We hate cold weather. Since we have lived in metro Chicago all of our lives, we have had ample opportunity to experience it. When you are a worker bee and have no choice, you put up with and try to ignore it. But now that we are old and have a choice, we can't wait to get out of here. My parents, who loved winter, would always say that there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. But the thought of having to put on boots and a parka just to go out to get the mail, leaves me wondering if the mail is worth getting at all. The cold turns me into a slug.
However, there are many things to enjoy in metro Chicago and we love to head downtown for plays and other cultural events. We know where to look for deals to make these experiences even sweeter. But this time of year every time I make a reservation, I wonder if we will battle the snow and ice that could make the drive twice as long as it should be and endanger life and limb. After we've been away from home for a while, we start to miss these opportunities and I begin to forget what made us want to leave in the first place.
This year the cold arrived early, but the ice and snow have only loomed nearby. So we have seen some plays and musicals that made us love Chicago all over again and done some things that put us geezer-scrooges in the holiday mood. The Morton Arboretum, an oasis of green surrounded by expressways, was a family favorite for Sunday outings when I was a kid. In December the arboretum is professionally decorated with colored lights that accentuate the forms and shapes that nature had made. Classical music adds to the ambience and some of the lights change hues with the music. As we walked around the lake, the colorful show was duplicated in the still water. Every time the cold had begun to seep into our bones, we encountered a strategically placed fire pit where we could warm our hands and back sides.
We also enjoyed having dinner in the Walnut Room before a show at the store which I still think of as Marshall Field's even though it says Macy's over the door. Every year the Christmas tree that stands four stories in the central atrium of the store sports a new look and the diners in the Walnut Room sit beneath its colorful branches. We ate the traditional chicken pot pie that has been on the menu here since the early 1900's and remembered trips here with our moms when we were children. With its wood paneling imported from Russia and Austrian chandeliers, the 17,000 square foot Walnut Room room mades us feel elegant and like kids again. The store windows decorated for Christmas are also a vivd part of our childhood memories. But we half forgot how cold you are after you have stopped to look at them all. Time to move on to the warm.