Sunday, April 3, 2011


A few years ago on a warm March 31, I took a stroll over to Oak Street Beach. I was not the only person there. Like bears waking up from a long winter's hibernation, the beach was abuzz with early Spring sun-worshippers. It has been rumored that I can smell a TV crew from 50 yards away, but that is not true... it's 75 yards! However, that day I noticed a TV news camera crew moving in my direction from 100 yards away. As they pulled even with me I gave them the opening line that I had used so many times within the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. "I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille !" Sure enough the crew from ABC Channel 7 Chicago, stopped to talked to me. I was wearing my white mesh solar battery pith helmet with a solid 14 K gold propeller on it. They asked me why I was at the beach. I responded by saying I was getting my solar battery charged up. After a few more words they thanked me, and soon after I walked home to take a peek at myself on the 4 O'clock news. I had a rude awakening. They had actually given me the close up that I had jokingly asked for. I had more lines on my face than the old Indian TV test pattern. I swore I would never use that line again.

A couple of weeks ago, Chicago had one of those early warm spring-like days, and I found myself taking the red line subway downtown to stroll like a tourist along Michigan Avenue. I went to the Bean in Millennium Park, then headed back north over the bridge. There was still some green dye in the water from St. Patrick's Day. I grabbed a few shots with my digital camera. I continued up Michigan Avenue to the the Old Chicago Water Tower and the Hancock Building before turning up Oak Street and back home in time for Jeopardy. I had hoped that the weather would remain that way for the rest of the month, but true to Chicago, we had a couple more weeks of Winter.

Today, the weather man predicted that it would be overcast, but in the upper 60s and it sounded like a heat wave compared to the past few weeks. About 3 P.M. I grabbed my camera went outside to see if it warmed up. It had although the sun was nowhere in sight. I decided to walk, not to Oak Street Beach this time, but over to Michigan Avenue. I stopped to take a photo of my reflection in a window that was displaying wedding dresses. I had taken a few images like that before which had put a smile on my face because the reflection looked like I was wearing a dress. Today I was wearing my Bubbies Pickles (a legend in its own brine) blue baseball cap with a blue plastic propeller to which I had added a Michele Smith for Alderman campaign tag on the front. As usual I heard, "I like your hat," from people on the street. I've been hearing that compliment for over 30 years, ever since I donned my first Intersteller Beany Cap. Besides covering up my growing bald spot, it puts smiles on faces when ever I wear one, especially on those of youngsters. I decided not to walk down to Millennium Park and turned around instead at the Tribune Tower. I heard a few more "I like your hat" comments before arriving at the Hancock Building where I noticed a man with a TV camera and caught up with him. Would you believe, the first words out of my mouth were, "I'M READY FOR MY CLOSE UP MR. DeMILLE." He smiled and I asked him where he was from. He informed me that he was from Portugal. He asked me if I would mind if he interviewed me. He inquired about Chicago, and I gave the city a 4 Star rating (like Chicago's own flag). He then asked me about my hat and I told him the story behind it. All in all we spoke for about 10 minutes. One of his 2 crew members turned out to be studying music at Northwestern University. They had smiles on their faces as I started to walk away, but then I turned around and asked if I could take their picture (it's the one at the top of the page). I decided then and there that I will have a new pastime this year, since I do not go to Wrigley Field anymore. I'm going to spend all my time as a tourist in my own hometown, and shoot tourists. As I got near my apartment I passed 3 Cubs fans coming home from the game. I asked them how did the Cubs do today? All 3 responded sadly that they had lost. Thank goodness, I can't afford to watch them lose anymore!

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