Turtle Park

Rey and Becca at Turtle Park

The newlyweds, Rey and Becca, blew into town last night. They are both living in Nashville now. So, their drive to Saint Louis is a lot shorter. For dinner, I fixed a veggie version of Jane’s world-famous chicken enchiladas, substituting tofu for the chicken. It turned out alright, but the next time I do a veggie version of this recipe, I think that I’ll substitute tempura for the chicken instead of tofu, because I think that will give the dish a better texture.

Anne had school today, leaving me to play tour guide. First, I cooked up a box of Trader Joe’s croissants for breakfast, another hat tip to Jane. We opened the Slammer. Unfortunately, this year’s big Egyptian exhibit had just closed. Still, there was a lot to see. We stayed until lunch, which was at Seedz. After lunch, we toured Bob Cassilly’s Turtle Park (Pictured) and then visited the MO history museum. After all that we were pretty much toast and went home to recharge.

Balloon Race

Hot Air Balloons

We didn’t venture back into the park, after Friday night’s balloon glow, but we didn’t have to as it turned out. The balloons came to us. A northeast wind blew them bye the house, such that all we had to do was go outside. It was perfect weather for a balloon ride, both clear and calm. The direction of the light breeze steered them well away from the airport. Balloons flying over Lambert is always a no-no with the FAA.

Not content with seeing them just from the backyard, I drove over to a nearby highway overpass. The balloon viewing wasn’t any better there, but I did get to witness a fender bender. Some driver must have been paying too much attention to the balloons overhead and not enough to the road in front. A mini-backup ensued, accompanied by several near misses as brakes squealed and vehicles managed to avoid one another. The cops soon arrived, their screaming sirens adding to the cacophony.

A woman and her elderly mother were also on the overpass. The woman had grown up in one of the houses that adjoined the road and her mother still lived there. The woman was old enough to recall the road in its initial incarnation, as the Daniel Boone Expressway. As a child, she watch it being built. After it was finished, she and her siblings would run out in their nightgowns, whenever they heard the sounds of a car crash on the highway, at night.

Forest Park Balloon Glow

Forest Park Balloon Glow

Last night, we went out to the Forest Park Balloon Glow. This is always the most crowded Forest Park event of the year and true to form is was mobbed. We drove to the De Mun neighborhood and managed to snag the very last parking spot. We had a street side dinner at Barrio, a new to us Mexican restaurant. After dinner we followed the shuffling throng to the balloon glow. This is the second year that the glow has been held on Art Hill. Before it was done on the central ball fields. They did it on Art Hill last year, but we missed it. I think that we were in California then.

In the Glow, sixty some hot air balloons are inflated, but are also tethered. There was no flying last night. Hopefully, weather permitting that will happen today. We arrived first at the top of Art Hill and then proceeded to thread our way through the crowd. We worked our way slowly down the hill and finally made it to the Grand Basin. There the going was easier. All the while, every few minutes, an air horn would sound and all the balloons would light themselves up. The money shot was from the far end of the Grand Basin, during one of these moments. I especially love the reflections of the glowing balloons across the water. After the above picture was taken, we head out to beat the crowd.

On our hike, we passed a parked car with the bumper sticker that said, “Don’t Blog – Write”. What? Well, I do sometimes just post a picture, but what’s wrong with that? Seems too much like snobbery to me. I just don’t get it. 

Chicks

Chicks

The big news this week in the third grade is that the chicks have hatched. For weeks now, a dozen eggs have been incubating. Anne had to go into school over the Labor Day weekend to flip the eggs. Eleven of the twelve eggs hatched and all eleven seem to be doing well. Now comes their naming. Anne’s class gets to name two of the chicks. There is no shortage of suggestions. In a few weeks the chicks will be old enough to be sexed. City ordinance allows the keeping of chickens, but not roosters. This is not Key West. Here their early morning crowing is deemed a noise nuisance. After they are sexed, the male chickens will be sent back to the farm from whence they came. Eggs from the remaining hens will be harvested. For now the eleven sure are cute.

Bennett Avenue Historic District

This last week Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams, winning the US Open, but most headlines centered on the fireworks between Williams and Umpire Carlos Ramos. Ramos issued Williams multiple penalties, contributing to the loss of what would have been her 8th US Open title. Calls of racism and sexism erupted. None of which is new to the US Open. Fifty years ago in 1968, Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) overcame tennis racism and became the first black man to win the Open. Here is a local Saint Louis connection to his story.

In 1961, Ashe was a high school senior, who moved to Saint Louis to continue the development of his game. A few blocks away, he spent his senior year living with Richard Hudlin (1898-1976), a Sumner High School coach. Ashe practiced tennis on a court at the Hudlin residence, the remains of which still exist. Ashe wasn’t the first protégé that Hudlin coached. He also mentored Althea Gibson, the first African-American woman to win a Grand Slam title. She won the French Open (1956) and Wimbledon (1957 & 1958). Ashe was also the first African-American man to win Wimbledon (1975). Mr. Hudlin died one year later, after attending that match as a guest of Mr. Ashe. Arthur Ashe died at the age of 49 from complications of AIDS, which he had contracted from a blood transfusion that he was given during open heart surgery. Ashe is most famously remembered by the US Open, which is played now in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

On the parking strip at the intersection of Laclede Station Road and Bennett Avenue the city of Richmond Heights has recently erected a monument to this locality’s moment in history. It is a simple affair, consisting of a plaque that overlooks the remains of the Hudlin tennis court, a park bench and some shrubbery. It also commemorates the Bennett Avenue Historic District. This historically black neighborhood was founded in the early 1950s. This district was built in the historical entity, Hadley Township, which was founded in 1907 as a company town for a brickworks that built homes for its employees. Because of segregation, it was one of few places blacks could live in the county.