telephone with a disinfectant. The holes in the section of the headphone could be bombarded by germs of infected prisoners — making it impossible to clean with a hand wipe,” he added.

Sneedlings . . .

Condolences to the family of legendary criminal attorney Ed Genson, whomade headlines representing controversial clients ... but shouted from the rooftops his adoration of wife Susan; his three children; andshowing his beloved grandchildren his treasured train collection at his home. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Kourtney Kardashian, 41; Conan O’Brien, 57; and America Ferrera, 36. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: James Franco, 42; Kate Hudson, 41; and Candace Parker, 34...and a belated birthday to Carol’s Tom Carroll, ageless and priceless.

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