From MOsaics to MOnuments

Before I get into my latest update, I thought I would share a fun fact that I learned today at the Truman Presidential Library.  Out in front, I noticed a replica of the Liberty Bell. You know the one – in Philadelphia – Pass and Stow – there was a movie with Nicholas Cage about it…  Anyway, it occurred to me that I’d seen the same replica on the grounds of the capital in Jefferson City.  Same thing in Oklahoma City.  So I asked one of the docents about the bell (these guys are always a wealth of information).  And here’s what I learned – there are 49 bells + the one original.  48 for all the state capitals and one additional one for the Truman Library. Intriguing!  So these bells were made (forged?) before Alaska and Hawaii became states!  And as far as the Truman library bell? Well – that was the only Presidential Library in existence at that time so it’s the only Presidential Library to have a bell.  And that concludes today’s history lesson!

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Right.  So as I mentioned in the last post, I had gotten a huge to-do list from my friend Charlotte for St. Louis.  Saint Louis Art Museum was first on the list and it was fantastic – and free!  There’s a great Chagall painting of Adam and Eve that I’d never seen before. Wondering it they would do a trade… they get my soul and I get the painting.

From SLAM, I headed to the St Louis Cathedral to see the mosaics.  OMG. Never seen anything like this.  Ever.  I’m including a few pix here but let me dazzle you with a few facts as well:  41.5 million (not a typo) glass tesserae pieces covering 83,000 square feet. And it took almost 100 years to complete.  It is worth a trip to St Louis just to see this place.

After all the walking around, I headed over to The Hill, which is the Italian neighborhood.  Even the fire hydrants are painted red, white and green – kind of adorable.  Had the “Little Bit of Italy” sandwich at Amighetti’s – salami, two kinds of cheese, olives, and onions on toasted bread with garlic oil.  Oof – so stuffed. I needed to walk off the sandwich so I crossed the road to the Botanical Gardens.  Loved the gardens but it wasn’t Juno-friendly.  I got hot walking around in the sun so it was time for my daily dose of ice cream.  Off to Ted Drewes for a “concrete.”  I didn’t know what this was – it is vanilla soft serve with a bunch of stuff mixed in. It was delicious but I felt bad – my concrete had chocolate fudge mixed in so I couldn’t share with Juno.  He was mad so I gave him some sliced chicken and I told him that I loved him.  That seemed to cheer him up.

While all this was going on, I was in touch with Charlotte’s mother and brother who live in Elsah, IL which is about 45 minutes away, right on the Mississippi.  I was invited to dinner and so off I went!  Being in Elsah felt like being in a small New England town with its quaint houses and bed ‘n breakfasts along the main road.  Spending time with Sun & Colin, Christian and Candy was delightful – as was the home-cooked dinner.  I ended up parking the MoHo right in front of Sun’s house in this tiny parking lot which is literally across the street from the river. Awesome view when I woke up the next morning!!

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Before departing Elsah the next morning, I took a quick driving tour around Principia College. The campus is gorgeous and I encourage anyone that is a Christian Scientist to check it out.

The rest of yesterday included a visit to Fulton to see the Winston Churchill Museum and church.  Long story short – after WWII, Truman had invited Churchill to speak at Westminster College in Fulton.  As a tribute, the college had the wreckage of a 12th century church that had been bombed out by the Germans sent over to Fulton where they rebuilt it in his honor. The church is still in use by the college and the museum is in the basement.  I learned a lot – mainly that Churchill was a total badass.

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Then it was off to Jefferson City to check out the capital. Very impressive as it sits atop a hill overlooking the Missouri River.

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I’m in Kansas City now.  After visiting the Truman Library, I cruised over to the WWI Monument and Museum.  I did NOT go to the Museum but I did take in a photography exhibit surrounding the monument about the Doughboys from 1918-1919. And I also enjoyed the view – KC’s downtown is quite striking.

Alright – time to wrap it up.  NBA Finals start in 5 minutes and I booked a room at a hotel so I can watch the game live on a normal sized TV.  Had some Chinese food delivered earlier so all is well.

Off to Kansas tomorrow!

 

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