Springtime in Chicago can be totally unpredictable. One day it’s hot and sunny and the next day it’s cold and rainy.
Last weekend was a father and son bonding weekend for Daniel and me. Daniel is the younger of my two sons. Brad is 42 years old and Daniel is 39. I try to have a weekend alone with each boy every year with nothing scheduled except what Dad figures out.
Daniel and I had two full days in Chicago counting Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. I started to think about what we were going to do on Wednesday. Thanks to the weather O’Hare was closed down for three hours so we landed late right in the middle of Friday afternoon traffic. The late arrival slowed my plans down a little but we adjusted. The weekend is not about going to different cities; it is about being with each other.
We spoke non stop in the one hour taxi ride into downtown. I even got the taxi driver to contribute to my plans for the weekend. Daniel and I were energized and hit the streets right after we checked in.
Our first stop was Millennium Park.Frank Gehry created an extra ordinary space over an ordinary parking lot next to the Chicago Art Institute. This magnificent open space is enjoyed by many people from 6am to 11 pm daily. In our ever increasing commoditized society, it feels good to know someone out there is thinking about us as human beings with sensitivities, emotions and feelings that need nurturing.
The park is a huge quiet space in the middle of a noisy and potentially anxiety provoking city. The visual stimuli of the space are invigorating.
Next, we walked down Michigan Avenue (the magnificent mile). It has not lost it glitter for me. We stopped into the Atlas art gallery to participate in an art opening at 6pm showing of JalinePol’s work. Daniel and I had a great time at the opening.
At 7 pm it was time for dinner. Traditionally, Daniel and I eat once a weekend in a steak house reproducing his college days. I chose Sullivan’s. I talked Daniel into sharing a steak. The concept of sharing is important because it cuts the calories in half. Cecelia and I always do it.
After dinner it was on to on Rush Street. I had a fantasy from the past of a great jazz concert in a perfect venue. It turned out they were all clip joints today. We passed and took a taxi to the hotel to watch the end of the Dallas Mavericks game. We finally won a game.
It was warm and muggy after the rain. The next morning it was cold, dry and windy. We worked out at the hotel fitness center rather than jog along Lake Michigan. Then were off to the Historic District Architecture Tour conducted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. This is a great tour. The Architecture tour of the Chicago River did not start until May 1. It is a great tour as well.
Next we went to “Art Chicago" and "Next" in the Chicago Merchandise Mart. We took the EL for the experience of riding on an elevated train. The ticket machine was a little tricky. However we figured it out with the help of an attendant.
“Art Chicago” was an endless visual journey of contemporary art presented by art galleries from all over the world. This was another great but tiring experience. Daniel had to sit down and close his eyes as I had to finish Aisle 5 and 6.
Even though our feet were going to fall off we had to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. I wanted to see the Ed Ruscha show.
We arrived at the hotel at 4.30 pm. We passed out for about an hour nap, dusted ourselves off and hit the road again. Now we were off to the Italian Village Restaurant. I had never heard of it before and was afraid it was going to be tacky. It is an eighty year old Chicago institution with fair food, dynamite ambiance and more people I could imagine in this size restaurant space.
We left the restaurant at eight o’clock and had ten minutes before Jersey Boys was going to start. I figured if they had empty two seats we would get them if they were discounted since Daniel had not seen Jersey Boys. Chicago still has something to learn from New York. They would not budge on the price even after I told them having one empty seat after the show started was like trying to sell a rotten tomato. Your asset is worthless. The ticket salesman said rules are rules.
Next stop the Rock and Roll McDonalds on Ohio. I was disappointed when I found that McDonald’s Corporation had knocked down the old place and replaced it with an ultra contemporary store. Somehow the romance of McDonald’s creation was gone. The memorabilia of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s remained enshrined behind glass wall cases. However, none of the customers seemed to connect to the exhibit.
Daniel and I walked about 15 miles on Saturday. Unfortunately, we did not have time for a Cubs game. We slept well. Sunday was another day.
We decided we would try a real old fashion Chicago breakfast. We tried the famous Eleven City Diner in the 1100 block of Washburn. This place is a very happening place for Sunday breakfast. After breakfast I decided I could not possibly eat anything for lunch and perhaps dinner. Every city has its institutions and this is one of Chicago’s.
We had more stimulating conversation during breakfast as we were winding down another special father/son weekend. It is great to be the father of such wonderful boys. They are loving, thoughtful, perceptive, sensitive, innovative and intelligent human beings. What else can a father want from his kids? It is a great pleasure to be involved in their lives. As I said after the weekend with Brad, every father should plan weekends alone with your children.
Whether or not you can plan a get-away weekend,, I have this advice. If you are a father or mother give your son or daughter a hug and a kiss. If you are a son or daughter give your mother and father a hug and a kiss. I believe love and the person to person connection is good preventive medicine.