City of skyscrapers and stories
06.23.2013 - 06.24.2013 85 °F
“So do you live in She-cog-o?” the freckle-faced, Swiss immigration officer asks, her blues eyes beaming like Lake Lucerne. We’re at the Zurich Airport winding our way to the gate and to the plane that will take us home.
“No,” I say, “I grew up near Chicago. But I live in Idaho, it’s in the northwest,” giving her more information that she needs or wants.
“Your first time in Switzerland?”
“Yes,” I say. “You have a beautiful country. I hate to leave. We visited the small village where my great-great grandfather came from. If he hadn’t left, I might be able to stay.”
“Well, I guess that’s destiny, isn’t it? Have a pleasant journey, Mr. Clark,” she says, smiling and handing my passport back to me.
We board the plane and the 9-hour flight seems effortless. I’m tired enough that I sleep. And when I wake up, I eat and drink.
When we arrive in Chicago it seems like home. My grandson and daughter are relieved to get back. After Berne, Chicago seems big and boisterous and friendly. We walk along Navy Pier, ride the Ferris wheel, take a boat cruise along the lakeshore. The narrator mentions that Lake Michigan can hold one-and-a-half Switzerlands. We listen to loud music on the pier, and I eat a hot dog and drink beer. (What a surprise).
Our hotel rooms at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers are paid with credit card points so I’m feeling eased. They ask us if we’d like a late checkout time. I say, “Awesome. Our flight doesn’t leave until 6:30 p.m. And then they give us access to the Guest Lounge on the 32-24 floors where you can have breakfast in the morning or soft drinks and snacks in the afternoon with views of the lake and the Chicago River.
In the morning after a good night’s sleep, I’m drinking coffee when a window washer rappels in front of our window. He’s strapped to a rope with a body harness and smiles at me as he cleans the outside window of my 29th floor hotel room.
I grab the camera and snap his picture. He waves, tugs his rope, and drops out of site. I love She-cog-o. Maybe, just maybe, it is my destiny.