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Friday, December 03, 2010

Losses, and the Cold

The cold air has moved into E-Town and the rest of the Chicagoland region. When the calendar reaches December 1, the serious chill hits. Tonight, we should see six inches of snow. I still have a few things to do to prepare for winter - turn off the pipes leading to the outdoor faucets, that sort of thing. The warmth and the birdsong and the flowers in Amanda's garden are lost, for a while.

I sat with an old colleague of mine recently, drinking coffee. I hadn't seen this guy in 20 years or so. I remember him as a big, handsome, fit Alpha Male. He is 65 now and fighting through his second go-round with cancer (he beat prostate cancer, now on to melanoma). The real estate investment firm he works for has delivered losses to investors over the past couple of years. He is moving reluctantly into retirement. He is still handsome, but he has a haunted look around his eyes these days.

And today we received the news of Ron Santo's passing. For Chicagoans with any interest in baseball, Ron was a brother, a fellow fan that wore his emotions on his sleeve. I feel like I have lost a family member, which is ridiculous - I never met the man. But I listened to him broadcast Cubs games all summer long for many years. It was a strange connection; impersonal yet intense. Ron Santo fought diabetes his entire adult life, lost his legs to the disease, yet he kept moving ahead and achieving great things while staying connected to everyday people. In Chicago, we grieve for our loss in this cold season.

The season will turn, the Christmas and New Year holidays will distract us, the flowers will bloom again. But for now, at the front-end of a long winter, it looks like a cold, cold world.

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