On our approach to the St. Louis airport, we passed by the Gateway Arch . . . and I changed my mind.
Getting me out of the house takes a logistical miracle. I have two teenagers with multiple disabilities, and I care for my sister’s infant while she works full-time. It took my husband, sister and grown son taking turns with days off to cover my four weekdays out of town — my trip accounted for four days of lost pay. So when I read that NGS offered tours on Tuesday, my travel day, I laughed. I’m already paying for the conference, the trip, the hotel and my restaurant food . . . the last thing I’m going to do is cough up another $75 for a trip to Daniel Boone’s cabin.
So I made frugal, responsible plans to visit the St. Louis County Library genealogical collection on Lindbergh Blvd. I even had the local bus route figured out. I’d take advantage of a collection I’d probably never access again. Attagirl.
Until we passed the Arch.
As if I was supposed to hop off the plane, jump on a bus and spend my day at a library after that sight.
Did I mention it was a beautiful day?
I rode the metro down to the Old Courthouse and unexpectedly found myself on the site where Dred Scott and his wife (Did you know there was a wife? Its always “the Dred Scott Decision”, right?) sued for their freedom. They won their suit in St. Louis, but the case was appealed and overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
From there, it was a pleasant walk down to the Gateway Arch, which perfectly frames the courthouse.
I love the Arch’s magnificent simplicity and elegance. Its like an inverted pearl necklace.
Yes, I did go to the top. I rode up with 3 Fifth. Grade. Boys. + their field trip chaperone.
Did I mention I don’t do smells?
The five of us were in a pod approximately the size of a hamster exercise ball.
Did I mention I don’t do small spaces?
I kept my eyes closed the entire time up and spent a whopping five minutes up there. Maybe three.
Did I mention I don’t do heights?
When I finally arrived at my hotel that evening, I calculated my expenses from the first day of the trip. Once I combined the metro ticket, Arch admission, local restaurant lunch and cab fare into St. Charles (the metro is only within St. Louis proper), I had spent about as much as I would have spent on the NGS’s Daniel Boone homestead tour. Sooooo, maybe those pre-conference tours aren’t such a bad deal after all.