There Was No Wolf Howling, or Was There?

6

September 12, 2019-

The nation, eighteen years ago, was both united and frightened.  This, of course, did not last much more than a fortnight, in terms of a unified populace.  The first questioning of the events came from abroad.  French and English gadflies were already asking difficult questions, which could not be answered with glib replies-as the questions themselves were rather detailed, and reached back to suspicion about secret societies.

We Baha’is are prohibited from belonging to such secret societies, for the simple reasons that they are exclusive, promote anti-social agendas and seek power through unscrupulous means.  We are inclusive, pro-social and only accept authority that is earned through service.

Let’s look, though, at what produces conspiracy theories, in the first place:  Greed, lust for power and lack of transparency have combined, over the centuries, to fuel fear, suspicion and lack of trust.  There is, in reality, no good reason for greed, lust for power or hidden agendas, save hatred and loathing of others, either one’s own immediate kin or neighbours, or those further afield, who may or may not be different.

So, power grabs, in the aftermath of the Dark Ages, set high-ranking clergy on a path away from the Love preached by Christ and on the path of seeking more power and wealth.  The quest for dominance led European monarchs to send merchant ships to Africa, where the captains fell into the midst of tribal conflicts and used those troubles to enslave large numbers of people and encumber African leaders in their wider economic servitude, in the form of colonial dominance.

Many seemingly wild, imaginative stories have arisen, regarding just about every prominent historical figure, from the days of ancient Egypt, until the present day. However,  I just have to remind myself:  Just because the wide-eyed boy is sounding an alarm, doesn’t mean there is no wolf at the door.  Statements and evidence need to be weighed carefully, by anyone of sound mind.

Eighteen and Counting

5

September 11, 2019-

Growing up in the Boston area, I adopted a love/hate relationship with New York City.  It was largely the Red Sox/Yankees thing, then the Celtics/Knicks and, to a lesser extent, Patriots/Jets.  As a teen, my feelings towards the Big Apple became more nuanced.  No one with a pulse, in Red Sox Nation, was smug or indifferent, when the Yankees’ thirty-two year-old catcher, the great Thurman Munson, was killed whilst practicing piloting his small plane, in August, 1979.  Slightly more than ten years later, many felt bad at the accidental death of Billy Martin, a guy Bostonians loved to hate.  Martin had been the on-again, off-again manager of the Yankees and loved tormenting the Sox.  That did not lessen the pain of his dying on Christmas night, 1989.

My first visit to  New York was transitory, whilst traveling between Washington and Boston, at Christmas, 1969.  I went from Penn Station to La Guardia, then finally to Grand Central, before settling on a bus that got me, fairly cheaply, to Boston.  I remember being teased by a couple of prostitutes, in the subway, almost getting gouged by a ticket agent at La Guardia, and not a whole lot else.

Six years later, I drove a couple of friends from UMass-Amherst, down to Manhattan, and visited some former hotel restaurant customers of mine.  It was actually a very nice weekend,  Friday night and Saturday, in the Chelsea neighbourhood.  I visited Bronx Zoo, on that Sunday morning, and was delighted at how quiet the area was.   Yes, I also walked by Yankee Stadium afterward, because-Hey, why not?

Penny was a fan of all things NYC, so we spent a couple of days in Central Park and along the waterfront, when visiting her parents in nearby New jersey. I hung out in Central Park, solo, when attending an American Association of School Counselors convention, in 1984.  That was the last time, before 9/11/01, that I saw Manhattan intact.

I was getting some groceries, early that morning, in Phoenix.  As I got in the car to go home, and turned on the radio, the morning jock stated that someone had just flown a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center.  “Terrorist” hit my mind like a ton of bricks (no pun intended). Penny saw me walk in, crestfallen, i described what I’d heard, and we turned on the TV.  CNN had not picked up on the story, so it was business as usual from them and Penny got herself dressed for work, whilst Aram got ready for school.  I stayed glued to the screen, knowing that, eventually, a report would come on.  Ten minutes later, CNN caught on, and a Day of Infamy for our time played out in front of my eyes.

