Well, not actually today. Yesterday. But that wouldn’t really work with the song now, would it?
The academic conference for which I was in Chicago ended, as it does every year regardless of city, around noon on Tuesday. Typically, I would fly home on Tuesday afternoon. This year, though, the University travel office made a mistake and had us coming home on Wednesday — and we didn’t catch the error until it was too late. So we had essentially an extra day.
Accordingly, at noon, my long-time friend Scott Woolley (best man at my wedding and, now, a resident of Chicago for many years [after earning a law degree at the University of Chicago and, later, an MBA from DePaul]) picked us up at our hotel and took us on a tour of Kenwood and of Hyde Park, where he (and Barack Obama) used to live.
My wife and I had already seen the Obama residence, so we concentrated on other things, such as Minister Louis Farrakhan’s home:
And we drove by the nearby home (or former home) of Muhammad Ali:
And we had some really good ribs for lunch.
And, at the end, we spent a fair amount of time wandering around what would once have been considered the gem of the area, the University of Chicago — including a lengthy visit to the museum of the fabled Oriental Institute there.
Nothing there, though, could possibly compare with the high point of the day:
I felt a thrill go up my leg. I believe that I heard a voice whisper, “Take off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the ground whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
With Scott, my wife and I went to the very Baskin-Robbins in that corner strip mall where the momentous event began. I ordered a chocolate milk shake. In drinking it, I suppose I must have felt something of what certain folks in more conventional religions feel at first communion.
I am saved.