As we exited the plane at O’Hare Airport, I felt a wave of heat and humidity wash over me, contrasting to our familiar Bay Area climate. “Welcome to summer in Chicago,” Marilyn called back with a smile. Although I’ve lived in hot climates before, my wife likes to remind me that Arizona is a dry heat and that I haven’t felt real heat until I’ve experienced it in combination with humidity.
Gathering our bags, we headed out to the curb and waited for Marilyn’s mom to arrive. After a cell phone call and a few minutes of honks, screeches, and exhaust, we were picked up and swept off to to lunch. Although it was only 10:30 am back home, we’d been up since 3:00 am and were already adjusted to our new time zone, hunger pangs and all.
On the corner of Talcott Road and Canfield Avenue, right on the dividing line between Chicago and suburban Park Ridge, is Nonna Silvia’s Trattoria and Pizzeria. We sat under a patio umbrella while enjoying lunch in the warm, but not yet hot, midday sun. Jetliners flew overhead, arriving at nearby O’Hare, engines roaring.
I ordered pollo con pesto, an open faced grilled chicken sandwich and a refreshing local ale called 5 Rabbit. The beer tasted of malt with a slightly hoppy finish and it replenished the water that had been extracted from my body during travel.
While drinking beer and waiting for my lunch to arrive, I reached for my sketchbook and drew Marilyn sitting next to me and then began another sketch of my lunch, starting with my beer and making sure to leave room on the page for a plate. When my sandwich arrived, I added it to my sketch but soon hunger won over and I set my sketchbook aside. Taking a picture of my meal for later reference, I then devoured my sandwich.
A rogue gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew over the patio umbrella next to us causing a stir, but thankfully there were no injuries. The wait staff asked if everyone was okay and secured the umbrella upright, this time leaving its canopy closed. Welcome to The Windy City.