There were all manner of reports, mostly factual, with a fair amount of misinformation thrown in.   Reports came that the National Mall, the State Department, the Capitol, the White House, CIA Headquarters, the Sears Tower (Chicago) and downtown Los Angeles were being attacked. My mind pictured a latter day Orson Welles intoning “War of the Worlds”.  A French conspiracy theorist immediately began claiming this was all a hoax, using holograms, designed to instigate was with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  He turned out to be partially right- Iraq, as well as the Taliban, became targets of the U.S. Military.  There were, however, no holograms.

The images coming out of lower Manhattan, and elsewhere in New York and New Jersey, were all too real, all too horrific.  I would later visit each of the sites impacted by the plane crashes of that eternal morning:  Shanksville, in 2009; Ground Zero, in 2013 and the Pentagon, in 2014.  What  I saw on that last visit convinced me that there was no hoax.  Metal fragments and burnt soil remain, here and there, at the Memorial Park.  Ground Zero has impacted thousands of people, many of whom are still suffering.  Shanksville’s residents, including the farmer on whose property the plane came down, bear uniform witness to the event that forever changed their lives.

Eighteen years later, there remain many questions, but no doubt as to the fact that  the innocence of two generations was shattered on that Latterday of Infamy.

 

 

The Price of Cancellation

2

August 17, 2019-

I read, this morning, about Sarah Silverman’s having had a role canceled, by a director who was furious that she had done a Blackface skit-sometime in the 1990’s.  It turns out that the skit was a parody of someone else doing Blackface, and that it was intended as a cautionary message to people, not to do likewise.  Undeterred, the Red Queen of a director maintained the ‘majesty’ of that decision.

We have run amok, with the notion that an offense, however real or imagined, is sufficient to remove a person from one’s social circle, employment or from society itself, for that matter.  Criticizing a move by the Israeli government, apparently makes one an anti-Semite (never mind that Arabs, who usually end up wearing that label, are themselves Semites, as are, of course, Jews).  Having a discourse with one’s political or philosophical opposites makes one “dangerous to society” (I’ve seen this behaviour from both the political Right and Left.)  Now, comes the film-making community, with the search, flashlight in hand, for ANYTHING in a performer’s past that violates a narrow code of acceptable conduct.

People, rightfully, note signs and behaviours of late, that remind them of pre-World War II Germany and Italy.  These do need to be called out.  Case in point: A person driving a truck into a crowd of protesters is NOT exercising his rights, under the law.  At the very least, he is acting as a vigilante,  At worst, he is committing an act of domestic terror.

Dismissing those, with whom we disagree, from the realm of existence, though. is a slippery slope.  We have a prime example of this:  The French Revolution.  It was a far more complicated mess, of course, but the dehumanization of those who are of opposite persuasions  almost always ends with the opposite of what was originally intended.

So, I think of my present life.  There are two people who have verbally threatened me, over the past three years.  I have taken steps to ensure they are of no further consequence in my life- but they are certainly free to live their own lives, without my hectoring or interference.  I disagree, strongly, with several people on certain issues.  To carry on and try to deprive them of  life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be ludicrous.

We go on, and hopefully will do two things:  1. Carefully review and verify any report of a public outrage (i.e. the false report of people dousing a reporter with quick-drying cement, in Portland, several weeks ago).  2. Remind self that, in a world created by a Higher Power, one’s own likes and dislikes do not necessarily need to be indulged by the Universe.

Cancellation is always an option, and it comes with a price.

Warm, Cold and Somewhere In-between

4

August 11, 2019-

I have been back in Prescott, just shy of a month, and am finding that, even with a dearth of day-to-day work assignments, life remains very full.  Have been catching up with long-time friends and have been contacted by an interesting healer, who will help augment what I’m already doing for myself.

Looking back on the two-part journey just past, I reflect that the reactions to my presence, at different stops along the way, fell into three categories:  Warm, cold and somewhere in-between.  I felt no shortage of love for anyone, mind you.  The reception, though, depended largely on where the people were, in their own emotional and psychological spaces.

There were warm environments: A friend’s house, at Coal Mine, AZ;  Mother Road Hostel (Albuquerque);  my friends’ pondside house (Crossville, TN)*;  Not-So-Hostel (Charleston); Glick’s Greenhouse (Oley, PA)*; several friends’ and family homes in Saugus and elsewhere in Massachsusetts*; a Baha’i gathering in Pittsburgh;  two friends’ homes in Indiana*; an Airbnb home and the Baha’i House of Worship (Wilmette)*; Roy-el Motel (Wapello, IA); Honeycomb Hostel (Kansas City); Mesa Verde Motel (Mancos, CO).

