Game day a Wrigley Field

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I would like to take personal responsibility for the Cubs World Series win. I hear ya, you’re saying who the hell is this guy — the nerve. Well… Friend, maybe you’ve heard of the butterfly effect, and how the breeze generated from the beating of that bugs wings goes on to influence world shattering events.

Son One and Two

The first beat of my wings, began with the dogs incarceration at its grandmothers. Her bleak future was to be a horrific experience of comfy chairs, treats, and chasing squirrels that have never encountered a mid-size Terrier. She was visibly distraught as we left, pulling all the guilt inducing strings she could get at. What she didn’t know, is that we were being chauffeured by a student driver, and it was a strong possibility that she would have flown into the backside of a seat a couple of times.

We were about half way there, and our student complained he was getting tired of driving in the rain, so we pulled off, and headed for the once highly reputed Gilman DQ. My last visit was full of warm memories of fried mushrooms and ice cream, a fantastic combo. What now is embedded in my brain, is a stinking greasy restroom, and sticky floor throughout, the place had seen better days. We didn’t order the mushrooms, they didn’t have any, and we escaped with our digestive system unmolested.

The plan was to meet up with my friend Toby, use his parking pass, and stay overnight at his place, then wake up early and take the ‘L’ to the game. I called ahead and let him know we were close, and would probably need help with our forty bags of pillows, seven or eight bags of personal items, and a countless wad of wall socket hogging electronics. With all the feather bags unpacked, we drove to the garage, and parked. Fortunately the rain went from drizzling to driving right as we came to a favorite bar of his, so we stopped in. This seemingly unscheduled visit is when I’m sure my influence over the big win started to form.

Hawkeye’s Bar and Grill is set up with the bar in the middle, and a dining room off to the side. The food and drinks are always respectable, and Toby seemed to know everyone there. The area with all the drunks is nice and bright, I can understand that, who would want all that extra stumbling around; but the dining room has a lower light level, for atmosphere. As an older person I can’t see in the dark. In fact, the kids couldn’t seen either, but at least they didn’t have to use their cell phone lights to read the menu. Oh no, Their reading impairment was caused by the loudingtons, who we were unfortunately sat across the room from. Not that any of that mattered, because we ordered pizza, and ended up going into off-menu territory.

Our round of drinks apperated before we could order them, and my boys were impressed by the bacon, cheese, and shrimp in my loaded bloody mary. A few drinks later the pizza came out, and was placed on a riser in the middle of the table. It’s a great idea I’ve seen at many other places, and thoroughly appreciate that apparatus. I can’t say it looked good, because I don’t have night vision, but we felt our way to it, and it tasted delicious.

One child was unhappy though, apparently he had consumed a malicious pepper. We had ordered a half pepperoni, half sausage, with a quarter Canadian bacon overlapping both; and a half pepper, half onion, with a quarter black olives on the pepper side; and half mushroom on both the pepper and onion side, but also overlapping the black olives. My significant other started the interrogation.
I was first.

“I’m not sure if I have peppers, but I know I have black olives and no onions, and maybe a mushroom”.
Toby was next, he squinted at it,
“sausage, Canadian bacon, and I see a pepper”.
The older kid instantly broke under the pressure,
“Yo brah, there’s the peppers right there”.

And by this time, even I could locate the peppers, because a napkin that the waitress had used to carry out the pizza, had been left underneath, and was caught fire by the candle. With haste we reluctantly put it out, and after grabbing the pieces we wanted, the room returned to the smoky gloom of an oracle’s cavern. The Waitress was mortified, the manager gave us a round of free drinks, and we all considered blazing up another for the extra illumination. A few rounds of drinks later, the smoke had cleared and the pizza was just a distant memory. We adults would’ve stayed longer, but the kids staged a walkout, then stared at us all cold and wet through the window from their picket line, and broke our resolve. So we walked back through the rain to his apartment, watched a movie, and hit the hay.

The person above was up early bowling, so I got up, and of course my morning clog dancing routine proceeded to wake all but the heaviest of sleepers. This as you will find out is perhaps the most influential flap of my wings, because even though the game was in the afternoon, we were on the red-line by nine, on our way to the ballpark with it’s staff. I could feel my mojo flowing into them, they didn’t have to thank me, I could tell they were grateful to receive my positive boost by just their body language alone. I was stoked as much I could be with a hangover.

