My day started out great yesterday. The opportunity clock rang early, and I dragged my sorry butt out of bed to get ready for the Lions food distribution. This was a special day for me because Grand Elf Three was assisting me with the delivery. The temperature when I got up was fifteen degrees,but it would get warmer later in the day. Yeah, right.
The sun shone brightly with a few scattered white clouds. I arrived at my Grand Elves house to be greeted by Grand Elf Five. I hugged her. She looked up at me sheepishly with a marvelous grin. I said, “What?” Her little hands came out from behind her and presented me with a couple of genuine hand painted Christmas pictures.
She disappeared for a moment and returned to shove a certificate under my nose. I said “what is this?”
“I won,” she answered.
She won second place in an art contest for kids her age. Proud Grumpa hugged her again.
Grand Elf Three was slow getting ready, but finally managed to wear clothes appropriate for fifteen degrees. Thankfully, his mother stopped him dead at the idea of wearing shorts, a tee-shirt with a hooded sweat shirt, and his brand new basketball shoes.
We were off. The conversation in the car was somewhat difficult. The banter between two men with a sixty year age difference takes a bit to warm up.
I tried my best to answer questions like: Why are we distributing food? How come Lions are always old men? Who started the Lions? Why are we delivering food? What kind of food is it? Thank God we arrived at the distribution center.
Lion Al signalled me to back up to the garage door, and asked if I would mind delivering early. Grand Elf Three and I went into Lion Al’s house to meet several other “old men” Lions who were having coffee and kibitzing. Grand Elf Three spied the coffee cake and looked around to see if anyone was watching before he took a piece and swallowed it whole. I introduced him to several Lions and then we left. By the time we got to the garage, the trunk of my car was loaded with groceries destined for two families. Grand Elf Three’s eyes lit up. He finally realized what we were going to do.
The delivery went quickly, and the families we visited couldn’t express their thankfulness enough.
The conversation was easier now, and Grand Elf Three was more communicative. He mentioned to me at least three times, “that coffee cake was really good.”
I dropped him off in front of his house and waited for him to get into the house.
Same Day, Part Two.
At noon a van pulled up with Grand Elves One, Two, and Four with parents. A few seconds later another car pulled up with Grand Elf Three and his mother. Grandma Peggy and I bundled up and we departed in two cars. This was our annual Christmas under the Tree event at the Walnut Room. Grand Elves Five, Six, and Seven were sick and had to miss.
I led the caravan into the downtown flawlessly, then screwed up on Michigan Avenue. I spotted the entrance to the Grant Park underground garage and went right for it. As I passed the point of no return, I realized it was the South Garage. That was a full four blocks away from Macy’s. Grandma Peggy was not a happy camper, but she managed a painful smile and braved the bitter cold walk. By the time we swung through the revolving door of Macy’s she was limping, and there was an icicle hanging from her nose. Like I mentioned above, she was not a happy camper.
All this talk of recession is a myth, if all you do is observe the crowd at Macy’s. It was the most crowded of any year we have been making this pilgrimage. Our troupe got tired waiting for an elevator and decided to hit the escalators instead. Seven escalators later we arrived at the Walnut Room. Fantastic, there was no line. Instead there was a desk handing out pagers. We waited a few minutes to get a pager only to hear that the first opening they have a table seating nine is 6:30 p.m. It was one thirty. My son and daughter looked at me and said, “are you gonna wait?”
“NOPE, lets just truck on upstairs to get a good look at the tree, take some pictures, and then head for the golden arches across the street on Wabash.
The scene that unfolded in Mac Donald’s was amazing. All nine of us lined up at the order counter and clicked off the orders in about nine seconds flat. It looked rehearsed, and was. How many times have these Grand Elves been at a Mac Donalds and have been hustled by their parents to move it along? Each elf knew his order by number, and rattled off anything special like it was their everyday meal. This occasion also marked the first time I used a charge card at a fast food place.
The meal was a fun event as it always is with the kids. We relaxed and took our time. When we finished, the group split. One family went back to Macy’s to shop, while the other hiked along Michigan Avenue to the Art Institute to where the car was.
This was certainly the most expensive Big Mac I’ve eaten when I add the parking fee of $24.00 to the experience. Not to be beaten, I drove around the loop until I got a good look at the City of Chicago Christmas tree. A beauty it was, even though we saw it through the car windows. I wasn’t going to waste the gas and parking and not see that tree.
Filed under: Biography, economy, family, Memories, restaurants, Warm and Fuzzy | Tagged: Christmas, Christmas Tree, Coffee cake, grant park, Holidays, Macy's, Michigan Avenue | Comments Off on One Day in a Life