Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet (second) home Chicago

My wife and I just returned from a long weekend in Chicago, where we spent four fun-filled days with our wonderful kids, Katie and Ben. We also had a chance to see many of our closest friends, including the Brundidges and the Marks.

We stayed at a downtown hotel -- a real treat because, as North Side residents for nearly 16 years, we never had overnighted in the middle of the all the action. It was exciting just to walk around such vibrant areas as the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park.

We ate some great food, including tortas at Xoco (Rick Bayless' irresistible sandwich joint) and pizza at our No. 1 deep-dish establishment, Pequod's. We also saw our favorite band, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, at the House of Blues, an awesome venue for a great group such as RCPM.

On Friday, while Roberta met some of her former co-workers for lunch, I joined former sportswriting colleagues Phil Arvia and Mike "Moishe" Imrem for a great round of bad golf. Though all three of us were big-time hacks, I will proudly say I carded the day's only birdie and also won our three-hole competition on 16, 17 and 18. Yep, something else to bring me back to the game that loves to hate me! Special thanks to Phil for providing transportation to the course and back -- and for talking his brother into letting me borrow a set of clubs. Oh, if those poor clubs could talk.

We experienced real joy in seeing the way Katie, now 24, and Ben, 23, took charge of many of the activities. We're so proud of how they have matured and become great contributors to society through their hard work and lively personalities.

When Monday afternoon came and we landed in Charlotte, I had the strangest feeling. Yes, we were back "home," but it sure seemed as if we also had left home behind.

We are adjusting nicely to our newly adopted hometown and honestly can say we like living in North Carolina. Still, there is no place quite like Chicago.

We can't wait to go back for another visit, and next time we hope to hang out even longer.

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