Local Saturday

Get LOUD!!!

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas… We surrendered to the inevitable. It being local Saturday, when the going gets tough, the tough shop local. In the afternoon, David and Maren went out and visited one of our local shopping districts. Anne and I stayed home and watched the U of M versus OSU debacle. Our main event was on Saturday night. Anne and I joined Maren and Dave and we supported one of our local teams. This team happened to be this year’s Stanley Cup Champions, the Saint Louis Blues. We took the train downtown and joined the throng within the arena, but this was not my first rodeo.

I came prepared, with ear plugs for everyone. In-between play the PA system was deafening loud and I was glad with what hearing protection I did have, but during play the PA was mostly quiet. Then you could hear the scraping of blades on ice, the slap of the puck and the thundering crashes into the boards, because then the capacity crowd also mostly fell silent, when it was without its soundtrack. The most notable exception to this was John Denver’s Country Home. When the PA started playing it, the crowd sang along, but when play began and the PA cut out, the crowd continued on, singing it acapella.

The Blues hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. I found Pittsburgh fans to be as annoying on the ice as they are in the ballpark. Our two cities are connected by a ribbon of asphalt called I-70 that allows them to descend upon Saint Louis whenever one of their teams is visiting. In the first period, the Blues scored first on a power play. The Penguins tied it up on another Blues power play that so irked our team that they scored another four goals. The final score was 5-2.

Black Friday Getaway

American White Pelicans

Away from the malls, far from the madding crowds we went today. Anne and I took Dave and Maren to the Riverlands for some birding. It’s supposed to rain all weekend, so we took advantage of this interval of relative dryness to get outside. It was a grey day, but most of the birds that we saw were roosting and not on the wing, mitigating the day’s slowed shutter speeds. It is prime pelican season, but a little too early for eagles or swans. Our first stop was at the Audubon visitor’s center, where there were a couple of old guys running the array of spotter scopes. They had spotted a lone Bald eagle for us. Getting out and walking around we saw the pictured squadron of pelicans. We also saw a pair of Kestrels that are apparently regulars. We also saw a raft of scaups, of the lesser or greater variety and no other birds of note. Except we finally saw one Trumpeter swan. Swan is the loneliest number that you ever saw…

We ducked over to Alton, Illinois for some lunch at Just Desserts, where because life is both short and uncertain, you always order dessert first. The building where the restaurant is located is historical enough that Abe Lincoln once frequented it too. I hope that with what eventually happened to him, he also ordered dessert first. Then it was back to the Riverlands. We wanted to take Maren to the Confluence. Where the two great rivers meet at the point of Ted Jones State Park. She had even worn her rubber boots for the occasion and was prepared to plant one foot in the Mississippi and the other in the Missouri, but the road was closed due to flooding. We tried again, circling around to Columbia Bottoms, but were flooded out there too. It was then high time to head home. Passing the exit for Galleria, I noticed that traffic was backed up onto the highway. I hope that all those shoppers were having as good a time as us today.