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Happy 4th from Chicago

Usually we had north for the fourth, but this year we traded the calm and quiet of a bay fireworks show and cooler climes for the bustle of the big city and a vast horizon display from the rooftop. We got up early on the holiday to head west and cruised into an actually traffic-free Chicago around noon, passing all the poor jokers stuck in stop and go traffic headed in the other direction. I felt very sorry for them, but there may have been a bit of gloating going on as well.

I was surprised by how quiet the city was. Obviously a lot of people headed north, but still the west loop was almost a ghost town. We met up with family and enjoyed lunch at bustling Wishbone, bustling not only because of the stellar food, but possibly also because not much else was open. The rest of the afternoon we spent playing at the park while listening to the live band at the nearby Jamaican Festival, but the best part of this holiday is of course reserved for the post-dinner hour, when we sing happy birthday to my dad. That and the fireworks, of course.

Curtis and Julie, the resident Chicagoans, had sold us on this holiday trip based on the grand display of fireworks to be enjoyed from the rooftop. I'd prepared myself for the reality to fall short, because it's easy to accidentally over sell an event based on rosy memories but the reality was actually staggering. Being right on the western edge of the city, night falls behind the skyline while the western sprawl remains lit a while longer, and even with the sun still hanging on the show started. Standing on the roof, viewing the entire western horizon, there was almost no small corner that was not alight with colorful explosions. Excepting toward the city itself, everywhere, all around us fireworks were exploding. It was beautiful, but more notable is the fact that so many of us, from all walks of life and in so many different situations, were doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same moment. It was a powerful, uniting feeling. It was amazing. Second only, possibly, to my dad's birthday, of course.

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