Tuesday, May 21, 2013
We awoke early this morning, anxious to learn the latest update about the devastation caused by a tornado in Oklahoma. We wanted to hear news of family members who live in the vicinity of the tornado’s path, a tornado that was even more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb that left a swath of destruction.
On our last full day in Chicago, we boarded the CTA blue line, taking it to the Washington Street exit in the basement of Macy’s, the former Marshall Field’s. We walked to Millennium Park where we were inspired by the beauty and fragrance of the landscaped green space adorned with art sculptures and water features. The 24 1/2 acre park is a center for world-class art, music, architecture and landscape design that features a band shell designed by Frank Gehry. The Cloud Gate Sculpture, also known as the “bean,” designed by Anish Kapoor, is another highlight of Millennium Park. The bean sculpture is made of 168 highly polished stainless steel plates that give the appearance of liquid mercury.
Walking over the Nichols Bridgeway, we arrived at the Chicago Institute of Art. Having immersed ourselves over the past few months with the art found in Europe, we were delighted to include the art galleries of Chicago in our repertoire of cultural exposure. We lost ourselves for several hours viewing the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean art; the paintings of the Impressionists, Renoir, Grant Wood’s “American Gothic;” American modern art; and Marc Chagall’s breathtaking “America Windows.” It was thrilling.
Time had slipped away from us. It was already mid-afternoon and we had not yet eaten lunch. With Chicago known for its pizza, even though we had eaten pizza the night before at Lou Malnati’s with Chuck and Karen Mueller, we elected to eat Chicago pizza at Giordano’s on Rush Street where we shared a small stuffed pizza, for which Giordano’s is acclaimed. Delicious as it was, Lou Malnati’s with its melt-in-the-mouth buttery crust is still our favorite pizza.
With renewed energy, we set out for Lake Michigan walking past The American Girl Store where we had purchased American Girl dolls for our grand-daughters on previous visits. We stopped to admire the beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church, a sesquicentennial church. Arriving at Lake Michigan, we took pleasure in observing the large numbers of Chicagoans enjoying the sandy beach, playing volleyball, bicycling, jogging, skating, and walking on the 6 1/2 mile trail that hugs the lake.
It was time to share a Ghiradelli hot fudge sundae! I did not want to leave Chicago without enjoying this treat.
Another highlight was our visit to the Loyola University Museum of Art where we dwelt upon Marc Chagall’s Bible Illustrations. Owning one of these pieces, David and Absalom, we took special interest in this display. After Marc Chagall, a Russian Jewish artist, was commissioned in 1931 by publisher, Ambroise Vollard, to illustrate the Hebrew Bible, he traveled to Palestine where he experienced his inspiration of a lifetime.
We then focused upon reaching the CTA blue line at Washington and State Streets and returning to the hotel. It has been a long, eventful, enjoyable day.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Our day’s adventures began as we left our hotel by the airport and took the CTA blue line train into the Chicago loop. We got off the train at Washington and State Streets at the base of the old Marshall Field’s store, now a Macy’s. It was quite pleasant strolling leisurely through a store we have delighted to visit in the past. We walked down State Street and came upon Jackson Street. We walked along the street simply observing the architecture and plantings along the way until we arrived at Union Station. There, we purchased Metrarail tickets that would take us to Roselle.
Upon arrival at the Roselle station, we called for a cab that took us to Lou Malnati’s, arriving early for our rendezvous with Chuck and Karen Mueller. It was a delightful two hours renewing our friendship with Chuck and Karen, catching up on each others’ life events.
With no public transportation available from Lou Malnati’s, we took a cab back to the airport where we then caught the blue line CTA to the Cumberland exit. At the end of the day, we were back at our Renaissance Hotel only to learn of the tragic loss and devastation in Oklahoma as a result of a two-mile wide tornado that ripped through the Moore/Oklahoma City area.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Still having the privilege of using the rental vehicle until 14:30 this afternoon–that’s 2:30 PM–, we joyfully seized the opportunity to worship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle, Illinois, where our good friends, Chuck and Karen Mueller, serve in ministry. We had the blessed opportunity to partake of the Lord’s Supper during the worship service at which Chuck preached. We made plans to visit with Chuck and Karen on Monday at our favorite Chicago pizza place, Lou Malnaty’s.
