Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Little Chicago Story, Zoo Day with RT, McWane Day with Grand-Tots AND Quotable Quotes

Good Saturday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS #1 - A Little Chicago Story - As I mentioned in my last post, one of my "firsts" in Chicago was riding in a cab.

I bet I know what you're thinking. "That's a pretty pathetic little 'first,'" but wait...

There's more!

In order for it to be a blog-worthy "first," I decided to add a little sumpin'-sumpin' to the initial ride.

Not only would I enjoy my first ever cab ride, BUT I would also successfully HAIL a cab sometime during our stay in the city.

Once we arrived at our hotel, I paused a few moments before going inside to watch the doormen hail the cab. They were very good. They took a large step out onto the busy street, raised a hand and tooted on a very loud whistle several times in short, swift bursts.

I hesitated asking one of them the obvious question...

"Where do I get a cab-hailing whistle?" To be honest, I was more than a little intimidated by it all. Hard to believe, but true!

None of the television shows or movies I had seen where cabs were hailed had included the whistle when ordinary folk, such as myself, were doing the hailing.

Would I be able to just use the step-off-the-curb-into-oncoming-traffic-raise-your-left-hand-high-in-the-air method AND stop a cab without the aid of the whistle?

I just didn't know if it would be enough, and for the first time since Mike and I had left Birmingham earlier in the day, I felt uncertain, and...

Dare I say it?

A little anxious.

I shook off the negative vibes, and moved on into the hotel. I had two more days before my solo excursion to Lincoln Park Zoo. That was plenty of time to observe AND practice.

And when I say "practice," I mean stand in front of the full-length mirror attached to the closet door in our room taking large steps while simultaneously throwing my hand into the air...

Like I just didn't care!

When Tuesday morning arrived, I was as prepared as I could be to have never actually stepped off a curb in front of a moving cab.

It was go time.

As I walked through the lobby, I decided to let the doorman hail the cab GOING to the Zoo for me. I mean, it's his job and observing the procedure ONE MORE TIME wouldn't hurt, would it?

Also, I planned on asking him for the use of his whistle for the day, but I chickened out when he spotted me coming, jumped out into the street, hailed a cab, opened a door and put me in the backseat before I could even say, "Good morning. That's a sharp looking whistle you've got there, Fella!"

Please note, in no way, shape or form did SPEED OF HALING A CAB enter into this particular first. As far as I was concerned, it could take 30 seconds or 30 minutes. I wasn't going to put that kind of pressure on myself. (I rarely do.)

I lucked out, and my cab driver was a wonderful African man named Efron, but he told me I could call him "Effie" for short. I don't know about you, but when you meet someone and they share their nickname almost immediately, it is a friendship connection of sorts. Well, that's what I like to tell myself on the rare occasions it actually happens.

Our conversation went something like this...

"Where in Africa did you live?"

"You haven't heard of it, I am sure." He then proceeded to tell me the name of his homeland four times. He was correct. I had no idea.

"Okay. I do not know where that particular country, city, village is, but can you tell me a major city located nearby?" I wasn't going to give up so easily when it came to bonding with Effie. I had a favor to ask of him before we parted ways for the day.

He caught my eyes in the mirror, and I could tell he was trying to think of a place I would recognize near his home. All at once, he grinned and nodded. "The Indian Ocean!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, yes. I have heard of it! What a lovely place to live!"

Our relationship was quickly growing into a long-term friendship.

Maybe, dare I dream, of a pen pal nature!

I spent the rest of the 12-minute trip asking for advice on getting BACK to the hotel. (Effie agreed with me that "getting back" was really the most important part.)

When we arrived at the Zoo, instead of just taking my money and saying good-bye, he drove me to the exact spot where I should stand when hailing my "getting back" cab. He then got out of the cab, and showed me by example how to get the cab driver's attention. We then talked a few minutes about the chances of him being available to pick me up in two to three hours. I didn't understand everything, but I think his shift was coming to an end, and two to three hours down the road he would be taking care of family stuff.

I totally got that, by the way.

Family first...

Alabama tourists second...

Or maybe even third or fourth.

YOU KNOW WHAT? - If I am ever going to get this posted, I'm going to have to finish the story in a couple of days. Believe me, it isn't worth a two-parter, but time is of the essence. (I learned that phrase way back in my legal secretary days.)

Until my next post, ponder on these questions...

Did she successfully hail a cab from Lincoln Park Zoo to downtown Chicago?

Is she, in fact, in Alabama right this moment, or is she still trying to "get back" to the hotel?

Does she really know where the Indian Ocean is, or was she just trying to impress her new best friend?

Does she now have in her possession a cab-hailing whistle, and if so, what on earth does she plan on doing with it in The Dale?

All of these (and more) questions will be answered shortly...

Of this, I am almost certain.

DISCLAIMER - I am about to share some Grand-Tot pics and activities with you. I just want you to know that although we had a good time together, I did not photograph or record any of the following:


Escape attempts

Bad reactions to heat and high humidity

Messy diapers

And I didn't record or photograph any of the Tots having an off day either!

As with any family outing with people ranging in age from 16 months to 56 years, things were not totally "perfect." Never have been, and never will be.

But fun was had, laughter was heard and time was well spent. Those are the things I tend to record, because those are things I want to remember a few years from now when everyone has grown up, up and away.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Zoo Day with RT - Melia, Austin, Mimi (Melia's Mom), RT and I went to the Zoo for the first time in 2018 a week or so ago, and while most of Birmingham and surrounding areas went as well, a good time was had by all.

Little Man played long and hard...

And just when we thought he was down for the count, he played some more with his new "cat" friend.

It wasn't until we reached the alligators that he put his head on his Daddy's shoulder and took a little snooze.

All in all, it was a very good day at the Zoo.

RANDOMNESS #3 - McWane Day with Grand-Tots - Everyone met at McWane Center on a Sunday afternoon. The Grand-Tots had already visited, but not all of the adults had been able to check it out. Judith and RT showed everyone their favorite things to do, and we even tried a few new-to-them things before we called it a day.

Of course, the water-play area was a big hit...


Water and Tots is a magical combo, I think.

As you can imagine, the little ones loved the Bubble Play Area...

But not quite as much as the adults.

The Faulkner Men.

Be still my heart.

I loved this, and so did Judith.

It would have been nice to take it home with me to keep forever, but just like everywhere else, McWane has "rules."


Oh. And the Tots were able to pet rays and sharks.

No big deal.

Quotable Quotes - "Visit many good books, but live in the Bible." C. H. Spurgeon

I cannot think of anything better than the above quote to leave you with this Saturday.

Have a great weekend, and I will talk to you very soon!


The Enchanting Belinda

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