Saturday, June 03, 2006

ST. LOUIS JOURNAL: May 27-29, 2006

May 27, 2006

Mike and Nancy were married today in a lovely ceremony in the courtyard of a small hotel in Clayton. Despite the warmth of the day, it was an unforgettable ritual, partly because of the beautiful setting. As we sat on the brick patio in the quaint courtyard, I felt like we were somewhere in Europe. The high walls of the old buildings surrounding us were positioned in such a way that cooling breezes passed among us, thus bringing a sense of pleasantness and of something wonderful starting for Nancy and Mike. When the ceremony (complete with heartwarming singing by Neil and Liz) was finished, we enjoyed lunch in the courtyard – salad, sandwiches, and very cold white wine. We all took our time enjoying the meal and catching up with family. I recall that the wine was especially refreshing on that muggy afternoon. After lunch, many of us offered toasts to the new couple. I recited a crazy but sincere poem, and others spoke from the heart of their feelings for Nancy and Mike. I’m sure many of us were perspiring somewhat as we were listening, but I’m sure we were also thinking deeply and loving truly.

May 28, 2006

Today we celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday, and it was a refreshingly cool and joyous occasion. We gathered – probably around 60 of us – at the downtown Missouri Athletic Club, a roomy, old-world men’s club that seemed to take us back in time to the 1940’s or thereabouts. The high cool ceilings, tall old windows, and shiny marble floors made us feel even more special than we already did on that very special occasion. Rather than simply celebrating a birthday, I felt like we were there to honor some high-ranking dignitary. And, on second thought, I think we were. My mother has gracefully survived 90 sometimes tumultuous years with aplomb and dignity, and it was certainly fitting that we celebrate her birthday in such a stately building. We talked, laughed, sang, danced offered toasts, told old stories, and enjoyed delicious drinks and snacks. It was wonderful to see four generations of Salsichs meeting and mixing and catching up. While some of the grandparents quietly shared family news, some of the grand- and great-grandchildren spun yo-yos, played toy flutes, and dashed hither and yon. It was a party worthy of a wonderful 90 year life.

May 29, 2006
Today, about twenty members of the Salsich family gathered at the newly opened Busch Stadium to swelter in the celebrated St. Louis heat and enjoy a Cardinal’s baseball game. Some of us started at a parking lot hang-out called “Al Hrabosky’s” (named for a legendary Cardinal pitcher of a few decades ago)where we drank frosty beers (provided generously by Chris Lawyer) and swapped stories. The heat was intense, but the earsplitting music and icy brews helped us forget how hot it was. We then walked the few blocks to the new ball park, where we enjoyed a classic major league game. The heat, the good-humored crowd, the occasional entertainment, and the fine play of the teams, all provided a memorable afternoon for us. I sat with brother Pete, Pete III, and Pete IV in the hot sunshine, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Pete IV and I kept score, and all of us carefully cast our votes for the all-star teams. (I voted for Cardinals and Red Sox, and against all Yankees and Barry Bonds.) Later, driving home, we four recounted the day’s adventures as we gradually cooled down in the air-conditioned car. I quietly said a prayer of gratitude to myself. I felt thoroughly blessed to have enjoyed such a fulfilling day, the end of a heartwarming three-day weekend.

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