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Saturday, August 14, 2010
St. Louis: Day Two
I know, I know! *Hanging my head in shame* I have been AWOL again! After returning from our getaway, well, things got crazy again! I watched my nephew for a week, celebrated 2 friend's birthdays, went to a couple great concerts, spent time with Mom, Grace, Dan and even old Bill too! *smile* Oh, and we also squeezed in a Ritter's Dog Nite for Kipper! (Photos to come!)
But for anyone who still visits and cares...*Listening for an echo*...here goes!
We began our day by attending a retirement luncheon and ceremony. The honoree was Bill's boss while he was stationed at Scott AFB. Dave was, and is, one of Bill's dear friends. He and his wife are just wonderful people! It was a joy to share this day with them!
The event was held in an old church in Belleville, Illinois that has
been turned into a banquet center.
Director, Strategy, Policy, Programs, and Logistics, Brigadier General Michelle Johnson , USAF of USTRANCOM gave a wonderful speech in Dave's honor.
At every moment of every day, around the globe, USTRANSCOM's superb force of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, DOD civilians and commercial partners accomplishes a wide array of joint mobility missions. With its people, trucks, trains, aircraft, ships, information systems and infrastructure, USTRANSCOM provides the U.S. with the most responsive strategic mobility capability the world has ever seen! Bill was so proud to serve here.
Another good friend from our days at Scott, Tim did an awesome job as Master of Ceremonies.
Here he is with Dave, the man of the hour!
Then we headed into St. Louis and Forest Park.
Forest Park is one of St. Louis' most treasured resources.
Forest Park, officially opened to the public on June 24, 1876, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. At 1,293 acres, it is approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York.
Monuments, historic buildings, wildlife, waterways and landscapes combine to form a unique area that is vitally important to St. Louis community as a whole!
World's Fair Pavilion
This magnificent open air shelter has been one of the park's most popular and impressive attractions since it was built in 1909 with proceeds from the 1904 World's Fair.
The St. Louis Art Museum
The museum's motto is simple...dedicated to art and free to all.
This museum was a favorite place for Bill, Daniel and I to spend a Sunday afternoon. It was wonderful to share it now with Grace!
Monet's Water Lilies...what a treasure!
Then it was down the hill to visit the St. Louis Zoo! And guess what?
It is another of the city's treasures that is absolutely free to everyone!
We spent 2 hours chatting with some of the residents...like...
...the hungry penguins and...
..the hungry grizzly bears!
Speaking of hungry penguins & grizzlies, we were all a bit peckish by now so it was off to The Hill and one of our favorite Italian restaurants! "The Hill" is an area of St. Louis whose population is predominantly of Italian descent.
Zia's On the Hill has all that you could wish for in an Italian restaurant! Named for owners Dennis and Angelo Chiodini's two aunts, who were great cooks ("zia" is Italian for aunt), Zia's is like dining in the home of a relative instead of a restaurant. I wish we could have enjoyed the outdoor table but it was just too hot that evening!
We began our meal with the toasted ravioli, a St. Louis original dish.
Then we moved on to the fantastic Zia insalata. Romaine and iceberg lettuces, ham, artichoke hearts, green olives, provel and parmigiana, served with the house dressing. Mmmm!
At last we tucked into our main courses...I had the Mostaccioli Al Forno:
Mostaccioli pasta prepared in a sage cream sauce with fresh grilled chicken, bacon, broccoli, tomatoes and mushrooms. Topped with provel cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs then baked. Can you say wow!
Then it was off to take in one of our favorite St. Louis neighborhoods, the Central West End.
The Central West End, or CWE, includes most of the city's private streets and luxury apartment buildings along with religious architecture that rivals that of those found in Europe.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Don't you just love the street lights of the CWE?
St. Louis is home to several highly accredited universities, one being where Bill completed his Master's Degree, Webster University. Here is a picture of another fine school, St. Louis University.
And just down the street from St. Louis U. are two more favorite haunts of the Combs Crew.
Here is Powell Symphony Hall, built in 1925. We saw many memorable performances here, one of which was the amazing Bernadette Peters. I noticed that she was coming to appear here once again!
Across the street from Powell you will find the fabulous Fox!
Construction began on the Fox in 1927. With nearly a year and a half between ground breaking and grand opening, an army of workers was called in to build the St. Louis Fox. Eventually the construction crew was joined by the artisans and craftsmen responsible for the Fox's opulent interior and exterior.
As truly amazing as this structure is,inside and out, the events that take place on it's stage are equally amazing! and, ahem, it was on the stage at the fabulous Fox where I saw one Mr. Brian Dennehy in Death of a Salesman. Can you say wow? I knew you could!
This stunning house of God sits on N. Grand Boulevard between St. Louis U. and The Fox Theater.
Breathtaking is but one word to describe St Alphonsus Catholic Church.
We ended our day visiting dear friends, Stan & Marcia. Stan is now retired from the service as is Bill but this couple truly personified what it meant to be good military friends. Among the special things they did for us? It was Stan who came to get me when Bill suffered a suspected heart attack while on a run. (I will add here that Bill was on that run with the aforementioned Dave who stayed with Bill at the hospital). Stan never left my side that awful day. Thankfully, it was not a heart attack but they did find a little, what the doctors called a *glitch*. Bill had to go in for a heart cath and it was Marcia who came, with hot chocolate in a thermos, magazines and a reassuring hand to hold. It has been my great fortune to be surrounded by military & civilian friends throughout our 27 years in the service...people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, to whom we remain friends and who I will always love. Darlene and Bill, Bev and Steve, Tim and Joyce, Lisa & John, Gary, Kevin, Dave and Cheryl, George Ann & Dan, Jeff, Danny, Stan & Marcia...and the list goes on.
So, there you have much of our Day Two in St. Louis!
I promise not to be so long in posting Day Three as I did this one!
Wishing you all a sweet week ahead. Stay cool...Fall is on it's way!