Daily Archives: July 5, 2008

George Washington Carver

When I was in fifth grade, the oration contest at each elementary school in Lee’s Summit featured five possible topics.  One was “Why [blank] is my favorite American.”

I chose that one, and since I was interested in George Washington Carver, he became my topic.

I won the oration contest, probably because of the unusual choice of topic, when others were picking George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, ‘my father,’ or the latest guy to land on the moon.  (This was 1973, after all.)

The Missouri Botanical Garden has a George Washington Carver area.  He was a wise and learned man.  I think my speech was right on target.  (Click for larger view.)

Independence Day


Jeffery Thyer arrived Friday morning from Oklahoma City.  He and B.J. Smith, who’d arrived Thursday night from Denver, acted right away like old friends. 

We lunched at Sassafras at the Missouri Botanical Garden, then made our way south to the Japanese Garden.  B.J. and Jeff fed the carp in the koi pond.  I took pictures.  We were almost pushed into the water by people who didn’t know how to share the narrow wooden walkway over the pond.  I was not amused.

The lotus blossoms were particularly beautiful.

JRT and B.J. by the lotus blossoms.
JRT and B.J. by the lotus blossoms.










From the Garden we went to the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co. headquarters in Soulard, where we found a large crowd and a wait for the hour-long brewery tour.  I’ll get some video up later, but this was a fun tourist destination, even if the tour sounded like an extended commercial for Budweiser beer. 

Believe it or not, I’ve been a beer snob for over a decade and have never tasted a Bud.  So, at the end-of-tour tasting, I ordered a Bud.  And you know what?  It wasn’t bad at all, certainly not the no-taste beer I’d expected!

By 6.30 p.m. stomachs were growling.  We drove to Union Station and caught the Metrolink there, taking the light rail to Laclede’s Landing and the Arch.  We dined on burgers at a restaurant there, then walked over to the Gateway Arch and staked out a place on the slope, looking east toward the Arch and the river. 

A bunch of high school sat down right behind us.  One girl was particularly ditzed.  During the fireworks she twice said “I feel so kum-bah-yah right now.”  She also had a number of other one-liners.  I’ll try to collect them from B.J. and Jeff.

After the fireworks display we walked from the riverfront across Market Street to Union Station.  All of those roads were blocked so that Market was a very wide pedestrian thoroughfare.  Since the Cards/Cubs game had just ended too, the place was thronged with people in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors, and varying states of inebriation.  Last night was a grand night for people watching!

I was in bed by midnight, content after my first 4th of July in St. Louis and with the presence of dear friends in my home here.

Here’s what the fireworks looked like from further Downtown: