Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hall Aboard!

Mr. Hall, ever desirous of the perfect Manhattan, and Mrs. H, yearning to see her old Midwest haunts again, locked eyes and hearts over the breakfast table last Friday and decided then and there that only a quick trip to Chicago would quell her hunger and quench his thirst. But even as Mr. H. was donning the leather gloves and refolding road maps, Mrs. H. had a request; "Let's let someone else drive this time, dear", and so, with that, they opted for the romance of the rails.

Thirteen hours later, Mr. and Mrs. Hall, (with Master Chris in tow) were strolling leisurely from Union Station to the Ogilvie Center, in downtown Chicago. With the sun bright and clear, they hopped the first commuter bound to the Northwest Suburbs, Arlington Park and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Pranitis, noted art collectors, gourmands and Mrs. H's parents. As usual, the Manhattans were perfect, the dining superb and the snappy music and sparkling conversation went on long into the night, even as Mr. Hall "rested his eyes" on the living room sofa for an hour or so.
As Mrs. Hall had a couple of cards that she had been meaning to send, a cute toy she had picked up and some local gossip to pass on, the trip was absolutely de rigour, but just before they left, Master Christopher mentioned in passing that he had just enlisted in the US Air Force. He had had it on the tip of his tongue earlier, but in the excitement of the opening of the bar, it had slipped his mind completely. Hearty handshakes, back slapping and kudos all around then ensued, the bags were brought back in and another round of drinks ordered.
No visit to Chicago is complete without a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Acton's, so after a quick call, Mr. Acton himself ("Unka Knubby" as he is known; yes, there is a story there, but one not fit for the younger readers of this edition....) was dispatched to fetch them post haste. Utilizing the charmingly inaccurately named O'Hare- Elgin Expressway (it might be more readily named "the Memphis-Milwaukee Expressway, for all its relationship to its terminal points), Unka Knubbs set a new land speed record in conveying the Halls to Winfield, and from there to Costas Greek Restaurant, where they were joined by their son, young Master John Acton. Nothing says fun like setting some fromage on fire, then following it with charbroiled octopus and braised lamb shank. And so it was a weary but well-fed crew that tottled onto the Lake Shore Limited Saturday night, fat and happy after a whirlwind weekend in the Windy City. The moon rose over a glittering skyline as the train pulled out, but the Halls were already asleep, reliving their lively excursions in their dreams.

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