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tulips and tanks

366 days ago (thanks, leap year) Daniel Hoyt Olfelt and I officially started our new life together. Since that day we have been working to find things we both equally enjoy: movies, meals, TV shows, activities, dates, restaurants…

Yesterday, as we were celebrating our first anniversary, I think we finally found that illusive equally enjoyable date activity. Enter: Cantigny Park. It is the estate of the former Col. Robert R. McCormick, a very rich man who was once the publisher of the Chicago Tribune. This is what it looks like walking onto the property on a beautiful spring day:


From the parking lot you see blooming trees, ponds, fountains, bridges and garden areas to tour. I was ecstatic to spend a day exploring the sprawling gardens of colorful flowers with my husband. Then we turned the corner, and took in this sight:


That’s right, hidden among the formal and rose gardens is the “tank park” full of at least a dozen assorted artillery tanks, complete with plaques describing the types of war-fare they were used for. Those two relate, right? Army vehicles and well manicured gardens? The real question is, would Dan be able to resist climbing these once-used army tanks, even in his church clothes?


Of course not. What you can’t see in this picture is that he wasn’t the only little boy climbing this tank.

Somehow, I too got sucked into the action, also mindless of my church apparel. Check out the shadow; my feet are so way off the ground :).


After making our very acrobatic way through the Col.’s tank park, we found ourselves in the incredibly beautiful tulip garden, probably my favorite part.


And let’s not forget the quintessential Dan-extends-his-arm-and-takes-a-picture-of-the-two-of-us picture.


The moral of the story is: whoever came up with the idea of mixing army tanks with tulip gardens is a brilliant, brilliant person. Normally, Dan would have obliged but only been moderately excited about wandering the grounds of a billion dollar estate, but throw in some interactive tanks and he is a happy man. Place me in the middle of an army-themed park and I may play along for a while, but sprinkle it with ranunculus (pretty flowers), water features and walking paths and I’m just giddy. So here’s to you, super creative park designer person!

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