Across the bridge over the river and you are there.
I remember being afraid to walk on top of the grates on the sidewalk.
I remember a downtown Krystal.
I remember a store with animated Christmas scenes in the windows.
We walk with two of our children and two of our baby girl's friends. They take photos and are excited to pose in front of The Mayflower.
Here, just a few miles from home.
But we never come here. There is never a need?
Life is supposed to be simplier now.
We walk by storefront after storefront of empty windows. Boarded up buildings.
Life simplified by mega-stores and online shopping.
Once we had to go to Howard's and TG&Y and the Sunflower or Jitney to buy what now can be purchased in one place with no heart.
And with this simplicity we lose much.
When did downtown become a place you must be afraid of after dark? When even in the daylight hours you can only go so-far before little hairs stand up and you take your child's hand and bravely try to shake off a feeling you don't want to have - when you must turn back from what should be yours.
We watch them ride elevator up and down up and down and take photos of the beautiful work the hands I love created. All the circle trim and the gorgeous banister in the pride of downtown - The King Edward.
They laugh and we are caught in the rain and pass the man selling the hotdogs and check out the train schedule to Chicago and snap photo after photo and I feel like a tourist in my own downtown.
She looks at her daddy and says that would make a good picture if not for the extension cords. I roll my eyes and he proceeds to explain to her the difference between extension cords and power lines while she rolls her eyes and smiles that great big beautiful laugh - I knew that.
And life is not simplier now. Simple would be when downtown rolled up the streets after dark because they wanted to - not had to.
When churches didn't lock their doors.
Simple would be when there would be more lazy days to do nothing but follow three giddy girls around downtown.
To stroll hand in hand with the man you love and hear and see him smile when he remembers how far it used to be from here to there.
So that's it.
That's the magic.
Bring back simplier times.
Slow down and get caught in the rain and plan a trip to Chicago on a train you'll probably never take and laugh like a tourist.