A little over a week ago, John and I took a long weekend and traveled to St. Louis. It’s the kind of trip that we always say we should take more often. It’s always so good to make ourselves take a break from work and get away for some time together. Then we come home, get sucked into work, and another year passes without a simple weekend away.
This time we went to St. Louis. On Friday, we met up with our friends Ruth and Jesse who live in Kansas City. For years we’ve all said we should meet halfway and see each other in St. Louis. Finally we did it!
It’s very good to spend time with old friends. We met for lunch, then went to Citygarden. It’s a great little sculpture park in the center of the city. From there we walked to the arch and soaked up some sun.
Then Ruth decided she felt like ice cream. A Google search resulted in an intriguing ice cream shop: Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery. The ice cream there was amazing. The “naughty” part was the section of the ice cream case devoted to flavors that incorporated alcoholic beverages. The two flavors I chose were “Cup of Sunshine” with turmeric, ginger, and tea flavoring (among others) and “Lion’s Tooth” with Dandelion Liqueur. The ice cream was so good John and I went back the next day to try different flavors.
John and I also checked out the St. Louis Graffiti Wall. It’s a flood wall against the Mississippi River, it’s more than a mile long, and it’s covered in graffiti. It was fun to see, and it managed to make our new little car look cool. It didn’t really make me look any cooler, though.
I also had the fun of being a guerrilla photographer for an engagement that happened in a park near the ice cream shop. John and I were walking around, and a group of people asked me if I planned to be in the park for a little while.
I cautiously said that, yes, I was, and they explained that they were hiding in the bushes because a man they knew was about to propose to his girlfriend. [I realized that that explained why they were lurking in the same spot next to some bushes.] They were hoping that I would take one of their cell phones and photograph the proposal as it happened. If I did it, they could remain hidden in the bushes and the girlfriend would suspect nothing.
It sounded fun, as long as I didn’t spend all night waiting for the guy to arrive, so I agreed. They fussed way too much about which phone to give me. The guy’s mom was afraid the girlfriend would recognize the phone case. She didn’t believe me when I said I was a totally random person and the girlfriend would never connect “my” phone to anyone she knew.
Then they got a text from the man in question that said he and his girlfriend were about five minutes away. The family gave me a description–the couple was walking a golden retriever and the guy was balding and wearing a pink shirt. John and I got in position by the gazebo where the magical moment would occur, and we waited.
John spotted the couple first. They rounded a building and headed our way. I held up the phone. We were no one. We didn’t matter, and that was perfect. The guy got down on one knee, the woman said yes, they kissed, and the dog did jumping jacks behind them because he was so excited. The family cheered and jumped out of the bushes, and I passed the phone off to them before disappearing into the park. The guy and his new fiancee never knew I was there. As John and I headed off, we heard champagne corks pop.
As an added bonus, the guy’s family handed me $10 in tips as I handed off the cell phone. Later, I considered starting a new business of secret wedding proposal photography as I sipped a $10 cocktail.
The next day, John and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It couldn’t have been a more perfect time for a visit. The trees were all in full bloom as were the majority of the spring bulbs. The weather was warm but not too hot, and the sky was blue.
We wandered through several of the gardens before arriving in the formal Victorian garden with studding tulips surrounding a sculpture of Juno. It was clearly the spot to get your picture taken! Actually, the botanical garden was understandably packed with guests. It was a fun challenge to get photos that highlighted the plants and landscapes and not the random people walking through them.
We also stopped in the Climatron on the way to the restroom. The Chihuly glass in one of the ponds was definitely some garden art goals to which I could aspire!
In the middle of taking photos of all the tulips, daffodils, fritillaries, flowering trees, and Persian buttercups, John and I ran across the iris display garden. I began to photograph my favorite blooms. Then we started reading the names of each variety and it got really fun. I overheard a garden staff member telling another visitor that the people developing the different varieties of iris had weird senses of humor.
There were quite a few of the irises that weren’t blooming yet, and their names really made me curious what they might look like. Some of the names that struck me included:
- Fission Chips
- Gag Gift
- Gnuz Spread
- Force Field
- It’s Amazing
- Honey Money
- Cat’s Eye
- Exotic Blend
- Done Me Wrong
- Cuddle Up
- Lady Friend
- Honey Cat
- Naughty Nights
- Sammie’s Jammies
- Dusky He-Man
- Ninja Turtles
- Somewhat Quirky
- Quite Quirky
Later in the morning, we made our way through a woodland area to arrive at the Japanese garden. The views all along the way were spectacular, but it was in the Japanese garden that the variations in color in the trees and bushes were absolutely stunning. There could not have been a better day to visit!