I am in Evanston, Illinois, looking out at leafy tree tops from our third-floor condo about five blocks from Lake Michigan.  We moved here in late February, driving from Boston, after Carol took a position with a firm developing a bio-tech research facility in adjacent Skokie.

    It was a Hall of Fame drive.  We passed the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts; the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York; the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; and the soon-to-be-opened Recreational Vehicle Hall of Fame somewhere in Indiana.

    While I grew up in a suburb of Saint Louis, 300 miles southwest of here, I had forgotten how flat the Midwest is.  We approached flatness in Ohio, improved upon it in Indiana, and achieved perfect flatness in Illinois.  There is not a suggestion of a hill in sight, not even from the top of the Sears Tower.

    This makes Evanston, which is the suburb immediately north of Chicago, the opposite of New Zealand, to which I am returning in two months.  New Zealand is all hills and anti-flat.

    I like Evanston more than I expected.  The streets are wide, traffic moderate, life spacious and reasonably paced, and it helps that there is a body of water big enough so I can’t see the other side at the ends of the east-west streets.  Those glimpses of blue are reassuring.