There were mixed receptions at Pilgrim House (Memphis)* and Wrigley Hostel (Chicago), again, depending on where the individuals were in their own lives.  The chilliness was, thankfully, limited to a few people along the way- an angry man on the road between Ganado and Chinle, AZ; a disgruntled hosteler in Charleston and the security staff at West Point.

Restaurant-wise, I was treated like family, in Canyon de Chelly Restaurant;  Villa di Capo (Albuquerque);  Smokey Joe’s (Amarillo); Mesquite Canyon Steak House (Shamrock, TX); Cupcakes & Cravings (Rolla, MO*); T’aiChi Noodle House (Chattanooga); Best Bagels in Town (Knoxville); Huckleberry’s (Tryon, NC);  Motor Supply Bistro (Columbia, SC); New Moon Cafe (Aiken, SC)*; Hilton Head Diner; East Bay Deli(Charleston); Don Beto’s (Raleigh);  D’s Diner (Wilkes-Barre)*; One Family Deli (Newburgh); Egremont Market (Egremont, MA); The Fresh Side (Amherst, MA); Friendly Ice Cream (Southington, CT); Padamina’s BBQ, Buffet & Bakery (Danbury); Bedford Diner (Bedford, PA)*; Fricker’s (Richmond,IN); Family Square (Bolingbrook, IL); Q39 Barbecue (Kansas City); Copeland Cafe (Copeland, KS); Del’s Diner (Fort Garland, CO)*;  The Farm Bistro (Cortez) and Munds Park Resort Cafe (Munds Park, AZ)*.                                                                                         * Return visits

I mention all these, so that people recognize how important ambiance is, to a traveling soul.  There are some RIP’s, from my previous trips, and I’ll miss Chez Duval (Granada, CO) and Artful Dodger Cafe (Harrisonburg, VA), in particular.  While I’m at it, Feast Bistro, in Ojai, CA, though in the opposite direction, is on that list of RIP’s.  Establishments come and go, I know- yet it is always the people who work in them and other patrons, who remain in my heart.

 

Back Along A Golden Road

0

July 17-18, 2019-

It had been three years, since I was last in Colorado. In the words of a waitress at one of my favoured spots, Del’s Diner, in Fort Garland, “That’s just too long!”  Del’s had been a bit of a dive, but had remodeled and was doing just fine.  The food was every bit as good as I remember.

U.S. 160 is one of those roads that make me feel at home, regardless of where I am, along its passage.  The same thing is true of Old 66; Highway 1, along the Pacific Coast; U. S. 30, through the Midwest,; and MOST of U.S. 1.

So, I took the road, from Ulysses, Kansas to its western terminus, in Tuba City, AZ.  A side hop was necessary, for me to take in Sand Creek National Monument.  From La Junta, though, I zipped down to Trinidad, then back up I-25 to Walsenburg, from which I could re-visit my favourite part of 160:  Colorado’s southern tier.  Thus came dinner at Del’s and a long search for a place to stay that wouldn’t mean my budget would need a budget.  Colorado seems to be even more popular than usual, this summer.  That does my heart good.

The Spanish Peaks are a fine greeter, just east of Walsenburg.

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The San Juan Mountains, between Del Norte and Pagosa Springs, are a reminder that snow regards the Rocky Mountain State as its summer home. (I’ve been in Colorado, at some point, each month of the year, and seen it snow, each and every month.)

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I stopped briefly in South Park, just west of the formidable Wolf Creek Pass, and found a Cal King was the only bed available.  Since I’m not part of a package deal, up and over the Pass I went.  Going through the pricey resorts of Pagosa Springs and Durango, the night drive came to an end at Mesa Verde Motel, Mancos.  There, I was generously offered a room at discount.  It is a “dog room”, the owners being pet lovers, but there was no sign of dog hair anywhere in the room.  Mesa Verde’s owners are just gentle, laid back people, and I  recommend the place for anyone finding themselves tired and on the west side of heaven.

