Labor Day


Late the night of Labor Day, and one of those southerly winds is blowing in Chicago: gusty, warm, the kind of wind that even when it’s blowing hard seems to have a welcoming edge to it; the kind of wind that can stir up in these parts almost any time of the year–that can lead to a rapid thaw in January, force the first spring day while the calendar still says February, retrieve an evening or two of summer well after the first frost.

I drove with my dad on a round-about route out to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery this afternoon to visit my mom’s and brother’s grave and to see if I could find her parents’ and brother’s graves (I did, and did a little excavating in spite of myself to keep their markers visible). Then we went out to the area where I grew up late in the afternoon just to look around, to see what’s changed (a lot), what’s the same (a lot again) and what’s still recognizable (virtually everything, with allowance for surprises like the old par 3 course where we used to go to play miniature golf having been allowed to go back to nature).

Wandering some of the backroads, we found ourselves in Monee Township, where I tried to find the corner that I had determined, in my 15-year-old’s consultation with U.S. Geological Survey maps, was the high point in our area (something a little higher than 800 feet above sea level. In fact, the Stuenkel Road crossing on the Illinois Central, less than a mile west of us, appeared to be the highest point on the I.C. in the whole state). I had to noodle around a little to get to the place I was aiming for, winding up driving through Monee. On the way out of town, we crossed the Pauling Road overpass above Illinois 50 (Governors Highway, former U.S. 54) and the old Illinois Central mainline. As my brother Chris told me the other night, that I.C. line is now down to one track from the two to four that ran there when we were kids.

The sky was gorgeous as the evening came on. Just two weeks until the equinox.

(Here’s the Google Maps link for the locale where the picture was taken.)

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