A few weeks ago, I went on a solo trip to St. Louis, Missouri to visit a friend. Our relationship is a little difficult to explain, but here goes. A couple years ago, my son-in-law Reagan, who was adopted, located his birth mother Clarita who lives in St. Louis as do his brother and sister (another sister lives in Chicago.) Last fall, she and her sister-in-law Michele came to Texas for a visit and we had a great time together. Clarita invited me for a visit and off I went.
The two ladies had all kinds of things planned for my visit. First we went to historic Main Steet in St. Charles, MO where there were many shops and restaurants, including Siostra, a Polish pottery store that had everything you could imagine. I bought a cruet for olive oil for my husband. We had lunch outdoors at a barbeque place called Salt + Smoke, where I tried a local favorite, toasted ravioli (which exploded its pimento cheese filling when I took a bite). On other days, we went to Yayas, a European bistro with a delightful menu, and a little Greek place. A visit to the St. Louis Botanical Garden was both a history lesson and a tour of the gorgeous flower beds, with trees in full bloom. We also went to the Butterfly House, a glass-enclosed building with a tropical environment for the 1,000 types of butterflies from many different countries that flew around us.
Another day took us a short distance to Kimmswick, a historic river town that had many shops in the original buildings of the town. We enjoyed a lazy lunch at The Blue Owl, a wood-paneled down-home eatery that served Levee High Apple Pie, a towering dessert with a domed top crust, and had fun shopping at Mississippi Mud, where we each bought something fun.
Clarita and I had a brief visit with Reagan's sister Susie, her husband Deet and their two young daughters. Michele fixed an elegant dinner and I had a chance to meet John, her husband. Dessert was a St. Louis tradition, gooey butter cake we purchased from Gooey Louie's. It's sort like a cross between a brownie and a cake, very rich and decadent. I later got to meet her husband John and we enjoyed a long conversation.
On my final day in St. Louis, we attended a 16th birthday party at the home of Reagan's brother Dan and his partner Monika. The birthday girl was her daughter Sophie. I got to meet her brother Pascal and Dan's daughter Hannah. It was great to put names with the faces Hannah and Reagan had described to me. Then I was off to the airport to fly home. It was a great trip, with lots of time with Clarita and Michele. We vowed to get together again very soon.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.