I’ve been in Springfield, Missouri for the last 30 hours and WHAT FUN! I love going places. If you haven’t been in Springfield, MO for the last 30 hours, here’s just a taste of what you have missed:
- Folks in Missouri are friendly, but you can keep your yoga pants in your own damn parking lot. We don’t want your patchouli smellin’ stretchy pants up in here, thank you very much.
- My hotel is hosting the Professional Outdoor Media Association conference and film festival (most of the short films that were showing in the lobby tonight have scores by Bob Seger or AC/DC). During breakfast, I sat next to four guys who talked about chiggers and deer ticks for 25 minutes straight. It was me, the outdoor media dudes, and the North Dakota State basketball team fighting it out for the breakfast buffet. Those suckers never saw me coming and I left with ALL the honeydew.
- This is my friend from all the way back in college, Dr. Pamela Sailors. She is a philosopher who specializes in the field of sports ethics (which means that our lunch conversation included topics like whether/when you are obligated to rescue a fellow climber on Mount Everest). She is my favorite kind of person: smart, funny, genuine, and interested in the world.
- We had lunch at Cafe Cuzco in the revitalized downtown district. This restaurant is the creation of a chef who liked the food in Peru so much that he decided to bring it to this neck of the woods. Along the way, they restored a defunct pharmacy building. It has a pressed tin ceiling and wooden booths imported from Peru, so it’s beautiful AND you get food that is healthy, fresh and delicious. I had the yerba mate (green tea) and a chicken aji verde that was sublime.
- While we were eating this sublime food, the sounds of classical guitar swirled around us. I didn’t even realize the music was live until we got up to leave. I thanked this man for sharing his gift. What a beautiful sound on a gloomy gray day!
- When Pam listed some local tourist attractions, she mentioned the Bass Pro Shop. I assured her, “Oh, we have one of those in Georgia.” Ha. This is THE Bass Pro Shop, the one that started them all. It was so much fun! I almost bought me some jelly worms. I got G a little can of shredded up beef jerkey that looks like a can of Copenhagen. How perfect is THAT?
- This is a bronze statue of a whitetail buck, 15x life size. Look how shiny it is!
- This grizzly reminded me of the time that Daddy borrowed a lake house from a client of his who was a big trophy hunter (gross). Right in the entryway of the house was a 10 foot stuffed grizzly, just like this one. We told the nephews, who were little boys at the time, that they weren’t allowed to touch these taxidermy pieces that were scattered throughout the house. The next morning, I found them all clustered behind the grizzly bear. I asked what they were doing and Jackson said, “Trying to find his butthole.”
- I got to give a talk for Women In History Month. I put a lot of work into it and the work paid off. I told stories, asked people to think, tied ideas together, and got a few laughs. It meant a lot to me, because as much as I’ve been in front of audiences, I felt like this was the first time I was there as a Writer.
- And then there was beer, and it was good.
- “You go through St. Louie, Joplin Missouri, Oklahoma City looks might pretty…” We cruised down Route 66! (Even if it was only for a mile or so). I’ve always wanted to see Route 66 and now I have! What a surprise.
- This is a hotel where Elvis stayed in 1956. Their digital sign says, “Elvis Slept Here….Pets Welcome!…Free Wifi.”
- Once I’ve rested a bit, I’ll post parts of the talk. I learned some cool stuff while putting it together. It felt so good to feel people listening, to see people nodding their heads at the interesting parts and laughing at the funny parts.
So, to sum up my first trip to Missouri: no yoga parking, chiggers, yerba mate, dear friends, guitar, jelly worms, grizzly butthole, writer, get your kicks, beer, Elvis Slept Here, nodding and listening.
And that’s the day that makes me grateful to be going places.