Friday, December 29, 2006

10:30 a.m.
As I relax on a plane returning from a peaceful and fulfilling trip back to my roots in St. Louis, it’s time to review the high points of the week. I think, first of all, of the many happy meals I shared with the family: a dinner at Steak ‘n’ Shake with mom and Al; a lively lunch at Schlafly’s in Maplewood with Al, Mike, and Pete; a family-style buffet at the lovely Innsbruck home of Barb and Mike; an elegant dinner (and poetry reading!) at Pete and Barbara’s; and delicious home-made soup with Maysie, Don, and their cheerful family. I ate well on this trip, and with good food came good companionship. French fries, salads, and smiles seemed to go well together. Another good chunk of my visit was spent just seeing a few St. Louis sights. Some of us went to the Missouri Botanical Garden to view a display of exotic glass-making, and mom and I enjoyed the drive through the countryside on our way to Innsbruck. I also spent a number of hours aimlessly cruising old, memory-filled neighborhoods in my rental car. All in all, though, I guess the highest of the high points was simply being with my extended family again. I loved (as usual) the comfortable hours with Al and Mary Anne, and being with my gracious and admirable mother was like turning back the clock. I am lucky to be part of a remarkable family, and this past week I felt luckier than ever.

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