1. Upon our arrival in downtown Chicago, after creeping up I-90 to the Ohio St. exit, we checked into The Aloft Hotel, figuring out who bunks with whom -- I'm with Patrick -- and got ourselves ready for the first event of the wedding weekend.
2. Patrick, the Deke, and I taxied to Carnivale, a restaurant featuring bold colors, a raucous atmosphere, and food offerings from South America, Spain, and the Caribbean. Quickly, we found Adrienne, hugged, and then we embraced our other family members: Ben, the groom, his sisters, Danielle and Allison, Brian, the Deke's brother, and Diane, Brian's wife. We missed David, the Deke's brother, who died in 2009, but immediately I saw his son Bill and we embraced and later David's daughter, Samantha (who lived with the Deke and me in Eugene back in 2011-12), another hug. Margaritas, Mexican beer, mojitos, and other cocktails flowed freely, and happiness filled the room.
My best moment? Allison told me she is seriously considering composing Three Beautiful Things each day!
3. We were served heaping plates of food, family style. I wish I could list all the food, but it was all unfamilar to me, and very tasty and very fun -- but not as fun as seeing Adrienne and Patrick and our nieces and nephews as adults enjoying each other in ways they never could have when they were kids.