My dad comes to Chicago once a year. He’s a born and bred Alabamian, and he says it like it is. I like to take his “frankness” as an opportunity to look at Chicago in a different light. Herein, some of his observations from his visit over Thanksgiving weekend.

Things that went over well:

Caroling at Cloud Gate

  1. Jersey Boys. My whole family loved the show, even after I told them how much we paid for tickets (close to one month’s rent).
  2. The Garfield Park Conservatory
  3. H & M
  4. Cocktails at the top of the Hancock building on Thanksgiving night
  5. The Billy Goat, which my mom insists on calling “Billy Goat Hole”
  6. The half-caramel, half-cheese “mix” at Garrett’s popcorn. Truth be told, I scarfed down most of the bag myself.

  7. Thanksgiving turkey at my house

  8. Whole Foods.

Things that did NOT go over well

  1. The brussels sprouts dish I made for Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t roast the little buggers long enough.
  2. Standing out in the cold to sing Christmas carols in front of the “Bean.”
  3. The weather. Cold, rainy, windy, relentless.
  4. Our pilgrimage to see the Martha Stewart tree on the seventh floor of Macy’s on State Street. It’s really not very impressive, and, apparently, only one elevator works at Macy’s. As long as we waited there, you’d think we were taking the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower instead of the Walnut Room.
  5. The fact that I don’t have cable, nor can I currently locate my TV remote control.

Things that got mixed reviews

  1. The CTA. As my father reasoned (often correctly), why should you pay $2 to wait for the 66 Chicago Avenue bus—in the cold, no less—when you can just hail a taxicab?
  2. Table Fifty-Two. Things were going just fine until my father discovered a round, orange object in his $20 pork dish. No one at the table could identify it, so he called a waiter over. Turns out, it was a thin slice of persimmon. My dad says that, in Alabama, only possums eat persimmons.