I love riding on the train. Well, I guess I love it if I have a seat to myself and the train car is empty and quiet – which is the case on this snowy morning. There is nothing quite so tranquil as rolling past snow covered houses, farms and fields from inside the warmth of a magic carpet made of steel. ( City of New Orleans)
I came up to the Windy City a few days ago in search of vendors for my buddy St. Anthony, finder of love. A day wandering around the Merchandise Mart Gift Show resulted in plenty of purchases for The Abbey Espresso Bar and one potential vendor for St. A. I was pleased. But, the real coup came the next day when on the suggestions of mi amigo, Tonio, I headed to the Pilsen neighborhood just southwest (I think) of the Loop . It's called Little Village and it's a primarily Latino neighborhood.
I was driving a borrowed car and I was not quite sure where I was going. I prayed the age old prayer to St. Anthony,....." Tony, Tony look around, something's lost and must be found." In this case - it was ME who was lost!
No sooner had I thought of that prayer that I looked up and saw banners lining the street advertising St. Anthony Hospital. Is that wild, or what? Since I'm flying by the seat of my pants on this project, I figured that a detour to St. Anthony's was probably in order.
I wish I could say that I went there and the folks at St. Anthony ordered dozens of statues, but what really happened is that I was greeted by a most delightful Latino woman named Berta, who welcomed me to the hospital. She introduced me to Janisa, the Director of PR, who was also delightful. I left a statue of St. Anthony, finder of love, with Janisa and hope that it finds its way into the right hands to further our cause - or at least into the hands of someone who needs to feel its message of love and experience its healing powers. I may never know. But, my prayer is "all for the highest good" - that's what really matters.
After my sweet visit to St. Anthony's, I headed into the "Little Village". There I visited a few shops, and had lunch at a taco place. The waitress, whose English is worse than my Spanish asked me about the statue. As an explanation, I showed her a copy of the prayer, which is in Spanish and English. She laughed and indicated that she needed the services of St. Anthony, finder of love. She asked for a copy of the prayer.
Still no sale, but I suppose that spreading love and hope is a good day's work.
I did connect with some shop keepers and met one that may be a potential vendor. If I didn't like to visit with people and if I didn't believe in the St. Anthony Project, my day in the "Little Village" may have been a disappointment. As it was, I spent a lovely, albeit chilly afternoon in what felt like "Little Mexico". I thoroughly enjoyed the people I met along the way and have high hopes that one day soon, St. Anthony will be gracing the shelves of at least one tienda in the "Little Village."