When I went to bed after midnight on May 3, something made me think that I had something to do on May 4, but there weren’t any calendar entries for that date.
Just as I hit the light switch, I knew that I’d be greeted by an email from old friend and former chief photographer John J. Lopinot.
Like expected, it was there first thing in the morning: “Never forget: 49 years ago today! We are getting old….. “
It WAS the 49th anniversary of the National Guard killings at Kent State, and for the first time, it HAD slipped my memory. I hadn’t completely forgotten the event because Curator Jessica and I had been trading emails about how we were going to handle the 50th anniversary, but May had crept up on me unexpectedly.
When Son Adam and Grandson Elliot visited St. Louis, it was convenient for us to see the Missouri Botanical Garden Glow because Brother Mark and his wife, Robin, live on Flora Place, right at the edge of the park. It was only about a two-block walk to get to the entrance of the Glow, which promised a million lights.
There were “picture frames” dotted about where you could stand in line to make “art.” There was a brisk wind blowing on our way to the display, but it died down to a chilly, but not horrible evening.
Click on any photo to make it larger, then use the arrows on the left and right to scroll through the top three pictures. To see ALL the photos, you’ll have to go to the gallery below. The last upgrade changed how things work, and I haven’t figured out everything yet.
Like a pig in a python
I didn’t shoot a lot of photos. The lighting was spectacular, but the crowds were so heavy that I felt like a pig in a python, being inexorably pushed forward.
Another challenge was that the lighting was constantly changing colors. You’d get ready to capture one effect, then, just as you were getting ready to press the shutter release, everything would change. That was great for watching, but hard to photograph.
At that point, you could either hope the right combination would cycle back through, or you’d start walking.
Gallery of lighting exhibits
Click on any of the gallery images to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the picture to move through the gallery.
Kid Adam took his oldest son, Graham, on a business trip to Washington, D.C., recently. He thought he owed middle son Elliot a trip, so they hopped on a jet for a weekend in St. Louis. Graham, is 7; Elliot is 5, and Kid 3, Finn, is 3.
Being a born and bred Florida boy, he wasn’t quite sure if he liked cold Missouri weather. (You can click on the photos to make them larger. Once clicked, you can use your arrow keys to step through them)
First stop: City Museum
I don’t have many photos from the City Museum because Elliot could go through places the fire department would have to cut me out of. Even his skinny dad contorted his body into shapes I didn’t think possible.
There’s a saying that there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots. I was perfectly content to let Elliot be bold while I played old.
When we got to the gift shop, I told him to pick something out. He found a stack of shiny stones that WERE quite attractive. When he went to check out, the cashier said, “Four dollars.” She must have seen my face, because she quickly said that the four bucks would buy a tiny pouch that he could fill with as many stones as would fit.
He managed to cram four stones in it, and he played with it the whole time he was in town. Money well spent. His Uncle Mark (actually, I guess he’s his GREAT-uncle) kept scheming to try to entice the rocks from him for some sundry good or service, but he resisted.
Earlier visits to City Museum
The rooftop was closed for the winter when Adam and Elliot were there, but I DID manage to convince Curator Jessica to ride the Ferris wheel in 2014. (Despite hearing her mutter, “You’re standing on a banana peel on the steps to eternity, but I’ve got a lot of life left, and I don’t intend to die on a Ferris wheel in St. Louis.”)
Elliot was afraid his tongue would stick to the stainless steel arch since it was a cold day, so I told him that he only had to stick it out for the photo.
I’ve had various results convincing first-timers that it’s customary to lick the arch. See the results.
The scale of the Arch was lost on a 5-year-old who was getting cold and tired.
He thought the tram ride to the top was kind of interesting, but it didn’t take long before he said, “I’m bored.”
Pulitzer Arts Museum
Our first stop the second day was the Pulitzer Arts Museum. He and I weren’t all that impressed by the “art” that was displayed inside.
We liked “Joe” a lot better. Here’s the official description of it. It reminds me of why I often wish I was wearing high boots in art museums.
Commissioned by Emily Rauh Pulitzer as a permanent feature of the courtyard, Richard Serra’s Joe articulates a space that reframes perceptions of scale and movement through its subtle, shifting contours. As a counterpoint to Tadao Ando’s angular forms and immutable concrete, Joe conveys an evolving sense of the organic; the walls of the sculpture’s spiral path expand and contract, conveying you to its center—a vast expanse of sky, framed by a ribbon of weathering steel. Named in homage to the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr., who commissioned the artist’s first site-specific sculpture in 1970, Richard Serra’s Joe stands as a testament to the forces of life that influence and shape us.
At the top of the stairs in the museum was a phonographic turntable with some vinyl records. Elliot, a child of the digital age, was fascinated. He suggested that we chill and listen to some music.
Before long, he and his dad were dancing.
National Memorial Family Church of God in Christ
While we were driving around looking for a place to eat, we ran across the ruins of the National Memorial Family Church of God in Christ. The remaining walls of the church had been reinforced, so it was safe to walk in.
Elliot found a small piece of stone inside, and wanted to take it with him to remember the visit. I felt a strong generational bond. I have bricks from Athens, Cape, my grandfather’s liquor store in Advance, and a “convict brick” made by Ohio prisoners and used to build a school. We weren’t sure the TSA would be happy with it in his carry-on, so I mailed it to him later.
