Prancing With Vigor

As you might have guessed simply by the length of yesterday’s post alone, Saturday was a busy day, frenetic some might say.  It was also tiring, even though we only rode 16 miles.  It must have been the ballgame that wore us out.  Our plan for Sunday was to get up early and ride Trailnet’s Giro Della Montagna bicycle ride, but we slept in instead.  In our defense, it was perfect sleeping weather on Saturday night.  The wind was calm and the low was about 50 °F.  The windows were open and with the weather that we have been enjoying this holiday weekend no one was running their air conditioners.  So Sunday morning was cool, calm and quiet, as I said perfect sleeping weather, all the way up to nine o’clock.  At the stroke of nine several nearby lawn mowers were fired up and someone was running some sort of high pitched squealing machine, it was a regular cacophony out there. 

We putzed around the rest of the morning, drank coffee, fooled around on the computer, listened to NPR and other what not.  Anne and I called our respective parents.  Anne spoke with her mother and her sister, Jane.  They were full of news about the big wind storm that the Cabin was experiencing, lost boats and beach chairs.  I spoke with my dad.  They were planning on driving down the coast highway to Nepenthe for lunch, but it was foggy out and he was uncertain about whether they would be able to see any on the beautiful vistas that that drive is famous for.  Around one o’clock Anne and I finally launched on our bikes.  Dave was just settling in to watch the Cardinals game.

We rode through the Park, which was crowded.  It was a beautiful day, so go figure.  We followed the same path to the Hill that we had on Saturday.  The Hill is the Italian neighborhood in town and at one time it was rumored that when a young couple wanted to buy a house in that neighborhood they would visit the parish priest and he would broker the sale.  There is another Southside Catholic tradition that is related to home sales, but it is not limited to just the Hill neighborhood.  The legend goes that if you bury a statue of Saint Joseph, upside down, in the yard, then the property will sell faster.

The houses on the Hill are primarily small, one-story, one-thousand square feet bungalows.  Working class homes built in the early part of the twentieth century.  Each home has one aspect of pride about it though and that is the lawn.  The sin of pride that is bestowed upon these green grasses was merciless lampooned by the former Post-Dispatch columnist, Elaine Viets.  According to her, if a leaf from a neighbor’s tree were to fall upon another neighbor’s lawn, then a phone call of complaint would soon be forthcoming.

We arrived on the Hill in time to catch the beginning of the men’s masters race (the old guys).  After two laps and two wrecks the officials stopped the race in order to clean up the carnage.  Anne and I decided to relocate during this lull.  We passed Shaw Coffee which was open on a Sunday.  On the Hill there are more great eating and drinking establishments per capita then almost anywhere else in the city, but they are never open on Sunday.  I don’t know if it is because of the down economy or after running the Giro Della Montagna now for twenty-five years some establishments are waking up to a great business opportunity or both, but a few of the Hill’s businesses have begun to open on the Sunday of the Giro and Shaw Coffee was one of them.  Barbara, my favorite office assistant, has always recommended Shaw Coffee as having the best coffee in town.  Even though we have frequently passed it and not always on a Sunday, we had never been in there.  We pranced with vigor (Kaldi’s motto) through the front door in our new Kaldi’s jerseys.  We had prepared our story before we went in; we were doing a competitive assessment.  No denying it, it was good coffee, but the best in town?  I don’t know about that.

Afterwards, we met up with Don and DJ again and watched the races.  Rob, Edie, Sandi, Sammy and Sam were all also in attendance.  On our way out, we stopped by Gelato Di Riso; Yum.  The racers had to fight a headwind all their way uphill and only had a tailwind on the way back downhill.  We had a tailwind all the way back home.  We got 15 miles.  Arriving back home, Dave informed us that the Cards had won, 4-2, so I picked the wrong game.

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