Sunday, August 17, 2014

Almost Ravinia

Perhaps you've heard of Ravinia, the summer music venue in Chicago's North Shore suburbs.

It consists of four important elements.

1)  Music.  An orchestra plays.  What do they play?  It doesn't matter, especially if you sit in the cheap seats, i.e. the lawn.  To experience it more as background music and less like college-class appreciative listening is OK with me.

2)  The beauty of nature.  That would be the lawn, as I just mentioned, with its surrounding forest.  You could a film a movie of lords and ladies, bows, arrows and chain mail on Ravinia's grounds and probably get away with it.

3) People-watching.  Ok, no bows, arrows or chain mail showed up during my one time there.  But I'm quite sure the people parading past me and my folding chair were the lords of finance and the ladies of sorority life, people that were as accustomed to beauty and culture as I am accustomed to the aisles of Wal-Mart.  Yes, I was a tad bit out of my element.  But I paid the ticket price (the cheap lawn tickets), therefore I belonged.

4) Food.  We did the box dinner.  The sandwich was on thick artisan bread.  The brownie was solid as a brick, yet still chewable.  Stuffed with chocolate chips.  My, oh my, oh, my, what a brownie it was!  It was the kind of brownie that, when I finished, I looked over at my husband and hoped he couldn't finish his.  Too much for you?  Need any help with that?  

Sadly, my summer has not included any Ravinia.

So I did the next best thing, Indy's own Symphony on the Prairie.  This time, I packed the dinner.  I could hardly wait to get settled on the lawn and bite into Rice Krispie treats, watermelon and:

The only spoiler to this sandwich experience was the October-like chill out there on the prairie.  I shivered through the music.  Lots of other music-lovers had the smarts to wear long pants and closed shoes.  I seem to have a problem imagining warm days turning into cool nights.  

Another small problem with this delicious sandwich:  I opened a can of cranberry sauce, used a little bit and wonder what to do with the rest of the stuff.   So I tried:

Over on the Book Pile, I'm still working through Julia Glass' Three Junes.  I mentioned the Brits on vacation?  Actually, the story focuses on Paul--newspaper publisher, Scottish, widowed.  Switching  between his sight-seeing in Greece and flashbacks of his marriage, we learn that his wife seemed awfully devoted to her collie-breeding business.  Or maybe she was devoted to something or someone else?

Moving on the second June, Paul has now died.  His three sons gather for the memorial service.   We get the story from the oldest son, a gay man who chose America over family closeness.  Again, the story alternates between flashbacks of his life back in New York, where all his friends grow more emaciated with AIDS, and the "now," as the bereaved gather to remember Dad and wonder about Mom.  Then one member of the family asks somebody for a big favor.  And I mean, a BIG favor. 

I haven't gotten to the third June yet.

It's a pleasant but slow-moving story.   It's got some big cow patties, but I could see 'em coming and I flipped the page.  

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