Last week, one of my sisters came for her annual visit.  As we amble through our seventies, these visits become almost sacred. Some day, hopefully not soon, our knees or our hips or our whole  bodies may say, “No more travel.” So while she can still hoist a suitcase onto Amtrak, and while I still have the zest to plan “events” for us to do in Chicago, we don our tennis shoes and walk, walk, walk. She doesn’t know what I plan; I only tell her the times we have “events.”

My plans:

Wednesday: Meet Amtrak at 10:30. Take bus home. Make spinach, pecan, apple, cheddar cheese salad lunch. Attend Art Institute lecture on Magritte at 1. Get coffee in Members’ Lounge. Walk Michigan Ave south to Jackson; see  Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarindottir’s sculptures.


Walk north to Mariano’s (grocery); take gelato break on their outdoor patio overlooking Lakeshore East park. Walk further north to Eataly; buy cheese/tomato focaccia bread. Walk south back home. Pack picnic with focaccia bread. Walk east to Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion at 5:45. Eat picnic. Listen to The Blue Planet in Concert (written and conducted by George Fenton), simultaneously viewing the award-winning film of life in the ocean. Walk home.

(6.5 miles, 15, 272 steps)

Thursday: Walk to hair appointments at 10; get haircuts. Walk to Walgreens; buy yellow roses. Take bus to friend’s house at 12:30. Give her the roses. Eat the yummy lunch she has prepared: fresh beet, goat cheese, caramelized walnut salad; crusty wheat and white rolls; and homemade strawberry shortcake.


Walk home, via the John Hancock building; strain necks to look way up to the The Tilt. Eat dinner my husband has made: steak on the grill, stir-fry kohlrabi, black cherries, strawberries at 5:30. Walk to Goodman Theater at 6:45; see Brigadoon.

(3.7 miles, 5800 steps)

Friday: Eat breakfast at Pittsfield Cafe (omelet, wheat toast, fruit cup, and coffee). Shop: Pay Half, Burlington Coat Factory, TJMaxx. Loiter over Starbucks iced mochas at Macys. Shop Macys. (By shopping, I mean to savor the smooth or pebbly feel of all the fabrics; bask in their summer brilliance of salmon pinks and royal blues; and decide we don’t need anything right now.) Eat lunch at Toni’s Patisserie (spinach quiche, butternut squash soup). Walk home. Take selfie in my hallway mirror.


Take bus to Union Station. Hug. Say good-bye. Say we won’t cry.

(2.5 miles, 5800 steps)

Start planning for next year. Want to join us?