“It’s a Beautiful Day in Chicago!!”
We have never lived in Chicago. In fact, I have never even been to Chicago, and I’m pretty sure that our sweet mom has never been to Chicago either. So why in the world did she say to us many, many mornings…”It’s a beautiful day in Chicago!” I knew that my granddaddy Robertson said it all the time. He would shuffle down the hallway from his bedroom to the den, dressed in his blue overalls. He had just finished reading the morning paper and was making his way outside to finish whatever chores were on his list that day. He would grab his “bacca” (chewing tobacco was his only vice), survey whoever was in the room and say, “It’s a beautiful day in Chicago.” To which we would all reply, “It’s a beautiful day in Chicago,” and he would chuckle and head out the door. But I never knew why until years later…
As a young man, our Granddaddy Rob was in the army and was stationed in Chicago for a short while. When he was there, there was a man on the radio that would start the day out EVERY MORNING by saying, “It’s A Beautiful Day in Chicago!” with a very enthusiastic yankee accent. He thought it was hilarious and looked forward to it every morning. Chicago became a very special “pit stop” in his life. You see, Chicago was where he was when he decided to marry our Grandmother. Our grandmother got on a train in Starkville, MS and rode all the way up to Chicago to meet him. As soon as she got there, Granddaddy found out they were to be shipped out the next day to Colorado. So they quickly got married that day, spent their wedding night together, then he put her right back on a train the next morning. As the story goes, he was late waiting for her train to arrive to take her home to Mississippi and almost got left and would have been considered AWOL – not a good thing. However, his soldier friends in his barracks knew where he was and packed up his stuff for him and he made it right in time to grab the last caravan out. Remember this was well before cell phones and text messages, so it was quite a God orchestrated event.
I guess he never forgot Chicago or that man on the radio and always held that time very dear. So he infused the saying into his daily vocabulary and it became the norm. Especially years later in Mississippi when he would greet us all in the living room exclaiming, “It’s a beautiful day in Chicago!” Now knowing the story, it has extra special meaning. However, back then for us kids who didn’t know any better, we just learned it as part of our family vocabulary. We still use it to this day and all of our aunts and uncles and all the cousins know exactly what it means. I sometimes say it to my children. When we are at our mom and dad’s house and walk next door to our uncle’s house we greet them with a big ole “It’s a beautiful day in Chicago.” It’s a fun nostalgic nod to our family patriarch and a fun saying that brings back so many memories of growing up and visiting their country farm in Macedonia, Mississippi.
Maybe you have sayings or traditions in your own family that would make no sense to anyone else but they have great meaning in your family? We would love for you to share them with us! And maybe tomorrow you’ll wake up to a pretty sky and think…It’s a beautiful day in Chicago!
***Our sweet Mom is one of a kind. They broke the mold when God made her. We have never met anyone that has anything negative to say about her…no really…it’s true. One of our favorite things about her is her southern sayings that make up a huge part of her charm. We have decided to create a recurrent column highlighting these special sayings from our upbringing. Stay tuned for all the things that “Mama Says.”***