Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chicago, Chicago

Chicago, Chicago
That toddlin' town
Chicago, Chicago
I'll show you around...
Bet your bottom dollar
You'll lose the blues
In Chicago, Chicago
The town that Billy Sunday
Could not shut down
On State Street, that great street
I just wanna say
They do things
They don't do on Broadway, say
They have the time
The time of their life
I saw a man
Who danced with his wife
In Chicago, Chicago my home town

I love Chicago. A couple of light years ago, I used to live there, and although I moved away, the vibrant city on the lake has never lost its appeal for me. BTW, in case you’ve ever wondered, Billy Sunday was a National League baseball player who became a fundamentalist preacher and strong supporter of Prohibition in the early 20th century after finding religion in the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago in the late 1880's, and he was, indeed, unsuccessful in trying to shut Chicago down during Prohibition.
This past weekend, I flew in for something called The Friday Night Supper Dance, a black-tie dinner dance that could easily have been taken right out of a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie from the 30's, except that this particular event was started right after the second world war.
I left Dallas Thursday afternoon, on the heels of the cold front that blew in last Wednesday night, plunging the temperature 44 degrees in just a few short hours: from 80° to 36°. The threat of an ice storm in Dallas and a heavy snow storm in Chicago accompanied the change in temperature, so at noon last Thursday, American Airlines cancelled all their flights from Dallas to Chicago. Luckily, I was flying United.

Taking their cue from American, my office shut down early, at 2:00 PM. Feeling lucky, I hurried to my car and drove to DFW, where luck was indeed with me, as I was able to catch an earlier flight to Chicago and arrived a couple of hours before I was scheduled to arrive, in spite of the threatening weather.

Chicago’s O’Hare is a terrific airport. The United Terminal is especially zappy, featuring an amazing 744 foot long neon light sculpture called “Sky’s the Limit” by California artist Michael Hayden. The sculpture runs the length of the ceiling above two moving sidewalks that carry passengers through the terminal. This is the effect as you move along the sidewalk beneath it.

Snow was falling as I fell asleep Thursday night, and when I awoke on Friday morning, everything was covered with a fine dusting of the pristine white stuff. I took a few pictures on my way to having a manicure and pedicure:

Friday night an old friend hosted a small dinner party (and prepared a delicious dinner) before the dance.

Then it was off to the dance itself, where I felt as if I might almost have time traveled to arrive at the beautiful, old, oval ballroom in the small, private club just off Michigan Avenue, where I spent a magical evening sipping champagne and tripping the light fantastic as the band played Gershwin and Porter, among others, into the small hours of the morning.

Shortly before midnight, supper was served:delicious scrambled eggs, with bacon, sausage and toasted English muffins.

All too soon, the dance was over, and it was time to get some sleep, and to rest up before Saturday's culinary adventures: Hot Doug's for lunch and Mon Ami Gabi for dinner...

to be continued...


Lisa :-] said...

Between you and Robin, you make me feel like an idiot for NOT missing Chicago (I was born and raised in the North Shore suburbs.) But I guess I've never really been a city-lover.

What great fun it would be to go to a dance like that. Maybe someday, before I get too old to hobble out on to the floor...!

emmapeelDallas said...

Well, I don't know if I could live there anymore...the day to day pace might be too much, & I couldn't afford to live in any of the neighhborhoods I so enjoy visiting...but for a weekend trip, wow, is it fun!

And yes, I felt like Cinderella, going to that dance again...

Tammy said...

Wow, what a wonderful time you've been having. That smile in the fur was beautiful! xxoo

Paul said...

Nice photo-essay underway. I couldn't get into that type of event, but more power to ya.

dreaminglily said...

Sounds lovely. Love cities :o) Need to actually go to Chicago and spend time there. Drove through once and that was it. Didn't even stop for gas :o/ Oh well. I've got time lol


alphawoman said...

I love that neon sky too! I have tried to take pictures of it but I am always juggling baggage the people rushing past me.