Debilitated by excitement! What an awesome feeling, but like all awesome feelings, nothing that comes next can measure up.
Flying into Chicago after a very full and successful week at work in Washington, DC and meeting up with a beloved friend for work, was a dream come true.
Our mission: shoot photos and do interviews to tell a story about how wonderful the city of Chicago is.
We began at Elston and Montrose where we interviewed a criminal defense attorney whose law practice has been at the same location since 1967. He represents an element that is everything our criminal justice system should work to support--a lawyer with an independent practice who sees the 'human' in the humanity that few recognize in the system.
Then it was down to Englewood, 55th and Damen, where we did on-the-fly interviews before settling down on the boulevard with a group who wanted to tell us about their lives and thoughts about why life on the WestSide is the way it is. We listened.
Next stop was a church picnic in North Lawndale where we watched double dutch jump ropers, volleyball players, and a whole crew who was handing out free backpacks filled with all the supplies needed to begin a great new school year.
Humbolt Park was calling, and we met up with an old neighborhood friend who has been a Chicago Police Officer for the past 12 years. We did a proper interview and were welcomed into the daily challenges and opportunities he encounters on the streets as he lives out his values, trying to make our city better.
Over at a peace rally in the park we recorded a softball game where it was Cops vs. Teens and the teens won! Smelled like teen spirit, so we jumped in a car and shot down to the Grant Park Skate Park where we met some skaters who showed us tricks and flicks from their adventures around town.
Walking up Michigan Ave from Roosevelt to Oak, we saw people who could have been from anywhere and could have been anywhere but they were there!
Now, we have to fast forward. We are on the field at U.S. Cellular Field and my brother is getting ready to throw out the first pitch at the Sox game. It felt so normal to be there because I was there with my family, but it was something else! My parents were there, his better half was there; our friends were sprinkled around the stadium. He threw a STRIKE. We grew up Cubs fans, but now, I am a Sox fan, too. The North South/South Side rivalry is over. We can unite under the love of our fatherly city.
My first friend in life was at the game and she and I were able to catch up for a while. Then, it was back downtown for what we thought was a final shoot on Michigan Avenue. It didn’t turn out exactly as we expected but our trip’s theme of luck and love continued and we met some great kids who had danced in a parade in Englewood earlier in the day and were then so nice to perform for our camera on Chicago Ave.
Picked up our bags at the hotel and jetted to The Billy Goat Tavern, Rick Kogan's joint, for a final sendoff. However, mid-Boilermaker, I received a text telling me that my flight had been cancelled and that I was booked on one leaving from Chicago the next day.
“No way,” I thought. Yes, I would have liked nothing more than to meet back up with my brother and our family for a delicious home cooked meal and some great hang time but work is happening an I needed to be back in Washington for an early Monday morning. Made the call and took a rerouted flight to a different airport but that was within striking distance of my home (for now), Washington.
I am mid air as I type this and I cannot stop thinking about my brother. Saying that I am proud of him is a given. I have always felt this way though. Really, I’m ecstatic. I go through life like I am in a 3-legged race with god. It can be a clumsy run at times as I’m always aware of another person, place or thing but I know I can never stop sweating. The finish line is inevitable; it’s not a destination. This is a race that we are all in together and it started in Chicago.