Monday, August 22, 2011

On the Edge of the Ledge

In celebration of Kent’s 17th birthday, he and I spent a day enjoying Chicago. Last year on his 16th birthday, we were not able to get a day that worked for both of us so I wanted this Grandma Day to be special. I love talking with Kent and hearing his unique perspective on things we see and on life. We started out walking about three miles from the Ogilvie train station to Magnolia Street.

We had a beautiful day and it was great to be outside and enjoying Chicago. Our first activity was to kayak on the Chicago River.

The kayaking was fun but tiring. I was just glad to keep up with the group.

Of course, Kent did great and was out in the lead with the guide all of the time. About six times we stopped to“raft up”, holding on to others' kayaks as the guide talked. Both Kent and I enjoyed the tour and stories told by our guide.

At the Kenzie Street bridge Kent heard the story of Dave Matthews tour bus dumping waste and the Chicago Flood of 1992. They were new stories to Kent who was not born when the flood happened and was only 10 years old for the other event.

I was impressed by the story of Montgomery Ward, known best for the first mail-order catalog. He spent 20 years engaged in a battle to save the lakefront for the people of Chicago. In 1909, he granted an interview to the Chicago Tribune, the only interview he ever gave in his life, he said,
Had I known in 1890 how long it would take me to preserve a park for the people against their will, I doubt I would have undertaken it. I think there is not another man in Chicago who would have spent the money I have spent in this fight with certainty that gratitude would be denied as interest…I fought for the poor people of Chicago, not the millionaires…

Our guide reminded us that Montgomery Ward stores and businesses were bankrupted some years ago. All that Ward worked for and kept for himself and his family is gone. What remains is what he gave away.

Following a quick lunch, we headed up to the Sears/Willis Skydeck. I have been up to the Skydeck several times recently but Kent had never been there. I think that anyone that claims Chicago as their city needs to see it at least one time so we went. It was a great visit with Kent because he studied the views—picking out the various buildings, looking for familiar sites. Of course, we both enjoyed “The Ledge.”

Being with Kent, helps me see things from a different perspective. As we gazed at the globe sculpture outside by the Willis Tower, Kent said something like, “That is a great visual of the massive size of the Pacific Ocean” causing me to marvel as well at how much water is on our planet earth.

Also, as we looked out of the Willis windows from 103rd floor, he mentioned that it is actually more dramatic looking at the building from the ground up than from the top down.

I agree. Is there a life lesson in that?

I bought half price tickets at Hot Tix. I am not comfortable navigating around on the “L” but we did just fine and took the purple line to go and see Blue Man Group.

BMG have been performing in Chicago since 1997, however, it was a new experience for me. We did have fun but one time was enough for me.

What a joy for me to have this opportunity to touch and experience and enjoy Chicago with Kent. I was consciously aware that I wanted to soak it all in, absorb the experience, enjoy the wonderfulness of the day. These are precious moments with my grandson on the threshold of adulthood.

1 comment:

Wanda..... said...

I agree with's always better to look up than to look down...well except in Nature of course, then everything is uplifting!