Saturday, November 18, 2017

Elsa and Sam’s Wedding and a Few Other Detours

This was written back in October.

Thursday, October 5th.

Here we are in Columbia, so familiar even while it continues to grow and change. We came in yesterday, got up early to take the dogs to Diane’s, then drove through rush hour traffic to Boston to get on our 11 am flight to STL. 

I’m sorry there wasn’t time to see Nancy and my cousins and aunt and uncle and friends Sarah and Jay. We would have had to come in a day early to do that. Instead we hopped right on I70, with a stop in Wentzville for Culver’s ice cream.

We are staying at Gail and Phil’s so that there is room for the kids to stay at Joanne’s and nobody has to get a hotel. In the evening we go over to Joanne’s and then to see if we can get a table at Flyover, a new restaurant that everyone is raving about. The wait is only 30 minutes so we sit outside on their porch and enjoy some adult beverages while we wait.

They have really good cocktails, but I stick to a glass of wine since I have a long run to do tomorrow. But Joanne gets their special Manhattan and wow! It even smells great! Something about setting the orange rind aflame seems to do the trick.

This restaurant serves small plates to share. I’m very hungry and jump right in, saying let’s get the chicken fried cauliflower, the spinach salad and the hanger steak. Nobody minds my pushiness and it’s all delish.

Friday, October 6th

I get up at 4:30. It’s warm,  it’s humid, and I have 20 miles to run. I’m supposed to run 18 of them at marathon pace, but it only takes a couple miles before I decide that’s a terrible idea. The humidity is so thick that I quickly decide to run as slow as I need to to make it through without collapsing.

That turns out to be very very slow by the end of the run. I maintain a pace for as long as I think is safe, and then reduce the run part of my run/walk segments until my heart rate goes down. By the end I’m running only 15 seconds and walking 30, but that’s okay. I get the miles in and I don’t pass out.

When I start it is just pitch black out and it takes at least an hour before it gets light enough so I can see without my phone flashlight. Normally I would have used my headlamp but I didn’t think to bring it to Missouri.

I run on the MKT rail trail, all the way to the KATY rail trail along the Missouri River, and then another mile toward Rocheport before I turn around. From the time I leave the Columbia city limits until I head back toward town I don’t see another living soul. Until it’s gets light it’s kind of creepy, and even then it’s a little unnerving. And the mosquitoes in the river bottoms along the KATY are terrible! My legs are covered with bites. I didn’t think I could possibly need bug spray on a run in October, but I guess I was wrong. It’s rainy, cloudy and so very humid. I’m just a puddle by the time I finish.


Lee gets me Sub Shop sandwiches for lunch and now I’m resting, so hopefully I’ll be able to stay awake tonight and be up for Shakespeare’s pizza with the fam.


I actually took a nap! It was a real nap, about an hour. It even registered on my Fitbit.


Daniel gets in around 5. We go over to Joanne’s to say hello, then we head to Shakespeare’s. There has been a lot of development in downtown Columbia lately. Some parts were almost unrecognizable. Lots of tall modern buildings. Even the building that Shakespeare’s was in is now a 10 story apartment building. But Shakespeare’s itself had been recreated to look just like the same old place.  I’m glad; it’s a Columbia institution!

Lee finds a table and I get in line for the pizza, while Daniel makes sure Joanne get into the venue for the rehearsal dinner safely. They are holding the rehearsal dinner for the wedding at Shakespeare’s too! The three of us eat our pizza while we wait for Sarah and Erik to appear. When they are about 30 minutes away I order them a pizza too.

They finally make it to Shakespeare’s sometime after 8:30. Poor things! Just a very long rainy drive through Iowa. It’s great to see them both, including Sarah’s darling pregnant belly. It’s hard to believe that in less than three months my first grandchild will be here!

Saturday, October 7th, the Wedding.

We’re all watching the weather forecast anxiously. The morning is rainy but it’s supposed to clear up in the afternoon, and around 12:30 that starts to seem like it might very well be the case.

At around 2:15 we head for the Becker’s. All the rain has passed and it’s a beautiful sunny day! We pick up Sarah and Erik at Joanne’s on the way. Daniel has already driven Joanne to the wedding earlier. The Becker’s have arranged things so guests can park on Warren’s property across the road and then take a golf cart to the Becker’s.

At the Becker’s the tents and flowers are just amazing. We can get a rosemary grapefruit cocktail or another beverage. I opt for the cocktail and its very good! We gather in the front yard where the ceremony will take place. As Elsa and her parents come down the aisle I start to get tears in my eyes. Of course! I almost always cry at weddings. 

The ceremony is just beautiful. When it is over we retire to the backyard to toast the bride and groom, shower them with soapy bubbles from little champagne bottles, and snack on flavored popcorn.

