Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Week In Review

No, there is no news here. No biting commentary. No editorial remarks, though goodness knows the world screams for them. Instead I intend to bore everyone making the unfortunate choice to read this, with a slide-show of sorts, of how I spent the last week. Same sedative qualities as the traditional slide show motif only without the chance of an occasionally interesting picture- although those may come later. Please contain your excitement.

We traveled to Missouri to visit my wife's parents who live in Independence. I have the best in-laws in the world. Good laughs, good stories, no drama, no pressure or expectations. It is ostensibly a trip for my wife but I get to reap the benefits of a relaxing vacation, sleeping in till 6:30 or so and walking about a good part of the time with no shoes. I cannot remember the last time I really "needed" a vacation but this was one of those times. I had a knot in the middle of my back all the week prior upon which another knot seemed to form as we made the flight to Kansas City. I felt it melt away every minute I was there.

Perhaps it was the rain. After a summer of which has included almost 70 days of 100+ temps I can honestly say that the sights and sounds and smells of the rains which have turned the area into a lush green place were a welcome greeting.

On these trips we always try to see some historical and educational sites for the boys and for ourselves as we all love history. This trip was particularly fun/interesting in this regard and I offer up our itinerary to you as a preview in the event you decide that a similar trip might be worth your time. (It would be)

First, we went to the Truman Presidential Library. I've only seen one other presidential library, that being good ole LBJ for whom we can thank for the day off tomorrow. (At least you can if you are a state worker here in Texas or work with one as does yours truly) I enjoyed this library more than LBJ's and regret that we did not have more time to spend there. I would easily go back.

That same day we went to the Truman Home where Harry and Bess (and her mother) and their daughter Margaret lived before during and after the White house. My wife told the boys the story of walking by the house when she was in school and waving to the Secret Service men in the house across the street. By that time Margaret had already left and rarely visited or stayed long as she was no fan of Independence. The house is in almost the exact state that it was when Bess died in 1982.

Next day we went to Pella, Iowa to take our oldest son on an official visit to my wife's Alma mater, Central College. Pella, of Pella Windows fame is a town with strong Dutch roots and influence even to this day, complete with an historical village with canal, a windmill and even a tulip festival. And best of all, Dutch bakeries to die for. Our son was treated to a reserved parking space (this made a huge impression on him) and a four hour tour of campus that included the opportunity to speak with professors in German and Drama, both current areas of interest. He also had the opportunity to learn about the school's Study Abroad Program which was responsible for bringing my wife and I together 22 years ago.

The meeting with the drama professor was a real eye-opener for him. She asked him if he like to read and how many books he had read. He said he hadn't read many and didn't like to read (which is not entirely true). The professor told him he needed to start reading - a lot. She assigns almost a thousand pages a week and encouraged him to begin reading a play a week and books from the Great Book Lists. You should have seen his face. But I think it made an impression that his parents could only hope for.

Next day we went to the National Frontier Trails Museum. While interesting this was not the best part of the day. Outside this museum is a restored, refurbished and refurnished train deopot that is completely free to visit. A tour is provided by a volunteer and was a great visit.

Next we went into Kansas City to the Crown Center to the boy's favorite place to eat, Fritz's. You can't go wrong when your food is delivered to your table by train. After lunch we went to a Narnia Exhibit and a Legos artist exhibit.

The next day we went to what I thought was the best of the week. The Steamboat Arabia Museum. The Steamboat Arabia was a side wheeler steamboat which hit a snag in the Missouri River and sank near what today is Parkville, Missouri, in 1856 with 200 tons of supplies. They found the boat in the early 90's about a half mile from the river in a farmer's field about 45 feet down. Most amazing of all they found most of the supplies in tact. Wedgwood china, hand blown Italian glass beads, bolts of cloth and silk, clothes, clothes pins, coffee grinders, basins, utensils weapons, foods, champagne, who name it. 2/3rds on display. they expect it will take another 15 years to preserve the remaining artifacts. Simply incredible and worth a trip all on its own. The website does not do it justice but its a start.

I'll be back to posting soon


Chewy said...

Welcome back Dave. I love that part of the country. My Grandmother lives just on the other side of the river.

eutychus said...

Thanks. After the Arabia we had some BBQ and went down to the river for a look. An F-16 was practicing for an airshow the next day. He was no more than the width of the river away most of the time. Awesome. Ian got some pretty good pics too.

alaiyo said...

Fun to hear about your trip! I LOVE that drama professor; read, read, read if you want to do anything well -- but if your son is interested in drama and in languages, this is imperative. If you want the book list we give to students (or my own), I'd be glad to send if you email me (impsonbe at bryan dot edu).

Good to have you back!

eutychus said...

Thanks for the offer, alaiyo. you'll be hearing from me very soon.

I.L. said...

w/ eutychus permission. will post f-16 fighter pics

eutychus said...

I.L.- Let's do it!