Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chicago Trip--Cultural Experience--Go, Cubs, Go!

In the middle of writing my comps, I took an excursion to Chicago. Back in April, David Conrad, an OCC student who is a huge Cubs fan, told me that he planned to go to Chicago for the Cubs/White Sox game on June 24. He asked me if I was interested, and I told him yes. He got the tickets. He was planning on driving, so I paid him for the tickets, and told him I was in.

As the summer turned out, I was in the middle of writing my comps, but my deadline was June 27, so I assumed I could get it done. I made arrangements to spend Saturday night with friends from high school in Joliet, IL. I also made arrangements to visit a Spanish-speaking church on the south side of Chicago, the Blue Island Church of Christ, where I spoke last Sunday morning. David Conrad was going to stay in Illinois a week, so I made plans to return to Joplin by myself. I was less than a thousand frequent flyer miles on American to merit a free trip from Chicago to Springfield, MO, so I got a Greyhound Bus Ticket for only $45 from Chicago to Joplin. That was my cultural experience!

I only remember taking an interurban bus in the United States one other time in my life. I graduated from high school in Joliet, IL in 1971. The following week our family moved to Jacksonville, IL. Just before moving to Joplin, MO to begin college, I took a bus from Jacksonville to Joliet. My friend David Schultz let me borrow a car to have a date with a girl I had dated a bit in high school. It was different, so I felt more than free to move on. Rose thought I was crazy to want to take this bus trip, especially since I got on the bus at 1 AM, and traveled all night and part of the day to get home. I was stoked for it, though. In Chile, I've traveled by bus many times. There are nice buses, and not-so-nice buses, but it's a common way to travel. I got to the Chicago Bus Terminal about 11:30 PM, for a bus leaving at 1:00 AM. I had a ticket for the 1:00 AM bus, but I found out that doesn't make any difference, as seats are first come-first served. So I got in line, and waited. A guy right behind me was supposed to have been on a bus leaving Chicago hours earlier, but it was full, and he had to wait. I needed to be on the bus I was scheduled on, because I needed to be back in Joplin on Monday, in order to spend Tuesday and Wednesday in the library writing my comps. The trip from Chicago to St. Louis was uneventful (only 1 stop, in Bloomington). I had to change buses in St. Louis, with a 3 hour layover. What did I do there? I made a quick rest room stop, and then I got in line. In the end, there was not a seat available problem. Nobody got bumped. They would have, but Greyhound put an additional bus for the portion of the trip from St. Louis to Springfield, MO, but, I didn't know they were going to do that, and the next scheduled bus was Monday evening, so . . . I waited in line. I got back to Joplin around 3:30 PM. I had parked my motor scooter inside College Press's warehouse area, so I had transportation home. It was a cultural experience I probably won't rush to repeat. I would rather fly, or drive, I suppose.

That brings us to the Cubs. They have won 17 of their last 25 games, to get back to .500 on the season. They have a firm grip now on 2nd place in the NL Central, have two series sweeps in a row. The game I saw was the 3rd game at U.S. Cellular against the White Sox. They won the game 3-0, which was enjoyable, to see the Cubs sweep the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field ( I had not seen the White Sox play since I was in high school.) Later in the week they swept the Colorado Rockies. Yesterday they began a 3 game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. They gave up 5 run to Milwaukee in the first inning, then started chipping away. Starting the bottom of the 9th down by 2 runs, they picked up 1 run via Derrek Lee's sacrifice fly, to make the 2nd out. That left one runner on and 2 outs when Aramis Ramírez came up to the plate. The wind was blowing in, but Aramis hit the first pitch into the left field stands for a walk-off Cubs home run. Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! You can hear Pat Hughes' home run call in mp3 format by clicking here.

This afternoon they're on FOX. Tomorrow afternoon on WGN. Go Cubs, go!

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