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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Yesterday we traveled to St. Louis to watch the Blues play hockey.  It was one of those times when things were looking great.  We got away half an hour earlier than we'd planned and thought that would give us plenty of time to wander around the Central West End before having lunch at one of our favorite places and then on to the game.

A bit of history about our trips to St. Louis.  It seems that at least seven out of ten times we set off for St. Louis it rains.  Not such a big deal if we're going for the Art Museum or a hockey game, but trips to the Muny, Busch Stadium, the botanical gardens, the Loop. . . rain matters.  Yesterday, it was misty.  Too misty for intermittent wipers, but not misty enough for full-on swish-swish.  And then, it misted a bit more.  Soon we were driving in a rain.  As I say, not so unusual for us.  Bruce, my eternal optimist of a husband always says, "We'll drive out of it."  We rarely do.

We arrived at the Central West End and it was raining but good.  And cold.  We were a little too early for lunch, but Bruce found a parking spot just across the street from the restaurant and right next to Subterranean Books.  So, I hopped out and dashed in while he fed the meter.  We wandered around a bit and decided to go ahead and walk up the street to Coffee Cartel for a warming cup of coffee before we ate.  It was still raining.  And quite cold.

As we passed our parking meter, Bruce stopped to see how much time was left on it.  I ducked under an awning and heard him say:  "Out of order?"  No problem.  The space behind us was open.  I shivered under the awning while he backed up, fed a new meter and we hurried on toward the now much needed coffee.

On the way, Bruce's cell phone rang.  Some unhappy news from home, but nothing that was urgent so as to call us back right then; although, the conversation was difficult on a cell phone on a street suddenly alive with large trucks heading up and down through rain puddles.

We decided to check the hours on our restaurant's door just to be sure we would have the time we needed.  I heard Bruce again, this time rather incredulous:  "Closed on Mondays?"  Of course.

The coffee was wonderful, though.  And, there was another restaurant just up the way that would be fine. In fact, we recalled having eaten there once before.  The more we thought about it, the more we became convinced that the reason we had eaten there once before was that we had come up on a Monday and found the other one closed.  Note to self!

Duff's aside, Dressel's was great.  The vegetarian menu was dinky (salads, pretty much), but one of the staff offered to light the fireplace beside me.  Call me grateful!  My hair, previously nice and smooth from a great morning with the flat iron (remember, I started by telling you how things were looking great for our day?) was now curlier than I've seen it in decades, as wet as if I'd just shampooed, and cold.  

We got to Scottrade and found our seats.  On the top row.  That's the top row - no more rows above us.  And my seat was next to a bit of wall that jutted out.  Oh, and the Blues lost.  To the Blackhawks.  It was just sad.

We drove toward home, the sun now peeking through and no evidence at all that it had rained earlier in the day.  We listened to Chris Botti and, even though the day wasn't anything like we'd planned and we knew once we got back home there would be some not-so-great family / health things to deal with, we found ourselves talking about how blessed we are.  How sad we find it that other couples can't or don't or won't make time (yes, make time) to date each other.  How we are so glad that we're friends, that we enjoy each others' company, that our marriage is romantic every single day because it's important to us to cultivate that.  How good it was to be together just. . . driving.

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