Being associated with Lions Clubs International for almost eighteen years, I’ve been to my share of conferences and conventions. I look at these events as opportunities to get together with fellow Lion friends and get caught up with everyone’s life experiences.
I’m not a major fan of crowds; as a matter of fact, I really didn’t want to attend the recent Lions convention in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. However, this convention was the celebration of one hundred years of Lionism, but more importantly, my wife was to be sworn in as District Governor on the Fourth of July and I wanted to be there to show my support.
This convention was attended by over 30,000 Lions from all over the world, and Chicago did a wonderful job of accommodating everyone. McCormick Place was the venue for all the events, and I didn’t realize just how big the place is until I started walking around. Motor coaches, or buses, were available to transport everyone from the hotels to the convention center. I have a lot of respect for the bus drivers. They maneuvered the buses in heavy traffic and around some very tight corners, all the time keeping a smile on their face.
The group Chicago, the Beach Boys, the Charley Daniels Band, and Patti LaBelle all performed, but because of the endless lines, we opted to forgo attending any of these events. I can only stand in line for so long, and dealing with those few individuals who think that cutting in line or using their elbows to gain entry, doesn’t interest me in the least.
I am aware that there are many who think Chicago is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but after living in the Chicago area for about thirty years, visiting Chicago is not exactly at the top of my priority list. Too many people and too much tension. However, they do know how to make a delicious sandwich.
Chicago prices are a bit higher than in Three Rivers. Luckily, we took extra money to cover our dining expenses. Eating at McCormick Place was a bit pricey. A medium-size soft drink was about $3.50, as an example. Eating at the hotel was also a bit costly. I’d have a box of cold cereal and a banana for breakfast. All of this for $7.50. I decided to forgo a cup of coffee, because Starbucks had that covered and it’s a bit too strong for me.
We drove to the South Bend airport, where we caught the South Shore train to Millennium Station in Chicago. I highly recommend this for anyone planning to spend a weekend in the windy city. A round-trip ticket is only $13.25 and we could park our car at the airport for a week for about the same as you might pay for a day or two at any Chicago hotel.
If you happen to see me as I’m Out and About, and I offer you a couple of bucks for absolutely nothing, please remind me that I’m not on vacation in some large city, but that I’m really in my hometown, where people are genuinely friendly and you can still get a cup of coffee for under $5.00.
We’re currently experiencing frequent hot and humid days. Relax. In six months, we’ll be shoveling snow and dealing with impassable roads. Those complaining about the heat and humidity will then be complaining about the hazards of winter. Welcome to “Pure Michigan”.
I would like to thank the City of Three Rivers for placing a park bench in Bowman Park. This park has needed a place for people to sit and relax for quite some time. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a little perseverance and patience. Thank you, Three Rivers.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman