Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Journey

Twenty years ago we hoped for a convenient place to buy diapers for our children, but they were not carried at The Store Nextdoor near our home in Lincolnshire. My kids were not yet interested in cigarettes or beer.

It is said that the journey is the reward. So the other day we headed west from Oxford along the brick path on the south side of Half Day Road. Our goal was a restaurant in Lincolnshire’s local downtown. Forgetting that the walkway is not part of the extensive network of Lincolnshire bike paths, we doubled back and crossed at the light by the tennis club. It was a delightful stroll over “big red,” the rusty, bouncy bridge, through the fearful forest, past the land of empty eateries to the corner of Milwaukee and Olde Half Day roads. In the distance lay an oasis now crammed full of tasty destinations. But first we had to cross an intersection where you had best not attempt a right-on-red or exceed the speed limits imposed by the Vernon Hills horsemen of the apocalypse.

One challenge remained. We just had to cross that old horse trail, Milwaukee Avenue…on foot. To the left is Walgreens. We drive there. Diagonally are the vestiges of another era, and behold, a new place to buy beer and cigarettes. Oh, how I miss the simple and somewhat disgusting, family-friendly Denny’s, Tacos del Rey and The Italian Connection. At least we still have a couple of favorite places where the sulfurous well-water is reminiscent of the beloved Half Day Inn.

We had a bite to eat at Tom and Eddies, where the plates are very large, and then began the journey home. Perhaps there was a better route.

Along the south side of Half Day Road, there is a path from Barclay Boulevard to the Des Plaines River Trail that ends across from the Village Hall, I guess because everybody walks to Village Hall from the west side of the village. The path then returns to the north side, east of the Village Hall after crossing the lightly traveled Route 22, and the absolutely rural Olde Half Day Road. The spelling of “Olde” makes it easier to cross, I think.

Remaining on the south side of the road would result in an interesting opportunity to collect golf balls, and the adventure of a river crossing, since there is no southern bridge to connect the east/west trails.

Should we be so inclined, paths on both sides of Route 22 extend from Oxford Drive to the east Village limits at the Tristate carriageway, where the path connects to the Village of Bannockburn's path system. Respirators and bright orange safety vests are recommended. Fortunately, we turn at Oxford.

The late Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” If that’s the case, is the desire to be upscale in Lincolnshire at odds with the need to be down to earth? Are we simply the longstanding victims of a sordid string of bankruptcies, bad timing and misplaced restaurants? What do we want to be, now that we’ve grown up? Quaint? Charming? Pastoral? Or did we miss that boat?

So, the journey continues, and we are super-excited to see bulldozers on the future site of an upscale grocery store at the much-improved corner of Milwaukee and Route 22 that features a winding rivulet and two giant cell towers. It remains to be seen what we can purchase there, but for now we can at least buy diapers at Walgreens. For our grandchildren.


  1. You are a brave person to cross Milwaukee Ave on foot! And this got me thinking - there are places to eat at every corner of that intersection. Well, the Italian place is not quite on the corner ... and you can even get a sandwich at Walgreens. :-)

    I remember the Half Day Inn and how sad it was when they tore it down. That area has changed so much. Does make you wonder if it's real progress. Also makes me wonder why we haven't run into you at the Deli!

  2. We haven't tried the deli yet. Sounds like we should. But I think we'll drive!