It was quiet when I woke early on the morning of Wednesday, April 25. Even after 5:30, I could tell it was going to be a bright day. But, I had also had heard the wind whipping around during the night, plus the local weather guys had talked about a cold front blowing through—another delay for spring in Chicago.
My plan was to take an early morning walk up Armitage, and maybe snap a few photographs.
Completed my Upper Room and Bible verse reading, then I dressed anticipating brisk air outside.
Our son-in-law was up, and I let him know I was going for a walk.
As soon as I hit the sidewalk, I knew I had dressed correctly. The wind was flapping around the Irish flag outside the River Shannon Bar. I started heading west on Armitage with no destination in mind.
Runners and dog walkers were out. So were some early commuters and construction workers.
An early riser, politely tooted her car horn as she pulled out from an alley letting foot traffic know her presence.
A Chicago police officer sat in a patrol car filling out a report.
About a block from the elevated train tracks, I crossed over to the other side of Armitage heading east. Architecture all through these neighborhoods amazes me. Something different always catches my eye.
I stop at the Lincoln Park High School and walk over to its main entrance. Four massive columns grace the front doors. As I scan my eyes upward toward the apex of this unmovable frontage, I note the date 1899.
A significant construction project is taking place at the school. The city has mounted a large bold sign touting this plan on a fence along the Armitage sidewalk. As I walk past the sign, I note a large brown bunny scavenging around in a sparse green space dwarfed by the building.
Further down Armitage, the sun is casting it beams against the facade of a building. For a short span of time, it is like the building is in a natural spotlight.
One sign, I noted earlier on Armitage at the entrance to an alley displayed: No Outlet.
During our stay, I’ve been drawn to one alley that I always stop and stare down for a few seconds.
Way at the other end is a church steeple.
I wonder in our world today how many people find themselves in situations where they believe they have no outlet, no options, no alternatives.
I also wonder in those situations if people ever consider looking down a different alley, the one with a church steeple at the end.
We have a busy morning ahead of us. I need to get back to the condo.
Hudson has his first follow-up visit with the pediatrician this morning at 9:30. While he is there with his parents, Nahna and I will be taking the Princess over to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
After breakfast, there is a different pace in the condo this morning.
Our daughter and her husband have compiled a list of questions for the doctor. Soon it is departure time for Hudson’s appointment. He is carefully placed in his car seat. I am given the privilege of walking Hudson downstairs where his father is waiting in the car. Making sure she has everything, his mother isn’t far behind me.
I hand Hudson off to his dad, and that northerly breeze pushes me quickly back inside. Now, the focus is getting the Princess ready for our walk to the zoo. The Princess is in a playful mood—no rush to get to the zoo. Nahna and I comply giving her space to play.
Once every few minutes, we remind her of our pending trip, and she attempts to cooperate with the getting ready request, but there is no follow through from her. After several minutes of play and with more timely reminders about the zoo, the Princess finally commits.
We take the back stairs down to dump some trash in the bins in the alley. We put the Princess in her stroller, and now, we are walking toward the zoo.
Our route just happens to take us by a Starbucks. Nahna picks up a drink for herself and a cake pop for the Princess. In a matter of seconds that cake pop is gone.
When we arrive on the grounds of the zoo, the Princess from her previous visits sets our focus on seeing her favorites— the chimpanzees and the penguins. She knows how to guide us as she occasionally says: “this way.”
The favorite animals for the Princess did not disappoint. But we also observed a snow leopard, an exceptionally noisy zebra, a giraffe, and a number of other creatures. Also, fish displays earned a high approval rating from the Princess.
To break up this journey, we attempted a walk through the Conservatory to view a diverse collection of tropical plants from around the world.
A reluctant Princess granted us a quick walk, but that was it. At this point, the Princess was rapidly approaching a meltdown. Somehow, we were able to regain cooperation, and we started the walk back home.
Even with bright sunshine, as we were leaving the zoo, a cold gust of wind really chilled me. I thought to myself this is the coldest I’ve ever been on April 25.
We made it back to the condo. Hudson had a good report from the doctor, and questions from his parents were answered.
Lunch was ordered from the Chicago Bagel Authority (CBA). The CBA is famous for their warm steamed bagel sandwiches. I ordered a Messy Katie. It was delicious, but appropriately named.
Later during the afternoon, Nahna and I ran errands for the family. Target, Trader Joe’s, and Binnys were our destinations. We were successful in meeting the requests on the shopping list. When we returned, the Princess, up from her nap, helped us unload the bags.
After this, I started my prep for heading back to Richmond on Thursday morning. This didn’t take too long. It was just a matter of making sure I wasn’t going to leave anything behind.
On our trips to Chicago, I like trying to make the short walk to the corner bar, The River Shannon, for a beer. When the Princess finished her dinner, our son-in-law and I were granted permission to make this trip. Established in 1946, I enjoy going in just to see if anything has changed since my last visit, and the answer is always—no.
For dinner tonight, we order a couple of pizzas from Bricks. Located in the basement of a building on Lincoln Avenue, it is a short walk from the condo. But, a walk that is always worth it as their pizzas are really, really good.
While we were going to pick up the pizzas, Hudson continued his proficiency with his whizzing. Another saturated diaper during his feeding that of course leaked out on his mother.
Hudson has whipped us into a quick after dinner cleanup. Maybe someday, he’ll implement the same protocols when caring for his new-born daughter or son.
Sleep is needed. The drive back to Richmond is long.
My usual navigator, Nahna, will be staying longer in Chicago. Her skills are more valuable than mine in helping out Hudson and the Princess.