Nurses Becky Badgero and Nicole Mittendorf celebrated Badgero’s birthday around the firepit in a snowy backyard on Feb. 2. The margaritas, by the way, came from Hecho in Oak Park on Lake Street.

COVID-19 has prevented the celebration of numerous occasions and holidays, but Oak Park nurse Becky Badgero didn’t let the virus prevent her from enjoying her birthday Feb. 2. Nor did she sacrifice anyone’s safety to do so.

“Just because it’s a pandemic and just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a safe plan to do something fun,” Badgero told Wednesday Journal.

To celebrate, Badgero shoveled snow outside of her home, digging out an area to set up her fire pit. She and her friend Nicole Mittendorf, also a nurse, sat around the little campfire, bundled up in coats.

“We just had a really nice time,” Badgero said.

 While sitting outside, the pair enjoyed takeout from Hecho en Oak Park, 1053 Lake St.

“They have fantastic margaritas,” Badgero said.

Unlike the arctic temperatures Oak Park and River Forest has faced this week,  Badgero said the weather on her little birthday party was about 30 degrees. 

“Let’s be honest, compared to right now, that feels just about tropical, doesn’t it?” Badgero said. 

She and Mittendorf didn’t even need to huddle for extra warmth. They kept socially distanced, while the heat from the fire kept them comfortable.

While indoor dining has been reinstated in restaurants, Badgero said it is still safer to see friends outdoors. With the COVID-19 vaccination efforts underway, Badgero said the world is getting closer to approaching normalcy again.

Badgero didn’t even mind missing out on an indoor celebration and may even choose to celebrate her birthday outdoors next year.

“We’ll still hope for the campfire because it was so fun,” she said.

Mittendorf, whose birthday is in March, hopes the weather will warm up enough next month for them to celebrate her birthday in the same style, according to Badgero.

One thing Badgero will remember for next time is to stock up on kindling. 

“I need to buy more wood,” said Badgero. “Because once that was gone, we were done.”

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