Richard has moved back to Chicago, where he will reconnect with Northwestern friends and look for a job. We’ll miss him, of course, but Chicago is a wonderful place to be for a young man on the move.
Unlike many other once-growing Midwestern cities that now are shriveling, Chicago has maintained that youthful exuberance and bursting at the seams feeling of growth. It’s a huge city, sprawling and brawling, always throwing up new skyscrapers and enduring new scandals. Carl Sandburg’s great poem Chicago captures the city well, beginning with its familiar opening:
HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
Enjoy the Windy City, Richard! You fit right in.
Today I drove to the airport, caught an early morning flight to the Windy City, then took the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line train from O’Hare Airport to my downtown meeting site. I therefore completed the John Candy-Steve Martin business travel trifecta when the day was still young.
The train ride was a pleasant way to get from the airport to the city — much more enjoyable than a cab ride through stop-and-go traffic. The trip took a bit less than an hour. We sat in a clean, relatively quiet car with no exhaust fumes pouring in, rolled past some interesting neighborhoods and buildings, and heard recorded announcements that encouraged us all to be polite to our fellow passengers by not listening to blaring music or having annoyingly loud conversations on our cell phones. It seems like the Transit Authority is working hard to make the train trip more tolerable, and it was.
One part of the train ride made me laugh. At two of the Blue Line stops, you can get out and transfer to other subway lines — one of which is the Pink Line. Huh? The Pink Line? In the Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders? Carl Sandburg would probably laugh and like that development, too.