It was late Saturday night that Brenda and I returned from our big trip to Chicago. We had decided to go to my opening at Ann Nathan Gallery and celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary at the same time. The only catch was what to do with the kids. We worked it out with Roes and Pearl to take our place as guardians with the little girls staying overnight with our good friends around the corner.
It was late Saturday night when we arrived back in Grand Rapids at the Amtrak station downtown. From there we caught a cab which dropped us off on Lake Drive in front of Trinity United Methodist Church. My wallet (with over a hundred dollars in cash and debit card) dropped out of my coat pocket on to the seat of the cab but I wouldn't know this until much later. We walked the remaining two blocks home thankful to be back in our neighborhood. When we walked through the door it was nearly 11:00 PM and everyone was in bed. The house was as neat as a pin. On the dinning room table was a paper bag with an assortment of home made cards to welcome us back home.
Our time in Chicago was a rare opportunity for Brenda and I to have an adventure with out the children. It felt like our courtship as we enjoyed relearning to be together with out all the dynamics of children in a constant swirl around us. We stayed over with old friends Tim and Sherrie Lowly which was great because their home is a place rich in music, art , conversation, and God.....all our favorite stuff.
The opening at Ann's was painful for the first twenty minutes as the crowd was sparse and we felt alone and out of place but then familiar faces began to arrive and conversations with cups of wine warmed up the evening. We sold the painting of the girl in the red dress to a couple we had met before. The woman is an artist print maker and the husband a funeral director. This is their second Beerhorst painting to add to their collection.
Brenda and I had made up our mind that on this trip we would not go through the same rituals and territory that defined nearly all our previous Chicago visits. This time we wanted to learn to use the L trains and discover some of the other neighborhoods besides the River North Gallery district. We did this. It meant a lot unfolding and folding of maps as well as asking for directions. It included plenty of back tracking but it also meant we were opening up new territory. We were learning something new which also meant we were making mistakes.
Our explorations took us to Andersonville neighborhood and a great swedish restaurant. China town and the purchase of a beautiful kitchen knife and various little gifts for the children. And finally we explored the West Loop gallery district which is home to several galleries we had heard about but never walked through. West Loop leans toward younger emerging artists and more conceptual work.
Loosing my wallet seemed to be wanting to wreck the conclusion of a great adventure. Brenda suggested I sit down, relax and ask God for some help. I did this in the milk shake pink rocking chair I rebuilt last fall. About an hour later we got a call from the cabby who told me that he had found my wallet and could drop it off on his way into work that afternoon. He assured me it was still stuffed with money and it was, even after his unsolicited reward.
Like so much of our life our week end adventure was punctuated with risks, mistakes, and rewards.