Meanwhile, driving along . . .

Continuing a theme of he past two posts in my journal, the song for St. Louis has been around for a long time. It was composed for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

"Meet me in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair,
Don't tell me the lights are shining
Any place but there,
We will dance the Hoochee Koochee
I will be your tootsie wootsie,
If you will meet in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair.”

I know that the song is a classic, but it really sounds racy, when you think of it. The Hoochee Koochee sounds suspiciously like the turn of the 20th century version of twerking - sort of like something that might show up on Tiktok nearly a century and a quarter later. And what’s with tootsie tootsie? I guess it is a term of endearment, but it made me think of the rhyme you play with little children while tickling their toes:

This little tootsie went to market
This little tootsie stayed home . . .

I know we learned it as “This little piggy,” but tootsie is a child’s term for toes. Perhaps Meet Me in St. Louis is a bit too sketchy for children, however.

We continued down the highway until:

Everything's up to date in Kansas City
They gone about as fer as they can go
They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high
About as high as a buildin' orta grow.
Everything's like a dream in Kansas City
It's better than a magic lantern show.
You can turn the radiator on whenever you want some heat
With every kind of comfort every house is all complete.
You could walk the privees in the rain and never wet your feet!
They've gone about as fer as they can go.
They've gone about as fer as they can go!

I guess we owe a debt to 1940’s musical theatre for having both of those songs. Both of the musicals were set in the first decade of the 20th century. In the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, they were poking fun at the isolation and backwardness of rural Oklahomans. I suspect that by the time the musical was written, people knew that seven stories wasn’t going to be the epitome in building. These days, One Kansas City Place, 1200 Main, is the tallest building not only in Kansas City but in Missouri. The 42-story building stands 626 feet. And no, indoor plumbing really isn’t as far as they can go. You should see a toilet seat in Japan with sprayers, heaters and driers. That wouldn’t make a very good song, however.

One of the topics chosen for yesterday’s drive was: memorable meals. It was probably prompted by Kansas City barbecue which is a staple for us when we are in western Missouri these days. Our son in law, Michael taught us the joys of this particular style of cooking that involves a lot of smoking, sometimes with dry rubs or marinades and sauces that are added after cooking by the eaters. If you are ever in the area, check it out. You’re in for a treat. But once we got going, we realized that we’ve had far too many memorable meals in this lifetime and the category is not a rare one for us. From bagels and peanut butter while camping to a noodle slide in Japan to Devonshire tea in Tasmania, we’ve had some really memorable meals. Freshly steamed crab on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and real French onion soup served by the wife of one of our professors in seminary came to mind as did a little Thai cafe in Chicago and a Greek restaurant just around the corner from our seminary apartment. We kept listing more and more memorable meals. I guess we’ve done pretty good with eating over the years.

In our rambling way of conversation after passing through St. Louis and St. Charles and heading towards St. Joseph, the topic of “cities with saint names where the saint is a woman” was proposed. We came up with several in California: Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, There are several St. Maries in the country, but we couldn’t come up with any cities named for women saints that are in Missouri.

The miles go by when we are talking and singing together and the traffic in Saint Louis and Kansas City wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. The frogs singing in the trees here in St. Joseph are just as loud and wonderful as the frogs were back in Whittington Woods in Illinois, and we went to bed with our stomachs full of Kansas City barbecue. I had ribs. Susan had a pulled pork sandwich. Coleslaw is the salad of choice in most Kansas City barbecue restaurants, but we often sample potato salad as well to get a taste of how others make the dish. Susan has been adapting and perfecting her potato salad recipe for a long time. The question for last night was whether or not to include the potato skins. Our conclusion is to peel the potatoes first, but there may be sometimes, especially if you have new potatoes, when the peelings add to the salad.

Our lives have been blessed with travel and with good food, often enjoyed with good friends. Having friends from around the world has enhanced our opportunities for eating foods that are different from the things we would eat at home. They also have changed the menus of what we prepare in our own home. Soba noodles have become a staple in our house since we traveled to Japan. Other foods that we cook everyday have been influenced by the friends we have had and the meals we have shared.

The husband of our niece, when responding to a question about special diet needs in advance of a family gathering set for August, wrote that his family is on a pie-based diet and that he didn’t think that the typical raisin-based filling called mincemeat is real mincemeat. Without beef or venison is it really mincemeat? So Susan’s sister is preparing to bake pies for the family. Our son used to specify Kosher meals when flying because he got better food served specially on trips. Of course we don’t get meals on airlines much these days, but it isn’t a bad idea. So I’m wondering if there is a way to describe my love of smoked meats as a special diet requirement.

That could be a topic for more miles of driving.

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