For our 30th wedding anniversary, my wife and I had planned to visit Paris but economized by traveling to another world-class city, Chicago. We found a very reasonable hotel, provided you low-balled the room rate online.
I know it doesn’t take long to travel from Forest Park to the South Loop but, when we arrived at the hotel, we actually felt jet-lagged. Our room had an economy view of the parking lot but it was a simple matter to take the elevator to the top to drink-in a sweeping view of the shoreline.
Now, my sister had just celebrated her 30th in Rome. Not to be outdone, we had booked a restaurant in Little Italy. It was a homey little joint, where we had gone when we first began dating. At least we thought it was the same place – heck if we could remember. One thing we had forgotten was that we were too old to finish the massive portions of pasta. We were so full; my wife suggested we walk it off with a stroll through the old neighborhood.
Walk? After two-and-half months of census taking, my legs were shot. So, we sat quietly on a bench, watching men grilling sausage and peppers right on the sidewalk. Then we headed back to the bright lights of the “Paris of the Midwest.”
We found attractions galore – bands playing, throngs of people crowding around Buckingham Fountain. We would have joined in, had we ever found a parking space. Anyway, it was late – at least 10:30 – so we called it a night.
We planned an early start for our second day in town but didn’t get to a restaurant until brunch time. The food was great but who could finish it? The young woman next to us at the counter confided that her parents had just celebrated 30 years and weren’t chowing down like they used to.
Next up was the beach. Lounging on the sand reminded us of our beach day in Ireland, while our fellow beachgoers gave it the flavor of our trip to Mexico. Then we walked around the Planetarium and saw that stunning view of the skyline so often captured on the silver screen. It felt like our journey to San Francisco, where we scouted locations from Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Then, all too soon, the anniversary trip was over. When we returned to Forest Park it seemed unfamiliar after our long absence. Seeing it with new eyes, we thought the U-Haul place was looking exceptionally good.
At home, my wife paged through the wedding album and claimed that we looked older now. I’m not going to say her eyesight is going but I will say that when your spouse has a young spirit like hers, your marriage is ageless.