Monday, November 02, 2009

Playing Tourist in Chitown

We sat with Zelda and Marge and Estelle at breakfast. Estelle no longer speaks and depends entirely on Zelda to read her mind and tell the staff what she needs. Marge is clearly demented and keeps saying things like “I don’t remember. Do you?” and “Forget the children,” which we interpreted to mean that her children had long ago forgotten her. We watched several angry outbursts on the part of the residents and I marveled at the PATIENCE of the staff to deal with their PATIENTS. I remarked on how COMMITTED they seemed to be to what might be a thankless job and wondered that they didn’t all have to be COMMITTED after doing their jobs for a few years.

On that morbid note, we decided to venture out into the world where a greater percentage of people still have their minds to play tourist for the day. We took an hour-long boat tour which focused on the city’s remarkable architecture. It was way too much information to process (even a second time for me since I did it last year), so I spent my time taking pictures of big buildings as we wound through the city on the Chicago River.

After getting off the boat, we strolled around the Navy Pier, where I rediscovered this bronze sculpture and my husband and his cousin visited with Bob Newhart.

We then went to The Spice House, a store that literally takes your breath away upon entry because they grind and package all the spices they sell. I came specifically to buy Silk Road Seasoning, a delightful mix of the spices that would have greeted Marco Polo all those years ago. Unfortunately not everyone had been equally charmed by this mixture and it had been discontinued. But one savvy salesperson found the “recipe” and helped me put together a collection of spices that I could mix together on my own. My suitcase is going to smell so good on the way home tomorrow.

We’ll have a farewell dinner with Zelda tonight at the Self-help home and get ready for a morning flight home tomorrow.

I once again concluded that Chicago is such a great city, serving as a gateway between east and west. I’m just sorry Zelda doesn’t have more family around as she lives out her final years in The Windy City.


Blogger Steve said...

Chicago IS a great city. I love that architecture boat tour -- I did that myself several years ago. All that Mies van der Rohe!

I never knew Bob Newhart had taken up residence on Navy Pier.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous lr said...

Barbara, what fun to travel back to our trip a year ago, through your new pictures and experiences this year! Thanks for the memories.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your trip. I hope to make it to Chicago as an adult, and if so will definitely take that boat/architecture tour! Has got me written all over it. Also loved the sculpture of the kids and all your anecdotes about Zelda. I'm glad you and D were able to make this trip.


2:57 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Mmmm... The Spice House. I'm going to have to visit the next time I'm in the windy city. It sounds like a crazy full day!

In a couple of months, I'll see my grandmother for the first time since she's moved out of her home and into a Home. It should be interesting.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

Although we haven't been back in a few years, Mrs. S. and I adore Chicago.

10:03 AM  

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