As I sat at work in the West Loop earlier today, I heard a familiar sound. It took a few seconds for it to sink in, to realize just where that sound was coming from. But even before I recognized it, a soothing, peaceful feeling came over me. It wasn’t the calming sound of flowing water, or the heartwarming laugh of a child – quite the contrary. It was the roar of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels zooming through the sky!
The Blue Angels are in town for this weekend’s 54th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show, and today was a practice day. I am able to see and hear them from my office window. You might be wondering how such a sound could be soothing to me, as those are some loud and powerful airplanes. The simple and honest answer is: the Blue Angels always remind me of my grandmother. To further explain my affinity for the Blue Angels and why my grandmother always comes to mind, I will share part of a post I wrote in 2010 for my original blog:
My paternal grandmother (Mimi, as we called her) loved the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, one of the highlights of the Air & Water Show. Because we lived so close to Lake Michigan (the epicenter of the Air & Water Show), when I was younger we got to witness essentially four days’ worth of mid-air maneuvers by these skilled pilots. (Four days = two days of practice + two days of actual Air & Water Show.) Every year without fail, Mimi pulled out her rickety, metal sunbathing chair and set it up in our backyard to watch the Blue Angels fly, twist, dive, and roar overhead. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was the highlight of her summer. And, our backyard – if you want to call it that – was no more than an 8×8 patch of grass behind our 6-flat apartment building on West Lexington Street. But when I was sitting out there with Mimi watching those planes, and watching her face glow ever so slightly with delight, I could have been anywhere in the world and it would not have mattered. My Mimi pretty much was my best friend until she passed away in 1988, when I was 14 years old. I miss her like you can’t imagine, even more than twenty years later, but getting to see those Blue Angels every summer makes me remember those days in our little backyard, and a whole host of other happy memories from those brief fourteen years I had with her. I hope the Blue Angels keep on flying forever.