Notes from St. Louis

Officially, it's the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

That spiffy new fall-weight jacket I bought myself yesterday? It didn't come with me to St. Louis, as a peek at weather.com last night revealed a forecast of 80-plus-degree days here through the weekend. I stepped out of the airport this afternoon and found the meteorologists to be spot-on: it was damn hot. That sunny, shimmery, smackdown kind of hot that may be sort of specific to the midwest. (Note: please do not take my word on this. Consult an actual midwesterner for a more accurate assessment.)

Carol picked me up and we drove downtown so we could visit the arch--excuse me, the JNEM--before heading west to St. Charles for our conference. In the park that surrounds the arch, the trees were fully leafed and blazingly green, the grass was perfect, there were ducks happily (presumably) paddling about in the ponds, and it seemed for all the world like mid-summer. I don't need to tell you that this pleased me.

Q. Who visits the arch at 3 p.m. on a Thursday in late September?
  • Random clutches of foreign men (French? Israeli? Russian? Really could not tell), all of whom take photos of everything, including but not limited to the signs detailing what it costs to take the arch tram, the inside of the tram cars, and the educational video presented while you wait to be whisked to the top of the arch.
  • Senior citizen tour groups, who may or may not be required by their tour operators to wear, in addition to yellow name badges, cowboy or Amish hats and suspenders.
  • Floridians
  • Professional Organizers
On I-70 between St. Louis and St. Charles--a stretch of what I believe is roughly 15 miles--I saw at least three megachurches. One was sort of run-of-the-mill. One bore a sign that said, "Jesus Completely Saves." (Thank you, Jesus, for not doing a half-assed job.) One was very literally the size of a Wal-Mart. In fact, it looked as if it could have taken over a defunct Wal-Mart.

Christ almighty are we not in San Francisco anymore.


sgazzetti said...

Let me join you in thanking Jesus for not totally phoning it in.

Jane G. said...

Although I am a non-theist and virulently anti-bumper sticker, I believe I could be convinced to put one on my car that says, “Jesus Completely Saves.”