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Time traveling in Old St. Charles

Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2008, at 5:26 PM

These two reinactors were involved in a lively debate about the Revolutionary War and other issues of the time. Tourists sit on a bench outside one of the shops, listening to this conversation from the past.
Sometimes I wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of living in a big city. Being the super country girl that I am, living on the edge of the civilized world, just short of the jungle, I still like some of the amenities of the big city.

This weekend I got to see, close up, how City Folks live, when my darling Memphis daughter and I went up to St. Charles - she for a bachelorette party, and me for a visit with my cousin Beverly, who lives in St. Louis.

Bev and I shopped in the colorful shops, ate in an open restaurant, sampled the wine, and - that night - we took in a Shakespearian play on the lawn very near the river. It seems that they have an Arts and Culture Commission, which partnered with a group called "River Shakespeare" to perform "The Taming of the Shrew."

Competing with air traffic overhead and the roar of motorcycles on the nearby street, the actors performed to a good-sized audience, stretched out on blankets or seated in lawn chairs. Several well-mannered family pooches seemed accustomed to such activity, and children were also remarkably quiet. One little toddler kept trotting off from his dad, who had to go round him up, but there was room enough, and observers just smiled amusedly.

Oddly enough, I didn't get bitten by a single mosquito, though I saw a woman spraying her legs with Off.

Portapotties and a portable lavatory were stationed off to the right, and I later learned that you have to push a pedal with your foot to get water out of the faucet...(Can you tell I'm from the sticks??)

I didn't have time to see all the shops, since most of them closed at five, but I'll tell you that my favorite was the glass shop, where they make stained glass in the lower level. As usual, I became totally mesmerized and confused by all that glitter, and I bought only a small glass frog for Darling Daughter.

I'm not sure if all the big cities have such programs for their residents, but I have to say that my experience was quite charming.

We did see two squad cars pulled up to one of the quaint little shops, in total contrast to all the Old World charm of the setting. Bev and I stood for several minutes, hoping to see Officers of the Law manhandling some rough-looking vagabonds into the vehicles - but it was not to be. Maybe they try to take them quietly out the back door, so as not to scare off the tourists!

I don't know if St. Charles is close enough to be considered a "Stay-cation," but you might like to put it on your list.

From the green, isolated hills of remote rural Tillman, this is your duck-out-of-water rural reporter Madeline, signing off.

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The local Progressive Farm Credit office has taken a busload of farm wives to St Charles on an annual outing several times. There is a lot to see, and we have a wonderful lunch at Lewis & Clark. It's always fun, and the only requirement to be invited is to be in debt!

-- Posted by gardengirl on Wed, Jun 25, 2008, at 10:40 AM

Oh, my! What a requirement!

What sort of things do you get to do, gardengirl??

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jun 25, 2008, at 7:00 PM

It's basically a shopping trip; we spend several hours at the shops in downtown St. Charles then go to one of the big malls for "modern" shopping.

Come to think of it, there might be farm families who aren't in debt but just own Farm Credit stock.

Wouldn't that be nice?

-- Posted by gardengirl on Thu, Jun 26, 2008, at 2:24 PM

AAAhhhhhhhhhh!! 'twould be heaven on earth!!!

We farmed until we went broke. I can't imagine how they keep going now, with gas prices what they are, and flooding, and now the summer drought season starting early! (I hope I'm wrong about the drought...)

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jun 26, 2008, at 5:37 PM

GL...if last year was a glimpse into the drought that could come this year...you're not wrong. That's the dryest I've ever seen it around here...

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Fri, Jun 27, 2008, at 12:58 AM

Well, I know that for years I've left the area for the 4th, and everything is green and gorgeous - but when I get back, southeast Missouri is dry and parched with no more rain until the fall. This time, the lack of rain started in June.

Little rains like we had last night are just a drop in the bucket - we need a slow overnight rain to catch up.

I sure hate to see all this beautiful greenery dry up! Right now, my farm looks like a paradise! It's blindingly green!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Jun 27, 2008, at 8:05 AM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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