David in St Louis
That's me in the middle with my brother and sister during our first trip to St. Louis.
By David Cawthon
To celebrate 250 years of St. Louis, each member of the Missouri Life team has written about one of their favorite St. Louis memories.
If you asked me about my hallmark St. Louis memory, I couldn’t name one. As a non-Missourian during my childhood, I could talk about my childhood reverence for those Red Birds who played in a mythic city somewhere out west, which remained elusive until my first visit to the Gateway City when I saw the Cardinals play the Twins at Old Busch Stadium in the ’90s. I could also talk about the Arch and my surprise as youngster when I found out I could travel inside the structure to the top. On that trip, I explored the brick streets near the river and, honestly, that’s all I can recall.
But those early memories were primers for my later experiences there.
I moved to Missouri for graduate school at MU in late 2011. My first trip back to St. Louis was for a 2011 game at New Busch Stadium (the first time I’d seen the new stadium up close) where I saw the Cardinals lose to the Cubs. Still, I saw the future World Series champions on the field that day.
I would again visit the city for a friend’s wedding at the World’s Fair Pavillion in Central Park. It was a beautiful ceremony that took place just as the sun melted in the horizon, washing pastels of evening color onto the evening sky. The rabbi’s message that in diversity and acceptance, there’s unity—something I won’t forget. The celebration with Columbia’s Latin music group, La Movida, taught me that as a six-foot-six, lanky guy, I can hack my way through dancing when my partner knows how to dance… and I drink enough wine.
On another excursion, I explored the nooks and crannies of The Book House, a home-turned-bookstore that was filled from floor to ceiling (literally) with reads that spanned every interest and subject. We visited the zoo and the science museum. Afterward, I meandered through the Central West End and the Loop, where I explored the jazz collections in record stores and played Scrabble at a coffee shop late at night with someone I would grow to love—my girlfriend, Leah.
My next trip was for an assignment where I covered the annual FIRST Robotics Competition at the Edward Jones Dome. I met a team from across the country that had rigged up basketball-shooting robots, which they controlled via remote. I interviewed Dean Kamen, Segway creator, and had a brief chat with NBA legend Karim Abdul-Jabbar.
I dragged along four friends to the 2012 Cardinals game where starting pitcher Joe Kelly would falter and San Francisco would score 15 runs. Depending on how you analyze the 15-0 shutout at home, it could be the second worst loss in the team’s history, next to their August 1961 19-0 stomping at home against, well, the San Francisco Giants. I took solace that we all saw history that day, and the delicious beers I sampled across the world at iTap after the game eased the emotional bruises.
On each of my visits, I’ve experienced a bit more of St. Louis and, though there was no week-long vacation or epic event that defines my perception of the city, it’s those small moments with the people closest to me that have remained with me the longest.
And, perhaps, I can watch the Cardinals win a game at Busch some day and snap my winless streak. If not, I know now that I can at least find some good brews, good food, and good company after the game to help heal the wounds.
Read more of our St. Louis memories here. Please share your memories with us on Facebook, in our comments sections, or by emailing email@example.com. Check out our February 2014 issue for a massive story on St. Louis's 250 years, featuring FEAST Magazine Publisher and Editor Catherine Neville, radio personality Charlie Brennan, and more.