The home stretch began with a stop at Mc Elmo Creek Flume, an irrigation channel, built in 1921.

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Seeking to stretch my legs a bit, before lunch, I walked around the City Park, in downtown Cortez.  A laid-back Ute gent, seeking to impress some ladies in his company, started to mock me, while I was walking up the hill. When that had no effect, he asked if i were a veteran. “Yes, I am, and you? ” “You know it, Bro….. Devil Dogs!”  He had the tattoo of a Marine, and though I recall the name being used specifically for those in the Corps, who fought at Belleau Wood, during World War I, I gave him a pass on that.  Everyone deserves a semblance of dignity and respect.

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Lunch time was here.  I sadly noted that my go-to place, Jack and Janelle’s, had gone belly up.  A walk downtown showed that there was someplace fairly new:  The Farm Bistro.  I gave it a shot, and am glad of it.  Alex and crew are spot-on, with great cuisine and set a spunky, welcoming ambiance.  Each party selects a plastic animal for its table, as a cue to the server.

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My visit to Cortez came to a close, and shortly, thereafter, I was back in Arizona.  Along the drive down the Navajo Nation, I noted that two once grocery-deprived communities, Red Mesa and Dennehotso, now have local markets.  One place that has nothing is Baby Rocks, yet this little village, east of Kayenta, could easily be the next big outdoors thing.

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This little wonderland is close enough to tourist-mecca Monument Valley, that a Dineh entrepreneur could easily remove the “Best Kept Secret” label from Baby Rocks.

Going onward, for four more hours, I brought this phase of Summer, 2019, to a peaceful conclusion.  Carson City, and my  Nevada extended family, await next week, after a few days of meetings here at Home Base.  My eyes and heart are always open, to what counts most in life:  Love of humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honour and Hubris at Sand Creek

0

July 17, 2019, Eads, CO-

The sign clearly stated “Walk in silence and respect”, as I approached the ridge, overlooking a valley of hallowed ground, where 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people,  mostly women and children, were killed by a regiment of U.S. soldiers, on November 29, 1864.  John Chivington, a colonel in the U. S. Army, orchestrated and led the attacks, turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by many of the men under his command.  Some white settlers who had befriended the First Nations people were also beaten or killed, by garrison troops at Fort Lyon who were in league with Chivington’s forces.  Several men in the garrison refused to participate in the slaughter.  Two of them wrote to higher authorities about the incident.  One of these, Silas Soule, was assassinated by other soldiers, on the streets of Denver, after he testified to a Commission of Inquiry about the massacre.

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This campaign of  slaughter, of course rooted in ignorance and greed, would result in the resignation of Colonel Chivington from the U. S. Army, whilst he and many of his men were regarded as local heroes, by the more conservative settlers of Colorado Territory, particularly in Denver and Colorado City (now Colorado Springs).  To be fair, there were constant attacks and depredations by both Whites and First Nations people, prior to Sand Creek-and afterward, but none were carried out by women and children.  The matter of ownership of land has resulted in far too much death and destruction.  In the end, no one has ownership of land, in perpetuity.  Indeed, it’s a dark irony, and a fitting one, that Bill Dawson, who owned the land on which the masacre took place, returned it to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations, in 1999.  The National Park Service would compensate Mr. Dawson and his family for the land, but there was none of the acrimony among area residents that their predecessors had shown, throughout the remainder of the Nineteenth Century.  There was a consensus that this was hallowed, sacred ground, and that justice was finally being served, to the extent still possible.

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To me, there was no choice, but to sit in reverence and prayer, overlooking the massacre site.  As I was leaving, a pair of photojournalists arrived, preparing to make a brief video on the Massacre.  We were all startled when a car  pulled up, a door slammed and a perky Ranger loudly greeted the men and inquired about their prior visit to Bent’s Old Fort, another NPS Historic Site that is associated with Sand Creek.  It had been a still, solemn visit, and was now turning into business as usual.

I walked back to the Visitor’s Center, waited for the 1:00 presentation, and left at 1:30, when it was clear that I was the only lay visitor, and there would be no presentation.  I know the spirits were grateful for my visit.  A hawk feather had been laying on the ground, just off the first part of the trail between the Visitor’s Center and the massacre overlook.  The sight of  a circling eagle or hawk, or of a raptor feather on the ground is a sign, to many First Nations people, that one’s presence is acceptable to the Spirits. I circled the feather, clockwise, and silently prayed.

