A first on the third for the fourth

I never watched fireworks with a million people before. It sounded as awful as spending a day on the Small Small World ride at Disney or worse. To make matters more awkward, I had a neighbor from my blog world visiting Chicago, along with her husband and I couldn’t imagine how this could work out comfortably. Sometimes, I have no imagination at all.

Rich drove the car down to his underground private parking space at his office building early in the day and came back in a cab. I made a roast chicken and deviled eggs and gazpacho and we packed up wine and red,white & blue frosted cupcakes from Swirlz. Jen Creer (of Jenorama) and her oh-so-charming and relaxed husband taxied from their hotel and picked us up, loaded down with food and drink. Once in the cab I called some friends I garden with at Oz Park who were already down at Grant Park, with blankets and picnic staked out in front of the band shell. We paid the cabbie, walked a little ways and settled down, along with A MILLION other people to wine and dine, listen to a great symphony orchestra and watch incredible fireworks. Really? I’ve never seen anything like them.

You tell me: how do they play America the Beautiful on stage and when it comes to "purple mountains majesty" light up the sky over Lake Michigan with brilliant violet explosions? How do they play the theme from Star Wars and the sky is filled with ringed planets simultaneously? I suspect computers have something to do with it, but heaven only knows how. It was simply amazing.

When it was over we walked to Rich’s office, used the nice clean bathrooms (as opposed to 500 portajohns lined up in a row) and had a cold beer while we waited for the garage to clear out and then we made a quick dash for it before a wonderful summer thunderstorm swept through Chicago.

Jen is so much better in the flesh, and she’s plenty fine in all her blog incarnations and her husband Derek is great, too. The thing about them, aside from Jen’s smart and encouraging editorial inspiration to write, is that they are easy. Easy to be with, comfortable, relaxed. They blended in so nicely with my newish friends from the park advisory board that it was all just- easy.  It was a lovely and interesting blanket of people, all around.

Suffice it to say that, other than a brief two minutes crossing Columbus Ave. against the crowd when claustrophobia took on new meaning, we had an absolutely splendid 4th of July celebration. I hope yours is equally fine and somewhere along the line you’re called to remember the words to the Star Spangled Banner. The right time, the right place- it’s an okay song. Speaking of music, here is the program from tonight’s celebration in the park. There must have been a typo in it because I could swear they played "Be Kind to your Web Footed Friends" towards the end. Oh, well. Christopher Bell conducted the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.

KEY – Star Spangled Banner
WILLIAMS – Liberty Fanfare
COPLAND – Variations on a Shaker Melody from Appalachian Spring
GOTTSCHALK/Kay – Three Selections from Cakewalk, Grand Walkaround, Wallflower Waltz, Gala Cakewalk
DVORAK – Largo from Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World
SCHUMAN – Chester from New England Triptych
BERNSTEIN – Overture to Candide
ANDERSON – The Syncopated Clock, Trumpeter’s Lullaby, Serenata
COHAN/Arr. Cacavas – Star Spangled Spectacular, Introduction, Mary’s a
Grand Old Name, Give My Regards to Broadway, Forty-five Minutes from
Broadway, Yankee Doodle Dandy, You’re a Grand Old Flag
TCHAIKOVSKY – Overture 1812


GOULD – American Salute
DRAGON – America the Beautiful
BAGLEY – National Emblem March
WILLIAMS – Theme from "Star Wars"
SOUSA – Washington Post March
SOUSA – Stars and Stripes Forever

The photos are a) my cell phone because who wants to carry 10# of good camera into a crowd of a million people and b) the Chicago Tribune photo added this morning. If you look closely, you can see the Ferris Wheel, the million people, the barges for the fireworks and all those little lights on the water are boats. Not like the old days when we wandered over to the tiny municipal airport in Ann Arbor with babies and lawn chairs…


22 responses to “A first on the third for the fourth

  1. Other than the crowds,I’d have enjoyed that. It sounds like a fabulous music program with great food and good company! I am impressed with the way you worked out the logistics!

  2. Our mega fireworks display will be rained out today, I’m sorry to say. Yours sounds wonderful.

    Happy Independence Day, my friend.

  3. Thanks for the visit, Vicki. No, the squash wasn’t mashed. The only thing that ended up not looking as it had originally was the cranberries, which tend to fall apart with stirring. It was a surprisingly good blend of flavors.

