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Friday
Jul292011

One Night In Chicago

The great thing about being an American is that a man can stand on a Chicago street corner with a microphone and a loudspeaker and preach, "You can't go to heaven if you're a homosexual" and not be beaten.

The other great thing about being an American is that a passerby can tell him, "You can't go to heaven if you have hate in your heart," causing the man to retreat to the shadows.

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But turn around. Hatred and fear are replaced by wonder and joy.

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Further into the heart of the park, joy rides on the strings of a violin as a free concert entertains thousands. Music that has been cherished for centuries is shared with a new generation.

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Some of that generation can later be found splashing their way through the end of a hot, muggy day.

The laughter is a chorus uniting the young and the young-at-heart.

Smiles light up the night.

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Public transportation should be a nuisance, but when a violinist (whose talents rival those of the man who was playing for thousands in the park) fills the hallway with his sweet notes, public transportation becomes a pleasure. Dozens gather round and listen in silence to the man who doesn't play with heart, he plays with soul.

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A hate-filled beginning is balanced perfectly by a chance encounter with a man on the train. He sits in silence until his phone rings. Then it's as if a switch has been flipped--his face lights up with pure joy. Whoever the person on the other end of the call is has the power to inject happiness into the man with just the sound of his or her voice.

I hope he has told that person just how happy he or she makes him feel.

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I was in Chicago for one day for work, with just a couple of hours of free time to enjoy the city. Sometimes all it takes is two hours to find something worth remembering.

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Reader Comments (13)

Great post, and beautiful photos. I'm originally from Chicago, and you've just made me homesick.

Thanks. :)

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandwiched

Beautiful post. I left Pittsburgh for Chicago when I went to college and fell madly in love with the place. My heart remains in Pgh and Chicago (but I do love living in Colorado now!)

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlemonysarah

Beautiful post. I love the comeback to the homophobe.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrista

Great post! I love that you care to tell the story of the comeback to the homophobe! :)

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I always sneak away for at least a short walk when I stay downtown. I love the feeling of Chicago, walking for blocks and seeing it with a fresh look each time I visit. I love your perspective!

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Chicago is one of my very favorite places. Beautiful photos, as always!

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Wow, I went to Chicago for a night and I didn't see any of that! Wish I could travel like you do.

You make my heart so very, very happy. These pictures are AMAZING. The more I read and see about Chicago, the more I want to visit. That last one and the scenerio that went with it? AWESOME. Someone told me the other day when I called that seeing my number pop up on their caller ID made them smile - that made my entire month.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Amazing photos. I love the silhouettes at the fountain walls. So beautiful.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara R.

The Bean photo is magNIFicent.

Oh I just love every single one of these photos! And that city. I can't wait to go back some day. Glad you had a great evening there...

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Beautiful perspective. Thanks for sharing.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElle

beautiful!

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
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