Charley . . .

I met Charley in the pool this afternoon. He is an affable fellow with a midwestern accent. As we got acquainted during our water walking work-out, I learned that he is a farmer from Illinois visiting here for a couple of months. His farm lies alongside the Mississippi River and his crops of choice are corn and soy beans. He is a well-read, well-traveled fellow, and it was pretty obvious that he was well off financially . . . he just had that certain reserve about him that speaks of such.

As we talked, I told him that I had spent time and had traveled to Chicago many times over the years. I told him that I had done my seminars at the Ambassador West Hotel . . . he was well familiar with the grand old hotel that had been located on State street, just a couple of blocks south of Lake Michigan. We spoke of favorite dining places . . . with both of us particularly fond of Mike Ditka’s steakhouse.

I chuckled and told him about having once been bumped down a couple of floors because of Dennis Rodman renting the top two floors of the hotel. He was well familiar with the Bull’s and Rodman’s years there.

Charley told me that he had been studying the crime spree in Chicago for some 60 years. He educated me about notable crime figures from days gone by including Al Capone, Dean O’Banion, Bugs Moran, and Tony Accardo. He was quite knowledgeable about Chicago crime, the prohibition era, and the mafia. He spoke of the evils of that era and how the media and Hollywood had tried to make it seem romantically interesting and something of charming folk lore. He spoke of the evil democratic politics of the times and how poor people were exploited. He said that there wasn’t much difference in then and now . . . except that was organized crime back then . . . while today Chicago is tragically impacted by thugs, gang violence, murder, and drugs.

It was interesting hearing a fellow who had observed it all over a lifetime speak of his observations and opinions of it all.

Regardless of which era it occurs in, it is all sin and speaks of the evil and cruelty men inflict on others. Actually, quite a sad commentary of the human race.

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