because "Queen of Finkdom" was already taken
Sunday July 25th was an auspicious day. I walked into Honey Berry Café at the SE corner of 9th Street & State. “That’s What Friends are For” by Dionne Warwick & friends was broadcast over the loudspeaker and I wanted to stop dead in my tracks, close my eyes and be carried away by the emotion. But I pressed forward with delightful momentum knowing my day would be filled with more signs from the Universe that I am on the right path. That song reminds me of my dad who taught me everything about friendship and love. Tears spring to my eyes as I write this, overcome with gratitude – for the man who showed me how to live life, for myself who “saw” his example, for the friends who have come into and stayed in my life – to enrich and embellish my existence.
I was breaking out of my Sunday routine and for good reason. I awakened at 4:15am ET so I could catch a flight from Durham, NC back home to Chicago. I had just spent an “artfully exhilarating” weekend in Durham & Charlotte with my true best friend Mary and her just as true husband Albert. Even though I have seen “Immersive van Gogh” in Chicago three times, I invited myself along to view it with Mary and Albert in Charlotte. I yearned to “see” it through their eyes, to experience it by their sides. And a 2-hour road trip to Charlotte – snacks and scenery to boot! Typical van Gogh - he did not disappoint! The former Ford Model T factory was an amazing venue to immerse ourselves in his artistic genius. After a heady hour and a half, off we went to see The Sistine Chapel a mile away. In comparison, this was not the denouement I felt entitled to. Not to denigrate Michelangelo’s artistic brilliance but the environment was static compared to the exuberance we had just left. Plus, lots of reading while standing. And a lackluster, barely existing skeleton of a gift shop.
Our long weekend was filled with art, laughter, deep thoughts and wine. It’s a testament to our everlasting mutual love for each other that we feel secure, enlightened, brightened in each other’s presence. It was time to depart my dear dear friends and their 4 dogs to return home. And maybe Albert will consider my broad “wink wink” hint of building a writing shed in their backyard where I would write and where we would sit together on its cute little porch and sip wine. Pet a pooch or two, more likely 3 or 4.
I entered Honey Berry Café with the Sunday Chicago Tribune tucked under my arm and requested a counter seat. It was early enough that I was easily accommodated and lo and behold – my server/bartender was the same person I saw earlier on the Orange Line from Midway airport on my way home. Niko (as I later found out) was sporting the Honey Berry logo on his uniform and so I had taken that as a sign to go out for breakfast. Because of the early hour, I couldn’t order an adult beverage which did not dampen my spirits AT ALL. Now I could concentrate on the hefty menu, deciding to order the corned beef hashbrowns (my nod to Mary – “FTTN” – fingertip to the nose) with two poached eggs and rye toast. I contentedly sipped my iced cappuccino and began to devour the Sunday paper. Good thing I always have a pen and notebook handy – I noted all the appealing events/books/quotes for future reference and action. My notes from that morning specifically led to this recounting. I was in “the zone”. I was experiencing “flow” - the psychological concept of a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity. Thank you Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for recognizing and naming this concept. All my neurons were on fire and I felt lit up. I was making connections left and right, my heart was singing as I tucked into my corned beef and hash. As is often the case, I did not want the party to end.
I requested a to-go box so I could take home this deliciousness to Jerry. Niko was slammed so his partner Jose assisted me. Turns out we are neighbors (who knew!) and had even watched the Miss Universe pageant together at the bar of our favorite sushi restaurant where we rooted for Miss Mexico. It’s a small world filled with endless synchronicities and amazing possibilities. I’m enjoying the ride and learning to share my perspective. As I left the restaurant and my new friends, the song “Making My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates blared. Here’s to you – may all our dreams come true as we enjoy the ride.