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Friday, January 28, 2011

When I was a little girl, my dad would tell me stories about Chicago

Something happened to my dad when he was 19.
I'm not sure the details, I just know that he was a boy before it happened, and the general premise is that he collided with the Almighty and decided to lose his life to get it back. He left Atlanta and went to Chicago for bible school.
His stories were bigger than anything real.
Swaying skyscrapers, high high piles of dirty snow scraped from the wide streets, wind that bit your face, rivers running through the middle of town, and food so tasty it made you sick. Before I learned geography, I thought Chicago was a state. It had to be, to fit all that in.
I finally got to see it. When I stepped off the train, I understood what he was talking about for the first time. Ogilvie station is the size of a cathedral. The braided steel beams that hold it up leave little squares of glass where you can look up and see how very tiny your reflection is compared to the vast ceiling.  Union station is even bigger. Michigan avenue is America's Champs Elysees. And there is no cold like Chicago-cold.
I had to call him from the financial district, just to tell him I understood now. Tim and I were on a bridge with a wooden plank sidewalk. My fingers were so stiff from cold that I had to really focus on punching the right buttons on my phone. Yes, I still have a phone with buttons--get off me. Water rushed beneath me, buildings taller than redwoods eased back and forth in the wind above me.
I have a crush on this city.

Most of these photographs were taken by Tim Tabailloux, boyfriend extraordinaire.


  1. such good times!! thanks so much for coming up... chicago gets even better in the spring, I'm looking forward to showing you more of the windy city. As a side note: you are a great writer!

  2. this i love so much.

    great photos tim. i mean you really can't go wrong with beautiful bethany as a subject.

    boats. this is lovely. really lovely.

  3. gosh. i love chicago. there is a list of 20 places i wish i were eating tonight and 19 of them are in chicago.

  4. guh, you guys are ca-UTE!

    and tim's right. you're a really good writer.

  5. i love this little blog. tell me more stories.