Baby Road: Day 5 Part 1 & 2 by Bill Pike

Not that I had been a slug since our arrival in Chicago, but I needed some exercise. So, on the morning of Saturday, April 21, I resolved to head out early for a run down by the lakeshore.BR5

My only concern was the hamstring area of my left leg. Not sure how or when, but some muscle in there was out of sorts. And despite my efforts to be nice to the muscle, it was still bugging me when I go for a run. Interestingly, there are no problems while intensely riding a stationary bike.

Loaded with a strong dose of male stubbornness, I headed out. Within my first few turtle steps, I knew this run was a bad idea. But, my pig-headed mentality over ruled the practical side of my brain.

A gray sky, a 43-degree temperature, and an east wind greeted me. My path through the neighborhood revealed a still present drabness from winter.

On the fringes of the Lincoln Park Zoo, I found my familiar path. The crushed stone and sand crunched beneath my feet as I plodded behind fields used for softball and soccer. Next, was the footbridge over Lakeshore Drive that would take me to the Lakefront trails. At the crest of the bridge, the faint colors of a still rising sun came into view embedded in gray clouds.

I departed the bridge and hooked a left heading toward another familiar landmark, a windmill and a weathered statue of an American Indian perched on his horse. This carved out green space along the trail is a tranquil spot.

A few bike riders, runners, and walkers were out. Some were whipping by me, others like me trudging along. I saw one brave boater and three hopeful fishermen at the edge of the lake with tautly cast lines.

Sections along the trail revealed a landscape worn from winter’s whims. The sandy beaches needed a grooming to clear assorted debris. Signs of repair crews were present where segments of eroded asphalt and concrete had been cut away.

Lake Michigan’s surface barely moved in the light east wind. Once in a while the shoreline rippled from the slight push of a tiny wave.

A younger runner passed me and said, “good work.” He must have known I was struggling as I was barely making turtle pace.

That windmill looked a lot closer when I started, now I hoped I could make it that far. Slowly, my old body delivered me to that point, and I made a right turn, then looped back to the left on to the trail.

On my way back, I noted a crow on a park bench picking through a random food container. The crow seemed content with the remnants left behind.

The skyline of the city was in front of me. From this distance, the city and its suburbs appeared deceptively at peace. I knew this was far from true.

I wondered what the world would be like for our grandson and all of the babies who were also born on April 19. That speculation instantly fills my brain with worry.

With every attempted stride on the way back, my body informed me—no more runs on this Chicago trip. I reluctantly accepted that order.

After breakfast and a shower, I had a kitchen chore to complete. This was followed with Nahna and the Princess leading a trip to the local Carters store followed by the ride down to the hospital.

Once in the hospital room, I encountered that deceptive peace again as I scanned the vast view of the city from the window in the room.

Resting comfortably in this mother’s arms, I hope that peace will not be a deception in our grandson’s world. I hope peace will become a reality for everyone.

Part II 

After our visit at the hospital on Saturday morning, a new game plan evolved. Our son-in-law, the Princess, and I would head back to Lincoln Park. Nahna would stay at the hospital with our daughter for a while.

Our son-in-law had some chores to do for the arrival of Hudson on Sunday. For the Princess, lunch and a nap were on the docket.

The Princess was a bit out of sorts with this transition, but she gradually came around for lunch and the nap.

Progress was made on the chores. With the paving complete on North Hudson Avenue, I made the short walk over to the next street to move our car back in front of the condo. After parking the car, I entered the lobby and found Fed Ex had dropped off some packages related to Hudson’s pending arrival. It took two trips, but the packages made it to the third floor.

Hopefully, I was going to be ready for the next challenge. With the Princess waking up from her nap, the plan was for her Dad to head back to the hospital and Nahna to return to Lincoln Park.

That meant I would be responsible for keeping the Princess happy until Nahna returned. Prior to making this trip, I wondered out loud if could bond with the Princess. Since our arrival on Wednesday morning, the Princess and I had been bonding.

Her father did a good job of explaining to her what was taking place. He left. There were no tears. We played.

Filling the newly acquired Princess castle with her stuffed animal friends, working on puzzles, and reading books helped to pass the time.

Nahna arrived, and my blood pressure went down.



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