Friday, April 25, 2008

A Wonderful and Strange Night

A few weeks ago, Kim told me that we were going out with our good friends Greg and Christina on April 25. We decided to meet them at the Three Happiness Chinese restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown. Last fall, I'd thrown a surprise party there for Kim, in which Greg and Christina, plus the entire Bubs family met us there.

As we approached the restaurant, we were blocked from every street by police officers. When we asked one of them, we were told that there was an automobile accident. I was puzzled why an automobile accident would block off about a mile square area of Chicago.

It turned out that it was not just an accident, but a horrific accident. A semi truck had hit an el station-- specifically the escalator, which, because it was rush hour, was packed with people. There were, unfortunately, fatalities.

The restaurant, it turns out, was only about a block from the scene of the accident. I took this picture from in front of the restaurant; you can see the truck to the far right, about half way up. I was in disbelief; of all the restaurants in Chicago, we managed to be at one that a disaster happened near. I called up Bubs, who told me that he'd just had lunch there a couple of days ago.

Later, Kim echoed a feeling I'd had: we felt almost bad having such a great time with our dear friends.

But we did have a lovely time. Usually I only get to see Greg and Christina if I run into them while I'm picking my stepdaughter from school. It was great having the time to sit and gab with them over a great meal. Shameless plug for the restaurant: the Three Happiness restaurant at 209 W. Cermak. It's right off of the Chinatown el stop (obviously) on the Orange line.

As we talked, the kids talked and played cards...

Work and school have been hammering away at me lately. It was really good to be able to sit and enjoy a great meal with my family and great friends.

We had one other funny thing happen on the way out. The weather had turned bad-- cold and rainy-- while we were in the restaurant. We stopped at a gift shop, where I found some Chinese lanterns to hang on the back porch. Then we walked through the cold and rain (of course I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt) to Kim's car. We got to the parking lot and were stunned to realize that the car wasn't there. We started to ponder the awful thought that Kim's brand new Jetta had been stolen right in front of at least 200 Chicago police officers. Fortunately, it dawned on me that we were looking in the wrong parking lot. As we all got in the car, we and the kids laughed at the notion that the car might have been stolen; it would have been a perfectly bizarre ending to the evening. My stepdaughter said it all best as we drove away: "I love my crazy family!"


Distributorcap said...

does the chinese restaurant deliver? to NYC?


Anonymous said...

I love get togethers with family and friends. Please mail me some of the shrimp dish immediately. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Glad no pall was cast by the accident and you were able to enjoy fellowship.

Mnmom said...

I love your crazy family too! We have one here as well. I heard about that accident - so tragic.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

How horrible about that terrible collision.

The food though looks fabulous and I'm sure the tragedy made your appreciation gathering with friends even more so.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Save me an eggroll!

SkylersDad said...

I have had that feeling of dread standing and looking at an empty parking space. Fortunately, it is always my poor memory and I am on the wrong floor of the parking garage!

'Bubbles' said...

The parking lot thing happens to me on occasion. If it isn't the location it is that I forgot which car I arrived in. Sigh.

Erik Donald France said...

Good beans, Wellington!

Tenacious S said...

I relieved some of the study tension on Saturday night eating fabulous Thai food in the presence of Elvis at Cozy in E-town. Best Thai in E-town if you ask me. We then sauntered across the street to catch Melvin Taylor at Bill's Blues. Yummy food. Happy beer. Good music. Relaxed Ten S.

Beth said...

Hearing about that accident broke my heart — and had me worrying about you Chicago bloggers. I'm glad you were able to have a fun night out with friends.

kim said...

I am sure the reason we thought the car was stolen was that the other parking lot looked exactly like the one we parked in.

That was a wacky night.

Bubs said...

I'm glad you guys had a great dinner. I'm hungry just reading about it and looking at the pictures.

The last two times I've been there it's been for lunch, and they have a great dim sum menu. The Singapore noodles feed 3 people for $8.95

Natalie said...

I was getting on the red line at Clark and Lake and was wondering what all the announcements were about. I couldn't believe it when I found out.

Prime Minister Dr.Evil said...

what a crazy family you have.........

Johnny Yen said...

Hell, I wish they delivered to the north side of Chicago!

Suzel's Sass-
I'll fax it right over!

Glad to hear it-- crazy families are much more fun!

It did make me appreciate it more. One of the things I did was to make sure to make plans to get together with the Bubs family.


Skyler's Dad-
I see you're suffering from the same illness as i do-- CRS Disease-- Can't Remember Shit.

My version of that is not remembering where I parked my car (we have street parking).


Glad you found some relaxation. I need to plan some R and R soon-- this next two weeks is going to be a grind.

All is well! We had a great time.

Yes, it did. It wasn't until I realized that we hadn't passed that mural that I knew we had the wrong lot.

Of course, it's a little sobering that a 14-year-old got us to the restaurant and back in the first place. Good thing we had the Chinatown ringer with us.

The place is awesome. We fed four adults and three kids quite well for $140, including a generous tip.

Yeah, we were in disbelief when we actually saw the truck. I was in even more disbelief when I discovered that only two people died-- as sad as the deaths were, it could have been much, much worse.

Elk said...

...Jetta being stolen.....

Wishful ThinkinG?