Ode to a Summer City: Celebrating Chicago in Winter’s Aftermath

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Photo by Patrick Beeson. Used under Creative Commons license.

Some people call it la mort blanche, the white death. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, survivors of winter blizzards and sub-zero temperatures deserve pats on the back – and also amazing summers.

We do not take summer vacations here. We save our vacation days for late February or early March when our tenuous grip on sanity begins to slip like a pair of unsuspecting feet on an icy sidewalk. Summer is a time to stay put. Summer is for living it up and rekindling your love affair with the city you’ve been cursing for the last six blustery months.

Bros don shorts the second thermometers hit 50 degrees. Revelers flood the shore of Lake Michigan, even though the sand is trucked in and the water quality is one tiny step away from e. coli. And everyone suddenly becomes a runner – until they get injured after having spent nine months on the couch.

We watch movies outside. We see music outside. The summer days are so special, in fact, that we host elaborate fireworks displays twice a week for no reason other than to serve as auditory reminders demanding “WHY AREN’T YOU OUTSIDE?”

We are the survivors, the people who do not build snowmen for fun, but rather to hold the parking spots that we’ve shoveled clear of snow. And like any survivor, slightly jarred by PTSD, we believe that our current sunshiney reality is too good to be true. We don’t trust it. We’re waiting for the other snow shoe to drop. But until then, raise a glass on a patio. Don’t think about tomorrow and the looming specter of the wintry mix, ever lurking in the background, but rather  how the glow of these three precious months keeps us warm all year round.

– KATHY

Listen to our episode “The Insider’s Guide to Chicago” on Podbean, iTunes and Stitcher.

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