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Looking fear in the face while embracing the season

If you live around the Burgh, you have probably heard by now that some idiot apparently shot himself on Light-Up Night (as an aside, apparently there is no hyphen in the official Light-Up Night moniker, but I am choosing to put one in anyway). I had wanted to take Jordan to that event, but Brian thought it was too dangerous. I scoffed at that, but relented to his wishes, as much for the all the traffic as for anything else. It turns out he was kind of right.

However, since Light-Up Night was actually a two-day event this year, I decided that we would go to the second day, during the afternoon. I was not about to let a little shooting and some fights stop me from heading downtown. Any time I read about what I consider an isolated incident at a place I would normally go to (or at least would considering going to), I make it a point to get right back on the horse or to try it out if I had never been there before. When there was a shooting at Boyce Park this summer, hours after we had left, I took Jordan back several more times. This seemed even less dangerous to me. And since I am attempting to embrace the holidays this year (see my previous post), I figured Light-Up Night, Day 2, in the afternoon, would be a great way to do it.

And it was.

There is something almost magical about the skating rink at PPG Place. And hearing Christmas tunes while watching skaters young and old glide around the ice and fall a few times adds to the allure. Jordan, who normally does not want to try anything, actually wanted to skate. In fact, she begged me. But, alas, the lines were too long, I did not have my ice skates with me (why pay to rent if you don't have to), and I figured it would be better for her first time if we went on a less-crowded day. But it was still fun to watch.

A highlight of my afternoon was getting my picture taken with both Steely McBeam and Iceburgh and later Smiley. Had my seven year old not taken the picture with my crappy cell phone camera, these might have turned out better. But still, ah, Pittsburgh.

We also walked around the inside of PPG Place, sharing a delicious Crazy Mocha hot chocolate and viewing some amazing gingerbread houses, none of which I snapped a picture of. But I did capture Jordan in front of some ice sculptures just outside of Fifth Avenue Place.

Once inside, I ran into Vince, who owns a coffee shop I try to go to a few times a month. He was playing drums with his jazz band, and we listened to that for awhile.

At some point, we walked to Macy's to see the windows, centered around one of my favorite stories, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" (letter, eventually a TV special, movie, etc.). This brought back memories of when I was a kid and my family and I would head to the city to be on KDKA radio to talk to Trish Beatty and eat Farkleberry Tarts/Dingalings in front of Hornes or Kaufmann's (an internet search seems to lean me towards the former). We would check out the window displays, visit Santa in his toy shop and ride on the little merry-go-round. Ah, memories.

Anyway, Jordan and I waited for the Holly Trolley, lucky to get the last ride of the day, and headed to see the Creche at the USX Building. Or Steel Building. Or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays. I wish you were able to get closer, to really appreciate it, but it was rather amazing nonetheless.
After spending a few minutes there, we headed to Oxford Center, unfortunately missing the last events of the day, but Jordan was happy to ride up and down a glass elevator a few times, so there was that. And then, just before the parade of carriages started, we left, tired from all that walking and Jordan chasing pigeons, but thoroughly satisfied with our adventure.

Yes, Virginia, there is something magical about the holidays, particularly in downtown Pittsburgh. :-)


Sherri said…
Nice recap. I, too, feel that the evening actual lighting up part of the night is semi-dangerous. Hubby did not agree, so we went (as you know), and.... yeah - we walked RIGHT BY the Wood St. scuffle NOT even knowing about the shooting soooo close to where we were. Next year, may do the daytime thing like you did.

Happy Thanksgiving, btw :-).

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