It would have been obvious 2 months ago when the trip was a current affair which day of the week it was, hence the use of numbered days in the post titles on the blog. But now, it has occurred to me that not even I am clear on the flow of the days. So I looked it up. Day 6 was a Friday. We left Houston on Sunday, day 1. So far, we’re talking 5 nights away from home, and only one day away from arriving at the furthest point on this trip: Chicago.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Bourbonnais. I had recently found one of my piano and French students from way back on Facebook and he told us that if we were in need of lodging, his girlfriend worked at the hotel and could probably hook us up with a room. Our plans to find a place to stay weren’t panning out, so we ended up taking them up on the offer. It was a treat to have a few nights where we could wind down as a family and just enjoy each other’s company. Thank you Frankie and Megan! Let me just throw in also that I’ve stayed in a few hotels in my lifetime, and when it comes to breakfast, the Hampton Inn is doing something right. That’s enough for repeat business as far as I’m concerned!
After the breakfast feast, we went driving around town, taking in more sights that utterly bored the kids: our second home, the duplex where Lavinia was born, the McDonald’s we would walk to for hot fudge Sundaes when Ophélia was still in a stroller, the area where we took Ophélia trick-or-treating for the first time, dressed up as an adorable Christmas present with armholes that wouldn’t allow her to drop her arms. Poor thing, but she was really cute! And we also dropped in on our friends-from-way-back John (the most amazing chiropractor in the world) and Savannah, whose kids Jessica used to nanny and are now all grown up. I wanted to snap a picture of a local Mexican restaurant chain called Taco Johns for our Houston friends (Houstonians tend to be very proud of their Tex-Mex), just because of their tag-line, something like: “Best West-Mex in town” or something or other. This may shock some of my Texan friends, but mexican food in the North is pretty darn good, as I recall!
The day was more of the same old feeling of familiarity mixed with the unmistakable marks of change. It’s been years since we’ve been back and so much of the area hasn’t changed a bit. And yet, much of it has changed.
We had a wonderful time reconnecting with the Henning family, the owners and teachers of “Dance in the Light” ballet studio. They were very interested in hearing about all that has been going on in our lives, and what’s just over the horizon. And we loved hearing about all of their stories as well, as we had some catching up to do with Ruth and her 3 daughters, all of whom we got to know through their instruction at the studio.
We wrapped up the day by meeting our amazing friends Thom and Rhonda, and Soleil and her fiancé Rich, at Monical’s pizza, perhaps the most popular pizza chain in the area. Jessica taught the owner’s daughters voice lessons way back when. The local Monical’s tradition is to color your pizza with French and Ranch dressings. They actually bring both dressings to the table in squirt bottles, and though I once mocked and disdained the mere thought of such an odd and unrefined custom, I eventually tried it and discovered that it was way more tasty than I expected. I can be a real snob. But I’m open-minded. You should definitely try it too! It was a wonderful evening of reconnection and our kids and their kids running around and being super-cute.
And then we crashed in our hotel beds, looking forward to our first day back in Chicago!