What’s on your Plate?

Did you have a good holiday? I hope it included some fun, family and friends as well as feasting.

I’m thinking of my dinner plate at the moment. Okay, I confess, I think of food often. Several hours from the release of this blog I’ll face a plate of re-heated meat and vegetables from yesterday’s feast. I’ll add a new starch today.

What about you? Do you have a fridge stuffed with feast remains? Did the hostess send you home with enough for another meal? Traditional? Or eclectic?

And what about that other plate — you know, it’s also called an agenda.

Many people return to work today. Others have an extended weekend to be more flexible in their activities. Some will go shopping. Others will clean house after all the guests. Making lists is always popular at this time of year. And thousands of Americans will begin decorating for the next major holiday.

So on this day after: May your plate be full of interesting foods and activities.

Celebrate the Fruits

The countdown to the feast has begun.

Where is your turkey? In the freezer? Fridge? Grandmother’s house?

Or are you going with a less conventional main course? Thanksgivings in my history have included chicken, duck, lamb, sea bass, and game hen for the main attraction. This year I came across this pork roast in the store and it whispered “feast, feast” to me.

But Thanksgiving Day should be more than feasting and football. Remember the first six letters in the name. Thanks. Thanks for the harvest. Thanks for our housing and health. Our family and friends. Thanks for the fruits of the earth with nourish our body and our soul.


Thanks for the real fruits represented by these reproductions.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome Home

It’s good to be home.

Have you ever voiced this comment after a vacation? Business trip? Hospital stay?

Some returns make history outside of the immediate family. The statue below, located on the St. Louis riverfront marks one of those returns.


After nearly three years, travelling many difficult miles and experiencing adventures for a lifetime, Captain William Clark and party returned to St. Louis. Yes, they had a Newfoundland dog along on the trip.

Welcome Home! Whether that conjures up a farmhouse, a medium size town, or a large city — Welcome!

Maylee and Dave consider St. Louis their home. What happens when these two young professionals with opposing opinions end up as neighbors? The answer is in Stare Down.  amzn.to/1LXiTwP


Tie it Together

String. Next week cooks will search the catch-all drawer for string to tie the turkey legs in close.

Years ago every package sent in the mail (at least from our house) was tied with a good, strong string.

And every farmer carried a few lengths of twine in his overalls — just in case he came across something that needed to tied together, repaired, and closed.

Invisible things can act like string — tie a group of things together into a tidy little bundle. For all the romance readers frequenting this blog we have a bundle of books. Ten romances, each with a multicultural twist to a hero or heroine, are available. Think of it as a sample plate. A taste of exotic. Try it — you might like it.


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Symbol of the City

One short look at the figure and you know where you are.


The official name of the sculpture is Apotheosis of St. Louis. Informally it’s “St. Louis on his Horse.” Or “The statue outside the Art Museum.”

The artist, Charles Henry Niehaus, was making a statement, not going for historical accuracy of detail. The very name “apotheosis” suggests it. Ascendance to the divine realm is not the sort of thing seen with the eyes. Rather, it’s an image reserved for the heart, soul, and imagination.

This is the second statue. The first, done in plaster, was displayed during the 1904 World’s Fair. The city movers and shakers liked it enough to commission it in bronze. But not from the original sculpture (his price was too high). This one was dedicated in 1906. The Gateway Arch may have replaced it as a city symbol, but it still earns high marks from the locals and many visitors.

Do you suppose Maylee and Dave visited this spot during their courtship? Read the beginning of their relationship in Stare Down.



Center Stage

Happy Birthday United States Marines!

Tomorrow is Veterans Day — a celebration begun 97 years ago to mark the end of “The War to End All War”.

Since human nature contains greed and lust for power, we’ve had war in the world since. Large ones. Smaller ones. Those that end with a truce. Those that seem to go on forever.

Don’t blame the soldier. Or the sailor. Or the flyer. The vast majority of them do their job to the best of their ability. They follow orders. Travel in difficult conditions. Suffer from exposure and loneliness in addition to the assault of the other side. Give them honor for a job well done. Give them a smile. A hand up when the transition to civilian life proves difficult.

Seals of the Armed Services decorate an amphitheater stage.

Seals of the Armed Services decorate an amphitheater stage.

Regal Resident

He’s a St. Louis native. At least, he was born here. Has lived his entire life here.

Like many residents, I learned of his birth from the media. They made him a celebrity from the first day. Schoolchildren submitted names. Hundreds, then thousands of visitor went to his home — looking for a glimpse of the new baby.

RAJA. A committee selected his name from the mounds of mail. As the first baby elephant at the zoo in many years he got lots of attention. His birthday cakes were shown on TV — and the destruction they met.

He grew. Became independent of his mother. Moved into the new living quarters and generous outdoor yard of River’s Edge.


He matured. Grew tusks. Fathered daughters. Entertains visitors just being a regular guy.

When planning your visit to St. Louis, be sure to put a stop at the zoo on your list. Admission is free!

Designed by a Master

Missouri, all of the United States, is a relatively recent political creation. If you want to view or tour structures or buildings more than two or three centuries old most people plan a trip to Europe. Or Asia. Or the northern shores of Africa.

There are exceptions — Pueblos in the American Southwest or structures built by Aztec, Mayan, and Incan civilizations come to mind.

Did you know Missouri has a gem designed by Christopher Wren? Yes, the very same brilliant architect who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

No — he didn’t time-warp to a different century. One of the several smaller churches he designed and built after London’s Great Fire suffered severe damage during WWII. It was moved — stones numbered for reassembly — all the way to the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Today it’s in use as the campus chapel. All the interior wood work is newer, in the style of Wren’s times. It’s also a portion of the Churchill Museum, welcoming visitors from around the world.

Roman arches. Clear glass. Two features which never age.


City Landmarks

Fifty years ago this month a new feature on the St. Louis skyline keystoned together. Yes, the twin legs of the Gateway Arch were joined by the final piece of specially prepared stainless steel coated structure.

She looks good in sunshine. This past year she’s been standing tall and welcoming visitors while the grounds which form her “skirt” undergo renovation.

I like her from the “land” side in this photo as she frames the Old Courthouse.

Did you know that the Dred Scott case was heard in this building twice before it moved to the Supreme Court of the United States? It’s a museum now, maintained by the National Park Service. Be sure to drop in and enjoy the view from the rotunda floor.


A portion of the Midwest city where STARE DOWN is set.

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More than Green

A plant which wears more colors than green.

Now your first thought may be boxwood. Yes, it wears green, red, and gold. But today I’m thinking shorter and capable of being a houseplant.

Think “little clover”. Think March. Think Irish.

Then blink and enjoy the view taken last week of this lovely red shamrock.


Time for an autumn stroll in the garden. It’s a surprise around every corner to find some of the plants which spent the summer in the background showing their best in a burst of glory.