Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Good Time In The Gateway City Part 2

Welcome back. As this post begins, I want to take you back to Saturday July 22. Paula and I are spending a long weekend with our friends in St. Louis. 

Our plans for the day changed direction with the discovery of what a wonder the is when we attended the show at the Fox Theater on Thursday

As we were standing in the lobby that night, Patty found out from one of the staff volunteers that there are tours on Saturday mornings. We decided that we wanted to learn more about this magnificent link to the past.  

On Saturday morning, about 9:30 we headed back toward downtown St. Louis. Once again, at my suggestion, we stopped by the Stage Left diner before hand. This time it was for breakfast.

At first it was nice because the place was not crowded at all as it had been on Thursday evening. But that was about the only thing that was better about this 2nd visit.  

The morning sun shining through the window blinds caused a bit of a problem for us to the point where we had to switch our table after ordering.

The breakfast food was a little lower on the food quality scale than had been our dinner the other night. We probably won't be going back there again. 

After we finished breakfast we headed over to the Fox Theater box office to buy our tour tickets. 
Once we got them, we entered the lobby through the same doors as Thursday. 

As part of a very large group the four of us stood in the lobby awaiting the start of the tour. As I looked around I noticed something about the lobby that was different than when we were there on Thursday. It's not something you'd see in a theater built in this day and age of tight budgets and high construction costs. Here's a video to show you what I mean. 
video
A little after 10:30, we were given a very enthusiastic greeting by a woman who was in charge of the theater tours. She welcomed us to the...
A name she told us was exclusive to this facility in St. Louis. It was obvious that she was very proud of what we were about to see as she explained some of the theater's history and plugged the upcoming season of Broadway shows.
   
She went on to say that our tour would start shortly but first she wanted to show us something that no one else on any previous tour had seen. 

We were led to our right into what I would call the extended vestibule of the theater through a series of archways to a small split level room with tables, a piano, and bar. 

The tour director announced that this was "Curtain Call", the brand new Fox Theater lounge. It had been created at the cost of $1 million dollars.  

I'll have more on this new addition and the entire theater tour in my next post focusing exclusively on The Fox Theater. 

Our theater tour lasted about 2 1/2 hours and most of that was spent walking or standing. So after we were finished I was pretty tired. 

All of us were hungry so Mark and Patty suggested that we go to a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch.  We drove through downtown St. Louis to Rosalita's Cantina. 
Mark did a good job getting through the traffic created by crew from the water department working on a near by water main break. We got a parking spot just steps from the door. 

I had my usual Mexican dish, chicken fajitas. Paula had a taco salad. Neither of us finished our entire entree. We took them back to the town house to have for supper. 

At the start of our Saturday our afternoon plans included something I had requested to do. 

Some time after our first visit to St. Louis, last September, I found out that there is an IKEA store there. Other than Atlanta the St. Louis store the one the furniture franchise store  that's even remotely close t to those of us who live in Kentucky. I've heard so much both pro and con about IKEA that I want to experience one for myself. 
That was our plan for Saturday afternoon. 

I knew that IKEA stores were big and it took a long time to walk through one. But it wasn't until we passed the St. Louis store a couple of times on our journey around the city that I realized exactly how big this one really was. 

Because the theater tour had me on my feet for so long, I was really tired. While at lunch, I withdrew my request to go to IKEA and suggested we just go back to the town house and chill. 

We had been with the Quigley's for two days and had not done the one thing we really enjoy; playing cards. 

Ponytail Canasta around the kitchen table is the number 1 activity of choice for the four of us whenever we hang together. Rather than explain how to play here's a link to the rules: How To Play Ponytail Canasta

For this visit we divided into our usual teams, the guys against the ladies. While we played we listened to music on my I-pod. I had created a playlist for us but we also listened to some special requests. 

We played two games over the course of the afternoon and evening. Stopping only to warm up the leftover Mexican food for our supper. 

Mark & I weren't so lucky in our second game. We got "skunked". 

Our St. Louis Saturday came to a close about 10 when we all said "good night" so we could get up early in the morning. 

Sunday in Missouri started for us by doing something we hadn't done in a while, going to church. 

Mark & Patty had recently started attended First Baptist Church of Arnold. It's about 7 miles north west of where they live in Fenton. We went to the 9:30 service the 2nd of 3 held each Sunday morning. 

It's a large church with a very big worship center and a gym (aka family life center), a "banquet hall" and lots more. It's what I call a "Mega" church. The main auditorium was set up with all the modern electronics necessary for the "Smart phone" world we live in now; including broadcasting over the internet.

Here's a bird's eye view of the worship center. We were sitting in the 2nd row right in front of the pulpit. 

When we walked into the sanctuary the first thing I noticed was the giant screens on either side. A timer counting down the time before the service would begin was running on both of them. 

We found our seats and were greeted by the Senior Assistant Pastor of the church. 

With about 2 minutes to go on the timer the screens switched to show a video produced in the style of the "first look" segments you see if you arrive extra early to a movie these days. 

It did a quick run down of what was happening at the church over the next few weeks. It was an interesting way of making the announcements. 
After a short song service, a song by the choir and full orchestra and the collection of the offering the crowded platform was cleared leaving just the preacher. 

The pastor, Ken Qualls, preached about a sermon about the word "Nothing" in the Bible. This day's message was about "Fishing for souls". 

Part of his message in regard to developing relationships with non-Christians outside of church was something that Mark has been talking about for the last few years. I can understand why he is drawn to that church. 

One of Paula's best friends from work grew up in St. Louis. This friend absolutely loves Imo's pizza; a local restaurant franchise. When she found out that Paula was going to St. Louis for the weekend she asked my wife to bring back a large Imo's pizza for her. 

So after church Mark and I went to Imo's Pizza to pick up her pizza and get ourselves some lunch. We each got a 12 inch pizza to split with our wives along with the "to go" pizza. 

It was the first time any of us had ever had Imo's. Although I'm not usually a "thin crust" guy, I liked it. The unique thing about this pizza is that Imo's uses a special blended cheese called "Provell". A mixture of cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheese. It's very popular in local St. Louis cuisine.  

Shortly after we finished eating lunch, we packed up and I loaded our suitcases and other stuff into our car. 

At about 12:30 we went with Mark & Patty (in separate vehicles) to an open house close to interstate that would be the first leg on our trip home. 

Mark had found the house was for sale online and wanted us to go look at it with them before we headed back to Kentucky. 

We looked through the house and they really liked it. They even engaged in some conversation with some of the very friendly neighbors. Patty really appreciated the fact that it was less than 10 minutes from where their daughter, son-in-law, and grand daughters live. 

Once we finished our tour of the potential future Quigley homestead we said "good-bye" to our hosts. We thanked them for a fun weekend and generous hospitality. 

We followed them out of the housing development to Telegraph Road and then on to highway 255. Soon we quickly crossed over the Mississippi into Illinois. 

Our weekend with the Quigley's was over and the longest pizza delivery I've ever made had begun. 

We had a smooth trip home making a brief stop in Evansville to fill up with gas and get some supper from Arby's. We arrived back home around 7. As always, it was good to get away and good to get back home again. 

Thank you for reading part 2 of my account of our weekend in St. Louis with our friends. I realize that this post was more of a journal than anything else. But I really wanted to make a record of the great time we had. 

My next post will be published soon. I will shine the spotlight on and share more details about our experiences at the Fabulous Fox Theater. I promise it will be worth coming back to read about this great venue. See you then.

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