A CHRISTMAS DREAM COME TRUE?

IT HAS BEEN SNOWING FOR DAYS NOW, COATING THE SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF MY BUILDING. DESPITE THE HEADACHE WINTER MAY CAUSE US, THE BEAUTY MAKES IT A LITTLE MORE TOLERABLE.

MY FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR DAVID IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FANTASTIC CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS IN OUR COURTYARD. (AND SWEET ENOUGH TO BE HUXLEY’S SURROGATE PARENT THE NEXT FEW DAYS SO I CAN GO OUT OF TOWN.) AGAIN, HE’S SUPER TALENTED, AND IT’S BEEN GREAT THIS MONTH TO WATCH THE RED LIGHTS STROBE AROUND THE YARD, AND NOW THE SNOW.

SNOW HIGHLIGHTS THE BARE LIMBS OF THE TREES OUTSIDE MY WINDOWS. IT TRULY MAKES THE POOR HIBERNATING BEASTS SPARKLE.

Well for those of us in Uptown that were dreaming of a white Christmas … we’ve got it.

Finally, after weeks of waiting, we’ve been blessed with some measurable fluff.

But what started out as beautiful snow fall for days has now been coated with a layer of ice. Unfortunately, it’s all come at an inconvenient time for many.

And that takes some of the fun out it.

Thousands of people have been left scrambling to change flights after cancellations and major delays.

Merry Christmas, huh?

Then there is simply just getting around.

As I sit here and type, I can hear someone out on the back porches of my building taking care of the ice on the stairs. That, I can tell you is quite a relief. Because, like everyone that has to brave the outside during a brutal Chicago winter, there is one main goal: DO NOT FALL. And without fail, there will come that day you take a tumble. It’s almost unavoidable.

I’ve taken one spill in each of the three winters I’ve lived here. They’ve all been unexpected. They’ve all been hard. And thankfully the worst I ever hurt myself was scraped knees and days of hip pain … Plus the dings to my pride.

My mission this year is not to fall. (Just knocked wood.) It has become my focus to a fault. And not an easy feat to accomplish when you have to walk the dog several times a day … make it to and from the train for work … the grocery store … out with friends … shows … Needless to say, there’s a lot of opportunities to bite the dust. It takes a lot of strategy and patience to stay upright, not to mention time to get somewhere.

So here’s hoping I escape the big one.

I’ll be leaving my house around 5 a.m. tomorrow to catch an Amtrak to St. Louis so I can spend the holiday with my best friend Robin and her in-laws. I will undoubtedly be packing light … no need to be off-balance. I’m just debating a $2.25 train ride/$5 cab combo, or just blowing $20 to have someone pick me up at my front door. All to escape slipping on a sidewalk Slurpee.

Bring on the snow, inches and inches of it, I don’t care. After decades of never knowing what it was truly like, I still marvel at every flake I see. I relish in the “crunch, crunch, crunch” my boots make with each step. It’s a harmonious sound. But my entire life, I’ve been afraid of two things: ice and stairs. Really shows how much I love Chicago, as I choose to stay here year after year.

Even though every winter has “been my last.” Like my Mom always tells me, “Come February, you’ll be ready to move back home again, then May hits …”

The sun comes out, everything is green and we all know why we choose to endure such brutal torture.

So here’s to a white Christmas.

Even if it does have a crispy shell.

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