I was home from Germany just long enough to help build a wheelchair ramp for Juan, a young man in West Dallas, take Linda out to dinner, stretch my legs on the bike, catch up on some e-mail, and pay a few bills.Monday afternoon I flew to Chicago for a meeting the next day. The green way from the airport to Cousin Jim’s house is a bus then the Metra suburban train from Des Plaines, a few stops from Jim’s home in Arlington Heights. Waiting on the train platform at Des Plaines, I noticed a fellow wearing a maroon University of Minnesota windbreaker. Passing him, I pointed to the “M” logo and said “I went there, too.” Thus began a wonderful Talking to Strangers engagement. I wished I had gotten his name, a fellow who graduated a year before me, played varsity football, and became a lawyer. In 15 minutes we covered a lot of topics, but the most interesting yak was about those turbulent times in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Jim and I drove off to watch son Charlie and daughter Katie practice soccer, then back home for dinner at out to Eddie’s bar for a couple of beers with neighbor Rolf and cousins Mike and Bob. It was a lot of fun.Was up early the next morning and onto the train for downtown Chicago and a meeting with Don Kolodz, a senior sales guy at SATMAP, a company with a very advanced software solution for call centers (I began helping SATMAP in 2010, and it’s now my “moonlighting” job). We had a good sales call with a large prospect. At noon I met longtime airline friend Brent McNamara for lunch and a good yak at the Berghoff, a traditional German restaurant that has been serving on Adams Street since the 1890s. I was determined to get back in the groove of weaving a little “place discovery” (or in this case rediscovery, because I have been a Chicago visitor dozens of times over more than five decades), and snapped a couple of pictures before flying home: