Site icon Joanna Campbell Slan

How to Talk Like They Do in the Lou

Last week I took my niece Lexie, my sister Jane, and Lexie’s son Skyler to lunch down in Florida. Since Skyler is only two, the nice greeter at Chili’s gave him the kid’s menu and a couple of crayons. I helped a little with the coloring, and then Skyler turned over the menu and there it was…the St. Louis Arch.

That’s a photo I took of the Arch this summer looking straight up at it. It’s an amazing piece of sculpture. In one way, it’s like the pyramids in Egypt. You have no idea how big they are until you get right up next to them. The Arch is huge, the stainless steel panels are huge, and the way it soars up in the sky is breath-taking.

Of all the emblems of Mound City (a nickname for St. Louis), that’s probably the most iconic.

I miss St. Louis now and again. I miss my neighbor Kathy and her husband, John, and their dog Bogey. I miss the colors of fall there. I miss knowing where everything was, and oh, a dozen small conveniences like Dierbergs and Annie Gunn’s and having a Target right around the corner. For the most part, Northern Virginia feels like home now. It’s funny that it only took me a year to be able to travel ANYWHERE confidently without the GPS. Today I dropped David off at the Amtrak Station in downtown DC and realized, “Hey, I know where I am!”

So if you get the chance to visit St. Louis, by all means go. Here’s an article I wrote for AOL that will help you talk like a native.

Be sure to take the time to visit the Arch. It’s just magnificent. You’ll want to go underneath where the museum is and see the film on how the Arch was made. A friend who was living in St. Louis at the time told me that the two sides were not going to meet, but somehow they obviously worked that out.

There’s a lesson there, I think. Even when stuff doesn’t look like it’s going to work out, don’t give up too easily. I know that my husband is the most tenacious person I’ve ever met. A lot of times, I’ll think, “This is the end of the road.” But David will just keep on keeping on. And you know, he usually gets what he wants.

I hope I can emulate that quality more and more as life goes on.

This photo gives you an idea of the scale of the Arch. At night, the ambient light bounces off it, making a watery swirl of colors, a sort of metallic reflection of the water in the Mississippi River. And of course, the Arch is on the banks of the Mississippi, so that’s very fitting.

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