Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Grant Park Celebration

I went down Michigan Avenue about 6 pm just to see the people flowing into Grant Park to hear President-elect Obama give his speech. The crowds and traffic forced me to stop and the cell phones came out taking pictures. A couple speaking french approached the car and on an impulse I asked them to join me. (Our kids live in San Francisco, Dallas, Carbondale IL, Springfield IL and Geneseo IL and they all worked and couldn't share this experience.) The couple flew from Paris with two kids to participate in the celebration. We cruised Michigan Ave while the crowd roared with positive response and laughter at the over-the-top OBAMALAC. When I dropped them off three Chicagoans joined me. With the strength of youth, release of 300 years of frustration, and bubbling jubilation they started chanting "O Bam Ma, O Bam Ma...." to the crowd. Arms in the air, smiles on their faces, JOY TO THE WORLD! At some points the crowd was 8 or 10 people deep and blocks long snaking up, then back down and then up Michigan again. The crowd joined in the chants and cameras clicked everywhere. With my CD player and five speakers booming out classic Rock and R & B we had a great time. For a while we had a photographer from the Chicago Sun-Times as a passenger snapping pics. My oldest son has a column in the Times and maybe that precluded publication of any OBAMALAC pics. He used to live at the Doral (151 N Michigan) and that was my northern turn-a-round. We went south to 12th or 14th street and came back. We saw many of his friends and some called or texted him. The combination of victory, fabulous weather for November, slipping schedule, and boredom with an endless, slow moving line created energy that needed release and we gave it to them! For four hours!! Passengers were added and changed all night. A couple from Ireland, more from Chicago, one guy from New Zealand, and such. Reporters from Finland, Belgium and elsewhere grabbed info from us. At about 10:15 the crowd closed in from BOTH sides of the street and stopped traffic from moving at all. On our return trip the cops shut off Michigan Ave by pulling a car and barricades in front of us. The steam left. I'm a great-grandfather and been around for a while but this night was like a dream. A positive, joyous night like no other could ever be again!

No comments: