Monday, November 23, 2020

A Delicate Balance

A Delicate Balance Is the name of a 1968 Pulitzer prize winning play written by Edward Albee. Hugh Cronin and Jessica Tandy were stars in the original performance of the production. This short tale of mine revolves around the events that took place during the evening that my wife, Barbara, and I and another couple saw that play in North Chicago about 15 years ago.

The reason for us being in Chicago with friends was the result of our travel itinerary to a ship’s reunion that was scheduled in Green Bay, Wisconsin. One of the Nicholson’s crew was currently the president of the Green Bay Packers organization and had generously invited our reunion group to Green Bay to see a game alnd tour the local area, including the fishing enterprises on the peninsula. We decided before leaving San Diego to make a short stay in Chicago and try to see a play while there. I went on the web and found that we could get tickets at this small theater in North Chicago for the night we would be there. It sounded like the right move so I bought four tickets and we made our way by air to the big city. After getting our car rental near Midway we checked into the Palmer House—pure luxury.--and parked the car in the hotel garage a block east of the hotel for $27 dollars a day. The car was basically for getting to Green Bay, not touring around Chicago.

After dinner the four of us got a cab outside the hotel for the trip to our theater, some ten or fifteen miles north of the Loop. The cab driver was an elderly black gentleman. On the way to the theater we got to talking to him. He was also a veteran of WWII and was a genuinely pleasant person to talk to. We traded a few wartime tales. He finally drew up in front of this very small theater in what appeared to be a residential area. I asked him what the fare was and he responded “ten dollars.” That didn’t seem enough for the long ride and was prepared to give him a generous tip. He refused the tip. Then I asked how we would call for a cab at this remote location after the show. He said, “Don't worry, I’ll be out in front to pick you up.”

The play was great—that’s another tale—and, sure enough, there he was, right out in front when we came out. He had learned from our earlier journey that my wife was born and raised in South Chicago and asked her if there was any special sight she wished to see before he dropped us at  the hotel. She said, “I would love to see Buckingham Fountain.” He said, “It’s late and the lights have been turned off.” She said, “that’s OK.” So he drove into Grant Park and circled the fountain before taking us on to the hotel. Again the fare for the four of us was ten dollars.


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