Then it’s time for dinner. Mark and Mary are friends with people that own a restaurant in town and boyoboy that is the best wedding food I have EVER eaten! Skewers of chicken, pork and veggies, with amazing dipping sauces for each. Roasted potatoes. Spinach salad. Quinoa salad. French baguettes. I get a glass of a Grenache with my dinner and let’s just say it was a very generous pour. One glass is plenty, thank you!

Dessert includes an amazing apple crisp with caramel sauce, rosemary shortbread cookies, and a bit of very intense chocolate. No wedding cake, darn it! My only complaint. I think for our 40th wedding anniversary we need to have an anniversary cake. Or something.

Then of course it’s time to dance. It turns out my brother-in-law Mark can really dance. He twirls his daughter around the floor much to our delight. Pretty soon everyone is out there dancing away. One thing I like about my fam, even though we’re not great dancers we generally get out there and wiggle around. Daniel and I try our best to dance together but I keep stepping on his toes. Oh well!

Elsa belonged to a sorority in college and her Kappa sisters sing her some traditional sorority song. I don’t exactly get it but they gather in a circle and serenade her. And so does Joanne! She told me later she just got her 60 year pin and couldn’t resist.

We are back at Gail and Phil’s by 8 pm and I’m in bed not long after. I sleep a good 8 hours  and wake up still feeling groggy.

Sunday, October 8th.

There’s a brunch at Mark and Mary’s this morning, a variety of egg casseroles made by Joanne, donuts, fruit salad, juice and coffee. We sit in the sun under the tents and relax. They have a huge mess to clean up, I don’t envy them. One of the disadvantages of having a wedding in your own backyard for sure.

Around noon Sarah and Erik and I get in their car for the long drive to Minneapolis. I want to go up to Duluth on Monday and meet my new great nephew Harrison, Nicole and Tom’s new baby. The drive to Minny is long, but the sun is shining and we have ice cream for lunch. Frozen custard, a Missouri / Iowa thing. I have a turtle sundae; I’m hungry!

Sometime close to 7 pm we stop at Lund’s for a carry out dinner. We eat and not too long after I fall into bed, exhausted.

Monday, October 9th.

Monday morning I get up and go for a 7 mile run on the nearby Luce trail. The air is crisp and cool and it feels great to run, much better than last Friday! I love running in Minnesota but I’ve never tried it in the dead of winter. I’m afraid I’d have to spend way more time on a treadmill than I would prefer. I suppose I will be even more grateful to escape to Florida.

Sarah and I leave for Duluth around 10:30. We are there by 1, with a quick stop at Northern Waters Smokehaus for sandwiches. They specialize in smoked meats so Sarah has to nuke her salmon a bit b4 she can eat it. All the things they do nowadays that improve mother and baby safety! 

The sandwiches are yummy, Nicole looks great, and Harrison is just adorable! Nicole seems to really be enjoying mommyhood. Harrison just turned two months old. He has Tom’s dimple in his chin and is just starting to smile. Sarah and I hold him a lot. I’ve forgotten how to hold a baby, especially such a rolypoly wiggly one! 

Nicole puts Harrison in a snuggly, we put Jennie their rambunctious dog on a leash and go for a walk in nearby Chester park. What a beautiful park! It even has a little ski slope! We walk along the rim and then back to their house. It’s time to get back on the road and return to Minny. I like Duluth but man it’s ccccccold!

Tuesday, October 10th.

I drive Sarah to work so that I can have her car. Lee has scouted some properties, mostly land, in the area, and I’m going to check them out. One, only a mile from Sarah and Erik’s house, is really nice. It’s for sale by owner and he has actually RAISED the price. It’s been on the market awhile and I bet the guy is some kind of nut cause otherwise it should have sold. Another one, in Excelsior, is also attractive. It’s a corner lot, a tear down, and requires a little more imagination to see it as something we could make our own. 

Then I get Sarah’s car washed and vacuumed and go buy some Dogwood coffee. I’ve drunk up most of their coffee, since they don’t drink coffee at home very often. I split a bag with then so I can take some home too.

We meet Sarah at a ramen place close to her office for dinner, Ramen Kazama. Ramen is not something that easy to find where we live, unless my very talented husband makes it! The restaurant scene will be one of the big advantages to moving to Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 11th.

I have to get up very very early for my flight back to Boston. I call Uber and he shows up right on time and gets me to the airport without any trouble. Security is slow even with TSA Pre, and I need to grab some breakfast before I get on the plane. First I try Surdyks but his cash register stops working and he has to shut down. I get in the line next door at Carabou Coffee. Its long and slow. By the time I get my coffee and banana bread I only have time to walk to my gate and get right on the plane! Well at least I didn’t miss my flight. 

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