“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.” – Amelia Earhart
My brother and his family from Texas recently visited us in the Chicago suburbs. We enjoyed a daytrip to the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. We also went to a Cubs game and enjoyed a beautiful day at the ball park. After the game, we walked to a Mexican restaurant with a fun atmosphere. We sat outside on the patio with its murals, fountains, and lights, and we drank margaritas while eating chips, salsa, and Mexican food. Another day, we ate at our family-favorite Bohemian restaurant. That evening, we brought a picnic to a concert at a polo club, complete with horses.
My nephew Brent stayed for more than a week after the rest of his family went home, and we continued to act like tourists in our own town. My young-adult children and my sisters often joined us. We spent a day at Navy Pier and the lakeshore. In the suburbs, we went to Cantigny Park, visited a distillery, and went swimming at a local beach. At home, we played the card game 500 Rummy, which has been a family favorite since I was a child.
My nephew was amazed at all the options we have for things to do. During his visit, we went to a driving range and played mini-golf. The young people stayed overnight at my son’s apartment in Chicago and went to a couple of bars. Another day, my husband, our son, and Brent played in a charity golf outing.
I didn’t tell him we don’t normally go out that often, nor do we spend that much time together. People went to work at various times, but it still felt like we were taking a staycation. There was a sense of adventure and a feeling of camaraderie. Not every minute was thrilling, of course, but I prefer to focus on the good times, which far outnumbered any tense moments. Our shared history and family bonds added to the feeling of companionship and fun.
Brent’s comment, “There’s more to do here,” might have been prompted by the extremely hot summer in Texas. But it made me think about where I live with renewed appreciation. Perhaps we in the Chicago area take things for granted. Our relatives always seek out Italian beef sandwiches and deep-dish pizza when they are in town. Brent had never eaten Greek saganaki and gyros until this visit. During his last visit, we introduced him to dim sum in Chinatown.
Probably most people take for granted where they live. What is it like where you live? What special foods are available? Restaurants? Sights? Is it a small town, farm, big city? And who are your companions?
We can find something to appreciate no matter where we live.
What is special about your home town? What people are in your life?