Yesterday was our oldest grandchild’s 12th birthday…HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAYLOR!!!!
Her Mom and Dad had a surprise planned for her birthday, and I was “in on it”…..Yesterday when Taylor got home from school, I arrived. Her birthday surprise was a train ride into Chicago to see the Broadway Hit musical, Billy Elliott…and Grandma was going too!..It was a “girl’s night out”…Tim and the boys dropped us girls at the Metra Train Station in Aurora about 10 miles from their house…and we road the commuter into Union Station, downtown Chicago…. It costs about $30 to park anywhere in Chicago, and only $6.00 to ride the train in….such a deal.
This was Taylor’s FIRST train ride too!..And yes, I know…I actually met my nemesis head on..the dreaded train. Hey , this was one way of not having to hear the whistle…
We left the Metra Station at 5:20PM and arrived in Union Station Chicago at 6:40PM. We walked from Union Station about 1 mile to the Ford Oriental Theater . The performance time was 8PM, so we had time to grab a quick (and I DO mean QUICK) sandwich on the way…Let me tell you a little about the place we ate..Most of you are probably not familiar with the history of the Billy Goat Tavern, and the “curse of the Billy Goat” that is associated with it, so here is a little history lesson about it…
From 1876 to 1945, The Chicago Cubs were one of the most successful baseball teams in the country. They would post a 5475-4324 (.559) record, with 51 winning seasons, 16 first place finishes, and 16 pennants and World Series appearances. They would win two World Series titles and six Championship titles in that span. This would come to a screeching halt in game four of the 1945 World Series. 1945- "Who Stinks Now?"
October 6th, a sad day in Cubs history. The Cubs entered game four of the World Series leading the Detroit Tigers 2 games to 1, and needing to win only two of the next four games played at Wrigley Field. A local Greek, William "Billy Goat" Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern and a Cubs fan, bought two tickets to Game four. Hoping to bring his team good luck he took his pet goat, Murphy, with him to the game. At the entrance to the park, the Andy Fran ushers stopped Billy Goat from entering saying that no animals are allowed in the park. Billy Goat, frustrated, appealed to the owner of the Cubs, P.K. Wrigley. Wrigley replied, "Let Billy in, but not the goat." Billy Goat asked, "Why not the goat?" Wrigley answered, "Because the goat stinks."
According to legend, the goat and Billy were upset, so then Billy threw up his arms and exclaimed, "The Cubs ain't gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field." The Cubs were officially cursed. Subsequently, the Cubs lost game four, and the remaining series getting swept at home and from the World Series. Billy Goat promptly sent a telegram to P.K. Wrigley, stating, "Who stinks now?" For the next twenty years, throughout the remainder of Billy Goat's life the Cubs would finish each season at 5th place or lower, establishing a pattern that would reverse the Cubs luck and term the team "The Lovable Losers." The World Series would become a dream, and "wait 'til next year" would become the team's motto. From 1946 to 2003, the Cubs would post a 4250-4874 (.466) record, have only 15 winning seasons, finish in first place a mere 3 times, have no pennants, no World Series appearances let alone wins, with only four post season experiences (1984, 1989, 1998, 2003) resulting in a complete reversal of their fortunes. The Cubs were and are a cursed franchise. ..
…And so we went to The Billy Goat Tavern, made famous for the quote “cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!!….Coke, no Pepsi.!.” For those of you old enough to recall, Jim Bulushi made The Billy Goat Tavern nationally known in the 1970’s, on the TV show Saturday Night Live , with his comedy routine based on the real Greek cook at the Billy Goat Tavern….
….What did we have, you ask???…Cheeseburgers….of course..
After a short walk through downtown Chicago we arrived at the theater…I have to say that Chicago is a beautiful lakefront city , especially at night. I just couldn’t handle the bustle day in and day out…Give me the cornfields any day!
There was a line outside the theater, and when we arrived they were just beginning to let people in. This is the same theater that we saw the Broadway hit, “Wicked”, a couple years ago…(which, by the way, was FABULOUS!!!) I remember it VERY well..I almost had my digital camera confiscated by the “camera police” at that performance…They are VERY strict about NO PHOTOS, even before the performance begins..and they have NO sense of humor. Having Grandma thrown out of the theater would not have made a good memory for Taylor’ s birthday, so I tucked my camera safely away in my purse.
I did, however, manage to take a few shots inside the theater lobby BEFORE we went to our seats, (hey, that is perfectly legal!) …It is a lovely old theater…
…The performance was so good I cannot even begin to describe it…They have 4 different young men to draw from for the starring role of Billy Elliott. The young man who played the part last night was the oldest of the four. His name is Tommy Batchelor, and he is 14 years old. He started dancing at age 4, and was in Miami City Ballet’s The Nutcracker…I have never seen a more talented kid….
…Now here is how GREAT of a father and son-in-law Tim Heiser is….He came all the way into downtown Chicago (a 45 minute drive) to pick us up outside the theater… at 10:45PM!!…..He did this so that we girls didn’t have to be in Chicago alone that late and take the train back…If we had ridden the train back, we wouldn’t have gotten back to Aurora until about 1AM……Terrie called Tim on her cell phone from the theater when the show was over. He was circling the block, waiting for the call to pick us up…..When we walked out of the theater, there was our chauffeur, double parked right in front of the theater….What a guy!!!
The traffic was pretty bad, but Tim drove all the way up the Eisenhower Expressway into the snarl of Chicago Loop Theater District insanity to retrieve us three lucky ladies!….(and he had to haul Taylor’s little brothers along!!)
Peyton and Campbell slept all the way, and never even knew when we crawled across them into the Ford Explorer. Bless their sweet tired little hearts….
So, that was our very exciting evening in the Windy City….It was a “Billy” kind of event….We saw “Billy Elliott”, the musical…and ate at The “Billy Goat” Tavern …..When we arrived at the Heiser house in Sugar Grove it was 12;10 AM this morning, and I still had another 20 mile drive to Sandwich…I jumped the GMC, left their house, and was pulling in our drive at 12:35AM…(I had 3 deer walk across the road in front of me on the way…luckily I saw them in time to slow down!)
WHEW!! BOY AM I ONE WHIPPED OLD GRANDMA THIS MORNING!!!!
I should be good as new in a few days…no worries…