God, I love this city.
My wife and I had some vacation to burn so we decided to head north. She, of course, didn't really consider the playoffs because of the myriad other reason we had for a visit to Chicago. Me? Well, let's just say that I've had my vacation forecasted at work for quite some time and it had a lot to do with the Cubs.
There were other very important reasons to get up there though. My nephew was returning from a year in beautiful downtown Baghdad (He's an infantryman in the Illinois National Guard). We discovered that my late father left a safe deposit box at the bank and as executor of the estate I needed to produce the will so that we could have it drilled open. I was due to visit the graves of my parents too, something that has become an annual ritual for me. I had promised to sit graveside and listen to the Cubs on the radio with my father if ever they actually made it to the World Series. My youngest nephew, a student at Columbia College, was moving into a studio apartment in Wrigleyville. I just needed to get away from work for a while too. As each year brings me closer to retirement I find my attitude decaying at an exponential rate.
Another nephew, the one in between the infantryman and the student, had a line on SRO tickets for Sunday night for $120.00 each. I had to go. There may never be a better time.
My wife thought I was crazy to consider spending $120.00 for standing room, but that's another story for another time. She wasn't wasn't suckled by the streets of Little Italy or Greektown or Bridgport or Lakeview or Garfield Park or Back-of-the-Yards or any of the one-of-a-kind neighborhoods.
Hell, maybe we're all crazy.
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Sound familiar?
I don't know when I'll be at acceptance. My depression deepens.
We went out to Wrigley Thursday evening just to see what was going on. It was a strange mix; several seniors and several Gen-Xers, but all with Clark and Addison in common.
I had the camcorder going strong. I'll get around to uploading the mini DV sometime this week. We ate at Murphy's Bleachers. Something I'd never done before. Ho hum to some of you I guess but a real treat for the likes of me.
My middle nephew is a professional. I guess you'd call him a yuppie. He and his wife have a condo on Augusta, near Western. When I was a kid it was a neighborhood to stay away from; unless you came in force and had weapons. It's in "transition" now. That means that what was once the only place poor immigrant Puerto Ricans could afford is now so overpriced it is ridiculous. In any case, a visit to the condo was my first real foray into the inner city since 1966.
You can take the boy out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the boy.
Standing on the second floor porch of a three story Chicago red brick home, I could see a good part of the downtown skyline. It is spectacular. I feel sorry for those of you who have grown accustomed to its splendor.
Good micro-brewed beer; good wine. Italian beef; Lou Malnatti's delivered fresh. Sirens; Spanish rap from passing '77 Chevrolets. Horns blowing people walking down sidewalks and across streets. One-way streets. What the hell is this business with parking permits?
It's in me. I'll soon be 61 and I can't shake it. I go back to the Gulf Coast and bask in the warmth and play golf in January and grow vegetables in my back yard all year long and hear no sirens. Hear no Spanish rap. Nobody walks here--there's virtually no public transportation and no place to go anyway.
You. You folks who live there. Feel it, thank your creator for it. When the hawk comes off the lake this winter, savor it. You are part of it. It's an organism that exists soley because of you and those around you and the Cubs are one of its vital organs.
God, I love this city and I love the Cubs.
I'll be back and so will the Cubs.