After returning the rent car at the Chicago airport, we purchased three-day passes on the CTA, Chicago’s public transportation system. We figured that, if we could travel in Europe in a host of transportation modes, we should certainly be able to navigate comfortably in Chicago. We did, as we took the blue line and then transferred to the red line to make our way into the center of the city. We meandered through Bloomingdales, re-acquainting ourselves with house wares in America and examining and comparing the various coffee makers. Having become a little more of a coffee connoisseur after sampling the exceptional coffees and preparation styles of coffee in Europe and developing a love for well-made cappuccino, cafe con leche and latte macchiato, Wayne is encouraging me to purchase a system that will allow me to replicate these fine coffees in our home.
Our next jaunt was to Wayne’s favorite “chop house” in Chicago, Harry Carey’s, in a setting that can be endearing to any Chicago Cubs fan. We shared a delicious entree and comfortably navigated through Chicago’s transportation system to reach our hotel before dark.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
It is the end of another chapter in our lives as Wayne concludes his service as chair of the Board of Regents at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is a happy, satisfying feeling to acknowledge that Wayne’s service to the seminary was exemplary and appreciated by others as such. It is also pleasing to know that Wayne has left the seminary in a more stable, secure position for the future. We drive out of Fort Wayne into an unknown future but reassured that God has plans for our continued service to Him in His kingdom that He will reveal to us in His time.
I have such a contented feeling driving through the familiar pristine Midwest farmlands to Chicago where we will relax together for a few days before returning home to Tomball.
As I unpacked our luggage at the Chicago Marriott where we will relax for four nights before returning home, I was aghast as I realized that I had left Wayne’s underwear, socks, golf shirts, and silk ties neatly folded in drawers back at the hotel in Fort Wayne. My pride in never losing or forgetting anything (except my leather gloves which went absent in the Palace of Versailles) during all those months in Europe was instantly erased with that realization. A quick call was made to Hotel Fort Wayne, and Wayne’s clothes will be mailed to our home address.
After sharing an entree and a salad for dinner, we retired to our room to enjoy a quiet Chicago evening together.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Baccalaureate and commencement services today at the seminary…the culmination of four years of intensive study for men who have been prepared to proclaim the faith as pastors to a world that is becoming increasingly unfriendly to Christianity and for deaconess graduates eager to serve the Lord and His people in various ministries throughout the world. May they faithfully, lovingly, and effectively bring the love of Jesus to a world sorely in need of the Gospel.
Wayne had the joyous privilege of inspiring and blessing the graduates through his delivery of the commencement address. As chair of the Board of Regents, he congratulated each seminary and deaconess graduate as they walked across the chancel to receive their diploma from President Larry Rast.
A lovely reception followed for the graduates, faculty, and alumni. In honor of Wayne’s service to the seminary over twelve years as a member of the Board of Regents, nine of which served as chair, Texas-themed foods had been prepared and were served to the accompaniment of western-themed music. It was a delightful evening visiting with those in attendance. How we appreciate the dear folks at Fort Wayne! We will miss them.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
My 65th birthday spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was fantastic! After a loving kiss from my wonderful husband as he left before 8 AM to conduct a day-long board meeting of the Regents, my dear friend, Linda Wenthe, met me at the Hotel Fort Wayne where we lingered over a leisurely breakfast together. Linda presented me with a gift of bath soap wrapped in a scarf; she is always so thoughtful. Making telephone contact with Ann Ross, wife of Regent Dennis Ross, we three gals spent the next several hours shopping at their favorite store, Von Maur. Linda is quite the personal shopper. Upon her recommendation, I bought some beige tribal pants, which are ever so comfortable and will travel well on our three months of upcoming road trips. Linda next introduced me to the infinity scarf as she selected just the infinity scarf to go with my new tribal pants. Returning to the hotel, Ann and I dressed for the evening and awaited the return of our spouses from their day-long meeting.
The evening dinner event in Wayne’s honor was held at the Baker Street Restaurant in Fort Wayne. The Regents, Larry & Amy Rast, Ann Ross, and I were in attendance. Wonderful words of gratitude and appreciation for Wayne were shared and a beautiful framed collage of meaningful pictures from the seminary was presented to Wayne. A boutonnière for Wayne was given and a corsage, a beautifully decorated birthday cake, and a Coldwater Creek scarf were presented to me in honor of my (65th) birthday. It was a very special night that concluded a very happy day.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It was a lovely day for Wayne and me in Fort Wayne. After breakfast, we worked out in the fitness center at Hotel Fort Wayne and then went on a mile long walk. Swimming in the pool was refreshing. It was quite delightful to actually relax leisurely together in this way before Wayne stepped in to his next few days of intense activity.
