Late From Chi-Town

by Rich on April 16, 2018

I’m late filing this column, but it’s not my fault. I blame the people of Chicago.

That’s where I am right now, Chicago. I came for a couple of reasons, but mainly for the weather (that’s a joke). Actually, I came to Chicago because I needed a breather and it’s been on my bucket list for a while, so here I am. And while here, I have decided to cram as much of Chicago into one long weekend as I can, and that, too, has added to my tardiness.

My understanding of Chicago comes from two primary sources: Cubs games on WGN, and movies. I’m sure that many of you faithful readers may have a hard time believing this, but as a child of the ’70s and ’80s, I remember the birth of cable, and in those early days there weren’t that many choices for programming. But WGN out of Chicago and TBS from Atlanta filled the void with seemingly nonstop airing of Cubs and Braves. And then of course there were all the John Hughes movies. That list is too long to recount but I’m sure you can name a few on your own.

Back in January when I planned this trip, I knew two things: I had to get deep dish pizza, and I had to avoid getting caught skipping school by Principal Ed Rooney (note: you’re going to get a lot of movie references here). And of course, I had to make a day game at Wrigley Field. Now, being from the south, my idea of a day game at Wrigley in mid April was like that scene out of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. You know, me a Sloan and Cameron in short sleeves and sunglasses, catching foul balls and yelling at the batters.

Friday’s game was not like that.

It was freezing. Ok, not technically, but 42° and windy is close enough. It was also overcast and drizzling. But my traveling companion and I braved (pun) the elements to experience the history of Wrigley and watch Atlanta take on the home team. The Braves won 4-0, but that’s really of no import. What is crucial for you to understand, especially if you have never been to Chicago, is how incredibly nice everyone is. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before heading into the stadium, I was informed that it would be an unforgivable sin to not venture inside one, if not multiple establishments in the surrounding neighborhood known as “Wrigleyville”. So of course we did. And that’s why I am busting it to get this column in under the wire. Or at least, that where it all started.

We met Grace, and Tiffany, and Janine, and Bob, and George, and Steven, and the Johns, and a girl from Wisconsin who’s family actually owns a  dairy farm and makes cheese, and Sierra who served us our Chicago dog the proper way with a pickle spear instead of relish and chunks of tomato and onions and mustard, and William on the Red Line that made sure we got off at the correct stop (Clark/Division).

We met so many incredible people that the glory of the country’s second oldest ball field paled in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, Wrigley is amazing. I loved being there, shivering. But it’s been the people of the Windy City that have won me over.

Also, we had so much fun that we completely missed our dinner date at Harry Caray’s with Brian. Sorry, dude. But I had to sign that bottle at Irish Oaks, and you know how time consuming that can be.

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