Three Stops to Becoming Wonder Woman

I watched as morning sparkled both the Chicago River eight floors below me and Navy Pier stretching over Lake Michigan several blocks to the east. Sadly, glass and concrete jailed me from the streams of shoppers and sightseers being welcomed into Chicago’s holiday hospitality.

I was in the city all last week for one of the world’s largest trade shows. My Magnificent Mile(s?) was inside Chicago’s McCormick Place, where I listened to radiologists address the blizzard of changes in today’s healthcare climate and where I took my station in Exhibit Hall B, Booth 9141, for seven hours each day to engage passers-by and show them the medical search engine I am charged with marketing. At nightfall, I ate dinner with colleagues and returned to the hotel to respond to the day’s emails.

My task each day was clear: Stand tall, listen well, speak coherently, stay positive and learn more about the way radiologists work. Unfortunately, I’m not that talented, even when wearing my cushioned leather flats and following my remember-you’re-in-your-50s resolve to decline all post-dinner party invitations. (As I fell into bed that first night, I had already given up any hope of posting a blog during the week.)

Once home, rather than embrace the rest my body needed, I heeded my spirit. The blast of city life beyond my reach all week kept pulling me. Chicago’s lakefront and stinging winds were 500 miles away, but the sun and warmth in Kansas City led me to several of my treasured spaces.

The Kauffman Memorial Garden was vibrating with light and color. Leafless branches exposed clusters of cherry-red winterberries and lavender beautyberries. Bare limbs imprinted the garden wall with tentacles of shadow. Even the girls sculpted of bronze and rising from the fountain seemed to enjoy having unobstructed room to dance.

I walked north through the Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum and rested on a bench overlooking the expanse of lawn. With only one person within speaking distance of me, we were both surprised to find we knew each other. This artist and pastor friend joined me on the bench, and our serendipitous catch-up built more connection than I had experienced during all the long days of conversation the week before.

My third and last stop was to see my daughter-in-law and 1-year-old granddaughter. While Jessi ran to the post office, I walked Hazel to the neighborhood playground – four swings, two of them baby buckets, and a structure connecting three slides. Her eyes and smile, her whole world, opened up. She rode and twisted down the slides and, enthroned in a bucket, delighted in the running, climbing, sliding and pumping of the three older kids (a 2-, 3- and 5-year-old) also at the playground.

Hazel’s joy was contagious, freeing me to see how wonderful – truly, wonder full – my day had been.


  1. Lee..Thanks for sharing the wonder in your reality…I appreciate the wonder women that you are.

  2. Eric Disney says:

    I love equally the pictures painted with words, and the pictures painted with watercolors–so beautiful, each in their own way…

  3. I love your description of the Kaufmann Memorial Garden and the Sculpture Park.
    I haven’t been to Kansas City, but I loved Mr and Mrs Bridge by Evan Connell set there. It’s also a lovely Merchant-Ivory film. Have you read it or seen it?

    • Lee Lueck says:

      We’ve been in Kansas City for decades (and have even been in the house where parts of Mr. and Mrs. Bridge were filmed – not while Paul Newman or Joanne Woodward were in it, sadly). Our kids have remained or returned here; it’s home. Thanks for visiting Sketches and Notes.

  4. You guys are a great team. Wonderful.