meet me in st. louis

My mom and I recently spent the weekend in a city we’ve never been to before. No, not to protest a grand jury decision. We had booked our tickets weeks ago, taking advantage of an airfare sale. It was a matter of finding a city between us with a great fare. Thank you, Southwest!

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out my window on my very early flight St. Louis-bound

Why didn’t I go to MI, or Mom to CO? We had some business to take care of. Though I would LOVE to see my extended family, and Mom can’t wait to get her hands on Asher, we can both get easily distracted and thought this best for the task at hand.

Before the Compassionate Friends National Conference this summer, once in a while we casually mentioned we should write a book. But I was truly motivated after. Maybe it was the Writing to Remember workshop. The facilitator held up a book she wrote for her son. It was a beautiful, tangible, memoir of his life, right there in paperback. A piece of his legacy that could be handed out… and handed down. I knew I would write Kade’s memoir one day. The How to Get Your Book Published author panel also stirred me. And the bookstore there filled with powerful reads (that I think we bought one of each of). The stories I’ve read in the last two and a half years have inspired me. And the shortage of books from a grandparent’s voice my mom notices, also motivates.

Since I can remember, my mom has had a propensity for grammar, writing, and reading, and a love of literature. I’ve enjoyed creative writing since grade school, myself. I remember writing plays to perform at assemblies with my fourth grade friends.

Now that my mom and I have this huge topic in common; this life event we share that’s the same… but different…  I suppose you could say our writing a book is a bit of a natural progression. So we took the obvious first step, right? Meeting in a St. Louis suburb.

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Let me tell you about St. Charles. It was a fabulous little historic town, recommended by a friend of a friend from the area. It was the perfect place to hole up and do some brainstorming and list-making, with a backdrop of shops, restaurants, and cobblestone. I’ve never been to Boston but for some reason it’s how I picture historic Boston. We didn’t even mind the rain or not having a car.

Getting by on foot gave us the opportunity to walk to the nearest store for crackers for the summer sausage we bought. WHICH was a gas station. THAT didn’t carry crackers. But we would have totally missed walking down Boone’s Lick Trail (of Daniel Boone fame) and reading the historical markers along the way. We never ate the sausage because the gas station potato chips didn’t pair well, but it turned out to be a perfect gift to bring to Brian! We polished off the chips, though.

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We tasted milk-chocolate wine at a shop selling local goods. We visited with a nice jewelry store purveyor couple WHILE MY NEW KYANITE RING GOT SIZED. The large denim blue stone… and its name… caught my attention. You see, a newish friend of mine, Martie, lost her son named Kyan (pronounced Ryan). I’d never heard his name before meeting her.

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I absolutely love it. Doesn’t one need a statement piece as a memento of a monumental weekend such as this? I thought so, too.

We tried St. Louis-style pizza (thin crust with a combination of provolone, cheddar and Swiss. It was meltily delicious).

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I got a tiny bit of Christmas shopping done; even picked out a Kade Ornament for this year. A rustic rugged star. I like it’s irregular shape. We picked out a few fun ornaments for Asher.

Our last day, last lunch before the airport, we ate rich appetizers and laughed (and cried) over our drafts. We took pictures in front of the fireplace where the plans for the Santa Fe Trail were purportedly drawn.

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The cozy rainy view from our booth at our last lunch

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A close-up of the STAR below the peaked roof

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Braddens Pub, in front of the fireplace where the plans for the Santa Fe Trail were drawn up

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Really pretty ceiling at Braddens Restaurant

Back to our book. I confess, I have a list of books I aim to write one day. Can’t you just picture an adventurous little dinosaur named Kade? I can’t wait to collaborate with his artist friends on an illustrated children’s book. We talked a lot and set some goals. To heed most advice so far, we’re going to Just Get Writing. And see where our writing takes us.

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“Clark” of Lewis and Clark leading the way

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Fun with William Clark

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The lending library nook under the stairs in our hotel lobby. Where we will place a copy of our book!

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A whole room of a store dedicated to different hot sauces. Kade would have loved it.

 

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