Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 3/3: Am I still talking?

I can't remember what else I was going to say about Thanksgiving at this point, other than to post some miscellaneous pictures.

1. Ahhhh yes. The Art Institute.

By which you know I mean The Thorne Rooms!

A few of the rooms were decorated with period holiday miniatures, for the first time ever. This was of course the perfect opportunity to inflict Rebecca's Complete Guided Tour on my mom... you may remember my dad had this dubious honor last year. We did all the European rooms, ate our smuggled snacks at the fancy new cafe, then did all the American rooms. My mom is now converted to the wonders of my all-knowing guide book, with its gorgeous 15-minute exposure full page photographs and design history and anecdotes about bibles you can actually read and clocks you can actually wind. Mwa ha ha.

2. My flight on Sunday wasn't until the evening, so my dad and I found ourselves with the afternoon to kill and the previously mentioned perfect fall weather. So we headed out for a short hike in local favorite Thatcher Woods, a forest preserve alongside the Des Plaines river. (That's pronounced "DESS PLANES" for all of you east coast liberal francophones, by the way.) Shockingly, I don't think I'd been there in more than a decade! I think I recall a sophomore class council trip to pick up garbage?

Busy beavers!!

3. So, growing up, my south Oak Park hood was hardly rough, but it wasn't exactly a posh destination. The closest commercial strip had a decidedly fading-small-town-main-street vibe to it. You had your local grocer's, your butcher shop, your christian video store. My friends and I wore down the pavement walking to the Avenue pharmacy to buy the early 90s equivalent of penny candy. Sometimes we'd stop in at the laundromat on the corner of van buren and oak park and buy grape pop from the vending machine.

The butcher was the first to fold and the video place the last. The fabled pharmacy sat empty for years and was recently leveled into a parking lot for the grocer, which survived to stock organic produce for the young hipsters who live in the newly renovated apartments with solar panels on the roof. And when I'm in town the corner-that-doesn't-smell-like-laundry-anymore is always a good opportunity for me to tsk in nostalgia at the signs of the times. But until now, it's merely enjoyed several modest reinterpretations as coffee shops. Look, it finally graduated to a full on bar and grill run by former Oprah producers!

But where will I buy my grape pop?

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