I need to go through the day backwards today. At the end of the day today the people I now can truly identify as “family” gave us a gift and made us promise not to open it til we were back at our hotel. We followed instructions and a good thing too. I don’t think I could have safely driven for awhile after opening their beautiful gift. Sometimes the power of words is just amazing. Obviously the word of the day is family. These people, my sister, and her children and grandchildren are no doubt by family. I am so glad we decided to spend three days here to meet and get to know them. At first I would have described them as family but it would just have been a word. After three days together, sharing stories, sharing pictures, sharing food, sharing an outing to a beautiful park, sharing mutual interests in history, in computers, in puzzles, in cooking, in the education of children among other things, the word “family” has real meaning. These are people I feel at home with, who I instinctually feel I could trust and rely on if needed.
I could contrast this with how the word family has often been used in other interactions where the word is often used to try to tell someone how they are “supposed” to behave, because that is what “families” do. However, I will leave my history to that one comment and just relish this new experience of family.
Earlier in the day we went out to lunch. We were told that in addition to pizza, another food people from Chicago are willing to fight over is sandwiches. While we could not do a sampling of multiple sandwich places we could enjoy one from an iconic Chicago institution: Portillo’s Hot Dogs & Barnelli’s Pasta Bowl. We were only able to sample a couple items from an amazing menu. And everything we tried truley was amazing. We will definitely be making another stop at a Portillo’s the next time we find ourselves anywhere near Chicago.
And before that we met everyone in the family for a wonderful day a place described as a hidden treasure: Cantigny Park. It certainly wasn’t on any list of places we had seen but surely it should have been. I only saw a bit of the park but the museum dedicated to the history of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division was exceptional. It covered in as interesting and interactive a way as I have seen anywhere this particular army divisions involvement in the Great War, World War II, the old war, Vietnam, and the recent conflicts in the Middle East.
Today completed one of the “people portions” of our long trip. The next 2 weeks are going to be mostly national parks, presidental sites, and seeing parts of the country we have never seen before.