WanderingJustin.com

Possums and Parks – A Quick Visit to St. Louis

 Back in the old days before I began keeping my blog, I had to visit St. Louis. My sister-in-law was graduating from Washington University (a beautiful campus – the sort that would feature in a Revenge of the Nerds-style movie) and the wife and I were off to see her into the professional world.

I should preface the rest by saying my brother J.D. also live near St. Louis. He says Missouri’s state motto is “Missouri: Love it or Leave It … hey, come back here!”

Well, our Southwest Airlines flight landed well into the nighttime hours. And I was famished since peanuts just don’t satisfy for that long. Once we got a cab from the airport to our near the university, our main objective was to find somewhere decent to eat in the Italian-flavored area known as “The Hill.”

So Sarah and I began walking. As we were walking past some homes, I saw the eyes of a little creature poking out from a hedge. I guessed it was a cat from its somewhat furtive movement.

Being a cat-friendly guy, I immediately “kittykittykitty”d in hopes of making a new furry friend. The creature advanced slightly, giving me a better look.

And let me tell you, this was the ugliest cat I’ve ever seen. “This poor thing needs a lot of petting to help its self-esteem,” I thought, running my gaze over its unusually beady eyes, it’s somewhat pointy snout and its disheveled, matted fur.

I heard Sarah yell at me “Justin, get away from that! It’s a possum!”

Well, jeez. How was I to know about possums? I’m from the Southwest! I don’t know from possums.

So what is there to St. Louis besides possums? Well, near our hotel was the absolutely wonderful Forest Park. It’s a great place to run, relax and recreate (though procreating might raise a few eyebrows, though I’m sure that happens at certain hours). I’m actually quite jealous of this resource: It covers nearly 1,300 acres. Yes, it has the obligatory golf course. But also an art museum, sports leagues, running paths galore, paddle boats, skating rinks, a zoo, an opera house and …

… the St. Louis Science Center. It’s a nice place to pass a few hours, but it’s no Smithsonian. It’s still a nice complement to the Forest Park.

If you get hungry, as I often do, being close to a university can set you up right. There are chains for the unadventurous of palette – but you’ll find nice locally owned and ethnic sorts of places, too. I wasn’t taking such good notes since this trip occurred BWJ (Before Wandering Justin.com), but ask a student and you’ll find the good stuff. Or ask the staff at Forest Park.

I have to give St. Louis props for Forest Park – and for snaring me in a near-destructive possum-petting incident. I can’t say I was bored!

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