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Leaving the National Historic Site,  my route took me past the now-deserted railroad town of Chivington, its buildings mostly looking to fall over, with the next keening wind.  Eads, some twenty miles west, is a more thriving town, whose residents approve of the National Historic Site.

I will long be mindful of the continuing need to remember atrocities, such as Sand Creek, as examples of what happens when people fail to honour, respect and listen to one another, over a period of months, years, decades.

NEXT:  The Way Back to Home Base

 

Wilbert’s Fantasy and World Class ‘Q’

2

July 15-16, 2019, Kansas City (MO) (and Olathe, KS )-

In 1959, Wilbert Harrison, a rhythm and blues singer from Charlotte, delivered the signature rendition of the whimsical tune, “Kansas City”- imagining a visit there would bring him romance, which would change his life.

Of course, it was pure fancy and the real Mr. Harrison probably spent no more time in KC than anyone else who didn’t live there.  He did have a good idea, though.  Kansas City has long been a place through which I have driven, en route to somewhere else.  I visited the Truman Presidential Library, in nearby Independence, in 2011, but the big city eluded me-until today.

KCMO, simply put, has the most welcoming hostel in which I’ve yet stayed.  Considering that I have had great experiences in all but one of the hostels I’ve visited in the past four years, that’s saying a volume.  Honeycomb, and its owner/host, Elsa, make every guest feel like family.  This is a woman who has lived a full life, most recently having made an interesting attempt to climb Mt. Everest, which she says will NOT be her last attempt.  Then, there is Max, the house dog, who has his own skateboard, on which he can barely fit.

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Max does his skateboard trick, for a piece of cheddar cheese.

There is much to see and do in Kansas City, so this will not be my last time stopping here.  There were two immediate goals for this trip, though:  Finding signature barbecue and getting a handle on downtown.

The first goal was achieved when,courtesy of Elsa, I headed towards Q 39, a medium-sized barbecue palace, in mid-town, and in a strip mall,yet.  There are more stately-sounding barbecue restaurants, recommended by Lonely Planet and Fodor’s, but I’d come back here again, in a flash.  Burnt tips have become this steak lover’s favourite, and no one does them better than Q 39’s kitchen staff.

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Upon my return, the conversation with Elsa and three other guests, young men who are here for an extended work-visit, left me thinking that a need to slow the cross-country engine down, and actually spend 2-3 days, or more, in a place like KC, as I do in Massachusetts and Carson City-Reno.  Family is as much in the mind and heart, as it is on a tree of ancestry.  No, I’m not implying following Wilbert’s whimsical example; most women I encounter on the road are perfectly content with the men who are already in their lives.  I am seeing the wisdom in matching my intensive mode of exploration with an actual time frame that fits.

Tuesday morning I left Honeycomb around 11 a.m. and headed to Union Station, far more than a place to catch a train.

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As the skeleton implies, here is a top-notch Science City, which is offering a Stonehenge exhibit.  Having been in Carnac and to Cahokia Mounds, I passed this one up, but for the small children going in with their parents, it had to have been a blast.

The interior lobby, though, gives Grand Central a run for its money.

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The lobby has a couple of nice little food nooks, so I got a sandwich from Harvey’s, following up with a fine latte and fresh scone from Parisi.  That set me back on the road, for a forty-five minute auto tour of downtown.   Following this excursion, KC’s nice system of boulevards and parkways made wrestling with the construction zones at I-70’s on ramps completely unnecessary.  I was past Kansas City, KS within a half-hour.

Continuing notes to self:  Kansas is making a concerted effort at increasing its foliage.  I make it a point to record all such scenes as I encounter.

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NEXT:  Solemnity and Noise in Eastern Colorado

 

Father of Waters and His Diligent Children

6

July 14-15, 2019, Wapello, IA-

Almost as essential as a visit to the Baha’i House of Worship, when crossing the country, is some time spent in the vicinity of the Mississippi River.  Its residents, whether north or south, have a temperament, a work ethic, and a resilience, all their own.

