Friday, October 13, 2006

Des Plaines! Des Plaines!

Just a few more thoughts about my Chicago trip. I spent a great deal of my time in the City of Des Plaines, Illinois. I drove past this water tower several times.

I have to admit that each time I saw the name of the town, that I immediately thought of "Tattoo" on the old TV show, Fantasy Island when he would announce the arrival of the new guests to the island each week by exclaiming "Da Plane! Da Plane!"

I actually enjoyed my time in Des Plaines. It was near my hotel, it had restaurants and shopping, and I could navigate their streets (Well -- pretty much, anyway!)

They had some interesting things in Des Plaines, including the McDonalds Museum. This was the location of the first Franchised McDonalds restaurant. This is a replica built as it was back in 1955. This was McDonald's Store #1. The museum is not a working McDonalds, although there is a modern-day operating McDonald's nearby. Inside the museum are replica's of the equipment they used, complete with an all-male mannequin crew, dressed in black trousers, white shirts, and the old white paper hats that they wore. I took this photo with my little tripod from across the street. Unfortunately, the museum wasn't open while I was there.

After taking the photo of McDonalds, I turned around and noticed a White Castle right across the street. I had never been to a White Castle before, but had heard those from the East and Midwest rave about it. I decided to try them out. I ordered a Jalapeño Cheeseburger, for 89¢. What I got was a little hamburger, about the size of a dinner roll. Instead of a quarter pounder, it was more like a one-tenth pounder. The patty was covered with a split jalepeño pepper, smothered with a slice of melted Montery Jack cheese. Even though the hamburger was small by usual standards, it was very tasty. I have heard stories of people getting a bag of White Castle Burgers for dinner (usually from college students). I thought this practice seemed a little odd. However, after experiencing White Castle first hand, I can see how folks just might have a craving for those little burgers -- In fact, I could eat a couple of those Jalapeño cheeseburgers right about now!

Finally, I have to say I really enjoyed seeing the water towers in the Chicago area. Some cities just printed their names on the water towers, like the one at the top of this post. However other cities went to great lengths to make their water towers more decorative. This tomato looking water tower was found right next to where my training class was held. If you look closely, you can see a paint crew hanging on a scaffold, touching up the tomato top.

I come from mountain country. I can look up, see the mountains, and immediately know what direction I am heading. The land in the Chicago area was flat as a pancake. In unpopulated areas, it was covered with trees. However, rising up above the trees, were water towers. They became welcome landmarks for me to follow in this unfamiliar land, that to my poor eyes had few distinguishing marks. One place looked pretty much like the other. I got to know a few of the water towers by sight in my travels, such as these two. They became a source of comfort, because when I saw them, I knew I was in the right place and headed in the right direction.

No matter where you are in life, its always nice to know where you are, and in what direction you are going. I'm thankful for the water towers in my life, that rise up above all the noise and confusion, and help point me in the right direction. I hope you are so blessed with water towers in your life too.

1 comment:

T. F. Stern said...

That picture of the McDonald's stand looked just like the one that was across the street from our high school in the early 60's. There was a stiff penalty for leaving school grounds to go there as I recall; not that anyone followed that particular edict. Thanks for posting the picture, brought back some memories.