". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Day to Remember

Sometimes I long for a quieter existence than the one we find ourselves living here in the Chicago suburbs. I've imagined us in a variety of locales--a cabin on the side of a tree-covered mountain, a farmhouse in the middle of a wind-swept prairie, or a stately old Victorian mansion in a quiet little town--but they all share the common traits of far fewer people and a more natural setting than our current environment. Family of introverts that we are (with the possible exception of one, but it is still a little too soon to tell about him), each of us is drained by lengthy interaction with others and refreshed by time alone. How lovely it would be to enjoy some of that time alone by stepping outside in the dark of night to actually see the stars or hear the sounds of nature all around rather than being bombarded by the lights and noise of city life.

Yet I must say that I have come to appreciate city life, especially as it is manifested here in Chicago, my home now of more than 8 years. Chicago summers are like nothing else, much preferable to the oppressive heat (whether sticky or dry) that I grew up with in Texas. I love taking a walk in sixty degrees on a July morning and then having it warm up to a tolerable eighty-two as the day progresses. I know--we have dog days of summer here, too--but they don't last nearly as long as down south! (The winters, of course, are another story . . . but we won't think about that right now.)

Aside from the climate, the other best aspect of Chicago is, well . . . Chicago, and all that it has to offer. Eight years and counting and there is still so much that we have not done. We have made it to the Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, and the Sears Tower (family, am I forgetting anything?). And we have taken in some top-rung entertainment, attending concerts by the likes of James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, the Police, and Chicago A Cappella, as well as hearing Handel's Messiah at Symphony Center. And we have seen a couple of great shows. A few years back it was Monty Python's Spamalot with my husband; this past weekend it was Wicked with my daughter.

Here we are preparing to leave for our excellent Chicago adventure:

The show played at the Ford Center Oriental Theater (a gorgeous venue) on Randolph: here's a shot of the marquee.

Here's my beautiful daughter in the lobby after the show (all you Lutheran moms, you are excused momentarily to call your young gentlemen to the computer):

And here she is again on the sidewalk outside.

The show was fabulous--even better than I imagined--and the production top-knotch. I have never been to a Broadway production, but my guess is they have nothing on Chicago. Much of the current Chicago cast has at other times played their role on Broadway. The show has been playing here since 2005 and will finally end its run in January of 2009.

Click here to read more about the history of Wicked. And if you get a chance to see it, go. It truly is a great story, one that made me laugh and cry, and there is not a weak song in the bunch. (You know how in some shows you wait through the mediocre songs to get to the good ones? Not here.)

Caitlin and I wrapped up our day by meeting up for supper with a friend who was in town on business. And guess what? I drove downtown and back without incident! There are those reading who will scratch their heads in wonder at this revelation, having ridden with me in Chicago on other occasions (let's not talk about it, okay?). The Sunday afternoon train schedule is rather limited, so rather than get into town over two hours early, I elected to drive. With the help of my husband's directions (and one short phone call home after the parking garage exit turned out to be on a different street than I came in on), I managed to get us downtown and home no worse for the wear.

It was the kind of day of which memories are made, and I am so thankful for a husband that understands (better than I sometimes) the value of that and is willing to occasionally sacrifice practicality for the sake of something that will outlast any thing we could have purchased instead.


Marie N. said...

What a wonderful memory! I love going to the theater. Mom grew up in New York attending Broadway shows. Dad used to spend a lot of time in community theater. I attend when I can, though that isn't very often. Today is my lucky dad, though! Dad is taking the Artist and me to the Ohio Light Opera to see The Czarevitch.

Karen said...

As I'm reading about your Wicked excursion, my 20 year old daughter is drooling down my neck. She has wanted to see that show for years. Luckily, the show is traveling to Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo this fall. Maybe, we too could have a mom and daughter event.