Ken was showing the signs of game day on the Thursday before Labor Day. He paces more, is anxious about everything being right, and generally restless.
We arrived at Charleston about 2pm and had to cut some branches out of the Sycamore tree before we could get ‘Baby’ down the driveway and settled in at Trevor’s place.
The boys arrived back at the house about 2:30pm and some of the other parents started arriving as well. All of the 5 guys in the house seemed to exhibit pre-game tensions in different ways. There was generally lots of pacing, some stayed separate, ‘meditating’ with their MP3 players, others were talking, talking, talking, just getting it all out. This is such a great group of guys that Trevor lives with. They all seem to really show a lot of care and concern for each other. Two of them are team captains and that care and concern for each other is an obvious part of the team in general. They seem to be a really tight team, which we’ve learned is what its all about.
The guys left at 4pm and after shutting down and settling the dogs into the RV we headed for the game as well.
We were pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere at the stadium. There was already lots of activity and tailgating was well underway. We met another couple who had a motorhome there and discussed ‘the ropes’ on arrival and setup for when we bring ‘Baby’. We also met the gentlemen in charge of the parking and he assured us he would save us a spot for the motorhome for every 1:30 game, but encouraged us to be there by 11am if we want to have room enough room to get turned around and positioned as we’d like.
The local liquor store and primary bar sponsors actually provide a tent with free beer, brats and burgers before the home games, so that is definitely the place to be. It will also limit the amount of food we need to bring with us for tailgating!
There is a lot of team spirit here and it was a real ‘Mom thrill’ to see my boy run out on the field with the team for his first game as a Panther. He’s number 65 near the top of the picture.
Despite the lopsided ending score, the game had its fair share of excitement. Trev had a decent amount of playing time and was on defense for 3 turnovers including one where he got the fumble recovery.
We met up with the guys outside after the game for awhile before they went into the showers.
Although their was some general celebration after the game, the team has pledged not to drink and drive in honor of one team members, Micah Rucker’s girlfriend who was killed by a drunk driver, so the guys keep it under control.
Friday morning Ken had his coffee outside while chatting with his brothers who watched the game on TV.
We fed Trev breakfast and then went in to the Book Store while Trev went to a class. I found some great little Panther scarves for Ditka and Sox to wear to the games and a new coffee cup for work. I could have easily dropped several hundred dollars on Panther items if Ken wouldn’t have reigned me in!
Trev likes having us cook meals he likes from home when we have the RV rather than go to restaurants so we did Salmon Croquettes for lunch. One of the other guys from the house, James Larson, aka 'Pug', joined us for lunch. Mealtimes with these guys are some of our favorite times in Charleston since we really get to know everyone better over some good home cooking!
The guys went back in to town for practice after lunch and Ken and I packed up for our trip to St. Louis. We knew our timing wasn’t the greatest since besides Friday afternoon, this was the weekend of the Mizzou-Illini game in St. Louis, a big blues festival, an air show, a Japanese festival…etc., The traffic didn’t really get bad until about a mile from the Mississippi River. Since Ken knew the lanes he needed in advance it actually worked out find since the 3 or 4 miles creeping along at 20 mph were right where we had to find and make several exits so we had plenty of time for reaction. Ken had called brother Micheal, who was meeting us at the St. Louis RV Park and told them they best plan their evening without us since this 140 mile trip had been pretty tiring for him.
I knew in advance that the St. Louis RV Park was not going to be one of our preferred parks. We know we prefer more rustic, private areas, but let’s face it, we were here for a wedding in downtown St. Louis so being downtown made sense. By the time we arrived, Ken’s brother Michael and sister-in-law Jean were already at the evening’s St. Louis Card’s game.
While the RV park is basically a parking lot with hookups, it does have a nice pool and very nice hosts. It’s also very clean. It’s not a part of town where I’d take walks by myself but the park itself is fully fenced and feels secure. If you are coming to St. Louis to visit downtown attractions such as the arch, ballgames, museums or the zoo, this place is very conveniently located.
Setup went quickly and then we did spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner, something easy and quick, so we could kick back for what was left of the evening. Ken’s brother David, father of the bride, and his wife, Cindy, came by to bring us ‘welcome bags’, like they’d left at the hotel for the other guests. That was very thoughtful of them. In fact the cookies included were so good that we were thinking of being devious and swiping them out of the bag they left for Michael and Jean! It’s good Michael and Jean got back when they did or they may have been cookie-less.
Saturday was Jean’s birthday so we headed to Zia’s on the Hill for lunch. Our contribution was a bottle of Montevina Terra d’Oro Zinfandel. Definitely a wine I’ll do again.
Back at the RV, poor Ditka was itching up a storm. He has allergies that flare up every August/September and, although he’d had an allergy shot a few weeks back, it was now apparent, that, like last year, he would need at least two shots to relief his itching. We decided to walk to the nearby convenience store to buy him some Benadryl as a holdover since he seemed so miserable. There were a lot of people in and out of this store, and for some reason, a couple of the guys thought we should sell them our dogs. I was glad to get back to the confines of the RV park.
We walked through the festival and checked out a couple of the restaurants. It would have been a 2 hour wait for any table on the landing so we decided to head out away from the festival and ended up eating at Maggie O’Briens. Great ribs and a seat where we could watch the Card’s game and the Southern Cal game on different TV’s.
We all took the dogs for a leisurely walk when we got back to the RV Park and then called it a night. While the Benadryl did seem to be helping Ditka, he slept on the foot of our bed and had lots of bouts of itching that vibrated the whole bed. Ken woke up enough at one point to tell me to quit putting quarters into the bed!!
Sunday, I took my computer down to the pool and started on this blog. . They had really comfortable lounge chairs and were in not for the wedding I could have made that my roost for the entire day.
Jennifer and David had everything extremely well organized. We met at that Renaissance Hotel, which was the base of activities for the wedding, and boarded busses to the Art Museum at Forest Park.
They had one bus leave early so that we could spend a few hours in advance enjoying the lovely scenery at Forest Park and browse the Art Museum before the wedding. If art museums are your thing, this could easily take your full day.
It’s been years since Ken and I had visited and now we want to go back when we can spent more time getting to know some of these famous works. I think my favorites are the Monet’s along with the number of ancient Buddhist sculptures and Mayan pottery they’ve acquired over the years.
Here they are under the canopy during the ceremony
…and as the newly announced Mr. And Mrs. Loiter.
After the ceremony, we were transported back to the Renaissance Hotel for an evening of dinner and dancing. It was a wonderful evening with family and meeting several new friends from the East Coast, who were long-time friends of the Loiter family. Nine of ten of the Frericks brothers and sisters were in attendance along with spouses, so we always wonder if we can be a bit overwhelming as a clan!
Unfortunately, as usual, my internal clock, clicked to ‘off’ at about 10:30 and so we decided to call it an evening and were back to the motorhome by 11:30. Having been inside since 2:00, Ditka and Sox were very happy to get in a midnight walk.
Monday, we rode with Michael and Jean back down to the Renaissance Hotel for a buffet brunch hosted by Cindy and David for the out-of-town guests. We got to say our final good-byes to new friends and out-of-town relatives, like Rick Woodward, who had traveled in from Washington state.
Back at the RV park at noon, we packed up and headed out…we headed back to another work week in Quincy while Michael and Jean, lucky retirees that they are, decided to drop by Pierre Marquette State Park for a day or two.