Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Katie's Maryland neighborhood has a 4th of July bike parade for kids. They decorate their bikes and ride en masse through the streets. Drew and Jake were headed for the starting area when they came across this:
Katie wrote on Facebook: "Just a normal day in the neighborhood."
We were watching the 4th of July patriotic concert from Washington DC last night. Named a Capitol Fourth, the show is televised each year and ends with the DC fireworks display. Last night it was so foggy out there that the fireworks were disappearing as they went up and what was left was a mass of red. Then all of a sudden there were images of perfectly clear fireworks. Wow, we said, they must have put a camera on the fireworks in a different location to make them so clear.
But no. It turned out PBS suddenly was broadcasting fireworks which they later admitted, were from previous years. To viewers it was obvious the fireworks weren't the live ones not only because of the fog, but that the capital building had no scaffolding around it. It has been in process of exterior renovation for a couple of years.
PBS finally admitted that they used old fireworks but not until there was a huge outcry on Twitter and other places. This morning a droll joke from Washington's news radio station, WTOP, "And check out our full gallery of (real) fireworks, fun here".
We've spent a nice weekend in Collinsville, puttering around the house, watching baseball, doing yard work in between rain. But in the evenings I was struck by the fact that I'd forgotten how many people shoot off fireworks in their yards and driveways. Before dark and continuing for many hours the entire area is filled with the sounds of loud booms, bangs and high pitched siren like sounds coming from all directions. I was on our front porch last night talking to our next door neighbors who were on their porch and we watched and listened to all the banging. Every now and then someone living on the other side of Vandalia would shoot off a firework that zoomed over the roadway and exploded above the Legion park. Cool to see, but really, what if that had shot off awkwardly and hit a car?
This doesn't bother me too much, the ground and homes have been wetted by all the rain so there isn't much chance of fire. But, man, do Collinsville people like their personal fireworks. This used to bother me when we had dogs who were terrified by all that noise and tried desperately to find a place to get away from the sounds. Ferdie does not even seem to hear them which is amazing, he's only dog we've ever had who acts like nothing is happening.
Is anyone like me? Each year when a special day pops up like, say, 4th of July, I always obsess on trying to remember what we were doing the year before. Thanks to this blog and Facebook, this obsession is somewhat easier.
Last year on July 2, I was in Collinsville, it was a Friday, and I stumbled upon a problem with IDOT and the 159 reconstruction. Somehow the workers had busted through a water line and our street flooded to a point where we had no inside water and they had to flush the line with an exit point in our next door neighbor's front yard.
On this day, July 2, in 2012, we bought my truck which I have never tired of and which is popular enough that Ford dealers frequently call me to plead with me to sell it to them because they have a buyer who really wants this model. Interestingly, Ford announced recently that they will once again be manufacturing the Ford Explorer Sport Trac. I guess they learned not everyone wants and F150.
On the third which this year will be tomorrow, I mentioned an app which would help take pictures of fireworks, "Slow Shutter". I never did check that out since if I were going to try to get fireworks pictures I'd use a real camera with a tripod. But I didn't then and I won't now.
Also on the third Dale and I got several truck loads of dirt from Collinsville Ice and Fuel and set it into the edges of our new driveway.
For the third year in a row, Forest Park will be the site of the city's 4th of July celebration. It has worked well enough that there is some talk of not going back downtown at all once the riverfront renovations are completed.
Concordia Seminary is pretty close to Forest Park, actually two short blocks. Every neighborhood and entity west of the park across Skinker has a plan in place to keep fair goers from parking in their domain. The Hillcrest neighborhood with streets beginning at Skinker and going to Big Bend will close their iron gates and have parking patrols and signs out warning people not to park in front of their homes. The seminary will chain off entrances at Demun for the same reason. And, seminary people now have parking permits so our security will know we belong.
Actually the seminary is a bit of a walk to Art Hill and even if it was ok to park here for the fair I don't think it would be my first choice.
The biggest disappointment for us is the fireworks. You'd think being so close we'd really be able to see them front our house. But no. There are too many trees and the Art Hill Lagoon where they shoot them off is in a very low spot so they don't get up high enough for us to see.
According to Wallethub, St. Louis ranks 6th on a list of best cities for the 4th. The results were a result of looking at things like, entertainment and food, attractions and activities, and what the weather forecast looks like. But one of the biggest things which set St. Louis apart was the legality of fireworks. "The Lou, according to the report, is the best place to celebrate America’s independence without getting your rights read to you."
The first 5 ahead of St. Louis were: Seattle, Minneapolis, Washington DC, and Portland.
Something else to worry about this Fourth of July. It seems that some people have turned tennis balls into a fireworks filled, exploding bomb. If you have a dog or kids who like to pick up the frequently lost tennis ball while in a park or on a walk, this is the year you might want to check that ball. I haven't heard that this is an issue in the St. Louis area, but then, I'm always late to fads.
The balls often have some duct tape covering the split in the ball where the explosive was put in and there is a fuse of some sort sticking out.
Home grown fireworks are the worst in my opinion. Every neighborhood has people who shoot off their own fireworks beginning well ahead of the 4th and continuing on for several days after. When it's a dry weather time we get concerning about grass fires or even roof fires due to these things dropping down in populated areas. Then it's the constant noise which really scares many dogs to the point they have to be sedated.
Folks, just go to an organized and controlled fireworks display, please don't do your own for the sake of everyone around you.
Ever since the Collinsville Herald and it's descendant, the Herald-Journal, (for all intents and purposes) went out of the local news business, it's been difficult for area residents to know what's going on around town. Yes, there are websites and Facebook, but not everyone heads to those places and often the sites aren't complete with up to the week news.
And so it happened yesterday that many Collinsville people were surprised that there was a Memorial Day parade and ceremony. The VFW was the sponsoring Veteran's entity in partnership with the Legion as they do every year. But because of IDOT work on 159 the past two years the parades had been cancelled. This year the parade returned but the news did not get out much and what did get out was garbled. The time was 11. No, the beginning time was 10:30. It would begin at Wickliffe and march to the VFW. No. It would begin at Woodland Park and travel south.
The Collinsville Conncection Facebook page which had images of the parade took a number of people by surprise that there even was a parade. I guess living by the two veterans buildings makes us more aware than folks who live in other parts of town and we take these things as a given. But it is too bad we don't have something like the Herald or Herald Journal anymore to keep us up to date on everything and anything that happens in Collinsville.
It's the same, or worse in Clayton. No one knows anything that goes on in Clayton, no news, no local politics, nothing. At least in Collinsville you can watch city council meetings live or later digitally. That's not really all we need, though. I miss the papers.
The Collinsville VFW and American Legion have finished their annual "Flags In" in preparation for tomorrow's Memorial Day observance. Flags In is a tradition during the days before Memorial Day as military and retired military place small flags in the ground in memory of those who died in war.
Memorial Day weekend at Concordia Seminary. It's very quiet around here today, most everyone has left the campus, but the Poppies are thick and the flags are waving. Many many people from the surrounding Clayton neighborhood are on the campus taking walks, walking their dogs, jogging, biking. Many stop and sit by the flowers, flags or fountain.