Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Day At Navy Pier

My wife and I accompanied our eldest son and his girlfriend to Chicago this past weekend. I have to remember that families may not always be in synch with these cross-generational road trips. A few long walks, a trip to the museum of science and industry, and Wendy and I were ready to go home on Sunday.

But my son's girlfriend still had some shopping to do along the
Magnificent Mile and adjacent areas downtown. Not we more mature
folks. Been there, done that. Here's a note of warning for you younger men
(yeah, like a lot of young guys visit my blog regularly) . . . with
young women, this shopping process can go on for hours.

So Wendy and I hung out at the Navy Pier, a conglomeration of
shops, rides and attractions along Lake Michigan. You can do a lot of
walking there too and many tourists and locals were under the warming
rays of the sun. Still was a bit chilly, though.

We walked all the way to the end of the pier where sits a
cavernous ballroom, rebuilt as it stood almost a century ago. I peered
through its windows and tried to imagine hundreds of dancers congregated under its vast domed ceiling while a big band played on stage. It must have
been awesome to behold.

The adjacent buildings feature trade shows of one type or another.
We thought a bicycle show with an admission price of $13 per person to
be too pricy. But there's also the Smithson museum of stained glass
windows. That was free. Now we're talking.

Strolling through the corridors and rooms full of stained glass
windows, many of them depicting scenes from the Bible, it reminded me
of attending St. Joseph's Catholic church in Bay City as a child. It was
also educational. I learned of the influence of the Mayer family of
Munich, Germany in the design of many of the stained glass windows
found in churches here in the United States.

Louis Tiffany made his name in stained glass, developing an
opalescent process for making stained glass windows that included
faceted jewels, as well as colored glass of various colors and textures. This
improved on the process of just painting colorless glass which had been
the tradition for centuries prior.

Turning a corner in the maze of exhibit halls, I came face to face
with a large window featuring beautiful young women angels. All very
much unclothed from the waist up. That was a shock. Never saw
anything like that before in any church I've been to.

"I hope you didn't stand there staring," my wife asked later with
a scolding tone. But how could I not? They were so life-like, so big,
so exposed.

Later, I came across a group of older women admiring another
display of stained glass artistry. "If anybody wants to get me a gift,
I'll like that one there on the left," one woman said pointing to a small
window in the display as they departed. A matronly woman whom I
presumed to be her mother with a wry smile said, "Okay, I'll write that down."

Hmmmmmmm, didn't see any price tags on anything in that museum.
But I wasn't looking either. If we ever go back to Navy Pier in
Chicago, I know which window I want to do a price check on.


Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Typical man, What do you expect? I'm glad you and Wendy had a good time.....

4:25 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

The best part of a nudey stained glass window is that the models probably had their original tatas. Today, who would really be interested in a glass replica of a couple of silicone baggies? I'd like to tell Wendy that if she points out really great looking women to you, she will never have to be upset when she sees you looking at them.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Dave, very educational exhibit of stained glass by the sound of it.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

I heard that if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Bob and I spent time at Navy Pier last spring. I loved it and I know what you mean about the ballroom. How wonderful it would be to see it as it was in the 1940's.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Love this post, Dave! :) Of course you weren't staring!

I hate going shopping with anyone...I much prefer shopping alone.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

Now that you mention it, I used to shop on vacations, but since I've gained a bit of maturity, I don't do that any more.

I haven't been to Chicago in a long time, but it seems to me that it's still cold there this time of year.


10:18 AM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

wow. I just realized I no longer shop on vacation but look for historic sites or botanical gardens. guess i am mature finally.
sounds like you had a great trip.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

Glad you had a wonderful time! My hubby and I are different, he like s to browse--I get what I want and get out.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

Actually sounds like a wonderful trip Dave! Almost as good as Kauai-really. I've never been to Chicago, but now I want to brave the winds and go!

7:29 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Did you happen to get a look at the stained glass that the women were looking at? Maybe it was some, um, "male" angels. ;)

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Yup, typical were supposed to be concentrating on the ANGELIC quality of those angels....not their anatomy. Geesh....didn't you pay attention to those nuns in school?

10:50 AM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

That stained glass place sounds really cool. I actually love stained glass - don't even care if there are naked anythings in the glass. I just think it's very cool, in spite of reminding me of childhood inprisonment in church (yech).

10:15 AM  
Blogger Babette said...

I love Chicago! I'm GREEN with envy. You saw our Vicki, of course?!

Sometimes I have to tell my art history scholars to muster up their maturity before viewing a certain work.

You and Wendy took the ferris wheel ride, of course?!

9:44 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Somebody should have done seraphims. Seraphims are so innocent and unbreastly.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Summer said...

i love Navy Pier!
another statistic for your sitemeter...a visit from Beirut-Lebanon!
Have a wonderful weekend.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:03 PM  

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