In the afternoon we drove to the home of Dean and Linda Wenthe. They were waiting for us in their front yard garden where they had prepared an Italian setting featuring Prosecco sparkling wine, grapes, and pistachios. We sat and visited for hours in their cool shaded idyllic retreat. Later, they took us to the country club where Dean plays golf. There, on a screened-in outdoor patio, we enjoyed a pleasant meal and lengthy conversation. At the end of our evening, we returned to our lodging, thankful for such good friends and the ministry activities that have drawn us into each others’ circles of influence. How thankful we are to share life with Dean and Linda Wenthe.
Friday, May 10, 2013
After a pleasant stay at the remodeled Cheshire Inn, Jim and I left for our last meeting as members of the Board of Governors at Concordia Historical Institute. I was thankful that my input at the day’s meeting provided visionary encouragement that could increase CHI’s influence within our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. While I was grateful for the favorable position in which CHI now found itself, I could not help but feel a twinge of sadness leaving colleagues like Larry Lumpe, Cameron McKenzie, Phyllis Duessenberg, Jerry Bode, and Scott Meyer, along with staff members, Rebecca Wells, Patrice Russo, and Laura Maars, with whom I had worked. May God bless the labors of their hands as they continue to serve the Lord through the ministry of Concordia Historical Institute.
Since the savings was so significant to stay one more night in order to take a Saturday flight rather than a preferred Friday night flight, I made reservations at the Marriott by the airport for a very reasonable $80 for the night. John Wohlrabe gave me a ride to the Marriott after our meeting, for which I was grateful. I looked forward to my return home the next day and into Wayne’s arms and those of my loved ones whom I had not seen for months.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
We arose early and began the work of preparing for our St. Louis trip, refreshing our home, and tending to its needs. We lunched with Greta at Five Guys, then returned home for final travel preparations. Time slipped away from us, and we rushed to reach the airport. Wayne left me off with the instruction to get on the plane even if he missed it. Wayne did not want me to miss the dinner to be held in my honor. I checked in quickly. Instead of waiting in the excessively long security line, I made the decision to walk through the premier access line, eliminating a long wait in a security line and arriving with time to spare at the gate.
It was not so effortless for Wayne. The parking garage near the entrance was full; the parking garage for Terminal B was full; the Terminal A parking garage was available. Wayne had to run through Terminal A, then through Terminal B, arriving breathless at the check-in counter. Wayne got special clearance to board the plane. Unfortunately, instead of entering the premier access line, Wayne followed the rules and waited in the lengthy economy security line. Finally making it through security, he ran to the gate, arriving just as his 3:27 PM flight was pulling out of the gate. The 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM flights were sold out, both with lengthy stand-by waiting lists. There was no way that Wayne could get to St. Louis that night. Dejected, he began the drive home. Electing to save toll fees, Wayne drove the longer way home. That turned out to be a poor choice for there was an accident on the road and traffic detoured him into an unfamiliar area. Without a cell phone that would have provided a navigation system, Wayne was left to navigate by instinct. He found his way to Greta & Bryan’s home, allowing him to visit with grand-daughter, Aurora. Leaving their home and driving on Hardin Store Road past Billy Mueller’s auto repair shop, Wayne came upon an unfortunate accident at the hairpin curve on a wet road. Wayne stopped to help the elderly bicyclist who had been struck by a car. As he lay on the road, Wayne stood over him, shielding him from the rain until an emergency vehicle arrived. Wayne drove on to Micah & Tomika’s home where he visited with the grandchildren there. What harrowing experiences he survived before returning home, resigned sadly to having missed the dinner at Concordia Historical Institute.
Upon my arrival in St. Louis, I quickly hailed a cab that took me to Concordia Historical Institute where pre-dinner Piesporter wine, my favorite, and hors d’oeuvres were being served. The honorable Larry Lumpe greeted me warmly and ushered me in to the board room where a lovely catered dinner would be served in an elegant round table setting, beautifully decorated by the wonderful staff, whom I have grown to love and appreciate dearly. It was an evening of pleasant table conversation. Larry Lumpe spoke such kind words of appreciation for the contributions that Jim Kalthoff and I have made over the six years we have served on the Board of Governors. An unexpected, extraordinary framed gift was presented to Jim and me. The card from the staff, filled with its touching words, gripped my heart. It was, indeed, a “feel good” evening recognizing that our labors were appreciated.
During our years of service, monumental events occurred, especially with the opening of the museum at the International Center. Numerous trials and challenges were weathered and overcome. Larry Lumpe took the helm as acting director and steered the Institute to a strong fiscal position. As Jim and I conclude our years of service, we can be grateful to God that He has blessed our work, leaving Concordia Historical Institute on firm footing to face the future. KG