On to Chicago for the final leg of the tour. Today is a day off of playing but with travel thrown in. I’ll take it. The two and a half hour bus ride from the home of the Fighting Illini to the Bears, the Cubs, the Sox, the Hawks and the Bulls is one we have all looked forward to. Orchestra Hall in Chicago is a place many of us want to play. It’s surprising, frankly, that in my 37 years as a member of this orchestra that this is the first time I’ve been there to perform with my colleagues. Better late than never, I suppose.
There’s magic in that there hall on Lake Michigan especially for brass players. For half a century the Chicago Symphony orchestra was the home of some of the most legendary names in the brass playing world. It still maintains a tradition of attracting great players. Therefore, it’s no surprise that trumpeters like myself look forward to soaking up all the ju-ju that is contained onstage and backstage.
I napped a bit on the way to the Second City and when my eyes opened, the first thing I saw was the Sears Tower (yeah, I know it’s called something else now… I just don’t care). I thought this would be a good time to send my daughter a text letting her know the Tower was within my sights. Here’s the text I received in response:
“I think the car got towed.”
So, that happened.
Well, I wanted to spend some quality Daddy-Daughter time and, by God, I did. So, we had a lesson in dealing with city towing in a major city and street signs. To be fair, it was also a lesson in Gods grace. The details are as follow: she got very sick this past week to the point that she was actually bed-ridden since Tuesday! She didn’t realize she had parked in a school zone with limited hours. For three days God made that car invisible to the authorities until yesterday when they towed it away. That means that when her dad showed up today, it could well have been four days for which she would have been charged, busting the budget by quite a bit because she wouldn’t have known.
We had a few interesting experiences while at the impound lot but one sticks out in particular. There was, as you might imagine, a fair amount of standing around. My knees started bothering me and I wanted to set a spell. My daughter kept standing and I thought I would take a pic of her while she wasn’t looking and then text it to her with the message “Welcome to the Big City”. Typical dad thing to do to help commemorate the event. As I was copying and sending, a woman opposite her was getting her attention ad saying something to her. I barely took notice of it.
I got up and stood next to her so that I could watch her reaction. She saw the picture and then said “Oh, that’s what you meant” to the lady. Apparently, the lady had been letting my daughter know that some guy was “secretly” taking her photo! My daughter explained I was her father and it was fine. I thanked the woman for watching out for my flesh and blood.
Anyway, I had to smile at her reactions to Chicago drivers after she picked me up at the hotel to go to the impound lot. She’s getting the hang of it and learning the unwritten rules of Chicago roadplay. It also gave me a chance to see her temporary digs while she is here to perform in a musical called “TRU”.
Since every day has to have some sort of peak to it, ours was when the topic of food came up. Well, we are in Chicago, after all… pizza? Of course, pizza. She had been given the recommendation for a place called Lou Malnati’s.
Oh. My. God.
Forget every place you think has great Chicago pizza. This is phenomenal stuff. The so-called butter crust is the tastiest I’ve ever had. The sauce is fresh, fresh, fresh. The lean sausage is as advertised. The cheese is perfect. This is pizza that could convert the biggest NYC-style devoteé to developing a clear taste for deep dish when it’s this good. We sounded like Bill Murray in “What About Bob” cooing over his meal. Go. This place is good.
We need a walk after and took a drive to Clark Street and enjoyed an hours walk talking and enjoying the shops. Big cities are wonderful that way, always providing you with a place to expend calories ingested. Our time together helped me to remember how much I like this town. Good times, good times.