Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There are many reasons for the lull in blogging. While I plan to post about the upcoming changes to the regulations that govern pilots, for now here's a post about my recent travels, taking a small vacation. Here’s are two photos taken near where we stayed for a few days. Can you guess where?
It’s been a number of years since I visited this city and the city itself has changed, but I’ve changed, too. The weather during our stay was remarkably good: Warm, but not excessively hot, balmy without being terribly humid. If you’re still guessing, here’s another photo.
This city has a large amount of green, open space with parks and sculpture scattered throughout virtually every neighborhood. Here’s another photographic clue.
Several US presidents have lived in the state where these photos were taken. My wife says this is the quintessential American city, that it is more representative of America than say, New York. This city has some amazing architecture, too.
Known to some simply as “The city that works” and to others as the “Second City," by now of course you should recognize it as Chicago. Home of two baseball teams (one of which may, or may not be cursed), one of the country's finest museums, and what I believe to be some of the best pizza on earth.
In addition to enjoying the sights and sounds of Chicago, I visited some of my old haunts and saw some old, old friends – some of whom I had not seen in over 30 years. I visited the airport where I first soloed, which now has two runways, one of which is 7000 feet long! And I don't believe there is any other place in the US where two state highways intersect in the middle of a city and are bisected by two railroad tracks.
I wouldn’t be the first to observe that you can’t go back. I could still find my way around town in a rambling, dreamlike sort of way. Houses, stores, hospitals, schools, and hotels now stand where corn and soybeans used to grow. The Sip-n-Dip drive-in is no more and I'm not sure if it's been replaced by a car wash or a vacant lot.
I tried to refrain from making what must have seemed like pointless observations: “There used to be railroad tracks right there and I rode my dirt bike on a trail right next to them.” “This used to be a gravel road and I ran here many times while preparing for my first marathon …” “My high school sweetheart lived in that house …” “When I was an undergraduate, I worked as a night watchman in this building, which used to be a factory …”
The specifics hold little meaning for other people because it's difficult to convey the feeling, mood, and experience behind the words. Friends that I hadn’t seen in decades seemed to understand, though we remembered different events and details. One of us would tell a story that would trigger memories that hadn’t been examined for years.
Hair turns grey, hairlines recede, joints and backs become stiffer, waistlines grow, but friendships remain.