It is another sad morning as we loose another great soul, Ernie Banks, of the Chicago Cubs. I had become friends with Mr. Ernie Banks while I worked at Oak Brook Hills Hotel as a Concierge in the 80's. Ernie Banks, who always insisted I call him Ernie, was the kindest man I knew, with a genuine heart overflowing with love and compassion for his family, friends, team, city and country.
I was at privilege to meet many celebrities while managing the VIP Concierge floor. Never expecting to be treated as a celebrity, I ironically got to know Mr. Banks as a golfer. Yes, Mr. Cubs himself was a passionate sportsman who loved spending time in Oak Brook at the hotel's challenging golf course. Always coming in with a huge smile, Mr. Banks would light up a room, and not for his celebrity stature, but for the loving light in his eyes and his genuine courtesy and care for everyone he felt blessed to meet. A rare joy that even his fellow golfers would admire and respect as they graciously waited for him to arrive for their early morning game. For the game of baseball... yes everyone is grieving in Chicago today, but for me it is memories of his smile, his laughter and his gracious way of living... that has and will forever be a part of me.
Even when I dared to ask him for an autograph ( as that is against guest services rules to ask celebrities for an autograph) for my brother's birthday, Mr. Banks wanted to inspire. See, my brother was at a young age a huge CHICAGO CUBS fan and I had always had conversations with him about the inspiration and hope that Cubs fans always have for the team. Knowing this in our conversations, Mr. Banks smiled and said of course MaryEllen, what is your brother's name... writing "Happy Birthday Rick, Love Ernie" on the card. I secretly tucked away this autograph away in my formal Concierge jacket and I think to this day my brother treasures this.
Today Chicago grieves in the loss of one of our own. A heart break that ripples across Chicago and all of those who treasure the memories at Wrigley Field. For me, knowing a man with a heart of gold, I wish for his family the peace of knowing that he was a man who touched everyone not matter where he walked... onto the baseball field, or onto the golf course.
Thank you Ernie. Thank you for all you gave. Thank you for revealing your light. Chicago will never, ever let that light dim.
Love & Light... M
MaryEllen Malinowski, Zen Living by design | Infrared Light Int'l zenlivingbydesign.com
Founder, The Koi Whisperer Sanctuary & Japanese Gardens M@infraredlight.com 800.571.2730
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