Look Homeward Angel

by Jake Jacobs
24 July 2013

Jake Jacobs

Sasi will be nine in September, and her mom and I have known each other since some time in the previous millennium. As of sometime in the previous month, neither had been further east than Cancun, Mexico, and within the USA no further than Mt. Lemmon. Meanwhile, in my hometown, Des Plaines, Illinois, the condominiums had reached no further west than the mid-1300 block of Prairie Avenue, but that was too close for comfort. The street of my boyhood, Laurel Avenue, is essentially unchanged. Indeed, if one stands across Prairie Avenue in front of the house my grandfather built in 1924, the one where my mother grew up, and looks south down Laurel, the view, save for the parked cars, is little changed from what my mother would have seen if she toddled out to the porch of her new home. I wanted them to see it before those ninety-year old homes fell to the wrecking ball.

By remarkable coincidence, Rory Pascar, originally of Boston, now lives in Des Plaines, Illinois, and holds the Chicago Open in a hotel near O'Hare Airport, just across Higgins Road from Des Plaines. It gets better! Last fall Rory asked me if I would care to give a lecture at this year's Open. Give me a little time to check things, I said. Take all the time you need, he said. Hurriedly, I checked with the school (as I wanted to use the opportunity to bring the family), I checked with the travel agent (as I had the return leg of a ticket expiring around then), I checked with Singapore Airlines (as I wanted to use frequent flyer miles to fly them – it is an eighteen hour flight, and one really needs business class for that), I checked with United Airlines (as I had zillions of expiring miles, and needed to fly the three of us around the country), and I checked with work, to see how my leaving just then affected things. I managed to do all my checking in just a few weeks, and over six months before the start of the tournament was able to confirm that I would be there, and had a lecture topic in mind. Oh, said Rory, I couldn't wait, so I scheduled someone else.

Rory, I should mention, is the "loveable lug" type, the sort who is always screwing up, but even when he does, you still want to forgive him. You want to pat him on the back, and say, never mind, but you also want to make sure you have a knife in your hand while patting.


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