I ran across a couple things that stuck me this week during what would have been Mother’s 98th Birthday Season. We’ll get to them in a second.
Back in 2014, Mother and I went trekking for pine cones that we could use as fire starters. She took to it like a kid on Easter morning.
Today, I took Road Warriorette Shari and her mother, Senior Honorary Road Warriorette LaFern, to an undisclosed location for a similar hunt. (“If anybody asks what we’re doing, tell them we’ve been sentenced to community service,” I told them.)
When we were through, I said we’d make a side trip over to New Lorimier Cemetery to wish Mother a Happy Birthday with a pair of our pine cones. I mean, flowers are so ordinary.
Gregory Lincoln’s Thoughts
Gregory A. Lincoln administrator of Facebook’s Cape Rewound, a popular group with 5,311 members (and counting) recently lost his mother. He shared this with the group:
Sitting in my bed enjoying the pretty full moon shine through my bedroom window. 🙂. It’s been a very rough weekend. It’s hard to imagine her gone. All my life she was very tough and fought death and seem to always win except that final battle. I don’t understand. I assume it’s a battle we will all lose sooner or later. I guess she knew in her heart it was her time. Her birthday is approaching so please excuse me if I share a memory, a photograph or heart touching song.
About the same time, I was sorting stuff that had buried my desk, deciding what I wanted to keep, and what would be good fireplace fodder now that the weather is turning chilly.
Memories Sneak Out of My Eyes
In the stack was a letter from Brother Mark. It was a rambling thing, all full of non sequiturs and whimsy. On the last page, in the last paragraph before reaching a photo of Mother in one of her signature red coats, he wrote, “As I find myself at the bottom of the page, I couldn’t decide which to end with, so you get both. Put it in context, if you will.
“My memory loves you; it asks about you all the time.”
“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”
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.
When I walked out the front door the other day, I noticed that the tulips that Mother had planted years and years ago had started to bloom. I snipped off a few, along with some other flowers from the yard, and started looking for something I could put them in at the cemetery.
It was pretty windy, so I thought I’d better get a vase of some kind with a spike on the bottom. After going to three places, I found a small, white plastic one, but it had plastic flowers in it. I hate plastic flowers when real ones are available.
I turned to an elderly woman in front of me (if I call someone elderly, you KNOW they are old), and asked if she’d like some flowers. Her face lit up like she had won the lottery. It was the best thing that happened all day.
By the way, you can click on the photos to make them larger.
Brother David hits Cape
Brother David passed through St. Louis and Cape doing a honk ‘n’ wave on his way back home to Texas. He brought along a wreath to put on Dad and Mother’s stone.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a way to secure the wreath, and the winds were blowing so hard that we were afraid it would end up in Perry county. I promised him I’d come back the next week to rig something up.
My flowers were woebegone
The cheap plastic vase I bought wouldn’t hold water, and the wind had whipped the flowers around, so they were looking a bit ragged when I went back on Monday to rig David’s wreath.
If you look closely, you can see the head of two big spikes I pushed into the ground, and some fine green wires leading upwards from them.
It’s up in time for his birthday
Two similar spikes and wires hold on the front of the stone secure the wreath. When I messaged David that I got the display up in time for Dad’s birthday, April 17, he pointed out that he would have been 101 years old this year.