Lately, John and I have been discussing taking a trip up to Wisconsin soon, to see my parents.
My parents are wonderful people. They are both very kind, generous, and loving. They are also small-town people. They do not like big cities. And I happen to live in the 3rd biggest city in America.
My parents only came to Chicago to visit John and me once, in May of 1999. And they’ve never been back—that tells you how much they liked it!
As I look back on that weekend, a few events stick out in my mind that might have had something to do with the fact that they haven’t been back here since then:
1. Our toilet exploded on my Mom. I remember my Dad, John, and I were sitting in our living room, and all of a sudden we heard my Mom screaming from the bathroom, “Help! Help!” I walked in to find her desperately trying to plug the holes on the back of the toilet that water was shooting out of. I knew I had to turn the water supply off, but she looked so freaked out that all I could do was sit there and laugh and laugh. Luckily, John stepped in and turned off the water. I couldn’t stop laughing.
2. While buying an ice cream cone at McDonald’s, a homeless guy approached my Dad and mumbled “Can you spare some change?” My Dad didn’t hear him and asked him, “What?” The guy repeated, “Can you spare some change?” This time my Dad heard him, but I don’t think he knew how to respond. He looked so uncomfortable that I stepped in and said to the guy, “Sorry.” The guy understood and walked away. My Dad’s uneasiness was understandable; where he lives, there are no homeless people on the streets asking for money.
3. We were all getting dressed up to go see the play/musical “Ragtime.” I put on a skirt, and my Mom absolutely could not get over the fact that I didn’t have a slip to wear underneath it. She kept mentioning it, even as we were walking to the show. (Two months later, when I visited them in Wisconsin, my Mom brought out a “present” for me. I unwrapped it to find a slip! I couldn’t believe it. She’s too funny.)
4. That whole weekend, it was cold, windy, and rainy. We walked to the train and it rained. We walked to the play and it rained. We walked to church and it rained. I don’t think Mom and Dad were fans of walking everywhere, instead of riding in a nice warm, dry car.
Overall, to me it was a funny weekend. To my parents, it was probably an uncomfortable weekend. Oh yeah, and while driving out of the parking garage, they had the pleasant experience of having to pay $40 for parking there for the weekend. I’m sure they loved that.
I guess the city is not meant for everyone…at least not for my parents!