A Taste of Home...

Generally speaking, I am not the biggest fan of the suburbs. As Americans, we have fetishized the bucolic serenity of suburban life, turning the ideal of a single family dwelling with a yard and the proverbial "white picket fence" into our collective American Dream. It is not a dream that I share. I have no desire to manicure a lawn, spend hours commuting every day, or maintain a home.

I concede that I had a very privileged childhood in the suburbs, and I was very fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood that was safe, with excellent schools where I could receive a top-notch education. However, there were many areas in which my education was incomplete. My high school, for instance, often boasted that it was only 85% Caucasian, and thereby 15% diverse. My years in school there prepared me for college, but they did not prepare me for life in the real world.

Now that I am establishing a life for myself in the big city, I have trouble envisioning myself living in the suburbs again. Maybe someday, when I have children, I will understand the appeal. For the time being, Highland Park is just a place to go to visit my parents and my friends who are still living there, which is precisely what I did this weekend.

Primarily, I made the journey this particular weekend because Caitlin had suggested that we check out the relatively new "Taste of Highland Park," which has become an increasing focus of the annual Port Clinton Art Festival. I was fully prepared to hate the entire experience -- after all, the Port Clinton Art Festival used to be one of the highlights of my summer until Amy Amdur took it over several years ago. For the past couple years, there has been nothing there to tempt me at all, and I had no intention of going this time around. However, since I get so few opportunities to hang out with Caitlin, I thought I'd give the Taste of Highland Park a try. After all, as long as I could spend time with an old friend, it couldn't really turn out that badly.

I figured that such an event would likely be a pale imitation of the downtown original, but I tried to approach it with as much of an open mind as I could muster. Certainly, a city of Highland Park's size does not boast as many restaurants to draw from for such an event, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised. There was a decent variety of food options, although I think that the food was more expensive than that at the Taste of Chicago, and that's saying something. I made a point of trying dishes from restaurants that I had never previously patronized, and Caitlin and I were even able to find seats at which to consume our culinary bounty, which was also no small feat, considering how crowded it was.

The evening was made even more pleasant by unseasonably cool weather and the presence of live entertainment. Chicago's own 1960s powerhouse band, The Buckinghams, were there to perform all of their hits and a few covers of other bands' hits. We got to hear "Kind of a Drag," "Don't You Care," and "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song." Of the covers that they played, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and "Smoke on the Water" were the most ridiculous, whereas Chicago's "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" had the crowd on their feet. It was a perfect suburban night -- not too rowdy, a little bit nostalgic, and most importantly, a little bit unexpected.

1 comment:

  1. If you grew up in the ghetto, you would love the suburbs. How do you think the suburbs were created in the first place?