St. Louis Science Center
Uncle Mark, who lives in St. Louis, knows all the tricks, so we saved $10 by parking for free at the McDonnell Planetarium, which is connected to the Oakland Building by a walkable Skybridge over Interstate 64/Highway 40. The skybridge is neat because it has holes where you can look down on the traffic below. It also has radar guns and speed displays. In the days when radar detectors were more common in cars, it was fun to watch drivers lock down when their warnings lit up.
He got to check out dinosaurs and see how he’d fit in one of their footprints.
He got to feel wild winds, build a an arch out of foam blocks, and learn all about electricity.
One of the coolest things was a board where you placed elements to show the flow of electricity from the power plant to the substations to transformers to neighborhoods of houses.
He was playing with the blocks when a boy of 8 or 10 walked up and patiently explained the whole concept to him. They played for quite a while, learning how eliminating one house wouldn’t make the rest go dark, but losing a substation or a transformer could.
After the old boy wandered off, Elliot stuck around trying different sets of blocks. A little girl about his age showed up, and Elliot took on the role of tutor, passing on what the older boy had told him. Girls, apparently aren’t much interested in electricity, so she didn’t hang around long.
Finally, it was time to rehydrate and head back to Uncle Mark’s house for another treat.
Lime-S Electric Scooter
It seemed like bright lime-green electric scooters were buzzing around all over town. Mark explained how they were rented, and Adam located an unused one about two blocks away.
You can learn how the concept works by going to the Lime website.
He scored it by putting some money in a smartphone app, then he and Elliot went cruising up and down Flora Place. Mark loaned him a helmet and tried to charge his nephew four rocks for it, but the transaction didn’t happen.
I only have the one shot showing him rating the ride two-thumbs-up because I concentrated on video.
Next up will be night shots of the Missouri Botanical Gardens Glow Garden.
The weather folks have been teasing us all week telling us that a big snow storm (they call it an “event”) is coming. We had a little God Dandruff scatter for a few minutes earlier in the week, but Wednesday was supposed to be the biggie.
I had to go to the Jackson Walmart to have some prints made. As I backed out of the driveway, some fairly sizable flakes were getting organized, but I wasn’t worried. Just as I closed the car door, I noticed how the flag was nicely backlit, and some of the flakes were popping out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)
Rose bush looks like cotton field
Since I was already almost to Jackson, and because I had some time to kill, I decided to have a combo, slaw, fries and a Mr. Pibb at Wibb’s.
By the time I finished, there was serious snow on the road. I got behind a slow driver going up the steep hill next to the city park, and I kept thinking, “If this guy don’t dial some giddy-up, we’re going to spin out here.”
There wasn’t a bread and milk freak-out going on at Walmart when I picked up my prints, but a lot of baskets were filled with snow melt.
Hwy 61 between Jackson and Cape was covered. I got in behind a snow plow (at a safe distance), but parts of the road were still slick. Even going up Kingsway Drive kept my traction control popping on and off.
I looked at the rose bush in the front yard, and was glad I had a nice, warm house to hide away in.
Memories of snow and smack
I’m pretty cautious about driving on snow and ice because I learned at an early age that just because you can go doesn’t mean you can stop. Jim Stone, Carol Klarsfeld and I were checking out the sights on a steep hill near Bertling when we came around a curve and saw a car on our side of the road.
I put on the brakes, but gravity was not on our side. We slowly crashed into the other car with my tank of a 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon. My car suffered so little damage I didn’t bother to take a photo of it. The other guy was less lucky.
OK, I’ll go take a look
After pacing around in the kitchen for a few minutes, temptation overcame good sense and I grabbed for a jacket and headed out.
I learned as a Missourian photographer, that there are a few places in Cape that are like shooting fish in a barrel when it’s time to come up with some weather or wild art.
Capaha Park and the train is one of them.
A heavy, wet snow
This may be one of those great snows that turns out to be very pretty, but probably won’t stick around long. Roads that were pretty treacherous when I set out were already plowed or in the process of being plowed by the time I headed back.
This was taken near the new pavilion in Capaha Park that overlooks where the pool used to be.
Next stop: SEMO
It took two passes to shoot this picture of Academic Hall. When I got right in front of the building, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a bus coming up behind me. I figured I’d better keep going to give him room.
Then, I saw him turn off.
When I made my second pass, I managed to get off a few frames before a car showed up in the mirror again. What are those fools doing out on a night like this?
A swing and a miss
I felt like I had to shoot something along Broadway. These trees and utility pole caught my eye, but I’m not overjoyed with the result.
Oh, well, you can strike out 7 of 10 times at bat, and still make a million bucks a year.
Main Street decorations
Some other folks had posted pictures of Main Street’s decorations on Facebook before the snow, so I actually got out of the car to shoot this.
Lady Liberty and Freedom Corner
This situation looked better than it photographed. I’m including it because it was the second time I got out of the car.
As I stepped off the curb, I thought, “Please don’t let this slush be deep enough to fill my shoe.”
I was acutely aware of the possibility, because the night before I was pricing a pair of old-fashioned galoshes that I could slip over my shoes when confronted with mud, slush or snow. When I saw the price, I decided my toes could get pretty chilly before I’d spring for overshoes.
I decided that I had cheated death enough, so I hung it up and headed home. My meanderings didn’t produce any great art, but it felt good to check snow off the year’s bucket list.