A Grand Welcome

You’ve seen them if you drive the Interstate highways across state boundaries. You may have stopped at a few. I like to pause for a rest at them if my travel time allows.

Pick up a map. Check over the tourist brochures. Enjoy a few minutes in front of a flower garden, historical marker, or public art. Take a bathroom break. Stretch your legs. If traveling with animals, give them a few minutes to check out the new territory.

Most of these functions are usually conducted inside and around a building constructed especially for this purpose in the final decades of the 20th century. A few are new — replacing older facilities.

Welcome to the exception!

Entering Kentucky from the North West you are greeted by a “Grand Old Lady”

Starting as a two-story brick farmhouse, Whitehaven was expanded and remodeled into a mansion in the early 1900’s. And now houses a welcome center which combines tours during the week.

Packing Season

Spring into summer. The traditional time for American graduations. Weddings are popular. Family reunions are just around the turn of the calendar. Professional conferences sprout like mushrooms after rain. It all invades into the space for a family, or personal, vacation.

With a little luck and some planning you may be able to combine some of these. Traveling to a graduation or wedding? Can you slip an extra day or two in for a real vacation?

This summer I’m doing a combination of hostess duties for travelers and road tripping with one of my guests. So pull out the luggage. Check it over – do all the zippers work? Handles secure? If flying consider the bouncing and flipping by the baggage handlers.

          Wash and dry and count and pack. Still searching for the elusive                     “pack everything you need and use everything you pack”

Waiting in the sunshine

Spring mornings in St. Louis tend to fall into two categories.

Gray, rain, and miserable.

Sunny and glorious.

On one of the latter, the swing set appeared to be waiting for the children to finish breakfast and get released to the outdoors.

No age limit!

When was the last time you played on the swings?

Location, Location, Location

Like a great many harmful things, it began with carelessness rather than intent.

Imagine if you will. A person in a hurry. They miss their pocket and the cell phone drops to the ground. Well, not exactly to the ground — that became the problem. It landed in some ornamental grass, very dry and long from last year. Add sunshine – lots and lots of sunshine.

Boy scouts, military, and perhaps girl scouts should have the picture by now.

Thank you to the sharp eyed and quick thinking maintenance personnel.         Plus the quick response from the fire station a mile down the road.

Not Spider, Not Internet

It’s a web!  The engineer called it GeoWeb. And at first look it didn’t jibe with my preconceived notion.

Perhaps a little background would be useful.

The engineer was hired to find a solution to a storm water run off problem. You can use your imagination to form a picture of a suburban property where erosion and other factors combine to change the topography over a period of fifty years. Errors in judgement during construction become magnified. Surrounding properties make changes with ripple effects.

The solution involved digging, routing water to new storm sewer inlets, and then holding it all in place. That’s where the GeoWeb comes in. The purpose is to hold a sand/gravel mixture in place while storm water flows on either an additional layer of gravel or thin layer of sod.

It arrived packed flat. Six or so inches wide with a pattern of holes. Odd. It was only after installation that it began to make sense. Stand it on edge. Pull it out like accordion folded paper. Now I understand.

This portion did not get completely filled and packed before the rains came. Looking forward to the finishing touches.

Book Season?

Actually, in my mind, book season is 365 days each year.

Writers and readers do have seasonal conferences, luncheons, and events. And the season is starting.

Are you a writer? Have you scoped out the conferences or workshops in your area? Don’t know where to start? Check in your local library for any sort of writing magazine — they often have advertisements and listings of popular, reoccuring events. Another good source is the web page of writers groups.

Are you a reader? Spring, summer, and fall are popular times for reader events. Meet new authors. Browse book tables. Get filled with the “new book” smell. Find other readers — you may find new friends among them.

Meet the author, pick up your coaster, and touch the books at               GatewayCon in St. Louis. June 16-18.  Free admission for readers.

Not a Household Pet

Cats have a reputation. Aloof. Independent. Comical. Hunters.

Social media abounds with photos of felines encountering cardboard boxes, other cats, dogs, and children. Some of them are tender moments. Others bring to mind questions: how? why?

On one of our recent, rare sunny days I took a walk and discovered this cat.

Hugging. Comforting. Cuddling. Not the first words that come to mind. But then, this isn’t a living, breathing feline. Hope he brings a smile to your face.

Careful Additions

When my children were young (and not so very young) they enjoyed building things with plastic blocks. You know the kind – they come in multiple sizes, and come out at night to sabotage bare footed adults.

They built many things with these blocks. Robots. Houses. Spaceships. And one of their favorites – TOWERS. How high could they go with a single style of block. Can I make it as tall as the builder?

My children went on to do other things. College. Jobs. Spouses.

I get the impression the artist of the sculpture below continued with the theme of “how high can I build on the base of a single block”

Easy to Overlook

Traffic rolls past at forty miles per hour. Drivers better pay attention to the road. Passengers may catch a glimpse. If they expect it.

Many cities and towns have their own sites which at one time were prominent but now have faded into the background. Perhaps a street was moved. Or the destination at the end of the road has lost its appeal.

So today we give this fine gentleman his due. He’s sort of a composite statue. brick pedestal, stone body, and real antlers. Yes, antlers, not to be confused with horns. (But that topic is for another day.) He, and his twin (not shown in his photo) guard the estate. It’s a well-known family, both locally and nationally. However, the majority of the estate has become a tourist attraction and the well-guarded gate seldom used.

I may be spotted on national television – in a beer commercial – as supporting cast to a team of horses.

 

Shy Bunny

Easter Day is over. But the spirit of spring continues.

Nature sprouts and shouts joy at the longer days and warmer temperatures. Colorful blossoms pop in both expected and unusual places.

And the people in charge of the artificial flower displays – in this case an indoor decoration at a church – prove they have a sense of humor.

This shy bunny makes children of all ages look twice to find him.