Believe it or not, I’m hooked on this thing we have going, whatever it is. Let’s get to it!
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The internal struggle to temper that frustration does weird things to my face; actually, it does very unattractive things to my face (not to mention my hair; don’t ask me how my hair gets in on the disappointment). If you’ve been following my blog lately, you know my hair has a mind of its own anyway.
Anyhoo, back to my inner mantra, told you so; told you so; told you so!
Here’s what my face looked like two weeks ago when that mantra was bouncing around inside my head like a pinball in the hands of a wizard preparing to score.
Jimmy and I were looking at 9 hours at Midway Airport with a snowball’s chance in hell (that was quite literally the situation) of getting out on a flight to Denver in the ice/sleet/snow that had begun pelting the Chicago area pretty much from the moment we arrived at our gate hoping to skip town before all hell broke loose.
“Awe, Jimmy!” I announced, trying to keep the whine from reaching my nasal passages. “Our flights been cancelled."
In the time it took us to check our bags, go through security, reach our gate and settle in comfortably to wait another hour, the bad news had arrived, along with the predicted snowstorm.
“I see that, dear.”
You know how endearments don’t always come across sounding like sweet nothings; it’s usually couple code for, this is neither the time nor the place for this particular discussion, DEAR!
Given we’d arrived via limo after dropping $50 (and the snowstorm precluded an immediate return home even if we wanted to spend another $50), we had no choice but to hang all our hopes of a departure that day on the 6:00 pm flight that just happened to be the only Southwest flight still scheduled to depart 9 hours later, weather permitting of course.
I decided to walk it off since there was no way I was going to shake it off sitting in the same seat for the next 9 hours.
Here’s what I saw and learned when it comes to my 9 hours at Chicago's Midway Airport.
In 1941, the name was changed to Midway Airport in recognition of the greatest naval battle of World War II, the Battle of Midway in the Pacific. Huge planes needed for the war effort came through the Municipal Airport during World War II, including the B-17 Flying Fortress. After our 9 hour marathon wait at Midway, I was ready to rename my new home, “ House of Blues.”
Chicago has always been about redemption, and not just for politicians. “Joliet Jake” and Elwood Blues were just two homegrown Chicago boys, Jake a paroled convict fresh out of Joliet Prison, hoping to save none other than the Catholic orphanage in which the two brothers
grew up by reuniting their rhythm and blues band and organizing a benefit performance to earn $5,000 to pay the orphanage’s back taxes. During the filming of this cult classic, one of the most costly comedies ever produced, John and Dan opened the “Blues Brothers Bar” in Chicago. That bar, now simply called “The B.B. Blues Bar,” is part of the House of Blues music
halls and restaurants founded in 1992 by Hard Rock Café founder Isaac Tigrett and investors Dan Aykroyd, Aerosmith, Paul Shaffer, River Phoenix and James Belushi. The Blues Brothers certainly set a good example for handling the delay of all those cancelled flights.
I like that attitude; it’s what keeps me coming back. Sure, the low prices are great; the cattle call, not so great. But they still boast no baggage fees. And everybody gets to sit in first class! Their turn-around time for keeping their planes in the air (weather permitting!) is an industry legend; 23 minutes by last count.
The first happened in 1972 when United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737-200, crashed in a residential area outside Midway during landing. The crash killed 43 of the 61 on board, and two on the ground. The second incident, in 2005, involved a Southwest Airline skidding off the runway while trying to land during a snowstorm. A 6-year-old child on the ground was killed when the car in which he was riding was struck by the plane after it skidded off the runway and into the street.
Yep, Todd Slaughter created this topographical sculpture of The Body of Lake Michigan using the physical characteristics of Lake Michigan gleaned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDID). You don’t say!
My favorite sculpture inside Midway though is one a bit more poetic than Slaughter’s Loch Ness Monster. The precisely suspended pewter pieces of Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schecter’s Rara Avis’s natural versus manmade flight employs three-dimensional Pointillism (can you make out all the little airplanes that collectively make up the shape of the bird?) to convey their lofty vision above the center of the Ticketing Hall at the Mezzanine level. These two pictures count as one because they’re covering the same FUN FACT, just from different angles. Of course, who's really counting at this point?!