The final flaming kiss that summer presses upon her beloved prairie in early September ratcheted the wedding day thermometer up to 95 degrees. But the steaming weather didn’t temper the occasion’s joyful loveliness. The setting, a pavilion overlooking the Fox River, was sublime. Dressed up, perhaps more appropriately for early Fall in the Northwest, they celebrated his brother’s daughter’s wedding as enthusiastically as the twenty-somethings in the wedding party and with the same disregard for their perspiration-drenched finery. Dancing into the wee hours on a lighted ballroom floor, they reveled in the romance of the day and the place- the elegant old Baker Hotel on the river. They seemed younger, freer, open to imagining their own reinvention.
Before heading back to the west coast, they took a day to wander around in the Loop. Paying homage to El Greco’s Ascending Virgin and the Monet Haystacks, she recollected her awe as an eighteen-year-old from Sioux Falls in the presence of Great Art for the first time. That revelation in The Art Institute had never been surpassed for her. Visits to other august galleries and museums simply hadn’t evoked the reverence reserved for the venerable Chicago house of art.
Later, they savored an Italian Beef and a Coke and ambled toward the Union Station. Through the haze of late summer heat, she envisioned them bundled in woolen coats and scarves, arm in arm, walking down Michigan Avenue as snowflakes swirled around them.
They boarded the commuter train to Geneva and watched the suburbs roll by.
“If we are ever going to spend some significant time in Chicago,” she said, “we had better start making plans. If we don’t do it now, when will we?”
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