Wednesday, November 05, 2008

brand new day

it's a new day in america
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
Mayor Daley didn't waste one minute sharing the good news about "Chicago's Own": Passed these banners as we were heading to the train this morning, after spending the night in the Loop so we wouldn't have to fight the crowds heading out of the city late last night after the Obama rally.

Not that there was anything to fight: the swell of people flowing out of Grant Park was endless and joyous and entirely generous. We commandeered Michigan Avenue -- Mag Mile was elbow to elbow with bodies, but there was none of the mad press of testy crowds that radiates at the Taste of Chicago when the temperatures are soaring and all the city is jostling to get their taste of ribs and peach cobbler and (my personal favorite) three cheese mac & cheese with sausage.

This crowd was all embrace, gently murmuring smiling disbelief, pinch me pinch me wonder, periodically punctuated by a roaring swell that moved down the Ave like a wave: O-BA-MA! YES! WE! DID!

My phone died in the final mile of our three hour wait in line; just as Penn and Ohio were called for Obama it rolled over and refused to boot. It sputtered back to life for a brief little while (after I popped the battery in and out) just as a woman near me clung tightly to the arm of a man with an iphone and tried to fathom Obama's electoral count as California confirmed. It sat patiently in my pocket as she jumped and screamed "CONGRATULATIONS!" and swatted everyone within reach with something resembling a full body handshake.

Just after that we cleared the first checkpoint, and Mr. Hoo picked up on his radio earbud (the man insisted on getting a cellphone that streams FM, god bless him) that McCain was getting ready to concede. We pushed past two more checkpoints and found a spot on a rise of the hill just as McCain took to the Jumbotron to bid us all goodbye.

Y'all were there, so you know the rest: The race run, the best man won; tears, possibilities, and a puppy for the kids.

I expected to feel a tremendous surge of relief; expected to cry harder and longer than I did; but what I got was peace, and calm, finally calm, and a quieted mind.

I woke early, before the alarm, around 5AM, and heard the same cheers from the street that ushered us home. Whether they were for real or just a residue of the wonder of the night I don't know. I fell back to my dreams and woke again to my early wake up call, rubbed the sleep from my eyes and stepped forward with a second wind.

Good morning, Friends.

We did it.

p.s. Got some pics and video on my point and shoot -- I'll post a few soon if there are any that are worthwhile.

Posting by cameraphone.


Kari said...

good morning! i'm so glad you were there...

retrorodeo said...

Beautiful! You're entire election coverage for that matter...


Everything's gonna be all right.

Enyasi said...

How wonderful that you got to go... Drove by a woman on the I-90 bridge this morning.. she saw my Obama sticker and as she drove by, she gave me the thumbs up... I hope this feeling of giddyness never ends... Can't wait to see all your pics :-)

Franklin5 said...

And here's yet another round of giddy goosebumps: I still can't quite believe it. President-Elect Barack Obama: hope personified.

Selfishly, I confess, I took an extra measure of joy in seeing this historic moment play out in the hometown of my heart. I'm so thrilled that you were there, and so thankful for the report.

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