Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Lone Mother hits the Road

     This past weekend I journeyed by Greyhound to Saint Louis for my cousin's wedding.  I had never been west of the Mississippi, or even west of Michigan, so it  was a big event.  I could have gone down with other family members, but I wanted to go ahead early and see something of Saint Louis as I had never been there.So after completing Halloween festivities with my family on the 31st,  I boarded the bus on Thursday to journey to Missouri.  The trip went remarkably well, except for the baggage guy handing my suitcase to someone else when we arrived in Saint Louis.  Fortunately the very nice gentleman realized the mistake upon opening it in the station and realizing  he needed neither the Diet Coke, nor the black ballet flats, and my property was restored.  Meanwhile I had already seen my first sight of the Mississippi.

Sightseeing in Saint Louis was made infinitely easier by a well laid out transit system and very helpful employees who gave excellent directions for getting around to various places.  7.50 got me an all day pass on the transit system, both trains and buses. 

First item on my agenda, on the suggestion of several family members, was to go see the Basilica  Cathedral of Saint Louis, which is decorated with one of the world's largest collections of mosaics.  It is a truly amazing sight, and I learned a lot about how mosaics are created as well.

My next mission, at the behest of my son, was to visit Busch Stadium, take some pictures and bring him back  a Cardinals t-shirt. Busch Stadium is one of the new, yet old looking, red brick stadiums. There are statues of a number of Cards players in front of the stadium, but on the other side, Stan Musial stands alone.

 Every time I spoke to anyone in Saint Louis about the trip their first question was "Have you been to the arch yet?" The arch dominates the skyline, even when it isn't the arch that you are visiting.
 So of course it was something I had to go see.

My first view when I got off the subway train was this:

 The Arch really is amazing, up close or at a distance.  It commands a beautiful view of the river, though being November I had hoped for a little more autumn color than I saw, though there was some.
And then, there it was between me and the late afternoon sun.  It really is an imposing sight. Most monuments commemorate a person or event. But the Arch really salutes the courage and initiative of those who explored and settled the West. In the museum at the Arch the emphasis mostly on the various groups that did this, which seems appropriate.

Afterward I went back to beautiful hotel at which rooms had been booked for all the out of town guests.  I started to relax for a nice quiet evening.  It was so nice and quiet that it became disquieting after a while.  First of all as much as I appreciated the me time, I missed travelling with the kids. I really enjoy having them along, especially in a new place.  But it was an adults only reception, and also they would have missed school to go, so I had come alone.  And I found myself wishing I hadn't had to. 

Secondly as I relaxed in the lovely hotel with the coffee machine and my own TV remote and the electric lights and all, I couldn't help feeling a little guilty about the various family members and friends who were stuck in the middle of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, who were doing without coffee pots and electricity and darn near everything else.  It didn't help that the only thing decent to watch on the TV was the fundraising concert for the hurricane victims. Eventually I settled into a "Chill out you deserve this" sort of calm and went to bed. 

The next morning it was gloomy outside, but cheery inside the church and the reception we all got dressed up to go to the wedding.The bride and groom, as it happens are huge Halloween fans and actually encouraged everyone to come in black if they wished.  There were all the usual pre wedding complications but in the end all went well for my cousin, a beautiful bride if ever there was one, and her groom.

And a splendid time was had by all.

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