St. Louis, MO
360 view of mug
Mom and I went back to St. Louis in October of 1996 to see some of that stuff the Cardinals fans suggested at the ballgame in July. On our first afternoon in town we went to a winery. Parking on the grounds was guided during busier times and that’s when I was almost kicked out of the state!
Okay, I guess I need a little background to explain why I was so despicable that the St. Louis natives who were so kind to us in July were threatening me with deportation from Missouri in October. Remember I told you that up until the National League Championship playoffs in 1995, I thought I’d forsaken my childhood National League team for the Braves because I planned to become an Atlanta resident? In the time of expendable income I bought a lot of fan gear for the Braves, including 2 Jackets I’d gotten on sale and a “Tomahawkin'” state of Georgia front license plate. Since the time of discovering I couldn’t cheer against the Reds, not when it really mattered, I now have front and back Reds license plates that match the little red Camaro better! But, at that time, I had the Tomahawkin’ front plate and was fending off the bit of October chill with my Braves dugout jacket.
It happened to be the day before Game one of the World Series when we visited the winery. The 1996 World Series was between Atlanta and New York. The National League Championship Series had been between Atlanta and St. Louis. When we pulled into the lot at the winery, the guy directing parking, with a grin, said he shouldn’t let us in but should just send us home with “that plate.” So, there’s the story you’ve been reading the Mug Shot for 6 weeks to hear. Sorry if my threatened deportation form Missouri isn’t as exciting as a 6-week build up might have lead you to expect. Yet, baseball having everything to do with it really fits The Chronicles of Nani’s usual content!
The Museum of Transportation was very cool! There were vintage street cars, trains and even classic cars in various stages of restoration. Now call me a bad example of a Detroit native, but the classic cars have never interested me. I still think most of them are just shined up used cars. My Detroit pride is in that my 18-year old Camaro still works, even with some nicks, scratches and things that used to work better. My 13-year old Buick has a couple dents and cracks from a fender-bender last year. It was my fault, slipped on ice. No report filed because we were both okay and the damage was cosmetic. I fixed the car I hit instead of mine. But my cars, even the muscle car, are transportation not trophies. They’ll get scratched in a parking lot or minor damage from Midwest winters and if they are good cars they’ll still be transportation. Mine are still transportation over a decade later; they are good cars. I’m still not going to shine them up and invite people to “look at my car, but you can’t drive it.” But to each his own and to all those who enjoy classic cars, I’ll stay out of your way if they have trains.
Oh, and the trains at the Museum of Transportation! There were old examples of man powered rail cars, steam engines from early to late in the era of steam and early and recent diesel locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars, so much rail history! I think Mom enjoyed the “train zoos” so much because I was such a little kid when we went. Unlike an indoor museum there were not a ton of “don’t touch” signs. I climbed up on a Union Pacific locomotive and walked around a little. Mom got the cheesy photo of me on the UP loco wearing that "public enemy number one" jacket!
It was a fun visit back to St. Louis in the fall that included wineries, museums, a St. Louis Blues hockey game and a ride in a capsule to the top of the Gateway Arch! They did let me stay and thankfully, since my best friend ended up moving to Missouri a few years later, they even let me come back; as long as I promise to spend money! Still, I wonder if my visiting St. Louis before the sting of the Cardinals losing the NLCS wore off is why the Yankees won the World Series that year.