|Navy Pier is the most popular tourist attraction in Chicago.
My first cousin’s daughter is ... what? My second cousin? No, those are more distant kinfolk who only share great-grandparents. My mother’s sister’s son’s daughter is my first cousin, once-removed.
Whatever she is, my 18-year-old relation and her bestie came to visit with us for almost a week in July.
Six days. Having readily agreed to the visit, in concept, I did blink a few times when informed of the specific span, thinking of a Yiddish word, mishpocha, which means “family.” And the obligations thereby implied.
Sure, I said, yes yes, of course, a week is fine ... though I still have to work. As long as I’m not expected to squire the teens about the city, they’re welcome to use our house as a base for their explorations.
That said, the unwritten code of familial responsibility dictates that I pick them up at the airport, buy a welcome lunch and host their initial foray into the city. What’ll it be, girls? Navy Pier? Most popular attraction in Chicago. A ferris wheel. Plenty of shops selling tat. Fireworks at night.
Or ... the Art Institute. The Cezanne show. I was secretly pulling for that.
Or ... if you kids are tired from your long trip, we could just walk in the Chicago Botanic Garden. (The “easiest for me” was unvoiced.)
They chose that last option. Youth is wasted on the young.
Driving there, we passed a Walgreens.
“We need to stop at Walgreens,” one of my visitors said.
I know better than to quiz young women about what kind of necessity might inspire a visit to a drugstore. But the purpose of the stop was revealed: Before they could venture into Chicago, they needed to buy pepper spray. They would have bought it before leaving Boston but couldn’t take it on the plane.
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