Our High-Spirited Hearth

Posted by on Nov 4, 2017

I had planned to write a different post this afternoon, but the Pfister had other ideas.

November in Milwaukee is orange turning brown.  It is cloudy skies and a dull chill in the air. Today I’m pretending winter isn’t edging closer so my coat isn’t warm enough. I expect the lobby to be quiet and sluggish like the day, but the November air can’t sneak through the revolving door with me and it’s warm inside, and buzzy. It feels as though everyone is especially pleased to be here today; the thought is tickling the backs of our minds that outside it is increasingly bleak, which makes being inside the Pfister feel even cozier and more charming.

The lobby fireplace beckons me; I’ve decided to treat it like my personal hearth this fall and winter, as all of you should as well. It’s intricate enough to just stare at, it’s inviting enough to read by, and it’s the perfect place to people-watch.

So that’s what I did this afternoon—I sipped a chai and talked and listened to the many people in and out, in and out, but mostly so happy to be in here at the Pfister.

Four little girls skip in holding hands and giggling. They are all wearing sparkly flats, perfectly twirly tulle skirts…and golden unicorn horns. All eyes are delighting in them and they know it.

A group of women sits down in the couch across from me in front of the fire, orders truffle chips, and as a trio vocally delights in every crunch.

A little boy with scruffy blond hair begs his mother, “Can I get a hot chocolate? Please? Please?” He appreciates the coziness I’m reveling in today.

A couple at the next table over are asking their waitress to look into their phone and wish a happy birthday to the friend they’re Skyping.  The husband booms, “We went to grammar school together! He’s turning 75 today! But I’m four days younger than he is!” The man on the screen laughs.

A man in a navy bow tie naps on the shoulder of his companion, who steadily sips her tea. It’s two o’clock and I agree with him that it’s a completely appropriate hour for a nap in this lobby.

A tattooed couple are looking for Artist-in-Residence Margaret Muza; they have an appointment to get four tintypes taken for family Christmas gifts. They’re checking in to stay overnight, and they are most excited about the view from the pool on the 23rd floor that their friends have told them about.

Two women toast each other with their Bloody Marys, ice clinking in the crimson.  They immediately start trading garnishes.

The truffle chips trio has left and been replaced with a couple who have left their nine-year-old daughter with her grandma for the weekend so that they can come to the Pfister on their first getaway in years. They have a massage booked in a few minutes, and they prepare for it by stretching languidly around each other on the leather couch. They ask what I do here and when I tell them, they say that I beam when I talk about my job. I ask, “Wouldn’t you?” And we all laugh, but at this hearth today, I wholeheartedly mean it.


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