  4. You celebrated the 4th on the 3rd? Ah, that explains the title. It does sound like a grand time, except for the part about one million people. Now if they had all been chanting for peace, imagine the hum that would have created. What colors would the fireworks be for that, I wonder?

  5. That sounds like a wonderful time. I’m glad I was able to enjoy it through your eyes and wonderful description.

  6. Great Galloping Gottschalk! I love his Tarantella!

    Does Rich get to park in Al Capone’s old spot?

    I have a John Williams/Star Wars story, but I need to pack a picnic of my own…

    A big, patriotic kiss on the cheek to my favorite Superhostess and Planner Extraordinaire!!

  7. It sounds like the arrangements went swimmingly. Does this event always happen on the 3rd? I like that idea, since the 4th is so crazy everywhere else. I love the big fireworks shows, but like you, hate the crowds and the “mess” to get there.

  8. I always loved Stars and Stripes Forever. We in the tuba section really got to blast off. Nice planning your nice trip, Nice Girl.

  9. Oh, Vicki, thanks for sharing that experience with me. It brought back some memories of my youth when I spent lots of summers in the city (my city being NYC).

    This is very presumptuous of me, but I wonder if this was a moment/experience that made you realize/feel that Chicago really is home now. Just wondering. I remember when I first felt that way about the Bay Area…coming home from a trip driving home over the GGB…

    I do love Chicago, though I’ve never lived there.

  10. LOL about the web-footed friends. I can never be serious about that song. 🙂

  11. Wow–that’s some music program.
    You don’t know how the logistics of music to fireworks was figured out? I thought maybe you had a hand in it, considering the logistics of your picnic, car transfers, meeting up with friends, bathroom visits, etc.
    Sounds like it was a blast.

  12. I wish I had been there with my camera and tripod… as it is I missed the Mt. Trashmore extravaganza as well, so my cousin’s fireworks from May will have to do. I did see some on my way back to the new house for a second time today. I was so tired by the time I got home, I couldn’t remember if I shut the garage door and I knew I wouldn’t sleep until I knew so I went back and yes, it was shut. But it wasn’t a wasted trip.. I dropped off another load from the storage unit.

    Every muscle in my body aches and now my aches have aches. So I will fish out some pictures and do my ditti on “time” and go to bed. This computer is on its last leg!

  13. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? I enjoyed your logistical planning as much as the pictures!

  14. How on earth did you get a post up so fast? I was on a train all day without wireless. That must be it.

    Lovely lovely lovely to see you. I am a little weepy thinking about it because it was good and I am so happy that I can come back and see you again this month.

  15. Just wanted to say “hello,” as I’ve been reading your blog for several days now. I don’t remember how I got here–one link led to another and then another. Anway, I am fascinated with your move to Chicago. I have a friend who lives there and have had several business trips that have taken me there over the years. It’s one of my favorite cities. Looks like you’ve got a great place in a really nice location. I had never heard of OZ park. It looks like a fabulous resource to have so close by. I enjoy your writing style and the freedom with which you share your thoughts and feelings.

  16. My daughter would be totally, totally envious and jealous of your fireworks display – the little pyromaniac loves fireworks, and has since she was small.

    Just got caught up here (Sunday mornings are good for checking in on blogs you like); will keep my fingers crossed as you deal with your 8 pound boulder in the days to come…

  17. Vicki – I’m late again… But I am so glad you:

    1) Met a blogger and had a wonderful time.
    2) Saw a great fireworks display. I love the computer synchronization for music/fireworks displays. We saw them many time at Disney World (yes, crowds – but worth it). We were there last time in 2000 – a huge celebration.

    Hope your summer is a cool one.

  18. Where art thou?? (and if I took down my bunting, uh, you can put up another post. :D)

  19. Looks like a fabulous “camping” trip at a great price. I hope you enjoy. Your posts are so full of information, when I’m finished reading, I barely remember all the things you’ve written about! Do you have those song lyrics in your head or do you look them up before you post? Good luck with your surgeries.

  20. Mike Artherton

    Nice stuff… tough to keep track of all that is happening. I end up reading 100 odd blogs daily. Plus there is news. You could also enrich your blog by adding current news on your blog… try out the news widget from widgetmate.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s