Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chicago 4th of July Party


I have a few minutes before I leave for my mom's house today to tell you about an authentic 4th of July party I went to last night for a couple hours.

It was fantastic.

My sister knows various people and has many friends who are parents of kids at their schools.  Sis has a 12 year old, 16 and 18 year old.  We drove over to one such friend's house last night about 8:30pm.  The house is brand new - a "tear down" as Chicago suburban folk call 'em.  A tear down is where you have a regular size lot with a small ranch house, tear down the small house and build a big honkin' new mansion-ish size house on the same lot.  You don't have a huge yard any more, but a huge house instead.  This is very popular in nice, semi-affluent suburbs where many homes change hands and new young couples with kids move in. 

This house was huge!  They had a full, finished basement decorated with Chicago sport team memorabilia.  Cubs, Bears player jerseys in frames.  A huge full restaurant sized bar with signed baseballs and pictures of the home owners with famous people - like Patrick Swayze and team players, coaches - like Mike Ditka.  This basement was a Chicago sports fan dreamland.  Kids were playing Xbox in one room, table hockey in another and there was a gym room down on one side. 

Upstairs had a huge kitchen with dark wood and granite tiles - all the rage these days.  The living room had high ceilings - up to the second story.  The backyard had a large new patio, a small but regulation height basketball court, an outside bar and fountain area with lots of seating areas.

They had a large America flag as a wall hanging in the yard and I saw a few fireflies flying around.  The fireworks, at the nearby school, started about 9:30pm or so.  I could see them from the side of the house so I watched for a few minutes.  Various kids with necklace light strings all piled out to walk to the school to watch the fireworks close up.  Most of the adults stayed in the back yard chatting it up near the outside bar where the homeowner was passing out very strong margaritas and such. 

The weather was clear and hot as blazes - about 90F with around 50% humidity.  We were sweating standing still.  There was all kind of food in the kitchen for the taking but I was too hot to eat anything.  I knew a couple of my sisters friends but otherwise noone else.  My nieces all came over with their groups of friends because they know the homeowner's kids.  There was a group of 20 or so 12-13 year olds and maybe 20 or so 15-18 year olds and perhaps 50 adults. 

We left around 11pm to walk several blocks to our car.  The weather at 11pm was the same, hot and humid.  We walked passed many tear downs and many ranch houses ripe for the picking in this up and coming transitioning neighborhood. 

Capitalism is alive and well in the Chicago suburbs.  The suburban middle class seems to be doing OK.  There were thousands of suburb residents who walked to the school to see the fireworks so the 4th of July spirit is alive and well. 

I had the full fledged, full on, festive, hot, fireworked fourth...  and I did enjoy myself.  My favorite part was the fireflies twinkling on a hot summer night... I think I heard a few ramparts even...

... Now?  Back to mom's...

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