Rebecca and Reka

New Saint Louis Zoo Tiger, Reka

We have pretty much recovered from the discombobulation of last week’s travel, but not before kind of ruining our Easter dinner. You see, before we travel, I always try to run our larder down to nothing and in this case, we were still cooking day-to-day. I hadn’t shopped for Sunday on Saturday, like I should have, because when I went to the grocery store, I found a nearly empty parking lot. I knew then that the store was closed for Easter, but I had some plastic bags to recycle, and I wanted to do at least that. The only other cars in the lot were a pair of electric vehicles sucking on the juice that the store must subsidize and a fire truck. The fire people were testing the hydrant on a day that would not disturb any customers. We ended up just having leftovers for our Easter dinner.

Yesterday, also on the subject of Easter dinner, Anne spoke with Harry. He told her that his mother would make bacalao, (a Spanish dish with cod), and latkes. She learned to make latkes from her mother-in-law, Rebecca. Rebecca grew up in Lviv, as it is called now, “not a shtetl, but a big city”. When she and her husband, Louis, emigrated, it was then part of the Austrian-Hungary empire and then called Lemberg. Which makes Anne part Austrian, I guess, but I prefer thinking of her as part Ukrainian. Not sure what Harry had for Easter dinner this year, but I’m sure that it was excellent.

Last week, we took the opportunity to visit the zoo. It was on a Thursday, and I didn’t expect the crowd that we encountered. I guess all of Catholic school children were off for Holy Week, but both the regular bird house and the 1904 Flight Cage were closed to the public. Not because of Covid, but because of the more recent Avian flu outbreak. More than a decade after Rebecca had left Lemberg/Lviv (1893), the Smithsonian commissioned the Flight Cage for the 1904 World’s Fair and then had intended to move it to the National Zoo in Washington. But Saint Louisans rallied to keep the Flight Cage here and the City of Saint Louis soon purchased it for $3,500. The structure had originally cost $17,500 to construct (such a deal). It soon served as the impetus for Saint Louis to develop a full-fledged zoo—the first municipally supported zoo in the world. About Reka, she is the zoo’s new tiger that was acquired late last year, when the previous tiger had to be put down. This was the first time that we saw her. 

2 thoughts on “Rebecca and Reka

  1. “sucking on the juice that the store must subsidize”.
    I cant decide whether that acidic comment is uninformed, sarcastically Neanderthal, or an envious jab at those not stuck subsidizing petrochemical greed. It iS nice when stores allow the installation of plug-in stations to help spur the inevitable electo-transport transition. Unless these were super-charger stations, those cars were “sucking the juice” at a rate less than a streetlight (which I imagine happens in the parking lot, every night, all night). And most plug-in stations require user payment though an app, so there’s likely no subsidy at all.

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