I groused about my the July 3rd festivities in Chicago… but the 4th single-handedly made the trip worthwhile. First stop? Lincoln Park and Lakeview with old college friends Bo and Wallis.

The guy between Bo and I actually snuck into the shot on purpose. As soon as the flash popped, the bike dude rode past and cackled “I’m in your picture!”

Lunch with Wallis

Ice cream in Lakeview

My incredibly gracious host, Susie (former Journal Star intern), invited me to a cookout that her and her friends were throwing in Logan Square. There’s a ping-pong tournament in the basement, and as the sun sets and the darkness arrives, we climb onto the roof of the brownstone and prepare the artillery.

Susie made that!

Intensive ping-pong

It’s a 360-degree panorama of the city, with opposing views of downtown Chicago and its never-ending suburbs. And everyone, every man woman and child, is blasting bottle rockets and hurling shells into the air. You find yourself spinning in a circle, careful not to fall off the roof as you look upward. And instead of the paltry 20-minute show from the night before, this is hour upon hour of spectacle. It’s the Fourth of July from every movie you’ve ever seen.

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