I woke up Saturday morning with an Ernie Banks-sized hole in my heart. I never watched him play, except for possibly at an Old Timers game I attended in the 1980s, but I knew from my earliest inkling of Mr. Banks that he was considered a timeless icon to be revered. I shook his hand once and said, "Nice to meet you, Mr. Banks." Tongue tied to say any more in the presence of greatness.
It seemed fitting that Chicago would be blessed with a warm for winter sunny morning the day after Mr. Cub's passing. With the snow mostly melted and the sun peeking over the three-flats across the street, you could almost imagine a baseball game being played. Or two. With that magical thought, I threw on my Nikes and started my mile-long journey past two cemeteries to the house that Banks built: Wrigley Field.
It's incredibly unfortunate that Ernie Banks statue is unavailable as a place to gather and mourn due to the current renovation work. I might have slept there Friday night had it been. Yet Cubs fans still found a place on Addison where Mr. Banks' name is engraved to lay flowers and trinkets charged with personal memories.
While photographing the first stages of the memorial, I was joined by a WGN-TV news crew, which included WGN's Andrea Darlas. She asked if I'd like be interviewed, to which I responded, "Do I have anything in my teeth?" I was honored to speak about my feelings of loss for such a great man. I was also thankful that I had been left informed and in tears by Al's tribute to Mr. Cub earlier that morning. Thus, I didn't sound like a total idiot when the piece on Ernie Banks aired at 5:30.
After my initial visit Saturday morning, I visited twice more, Saturday night and Sunday morning. I had hoped there would be an impromptu "Let's drink 2 for Ernie" scene happening Saturday night. If there was, I didn't see it. However, the photographs in the gallery are some of what I did see on the day after we lost our Mr. Cub.