My meeting with a steadfast and inspiring friend lasted about forty-five minutes. Afterward, I prayed in the House of Worship for a half hour further, then made my way out of Chicagoland, stopping for lunch and to do laundry, in Bolingbrook, on the Metropolitan area’s southern edge. A horrific accident, coupled with ongoing roadwork,  had left I-59 backed up, on the northbound side, for at least four miles.  I would have felt fine, had we southbounders shared part of our road with our hapless fellow-travelers.  The heat, this afternoon, was back, with a vengeance, after two days of fairly mild temperatures.

On we went, though, and my necessaries were done, after two hours.  Bolingbrook is a cosmopolitan little place, the type in which I am quite comfortable.  The genial, but imposing, laundromat manager kept order by circulating among the families, stopping to comfort a boy of about ten or eleven, who was crying after having somehow disappointed his mother.  She wasn’t acting angry nor was she scolding him. It was just that love which a child has for a parent, in which feeling like the parent has been let down, is the worst feeling in the world.  Mr. D. seemed to know this, and had the boy calmed down, by quietly getting to ht heart of the matter.

I stopped, briefly, in Peoria, to say prayers for the memory and soul’s progress of a native of that town, who had been a friend of ours in Dinetah, for several years.  Nancy went back to Peoria for her final year or so, before passing on, earlier this year.  The Clock Tower was about the only part of the River District  that wasn’t blocked by construction, so it serves as a stand-in for the historic downtown area.

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From Peoria, it was on to the Mississippi, in its northern segment.  Crossing into Iowa, I found my first Riverside encounter in Bettendorf, the northwest quarter of the Quad Cities. (The other three being Moline and Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA.)

The playground at Leach Park looks like it would engage a variety of child age groups.

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Having had a childhood fascination with conical roofs, I would have gravitated towards that building, had it been in my local playground, way back when.

The Mississippi, though, remains the main draw.

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This lodge-type structure is on Rock Island Arsenal, an island on the Illinois side, just west of the city of Rock Island.  From the looks of things, it seems to have a role in flood control.

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I was getting tired, as I passed through Davenport and Muscatine.  When little Wapello appeared, I was grateful to see Roy-El Motel, just off the highway.  As  tourist traffic is light in these parts, the owners were glad to see me, too.  This is a view of downtown Wapello.  The town is named for a mild-mannered chief of the Meskwaki people, who led them to this area and enjoyed harmonious relations with the white settlers of the  river front. I had a light breakfast at Chief Brew, where local farmers and retired folks gather, “three days a week, so we don’t get tired of one another.”  The men were surprised to see someone from Arizona.  I explained that I enjoy stopping along the River, to which one man said- “Bet you’d change your mind, after seeing one flood stage.”

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There was no such deluge, this Monday morning, though.

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The Father of Waters was enjoying his siesta.  I headed on west, with the destination being Kansas City.

NEXT:  Wilbert Harrison had it right.

 

 

A Temple and Its Concentric Circles

5

July 13-14, 2019, Wilmette-

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I have made it a practice, when going back and forth across North America, to stop at least once at the Baha’i House of Worship, in this leafy North Shore suburb of Chicago.  Often, it is only for two or three hours, before I’m off again, to whatever awaits.  This time, though, I took an Airbnb room, near Wilmette’s Village Center, the better to meet with a trusted friend at her convenience.

The House of Worship is, rightfully, a point of pride for Wilmette’s residents, regardless of their faith, or lack thereof.  The town has a full complement of Christian denominations and an active Jewish temple, as well as several Muslims.  My host, an Iranian-American, who is not a Baha’i, spoke well of our Faith and of the Temple.

My day started, in Wrigleyville, with my helping the most vibrant of the group of hostelers, whom I mentioned yesterday, to charge her phone.  The Hostel’s breakfast master whipped up some incredible pancakes and waffles. Then came the navigation from the parking garage I used, to curbside near the hostel.  A distance of two blocks required me to go around Cape Horn, figuratively speaking.  At one point, I stopped, twice, at the same STOP sign, then inched forward, only to be chastised by a traffic control officer for not stopping a THIRD time.  No ticket ensued, after his partner rolled her eyes at him and signaled me to turn.  That’s Chicago traffic, though, and never anything personal.  A police officer at another spot let me turn onto Sheffield, and I found the perfect spot for loading my car back up.