I’ll let you in one a personal item, I’m a cheap drunk. Usually three is enough, and sometimes I just skip the drunk part, and go right to the hangover, sometimes just after one. On this morning it was imperative for me to have a second breakfast. I needed more than the bowl of cereal I so gratefully received from Toby, and he knew of a place for brunch around the ballfield, a trendy place. I ordered a chorizo and egg plate that was super yummy, and I was at a full seventy two percent after eating. Then the memories flooded back.

My Mom and Dad claimed there was a hidden picnic area that I had better take advantage of. They described the location as above the main entrance, but were unsure of how they had gotten up there. I was advised to bring a wicker basket full of goodies, and was informed that, “Some people have been known to sneak in a few beers under the smoked turkey”, well that sounded good to me. I was up for it. The legend of the lost picnicking patio was as firmly embedded into my brain as the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and the possibility of a Cubs World Series win. It must be found without delay.

Luckily, we were way too hungover, er.. I mean too lazy to prepare a picnic spread, so we arrived with nothing but lint in our pockets to show the guards at the gate. I had been talking up this veranda of paradise to everybody, but no one seemed to know where it was at. With more than enough time before the game, we set out on the expedition, the quest, the journey to find the Shangri-La of outdoor dining. Interestingly enough I found it on the first try. At the top of a ramp, there was a little passageway that led to the not quite lost garden.

If I could’ve traveled to Nineteen Sixty Four I’m sure I would’ve found an outdoor picnicking paradise, but in Twenty Seventeen it was the Jack Daniel’s patio. A glitzy but bleak corporate decor had thankfully been installed, and after a bit of investigation, there was nothing left to do but buy a significant glass of whiskey. I needed to blend in after all, and not come off as some Bolshevik. I choked it down, and we went on exploring all the way to our dew damped seats.

As I have mentioned, one glass of whiskey is enough to put me over the edge, so I felt pretty good sitting in my damp seat. I Found it hilarious that the field was prepared in such a meticulously ridiculous manner. Giggled when they had to sing God Bless America, because it had just dawned upon them that the Star Spangled Banner contained nothing about God. Then instructed the M.L.B. to make a rule change: Place a Jack Russel or a Border Collie in the outfield, and if it catches the ball, both sides get an out. That… in my opinion would keep my attention focused on the game. After that last deep thought I became drowsy, and don’t remember anything but a swarm of hot chocolate vendors.

Eventually I had to sober up. Quite a few foul balls had come close to where we were sitting, and I needed a plan of evasion other than duck and cover. Drinks were needed, so I decided to get up and take my frozen legs on a walk. While I was in line to by a hot dog and two frostbite inducing cokes, the crowd cheered — Then roared. Dang my luck, I missed it. But more importantly they had scored in my absence… Very telling.

I was glad to get back and hand off the drinks, and maybe catch some of the action. Evidently they were doing good, or bad, I wasn’t sure, and sure enough all that confusion led to one of those early hangover headaches I get. Time began to take the form of a stuttering video. The decibel’s steadily increased. Son one and Wife were turning into obnoxious cheer machines, and I found myself at an audio epicenter. My sunglasses weren’t dark enough for that cloudy day. The stadium lights drilled into my head. The noise worked its tendrils into the crevasses of my brain. I recoiled into the area underneath the stands and tried watching the game on the monitors, but that was no good. I had to extricate myself from the ballpark. Outside the gates, there was some kind of drinking area under a tent, with plenty of TV’s, it seemed to be packed full of people just like my self. I had found my place.

As the pain subsided I realized that every time I got farther away from the ballfield the louder the crowd cheered, and if I moved a foot or two closer a hush would grow. After I realized what was going on, I stayed as far back as I could, and it went into overtime.

From the drama queen section I could tell it was a good game. I was glued to the screen, watching that exciting game through two ladies at the bar. Occasionally their heads would move together and I would loose picture, but one of them put her head on the bar to cry and the other leaned over and hugged her, and it cleared up. Luckily she was sobbing like this for the rest of the game, so I didn’t miss a thing, and was able to gauge how far away I should stand in order to bring in a Cubbies win.

People soon gushed out of the ballpark and into the streets. Remarkably I found everybody quickly, and we headed for the red line, and about ten feet into to our journey we were at the end of the line to get on. Plan B was enacted, and we took a very scenic bus ride to the Blue line.

The rest is very unimportant:
got back to car park,
I had left lights on,
battery dead,
calls were made,
more walking;
rain, lightning, got home.
A day later Cubs lost one,
left for Suriname,
they lost another,
hopped boat for Ile Kerguelen.
They won for a bit,
made the hut a little homey.
They lost again,
floated out to the area of the Indian ocean where Malaysia flight 370 was lost,
And “boom” they won the Word Series.
You see that’s how it was done.

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