I must be blessed with agreeable men. Sometimes. Well, two of them last week in Chicago in not dissimilar ways.
It was a chilly day in Chicago. Even CSB saw the wisdom of wearing a hat. But we had no hats. It was so raw and chilly that on our walk north from Number One Son’s residence, we ducked into a Walgreen’s and acquired two faux fur, faux wool, faux hats with faux ear flaps and dangling strings, presumably to tie the ear flaps under one’s chin, but in truth their only function is decorative & I use that word generously. They were not expensive but I feel confident that whatever we paid for them was larger than the cost of producing them by a factor of at least 50. Luckily there were no mirrors in that particular Walgreen’s, so we were spared the reflection of ourselves in these faux hats, which because of their rather special shape had room for a family of ferrets between the top of my head and the top of the hat. But they kept our heads and ears, all four of them, warm.
Having acquired the hats we comfortably admired several architectural wonders of Chicago, and walked past a newly opened museum: The Loyola U. Museum of Art, so new that it was not listed in my 4 year-old guidebook. And on the sandwich board outside the LUMA (nice acronym, doncha think?) was an announcement that their current exhibit featured crèches. Yes, an entire exhibit devoted to those adorable nativity scenes, of which I have several and CSB has seen more in our time together than he thought necessary for several lifetimes. Even so, he agreeably agreed to go inside. Noting the admission fee, he agreeably volunteered to sit in the lobby with the newspaper while I viewed the crèches. His thoughtfulness so impressed the ticket-seller that she said she would waive the admission fee for both of us, because she couldn’t bear the idea that he would be unable to accompany me to see the crèches. CSB demurred. But the ticket-seller would not be denied. She said she would not feel right if he could not accompany me to see the crèches just beyond the double doors, and he had not the heart to tell her just how much he would prefer to sit quietly n the lobby and read about the depravity of British tabloids.
But here is the good part, while I viewed the crèches and counted how many shepherds the Italian ones had relative to the Philippine ones, and noted the llamas in the Peruvian retable crèches made of potato flour, and admired the iguanas made of tortillas in the Mexican crèches, CSB went upstairs to the permanent collection of LUMA and found this lovely house altar containing the relic of a Saint Christina, but which Saint Christina?
The tag→ refers to Christina of Tyre and Christina of Bolsena, who were probably conflated in some way, given that they share a remarkable litany of tortures on their way to martyrdom: They both survived burning at the stake; having their breasts cut off (milk then flowed); having their tongues cut out (they kept preaching); and drowning (rescued by Michael the Archangel). The end came with an arrow through the heart. Could that all be coincidence? The third Christina referred to is of course Christina the Astonishing, a favorite with hipsters and now diagnosed as an epileptic. But there are other possibilities, such as Christina of Markgate (d.1160) who was forced into marriage but then refused to consummate the union; she later managed to fulfill her dream and became a nun and embroidered pointy hats for bishops.
And for this great find, I am grateful to CSB.
Next I will tell you of the agreeableness of Number One Son when we spent a full two hours touring the Clarke and Glessner Houses in the Prairie Historical District.