Wednesday, August 9, 2023


It's been a month since I've returned home from Chicago. I was supposed to spend a week with my parents to celebrate my father's 95th birthday, but my flight was canceled twice. TWICE! Unbelievable. However, everything worked out even better than I expected. I had a chance to finish making a little gift for my father. I felt as if the Lord arranged all the details according to His plan for this entire trip. Max was flying in to visit some friends so he spent some time with my parents too. We'd made our plans completely independently. The last time my parents saw my kids was when we were moving to SC, twelve years ago. Max was twelve :) Btw, I find it quite delightful how much I look like Lena--my stepmother. We share many interests as well. My father is writing his memoirs and what a treasure they will be. It's odd how often I've gotten to know a person better after their death. But it is not yet my father's time to return to his Creator.  

What joy to have grown kids. I felt like a maharani being taken downtown to St. John Cantius for Sunday Mass! It was pouring buckts--a deluge--but I had to take this picture of the chalked angels on the stairs. They have a room full of relics of many saints, some are dear friends of mine! I was quite overwhelmed with all the treasures and beauty of the church--the side Altars, Stations, stained glass windows, the reverent liturgy, beautiful singing. 

Afterwards, we went out to eat at Tabu and it was lovely to dry off a bit, enjoy good food and company. They had some great art on their walls.  

The art museum had a special van Gogh+friends exhibit and it was perfect given that we wouldn't be walking in the deluge (the Nascar race had to be cancelled). We wandered through the various rooms, leaving the miniature rooms for last. What fun! I would've added little people and animals, a cat on every bed :) I wanted to disappear into several of them. Happy sigh! 

The portrait of a man with a laurel wreath is from 2nd century Egypt. I was so surprised to see that the face has roundedness. Most art from that period has a certain flatness to it. There was also a mummy circa 700 BC, which sparked discussion about time travel and waking up in Chicago. Lots of story ideas as we wandered about. However, it was time to head home. The roads were flooded--Max navigated the streets beautifully. As I said, it's a great blessing having adult kids who take care of you. 

I had a chance to visit with the family Max was staying with--they have 7 or 8 kids and had cousins and friends visiting as well, so a full house. Beautiful family. We had a good time fixing a traditional Indian meal; there were many sous chefs. Max made a chicken tikka masala and I made ratatouille. We had a garden salad, mangoes, rice and naan. But before we sat down to eat, a priest friend offered Mass in their private chapel--it was so wonderful, especially since it was on the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the Apostle who came to India.

It just so happened that Lena had checked out Abraham Verghese's newest novel:
The Covenant of Water, which is set in the St. Thomas Christian community in South India. I read as much as I could at night. Can't wait to have my own copy when it's in paperback. He's one of my favorite authors.
It was a lovely trip to Chicago, to spend time with my parents, and made better because I got to spend some time with Max and his friends too. I am so grateful Christ is the center of their lives. I leave you with the serene photos of the swans and their babies, this field of flowers.


Mirka Breen said...

I know someone whose flight(s) was canceled four times... This was about six weeks ago. His despondent posts on Facebook got a whole bunch of us rooting for him and popping Champaigne bottles when he finally made it out of NYC to Arizona.
What a beautiful collection of photos, and so many blessings to your father.

dbp said...

Vaishali and I visited Chicago for the first time a few months ago. We took in comedy show at the House of Blues--which was a block from our hotel, rode on the L and went to the Art Institute of Chicago.

It might be an interesting story of how your parents ended up in Chicago: If I recall correctly, he had been a professor at WSU.

Having wandered around the city between the Chicago River and Grant Park, its given me an appreciation for the opening credits of The Bob Newhart Show, which is on Amazon, or some other streaming service we get. The city looks the same as it did in the show.

Vijaya said...

Thank you, Mirka and Barb. I had some friends travelling internationally and I was so grateful everything went without a hitch, esp. the family with 5 children.

David, how fun for you and Vaishali to have a vacation in Chicago! What inspired it? My parents were quite happy and settled in WSU but when Lena got a tenured position at UIC my dad applied to IIT and Chicago became their home. I do wish that the last time they moved, about 10 yrs ago, from a 3-storey condo to their 1-level apartment, that they'd considered moving to SC or TX because they had both retired.

dbp said...

Hi Vijaya,

My niece and her husband are in Appleton Wisconsin and had a baby girl. My sister and her husband decided to take a road trip from Washington to visit their daughter, son in law and newest grandchild, so it seemed like a good time to visit.

Vaishali wanted me to sweeten the deal by including Chicago in the trip and also, the flights from Boston to Chicago were a much better price than flying to someplace closer to Appleton. So, we had a mini-vacation as well as getting to meet up with relatives, especially the newest one.

Faith E. Hough said...

What a beautiful trip! Those miniatures from the art museum are incredible. And I really want to visit St. John Cantius some day…your pictures are stunning.

Vijaya said...

David, that's wonderful you were able to have a little family reunion and take in a visit to Chicago. When I'd gone for a writing conference in Chicago, a couple of friends from Appleton came down for a visit. It was such fun. Do you have any relatives in SC? You'll have to come visit us in Chs. The lowcountry has its own beauty.

Faith, thank you. It was a time of many graces.