You don't have to tell him to go fly a kite - he did

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

Chicago Saturday to discover his inner Charlie Brown – and then conquered it.

He and his mother joined Terry and I at a birthday party my goddaughter, who lives in Chicago, threw for her partner on one of the city’s Lake Michigan beaches.

It was a late afternoon party, which left us plenty of time to get there – which it turned out we needed.

The park where the party was being held was at the north end of Lake Shore Drive, but when I tried programming the GPS, it wouldn’t recognize the address I typed it – it apparently believes Lake Shore Drive ends about two dozen blocks to the south.

We made our way to Lake Shore Drive, but about six blocks south of where we wanted to be, as it turned out.

After phoning our niece Amy Beth, we finally found the party, but there was no parking there, so I dropped off the rest of the group and drove back to park where we had first arrived, then walked back to the party.

Shortly after I got there, Aiden decided he wanted to walk down to what he called “the sea.”

We tried to convince him that it was Lake Michigan, the same body of water that’s only a few blocks away from where he lives in Manitowoc, but it seemed too large a concept for him to grasp.

Apparently, any body of water large enough that a three-hour drive still leaves you on its shores has to be a sea to a five-year-old mind.

We hiked along the beach and to a nearby pier, then headed back to the party, where one of the guests had brought along a kite.

Aiden decided he wanted to try flying the kite, so he took off with Amy Beth and I trying to get it airborne.

Unfortunately, he was stuck with two kite-flying neophytes and all he found was several nearby trees.

The trees didn’t eat the kite, but they made a valiant effort – almost as valiant as Aiden’s effort to get the kite to fly.

The kite owner finally suggested taking it down on the beach, where the breezes Chicago is famous for wouldn’t be blocked by the trees and we’d have a good chance of getting – and keeping – this enterprise off the ground.

Sure enough, Aiden soon had the kite soaring high above the beach – although it took him a while to master just how much string to let out and how to wind the excess string back up, another manifestation of his inner Charlie Brown that he overcame.

His favorite part of the day came when we got back to the party and Amy Beth brought out the pinata for the birthday girl.

Since he was the youngest one – by far – at the party, he got first whack at it – several whacks to be exact, but all without avail.

Aiden then took control of the rope the pinata was suspended on and had great fun pulling it up and down as the other party-goers took their swings.

That was, until someone fi- nally broke part of the pinata open and candy started falling out, which was when Aiden started scrambling for whatever he could grab.

Never mind that people were still swinging away – fortunately for him, they were all swinging high and he got away with his candy and less damage than the pinata suffered.

After all the candy tumbled out, he scrambled around scooping up handfuls to give to everyone at the party – after he had plenty for himself, of course.

He then joined several people in a lively game of bocce – even though he’s not Italian.

It was really just an excuse to throw balls around, although he did pick it up quickly and actually got closest to the jack in one game.

After the birthday cupcakes, it was time to leave, although no one really wanted to – especially Aiden.

For the entire ride home, he told us repeatedly how “awesome” Chicago was and how much fun he had.

I wonder if the Chicago tourism people would be interested in a five-year-old spokesperson?


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