Captain Don takes us out of the slip and into the Chicago River while Joan M and Lily smile with great anticipation.
When my friend Don mentioned he had a Groupon for an electric boat ride, I thought he was talking about a submarine. Instead, he rented a two hour slot from the Chicago Electric Boat Company at Marina City. With other friends and a supply of food and beverages we took a tour of the Chicago River North and South branches.
We had so much fun last year that we couldn’t pass up another chance to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption at St. Jerome’s at 2801 S. Princeton. The trick is to get enough miles in at the beginning of the ride to feel like you have earned some of the things to eat and drink at the Fest. Our route took us from DuSable Harbor to the South Shore Cultural Center, a trip of approximately 10 miles and a halfway point.
On the return side we cut across the University of Chicago to the Lorado Taft Fountain of Time. This is one of my favorite sculptures and a nice way to transverse the University of Chicago before heading either to Hyde Park or head north via Drexel Boulevard.
Arriving at St. Jerome’s you are immediately faced with a quandary: eat or drink first. It’s easy to pass the fried dough on the way to decide what to eat, be it a kabob, lamb, and/or a dinner plate. The pizza, hot dogs, etc. are nothing special, although they do look good. We finally made our decision of Heineken’s, kabobs, lamb, and fried dough and a shady table.
When I was growing up in Chicago, the River was something to joke about. As with most bodies of water near cities, especially those whose growth was rapid, water is often seen as a place to dump waste. Out of sight, out of mind, and someone else’s problem. Chicago was one of those cities, with one difference. Around the turn of the 19th Century the value of Lake Michigan as a clean source of drinking water became a matter of public concern after several typhoid outbreaks. The solution was to reverse the flow of the Chicago River by building the Ship and Sanitary Canal. The Lake was now protected while the waste went down the River, much to the complaints of all the downstream communities.
Thanks to the River Walk development project, it’s now a different story. As an aside, my spouse Joan was Chair of the Union League Club of Chicago sub-committee on the River Walk, and directed the Club’s support of this Civic project.
Today there is a River Walk from the Lakefront to State Street, and a project to extend it even further west. It’s also one of the major attractions for recreation and tourism with architectural cruises, kayak rentals, and boating — yes, fishing!
It’s becoming a tradition to grow a beard during the Stanley Cup playoffs. There is even an official NHL site, but it is more of a charity event than actually seeing the results from start to finish. I began documenting my attempt this year. Alas, the Chicago Blackhawks did not survive Round 3 for the Division title and the Stanley Cup finals.
A number of people liked the way I look with the beard, so instead of automatically shaving it off after the elimination, I decided to add an age progression for my next favorite Chicago sports team. Unfortunately they haven’t done to well in recent memory and don’t seem on the track to improve much in the immediate future. Maybe in my lifetime …