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On a cold December morning I woke up before dawn, and realized this was the big day. Slipping out of bed I went to the bathroom, and then back under the warm covers.
As I lay there my mind was racing.
Mom and Dad were taking me to downtown Chicago to see all of the beautiful Christmas decoration. My best friend Jody was invited to go with us.
The train was leaving this morning at 11am sharp. We were about an hour away, and I knew we had to leave about 9:30am to make sure we arrived on time.
The plan was to stay for the day, and be there when evening came to see the brilliance of the city at this time of year.
As soon as I heard shuffling around in the hallway, I jumped up to start getting ready.
"Time to get up Leena." called Mom from outside my bedroom door.
"I'm up already." I hollered.
The clothes I had decided to wear were laid out on the arm of my chair.
I got dressed and went downstairs to see about some breakfast.
I glanced up at the kitchen clock. It was almost 8 o'clock.
"Call Jody and make sure she us up." Mom said. "We need to leave on time this morning."
I grabbed the phone and dialled Jody.
"Hello." said Jody sleepily.
"Are you up?" I asked.
She assured me she was and had been for a while.
"My dad will drop me off at 9 this morning, and I am almost ready." said Jody.
She arrived right on time. We were in the car and ready, and we were all excited to get going.
We boarded the train, took our seats, and off we went to see the Christmas scenes and lights of the big city.
There were lots of places we were going to try and fit in to this one day Holiday adventure.
We arrived at the Chicago train station in about two hours.
When we stepped off into the cold air, it was beginning to snow.
We made sure our hats, gloves, and scarves were in place, and off we went into the city streets.
Shopping was first on our list, and our first stop was Macy's.
Finding a few items there, we went on to Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Saks.
We didn't want to carry too much stuff around with us, but there were sales in every store.
About three in the afternoon we found a place to eat. This was before supper time, but we were all getting hungry.
"Mom, there are so many places to see the Christmas Lights." I said to her.
I was holding a brochure in my hand that explained the special sites.
"We will try to see as many of them as we can." she explained. "We are to board the train to go home by eight thirty."
"There is a mile lights festival that starts out on Michigan Avenue," I said. "We could start with that. Then there is a huge tree in the museum of science and industry if we could find that."
After we ate, we set out to see as much of the brilliant Chicago Christmas lights as we could. We found the two places that I had mentioned using a taxi to get around.
Then we found Navy Pier where there was a Winter Wonder Fest. It was so awesome.
The entire city was lit up. Department store windows, huge trees, and special sites were all magnificent.
Walking down State Street we ran into a large group of people.
Trying to stay out of their way, we all shuffled from one side of the sidewalk to the other.
It appeared to us that they were all one large group trying to stay together as they made their way along.
I tried to hold onto Jody's hand to make sure we didn't get separated from each other.
We followed Mom and Dad and it seemed they had picked up the pace a little.
All of a sudden two young boys passed between Jody and I.
She must have become tangled up in the group, because when I turned to find her, she wasn't there. I thought maybe she got ahead of me somehow. That was not the case.
"Mom, Dad," I hollered. "Slow down, I lost Jody."
"What did you say?" asked Dad. "Where did she go?"
"Let's stop right here," Mom said to us. "We will go back the other way to find her. She can't be that far away."
We turned around to go back the other way. The large group of people had passed, but there were still lots of people on the street and sidewalks.
"Jody where are you?" I hollered.
We walked about three blocks down and there, sitting on the steps of one of the stores, was Jody. She had her hands over her eyes and was crying
"Jody, here we are." Dad told her.
"I was so scared." said Jody sobbing.
"You are alright now." I said to her softly.
"I am so glad to see you." she replied.
"We would have looked until morning if we had to." Mom told her.
"You are my best friend Jody." I said.
We sat with her for a little while. Dad looked at his watch and realized that it was time to head back to the train station to get on the train headed home.
Mom called Jody's parents to let them know how we were doing, and to explain that Jody had become lost from us for a short time. Her parents told Mom they were glad she was okay and that Jody was lucky to have people as nice as us to look after her.
There was enough time for one more stop.
So, on the way to the train station, we stopped to have ice cream in a small shop not far from where we found Jody.
We talked about all the fun we had, and even though there was that moment when we thought we had lost Jody, we had a terrific time.
This downtown Christmas time would be a great memory for all of us.
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