Private Places

Vandeventer Place Gate

Well, I did a weeks worth of “cooking” on Sunday and except for breakfast, I didn’t use the stove. Breakfast was eggs and bacon, but I already told you about them. After breakfast and after our walk, I got to work in the kitchen. Using the Cuisinart, I first made pesto, which I promptly froze. It became one of the blocks of ice that we’ll be hauling up to the cabin next month. Next up was gazpacho, which I also mainly froze, but we will be having some of that this week. Finally, I made tabbouleh, which will be our base course this week, including both grain and veggies, but wait there is more. Bill and Mary invited us over to their house for an outdoor happy hour, the one that we were going to enjoy yesterday. Anne was feeling well today, so I packaged two sets of chips, dip (French onion and pup cheese) and veggies (celery and carrots). This way we could share our dish with our hosts in a socially responsible manner.

Bill and Mary live closer to Forest Park than we do, almost kitty-corner to its most northwest point. Last night, while we were having wine and snacks on their back porch, a little more than a mile east of us a drama was unfolding. I learned of it this morning, when I checked Twitter and saw that St. Louis was trending. Never a good thing. A Black Lives Matter protest had begun a march to the city mayor’s house, to protest the doxing that she had done earlier of other protesters. They were marching to her home to demand her resignation. There were several hundred protesters, They were loud and apparently they broke down a gate (or maybe not) and entered a private street called Portland Place. 

Starting in the late 19th-century these private places became popular in Saint Louis among the well to do. More akin to a neighborhood association than a gated community, they were formed to address the problems that arose from a lack of any zoning regulations in the city at the time. The photo with this post is of one of the gates for a private place that didn’t make it, called Vandeventer Place. The gate is purely decorative and was not meant as an impediment to access. This gate somehow made it to Forest Park, where it is still on display.

Anyway, two white homeowners hearing the commotion of the passing protest, took matters into their own hands, when they appeared in their front yard and confronted the protesters with their guns. A brief standoff between the 1st and 2nd amendment ensued, until cooler heads prevailed and the protesters moved along. Photos and video of the two homeowners went viral and the Twitterati were not kind, pointing out that neither person knew how to handle their gun and asking why had both of them shown up to a gunfight while barefoot?

According to reports, the homeowners are both personal injury lawyers. Their truly elegant home was featured in St. Louis Magazine. Built in the 19th-century, as an Italian palazzo, by a scion of the Busch dynasty, it is purported to be the most beautiful home in Saint Louis. It wasn’t so nice, when this couple first acquired the place, but 30 years of work has transformed it back to its former aristocratic splendor. All of that accomplishment has now been tarnished, by one evening’s rash decision to brandish firearms. Maybe if they had taken the time to put on their shoes first, none of this would have happened?

Purple Prairie Clover

Purple Prairie Clover

We had a little scare yesterday. After our morning walk, Anne was not feeling well. She had a headache along with a general feeling of unwellness. I of course suspected the worse, but she laid down on the couch and later ate something, so that by evening, she was feeling better. This morning she is fine. We of course begged off on our planned Saturday night happy hour engagement and will try to reschedule it for later. Fortunately though, she didn’t have the Rona after all.

It was scary not knowing. Your mind races towards all sorts of what ifs and none of them are all that appealing. Trying to do your own contact tracing only makes it worse. Where did it come from? Who did she catch it from? Then you think, what about me? We’ve been quarantining, but certainly not from each other. As it turned out, it was all for naught, a tempest in a teapot, hypochondria induced psychoses. We try to be careful, but with 50,000 people a day now coming down with it, how much longer can I expect to avoid it? I should just hangout in a bar.

We walked the neighborhood, both yesterday and today. Yesterday, we got out early and beat the heat and the crowds too. Today, we tried to do the same, but weather got in the way. It started before four, when a crack of thunder woke me up. Awake, the sprinkler kicked on and ran for half-an-hour. I gave up trying to go back to sleep when dawn’s early light began streaming through the bedroom window. We launched under a darkening sky. A line of thunderstorms was sliding by, but looked like they would miss us and pass by to the north. We got only a couple of houses, before the rumble of thunder to the north made us turn tail and scurry back home. I whipped up some eggs and bacon for breakfast. Yesterday, I went to make bacon, only to find that the leftover bacon had gone bad. What a shame, wasted bacon. The new bacon was some of Oscar Mayer’s thick cut variety. I only fried up four pieces of bacon for the two of us, but each piece was easily twice as big as a normal slice. There were only ten pieces to the pack. Afterwards, we did get our walk in, but by then it had gotten hot.

June is wildflower month in Missouri and although most of the flowers that we see are cultivated that doesn’t diminish their beauty. The trick with flowers isn’t taking their picture, they’re not going anywhere, but being able to identify them afterwards. Anne usually has an idea which family a particular flower is from, but my go to identifier is a website called Plant ID. I use it regularly and it has only failed me once. You just upload the photo and it does the rest. I find it way more satisfying to actually name a flower rather than calling it a purple flower.