I’ve spent the whole day – save a few hours tonight – outside of Chicago. Not that I planned it this way. I was on a last-minute business trip to…well, I probably shouldn’t say. OK, the state rhymes with Funtucky, but I can’t say any more. Kablooey-ville, Funtucky.
It’s a great place, don’t get me wrong, but it’s no Chicago. I’m always thinking about home. Here’s proof.
- 8:05am: Bob Seeger played in Kablooey-ville last night, and our hotel lobby showed evidence of some energetic “night moves.” I am reminded of the debaucherous 2008 Kings of Leon Halloween show at the Aragon Ballroom where Elizabeth and I saw two teenage girls…well, do something that “rock ‘n’ roll could never forget.”
- 11:58am: I’m offered a turkey wrap with sprouts for lunch. All I can think about is Lou Malnati’s. Le sigh.
- 12:53pm: I learn a friend has passed away unexpectedly. We weren’t close, but our best time together was watching the World Cup at Moonshine in Bucktown. I had never seen him happier.
- 2:31pm: I exchange text messages with my sister who is watching our dogs while I’m away. I remember Sinclair’s four hairy legs poking out from under his puppy-sized Cubs jersey. In another life, he could’ve been a Theriot-esque shortstop, I’m sure.
- 4:02pm: Our United flight to O’Hare is canceled due to weather conditions. Knowing what February weather portends, my team and I call bullshit.
- 5:33pm: We snagged flights on Southwest and meet at the airport Chili’s to unwind after the meeting. At other tables, lonely-looking folks sit one or two to a table. Us Chicago folks cozy up, squeezing in together, shoulder to broad shoulder.
And finally we’re home, battling the windstorms high above the city. Looking down at the lights, I think again about Bob Seeger: “Strange how the night moves, with autumn closing in.” But the autumn chill doesn’t seem so sharp here, at this very moment.
Tonight, I’m happy just to be home. Because one of those lights down there in that friendly, shining mass – it’s shining just for me at a place I call home.
About the author: DJ Francis has been calling Chicago home for 5 years now. He lives in Wicker Park / Bucktown with his sister and his two dogs, Sinclair and Oliver. His wife, Elizabeth, is 21 days away from finishing law school at American University in Washington, DC. And let’s be honest: it won’t really be home until she arrives. Follow him on Twitter at @DJFrancis.