Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Crazy Weekend

I mentioned to Jon that I would like to go out to lunch on Mother's Day with my family even if I had to pay for it myself. Jon and Ed agreed that they would pop for lunch. So Bill, Ed, Jon, Becki and Chris accompanied me to Tetnochtitlan for Mexican. We got there between lunch and dinner, and stayed long enough to enjoy a band from Spain. As usual dinner was great, and the Margueritas were better. The music was good, too. Although the company was best of all.

Jon promised me afterwards that he would pick me up after his game on Saturday this past weekend, and we would spend the day together. He said I should think about where I wanted to go. I suggested the Oriental Museum, which is located on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. (Hyde Park is President Obama's Chicago neighborhood.) Ed had visited it last semester in order to complete a report on an ancient culture. I had never heard of it prior to that, which really surprised me. My Mom used to drag me all over the City to museums, which has sparked my love for museums. Anyway, Jon, who went with Ed when he went, was all for it. He couldn't wait to show me a large collection of stamps.

The Museum's collection was structured chronologically, beginning about 3000 BC with artifacts from Mesopotamia. I wasn't very impressed with the small group of findings that included hand tools like awls and needles, spoons and jewelry. The next chamber had bigger artifacts, and the next had bigger yet. We went through chambers relating to the Middle East, Iran, Anatolia, Egypt, etc. Each gallery represented a different time and a different nationality. I began to catch onto a bigger picture as we traveled along. We started with a group of people who lived in pit houses made of clay and with grass roofs, and ended with palaces with halls the size of football fields. The last gallery had artifacts from Babylon that were dated about 300 AD. Some of the artifacts were incredible. There was an 18 foot statue of King Tut, and wall reliefs that were 30 or forty feet long. Most of what they had was found between 1918 and 1921 by a group of archeologists from the University of Chicago. A lot of the exhibits were highlighted with photos from the digs and of the restoration process. There were photos from when the building was built. They left one wall down because there were huge reliefs that didn't fit through any of the doors. Once in place, they then finished the building.

About halfway through, Ed called. He and his friend, Amanda, went to a wedding. The Chicago police had called her to say her dog was found wandering the streets. Apparently he had a micro chip in his ear, which is how they tracked her down. Ed asked if Dad could go to the Morgan Park Police Station and pick up the dog? Sure, if we were home, we'd ask. So Ed called home.

I should explain at this point, that Chicago is broken into neighborhoods. I live in a town bordering Chicago. Just to my north is a neighborhood called West Beverly. Just to the east of West Beverly is a neighborhood called Morgan Park. These neighborhoods get their names usually because prior to becoming part of Chicago, they were towns with those names.

After the museum we drove around Chicago. I wanted to see the historical area around Prairie Street. This was where George Pullman, of Pullman Palace Cars, lived, along with Marshall Field, Colonel McCormick, and many other Chicago entrepreneurs of the 19th Century. We found it quite by accident. More or less, 'okay, turn here. Turn there.'

Not far away we found a park that had been dedicated to the first settlers from Fort Dearborn. In 1803, as they were attempting to make their way to Fort Vincennes in Indiana, they were attacked by Pottawatomie Indians. I should point out that this was a reaction on the part of the Natives because the settlers had promised them guns for safe passage. The settlers broke the guns up and blew up most of the reserve gunpowder before leaving Fort Dearborn. Anyway, this park, which is blocks from the current Lake Michigan shore line was sand dunes at the time of the attack.

We went on from there to find the Chicago Fire Academy, which was built on the site of Katherine O'Leary's home. It was her cow that took the blame for burning down the City in 1873. She became the scapegoat. It wasn't until later that anyone realized that Pegleg O'Sullivan was drunk when he snuck into her barn and fell asleep. He kicked over the lantern, and not the cow. The O'Leary home survived whereas every other home in an 8 block area burned. That didn't help Katherine's claim of innocence.

We also saw the Chicago Water Tower and the Pumping Station which survived the fire. We ate at the White Palace Restaurant, which was featured on Drive-ins, Diners and Dives, and we drove along the Lakefront.

From there we went home. Chris was having a birthday party in our backyard and there were a lot of people there. I wasn't warm and it was a bit damp. And I wasn't in the mood to party.

And I wanted to meet Bonkers. He was this huge black lav puppy with a fitting name. Ed mentioned before that her dog was another Sheeba, only quieter. Bill told me how when he showed up at the Police Station, he told the cop, "I always figured I'd have to bail my kids out of jail. But no, I'm bailing the dog out instead." He had no idea what this dog looked like, and only hoped the cops knew they were handing him the right dog. As it turned out Bonkers was the only dog in custody. They also commented that the name fit him.

Only when Amanda called to check on him we learned his name was actually Brody. Anyway, Bill fell in love with him. Which really pissed Sheeba off. It's one thing to bring another cat into her home, but God help another dog. Brody wanted to play and Sheeba wanted nothing to do with him. When Brody tried to play with Scrambles, Scrambles was willing. The problem was neither one knew how to play with the other, so they stood around, puppy and kitten, staring at each other, as if waiting for the other to make the first move.

Then bed time came. Bill and I crawled into bed and Brody crawled between us. He woke me up a couple of times when he tried to find someplace more comfortable to sleep. I finally found him on the sofa come morning.

The wedding was way up North, so Ed and Amanda spent the night at Ed's friend's house. Ed said Brody was happy to see her when they arrived home on Sunday morning. Sheeba was too, especially when Brody left. It wasn't until late Monday that Sheeba decided to talk with us again.