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!"