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July Adventures: Chicago Continues On!

Frank Brichetto

Chicago Correspondent

Well, friends, we’ve made it this far, despite everything that’s happened.  While there is certainly sickness, sadness and turmoil in our city and our world, and at times it seems to be going quite crazy, our spirits are undaunted and our never-ending quest for adventure lives on!


Unfortunately, there will be NO fireworks displays this year. Obviously, this would be a health hazard of monumental proportions, and so this Saturday, July 4th, we will gather with our relatives, grill some good food, and embrace the principles of freedom, justice and equality upon which this country was founded.  Did you know that two of the Patriot signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826? Mr. Adams last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” Alas, Mr. Jefferson had already passed. But their legacies live on, and today we will lift our spirits and dedicate our efforts to build and rebuild this country upon those founding principles.

Friday, July 10th, now hear this! The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rt. 53, Lisle, is once again open to all. We have to make our reservations in advance, online, and we will have a pre-set admission time, so one of the many things to do today is go to www.mortonarb.org and reserve our time for next week. Please don’t forget.

By now, Saturday, July 11th, many of the area’s Farmer’s Markets will be reopening, and the two of us plan on making a day of it.  The city has a three-step process for independent markets operating there, and each suburb will no doubt have its own process to reopen these marvelous venues for fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods and other delights. Our favorites have been at Logan Square, in Chicago, Park Ridge and Mt. Prospect, out northwest, and on occasion in Wilmette.  There are countless others, so please, let me encourage you to reach out to your favorite market, get the information on reopening, and plan to visit soon. The markets never disappoint.

Sunday is a day of rest, and today, July 12th, we will rest and recuperate from home while enjoying a long series of video programs and virtual tours of the Museé d’Orsay, a very special place in Paris, France. They are presenting us with a whole series of mini-lectures, each discussing one or two paintings from their amazingly broad selection. The lectures are presented by other award winning artists and describe, quite vividly, the impact the painting(s) had on them, and the way the painting reveals the world of the painter. The Floor Planers, by Gustave Caillebotte, is one of my favorites so far.  I’m sure you will enjoy it and all the others, so please, take a long look. You can find it here: https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en, at the bottom of the page is the link to the entire video gallery, enjoy!

When was the last time you were outside, just watching the clouds? Let’s do that, this evening, Wednesday, July 15th, or any day that there are some clouds, when it’s not completely overcast or raining. We’ll download and print out this cloud chart from NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) https://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/cloud_chart/PDFs/NOAA-NASA-CloudChart.pdf,  so we can spend some time examining these fluffy-looking wonders as they float by overhead.  We’ll learn about the water cycle, the different shapes of clouds and their names. We can also start to learn (and teach the kids, they will love this) about why different clouds are different and what that means about the weather up in the sky and down at our ground level.

You know, dear readers, that despite our continued ability to find adventures everywhere, we have been physically separated for too long, and now that we can gather in small groups, let’s do just that.  Can we gather in a groups of more than ten yet? Still, don’t forget your masks. Tonight, Friday, July 17th, let’s head over to a small place in Des Plaines, Beacon Tap.  They have lots of outdoor seating, good, tasty, cheeseburgers, and a reputation for excellent service, so be sure to come hungry. There’s lots to choose from, I’m thinking some pretzel bites and a Greek salad for starters; you might prefer fried pickles or a Memphis Quesadilla for an appetizer. Here’s the menu: www.beacontap.com/menu/, and we’ll find the place at 1374 Lee St., Des Plaines.

Today, Saturday, July 18th, is our own, personal Morton Arboretum day, remember? Masks are required, don’t forget.  We’ll take a leisurely stroll through the Arboretum’s many trail and read up on their efforts to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of this wonderful, 800+ acre space dedicated to the Morton family motto: “Plant Trees”. We have early passes, so let’s meet in the main lot, just before our 7am start time, at 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, www.mortonarb.org.

Will we look for trolls?  There is a Troll Hunt in the Arboretum, and we can stroll past the trolls while we walk. There are six of them, and one is reputed to be sixty feet long! Take an online look here before we go: www.mortonarb.org/events/troll-hunt, See what I mean?

By now, Sunday, July 19th, you have started learning the new language we so frequently talk about, right? Or improved your skills in one you perhaps should know a little better?  Not yet? Here is a free language program that will help you do just that.  There are others, of course, but here is a good place to start, www.duolingo.com. It starts off with the very basics, and I’m sure, my friends, we will all make good progress quickly and impress each other with out new found skills.

It’s time to go away for a weekend! So today, Friday, July 24th, let’s leave work just a bit early, shall we, and take the drive out to Galesburg, Illinois, the boyhood home of the famous poet, Carl Sandburg. There are plenty of places to stay, many of the local restaurants have acceptable outdoor seating, and just walking through the streets of this historic town will do us all some good.

We’re hoping, of course, that by Saturday and Sunday, July 25th and 26th, things will be open to visitors; the Railroad Museum is particularly interesting. But really, I’m most looking forward to visiting Knox College, and the site one of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates. In these famous debates the anti-slavery Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, faced off against the pro-slavery Democratic incumbent, Stephen Douglas. The result was that the Illinois senate re-elected Douglas, but the Democratic party was split and so badly damaged that in the 1860 Presidential election Mr. Lincoln prevailed handily against the Democratic candidate, the very same Stephen Douglas.

In any case, we’ll have a marvelous weekend out, a well[-earned respite indeed.  Drive home carefully, please?

This evening, Saturday, August 1st, the two of us are staying home and taking ALL the virtual tours available from Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi, https://www.uffizi.it/en/video-stories.  This amazing museum, located in Florence, Italy, is again open to the public, but we have no plans for that trip this year, so, it’s virtual tours for us. This fabulous place was built in the mid-16th century, as the “Uffizi” (“offices” in English), the administrative headquarters for the city’s Tribunals, Guilds, Corporations and Courts.


Of particular interest is the “Hypervisions” segment called Miraculous Healings. Here we’ll explore paintings that reveal the workings of ancient, saintly physicians as they work their cures through the power of God.  Go through this, it’s really fascinating to see how artists conveyed facial expressions, gave attention to details, and included references to both ancient and contemporary takes on the legends and biblical verses they so adroitly depicted.

Well, friends, readers and fellow adventurers, yet again another great month has just flown by.  Our lives have been impacted by Covid-19, by flooding, by other forces beyond our control. Nevertheless, we continue on, working, supporting our families in every way, reaching out to strangers in need as well as our friends, and exploring and adventuring as only we know how.  WOW!

Until next month, dear readers, enjoy and embrace all the wonderful experiences Chicago offers us.