Let me start by saying that summer in Chicago is thing of beauty and wonder. Over the weekend, my sister visited me. She usually makes her annual pilgrimage to Chicago for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but after years of being stuck indoors by sub-zero temps and mounds of snow, she decided to visit during summer. Although she swears she won't brave another winter visit, I know she'll be back in November or December. She'll put up with flight delays and cancellations, long lines at baggage claims and even longer lines of holiday traffic. Nevertheless, it was great to have her here and have the chance to share a little bit of the magic that is Chicago in the summer.
Last year she and her friends celebrated Independence Day in New Orleans at the Essence Music Festival. They had a good time partying and even enjoyed the crowds of people that flock to the Crescent City, but after the party was over, the vomit was cleaned up and the girl with the most beads was passed out they cut their visit short and went home early. Why? Partying is fun, but holidays are about family and her family is in Chicago. While her winter visits find us in hibernation mode, huddled around my fireplace, this recent trip in the summer opened up a bevy of opportunities to enjoy Chicago—family, friends, fireworks, cookouts, the Taste, the nightlife and more.
Amazingly, the same person who has sworn after each winter visit that she would never return is now thinking seriously about moving back to the city she left behind. You see, that's the incredible thing about Chicago. The winters can be tough, but the summers, though short, are incredibly rewarding. During one weekend in July, she saw what had been hiding beneath layers of dirty snow and black ice. She saw Chicago, its people and its neighborhoods in a better light, literally. She saw them in the sunlight of summer, the light that brings us all outside to see our neighbors and watch our kids play, to chat over a barbecue grill and a beer. There's nothing better than Chicago in the summer.