This evening, at the end of the business day, I went to the Chicago Cigar Society's bi-weekly event, on this occasion to see and hear the ever entertaining Rick Kogan speak with enthusiasm and affection about Chicago where he has spent all his life; as always he was full of wonderful stories and kept the large gathering amused for nearly an hour with fluency and charm.
The society met, as so often, in an unbelievably smoky room on the second floor of a famous Adler and Sullivan building on Wabash - home also to the oldest cigar merchant in the USA, Iwan Ries. An amazing place indeed, and an anachronism in these days so hostile to smoking. The hostility may be understandable - I had to take extreme measures on arriving home to rid myself of the cigar smoke that I had been sitting in for two hours...
Rick writes a weekly column for the Chicago Tribune, as he has for years, and has a radio talk show on Sundays which I rose early to appear in last year. I was in the 6.30 am slot - brutal - so presumably no one knew! Rick, with his colleague the photographer Charles Osgood, is also responsible for the super Chicago portrait Sidewalks - a must have for all Chicago fans.
It was a fun evening, lots to eat and drink and merry company with many opera lovers and COT supporters. But I am now home to watch the tennis from Melbourne!