Post 50/2021 Saturday 11 December . . . We spent a day in Chicago this week. The radiance of Christmas trees met us coming and going, even as caution played out in travel, Christkindl Market, and, except for the Market, smaller numbers of people afoot. Everyone on the South Shore Line, an electrically powered interurban commuter rail line, wore a face covering. The train runs from South Bend International Airport to Millennium Station in downtown Chicago (2 hours, 90 miles/140km).
This display at South Bend International Airport is titled, Celebrating 10 Years / Bears in the Air. The program has provided nearly 13,000 bears to children in area hospitals and $61,000 to the Robert L. Miller, Sr. Veteran’s Center.
During November and December, the return trip on the train (going east) is free. Management made it clear that passengers had a choice: “Wear a mask or you won’t be riding this train.”
A friend of long, long standing, Oscar, and his niece, Cheri, met us at Millennium Station. We went to the Market first and then to lunch in the Walnut Room at Macy’s. The only crowded area we encountered was outdoors at Christkindl Market. Even the Walnut Room was not yet filled at noon and the tables were appropriately spaced. We felt at ease, though social distancing was hard to do, especially when queuing to make a purchase.
Today’s news includes reports of devastating tornados in states south of Indiana, with lives lost. For those most affected, and for all of us, I offer this prayer by Anselm (1033-1109):
“God of love, whose compassion never fails; we bring before thee the troubles and perils of people and nations, the sighing of prisoners and captives, the sorrows of the bereaved, the necessities of strangers, the helplessness of the weak, the despondency of the weary, the failing powers of the aged. O Lord, draw near to each; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Let a little bit of magic, childhood memories and engagement with present day realities guide our steps.