Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trip to the Bootheel

When I started blogging, it was to be a therapeutic exercise, something like a gratitude journal. I promised myself no whining or discussing bad things, that I would find only a positive something to write about no matter what. It was a challenging time in my life and another challenging time has arisen again, making it hard to find time to write or blog about anything. However, while I have been on the road, some of those miles were heading for good things and places. If conditions are right, I often write in my head going down a strap of highway. However, if I am not driving, I also fall asleep! I was a colicky, and the only relief my parents had was taking me in the car where I stopped crying and instantly fell to sleep. The habit continues!

There was no sleep last week though as we left home in a pouring rain heading for the Bootheel where we would meet our Kentucky kids. We knew the day was to be rainy, but often the rain will let up, turn to showers or maybe sprinkle for a while. But this day the wiper blades beat a pounding rhythm the whole way to St. Louis. Driving was hard especially since we shared the road with many drivers not willing to slow their speed in the rough driving conditions. We had considered a couple of stops along the way, but we gave them up instead of getting out for a soaking. Also the drive was slower going, taking more time in poor road conditions.

We did manage a quick run through St. Charles, one of my very favorite places. Something about the rumble of those brick streets next to the wide river that satisfies me. We made the last hour of lunch at Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room, our first visit since our timing always has been poor when traveling that direction. I would have loved to spend more time there, lingering over my quiche, but the chilly day and time ticking made for a quick lunch. My spinach mushroom quiche was delicious; DH had breakfast which is served all day there, an oddity for a tea room.

After eating, we drove down around the riverfront and passed by store fronts, taking time to run into Main Street Books. It was the first time we had visited them in their new location. I saw at least fifteen books at the front door I wanted! But I settled for a tiny book of old sayings and moved on to visit our friends in Sunset Hills. We met Jim and Elaine as newlyweds when we all lived in Village Square Apartments in Hazelwood. Although we moved far apart, the friendship is coming up on our 40th year, an amazing feat in today’s world. By mail, tapes, phones, and emails we have managed to stay in touch through births, deaths, job loss, children’s marriages, grandbabies, and even their living in Finland. Every couple of years or so we try to do a spring fishing trip. This May it looks like Roaring River might be the place of our rendezvous.

The next morning we coasted down Highway 55 sampling small Missouri towns on the way. Some were new sights; some were old to us. Perryville was a new stop, and we took a peak at inside the church at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was beautiful and touching inside. I intend to learn more about the area, about the settling of that region. We pushed on to Bollinger Mill outside Jackson where we were meeting our kids. We have seen this beautiful mill before and intended on having a picnic there even though the day was a wee bit cool. We managed a quick sandwich, but half the grounds were under high water. Not an inviting view! Nearby an old general store was open as an antique store where I found a couple of odd Blue Willow dishes; ones that will be a reminder of this trip each time we have a hot bread or cookie on the dessert plates.

Then the highlight of the trip, seeing our 15 month old grandson. What fun the little guy is, and of course, he is smart, don’t ya know! Gone was the baby of last autumn, as he now was a toddler, a real boy full of boy energy. The local farm store, Buchheit’s I think, had baby chicks, crowing roosters, ducklings, and baby rabbits which he loved. We fed ducks at a lake in Cape Girardeau, played in a playground, ran the mall, and doing a hundred things it seemed. Child and grandparents were tired by nightfall! But we crammed it all in because they had to head back to Kentucky and we to Southwestern Missouri on Sunday. I had taken books and notebooks for writing, but somehow nothing got done this trip. But memories were made and maybe a line or two of writing will germinate from them in the future.

Mason thinks, "What did you say the price of this mower is!"

1 comment:

BECKY said...

Hi Claudia! I'm so glad you finally were able to stop at Miss Aimee B's. I love that place! I know the owners, two marvelous women, and they were kind enough to allow me to have a book signing there for one of the Chicken Soup books I have a story in. That was about 3 years ago already, I think! One of your trips, you and I and some of us other St. Louis/St. Charles area writer gals will have to get together!