No freeway was necessary, going to Wilmette.  U.S. 41 North gives one a  nice slice of Chicago’s northwest side, at a leisurely pace, without a humongous amount of traffic, of a Saturday morning.  A fine lunch at Potbelly Sandwich Shop, amongst an eclectic crowd, set a fine mood for the rest of the drive to my evening’s abode.  The ambiance is as important to me as the food itself.  Listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Sunshine of Your Love” was a bonus.

Above a Persian carpet shop sits a modest apartment.  There, I took the spare room, and headed up to the House of Worship.  My focus, after prayers and meditation, is always on the gardens, which surround the Temple, on each of its nine sides.  I have shown these, in detail, in earlier posts.  Here, though, is a small sample.

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This is the North Shore Channel, which empties into Wilmette Harbor, between the House of Worship and Gillson Park, which has the village’s lovely beach.

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I availed myself of two restaurants here in Wilmette: Ridgeview Grill, which I visited last summer, gave the same excellent fare and service on Saturday night; Walker Brothers Pancake House offered the finest of Sunday breakfasts. (Yes, San Diegans, your very own Richard Walker is a member of this family, and his superb Pancake House is a West Coast extension of the Wilmette establishment, which also has six other branches around Chicagoland’s North Shore.).Suffice it to say, I am getting spoiled by two days in a row of great pancakes.

With breakfast done, and 10 a.m. rolling around, I bid farewell to my host, J., and headed over  to the House of Worship, to meet my friend. On the way, I encountered a crew fixing a broken water main, so prayers were offered for that situation as well.  The Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette (1953) was the second such Temple ever built, the first being in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (1908). (It was confiscated by the Soviets, in the 1920’s, then was destroyed by an earthquake.  The property remains vacant, under Turkmenistan government control.)  There are now seven other Baha’i Houses of Worship – one for each continuously-inhabited continent, plus one in Samoa and one in Panama.  National and Regional Baha’i Temples are being built, in several places around the globe.  Each House of Worship is open to all, regardless of Faith.

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Wilmette, this time, felt a lot more like home.  The ripples of love and acceptance are radiating outward from this truly divine edifice.

 

The Joy In Wrigleyville

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July 12, 2019, Chicago-

Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I nonetheless, being a holistic thinker and inclusive by nature, I also have had a place in my heart for the Chicago Cubs.  I was as happy when they won the World Series, as I was when my Home Team earned their title.

So, when Wrigley Hostel came up, as a place to spend a night in Chicago, I was ecstatic.  As it happened, when Hostelworld bumped my reservation date back to June 12, I didn’t notice.  I got here in mid-afternoon and was lucky that there was a spot available for tonight.  From now  on, I know I need to double check any reservations I make, using an online consortium.

At any rate, Wrigley Hostel, essentially one block east of the stadium, is a large and homey place, with plenty of room for about 60 people.  My spot is in the room right next to the front desk, very close to the kitchen. The group of hostelers is relaxed, inclusive and fun-loving, as should be the case.  The staff, save for one out-of-sorts desk clerk, is caring and friendly.

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The kids went off to events like Taste of Chicago.  I got my own Taste, at Shake Shack, south of here and equally close to Wrigley Field.  There was a goodly crowd on Clark Avenue, as the game had let out, a few minutes earlier.

I feel fortunate to have two good shots of Wrigley.

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After the very filling Chi-burger and mango shake, I took a stroll down to the edge of Lake Michigan.  It’s always a soothing sight, especially from the serenity of Lincoln Park.

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This expanse of greenery is a solace to many- from the water’s edge to Jarvis Bird Sanctuary, and, yes, to Lincoln Park Zoo.  I spent about twenty minutes here, contemplating Chicago’s majestic side.

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Along Addison Avenue, going back to the hostel, are several architectural gems.

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I can’t look at a water tower in this city, without thinking of the Fire of 1871.

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Conical roofs are appealing, both on apartment blocks and on churches.

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I am just glad for one thing:  I don’t have to drive in Wrigleyville as a daily routine.  I think that would be way above my pay grade.  It’ll be enough to navigate out of here, tomorrow morning.