Maybe it isn’t the end of the world . . .

I was in Chicago on Friday. Instead of landing in the Loop, Anne and I made a stop in Ravenswood’s Lincoln Square, which is chock full of interesting little local shops. It was a glorious precursor of Autumn, with the sun warming the cool, windy day. When we exited the Merz Apothecary (a gem we learned about at last year’s Chicago Writer’s Conference), we saw this:

Baby strollers, all along the bookstore doors, on both sides and along the curb. We wondered, are they for sale? We soon found out.

Never one to pass up an Indie bookstore, we entered the Book Cellar. Inside to the left were approximately 25 pre-school tots, with their mums, listening raptly as I Used to Be Afraid, by Sally Hudson McMillan, was read aloud to them.

I was speechless.

For just a moment, my black, twisted heart melted. There must be hope for the future if mums are still taking their children to bookstores to listen to actual books being read to them. And more heartening, the children were actually paying attention!

We ate and drank our way through the rest of the day. Fabulous food at Le Colonial. More pieces of silver I couldn’t live without at POSH. And fabulous Champagne at Pops. I even coerced Anne into a second glass of serious bubbles.

But the scene at the Book Cellar was by far the highlight of the trip. I never thought I could be so inspired by toddlers.

But only because I didn’t have to take them home with me.

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