Every year for the past ten years at least, I have wanted to have a Labor Day party by the lagoons in the forest preserves near my house. There's a very nice paved 17.5 mile bike trail that makes a five mile loop around the lagoons before heading south through miles of shady woods. You know you're at the end when you suddenly find yourself at a busy intersection on the northwest side of Chicago. Luckily, it's a two lane path, so you can turn around and go back.
Up where I live, you can canoe, kayak or fish for bass in the lagoons and there are myriad stone shelters and wide open fields for picnics and playing Frisbee. The birdwatching is good too. I've noticed several blue herons living around two of the islands in the lagoons. Considering that there haven't been any blue jays, very few robins, no grackles and not a single crow around here since the West Nile Virus decimated the bird population a few years ago, I watch those gangly blue birds poke around in the water with new appreciation for what we've lost.
I also remember that this idyllic scene exists because the Army Corps of Engineers came in and killed all the bullheads, catfish and carp with chemicals to make the water safe for bass and the people who fish for them. The herons were just a lucky strike extra, since I think the lagoons are on their flyway to Florida.
There's also a Good Humor truck parked conveniently at the elbow of a right turn in the bike path, for hungry cyclists in need of some sustenance. I'm usually hungry from a hard day of watching the bikes go by so I fill up on an Oreo cookie ice cream bar with an ice cream taco chaser, a confection which bears little or no resemblance to tacos as nature originally intended them.
Since today is the day after Labor Day, I've obviously missed another opportunity to have the party. I'm sure I'll keep thinking about it and making plans. I suppose I could have a "Chili" pot party at the end of October to celebrate my birthday. "Chili" being a play on "chilly", since that's usually how the weather is that time of year. Maybe we could steam some veal brats in beer and grill them afterward. I'm liking this idea. In case it's too chilly to ride bikes, people could bundle up and hike the trail. Or huddle around the Weber.
Or I could wait until the first blizzard and have a softball in the snow tournament with old tires for bases.
Or I could wait until next year and think about planning another Labor Day party I won't have.