I'd done a TA lecture for the Folk Music of Central Europe class on Thursday. (I'm doing another one this afternoon, with a dance workshop attached.) The reason those lectures were scheduled for now is that Viennese Professor is out of town. However, he wanted to hear what I had to say, so he asked me to record both classes. I did record the Thursday class, and now I have that on mp3. The Pony Parents were disappointed that their visit would fall right between the two classes and they wouldn't get to see me in teacherly action, but there was that mp3, which is the next best thing. While Dad Pony and I went out grocery shopping, Mom Pony did some knee exercises and listened to about half an hour of a recording of me teaching about old Yiddish culture and song. When we got back, Dad Pony went and listened to the same half hour. They both enjoyed it a lot, which reassures me, because they're both college instructors in addition to being the Pony Parents.
We also altered our plans for the day. The original plan had been to meet up with one of Dad Pony's former students for lunch at Manny's Deli, then hit the Celtic Festival in Millennium Park, and finish up at a White Sox game (the Cubbies were on the road). Problem was, it was cold and intermittently rainy, and Mom Pony was not up for outdoor activities. Manny's Deli was okay, but not the Celtic Festival, and certainly not sitting out at (snerk) U.S. Cellular Field as the sun went down.* A quick discussion and a brief trip through the Intarwebz later and we had decided that the Art Institute would sub in for the Celtic Festival, and that the role of the Chicago White Sox would be played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for about the same price.
Manny's Deli is completely fantastic. It's a cafeteria-style restaurant that serves up enormous corned beef sandwiches, in among classic mid-20th-century working-class Jewish deli fare. I love these places, but nobody could love them nearly as much as Dad Pony, especially since his favorite places are in Chicago, land of his youth, and he doesn't get to go to them very often. We got to the restaurant about fifteen minutes early, which turned out to be an excellent trigger for coincidence.
As we were waiting for Former Student to show up, I suddenly spotted across the room and was spotted by this guy who was one of my friends at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute back in 2008! He'd been at the Yiddish school to learn Yiddish so that he could give up a career in finance in London and go to New York to perform in the Yiddish theater there -- and that's exactly what he did! I even mentioned him to my class on Thursday. He was in one of my language classes, and he was one of the people who performed in the student concert; he sang "Oyfn Pripetchik" as his solo ("Der Rebbe Elimelech" was mine). He was in town to celebrate his brother's college graduation (at Manny's Deli!), and he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him, because he'd forgotten that I live in Chicago. Anyway, we chatted, and I introduced him to the Pony Parents, and there was much rejoicing even before Former Student showed up.
We had a long, wonderful lunch with Former Student. Lots of good food, lots of good stories, and a completely random magician who wandered by the table and entertained us with some groan-worthy puns and sleight-of-hand. At last, it was off to the Art Institute.
We took the long way, so that we could take a train completely around the Loop, which apparently is something that Dad Pony had wanted to do since he was about eight years old, and got into the Institute an hour before closing time, so we had a little time to check out the Impressionists. Mom Pony got to see her favorite Renoir painting (she thinks the older girl looks like me), and I wandered into a gallery full of Renaissance art. When the museum closed, we went to a tea shop to go have tea and a nibbly. And thereby hangs a tale that will be told in a third post . . .
*We're firm enough Cubs fans that she probably would have been okay with a game at Wrigley. Of course, then Dad Pony could have worn his winter coat, which is a big heavy Cubs jacket. You can't exactly wear that to the Cell.