Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reality Check

June 14, 2011

This morning dawned gray and rainy. Collin took off to grab some donuts from:

Donut Dive-In
6525 Chippewa Street
St. Louis, MO 63109-4106
(314) 645-7714

Everyone really liked the donuts.  Emma said they were delectable, especially the caramel ones. Collin said, “As a lover of all things donutty, I thought they were delish. I personally thought the glazed, raised and the sprinkle donuts had good texture and flavor.” Aidan thought they were kind of dry. I thought the buttermilk bar was good, but not as good as one I had from a bakery in Salt Lake City, UT. We had to keep them in the oven so the dogs wouldn’t get them. When Collin threw the box away, the dogs were both standing there looking at Collin and Amanda gave the following commentary as if the dogs were speaking,

“So Collin, what are you doing with that box? Any crumbs left? We’ll take the papers, we’re not picky. Come on, don’t just throw it away!”

We had a nice chance to talk with Amanda over donuts and herbal tea where she described her very interesting and complicated job.

The bathroom door didn’t have a lock and right when I was about to get in the shower, the door swung open and Lizzy, the golden retriever, pushed her way into the bathroom.  Thank goodness it wasn’t one of Amanda’s kids! When I got out of the shower, Buddy, the pit bull, jumped in the tub and started drinking from the tap.

The rubber hit the road around 11 a.m.  We stopped at Meramec Caverns. They had an awesome Zip Line, but none of our kids weighed enough to go on it. They were UPSET! Collin and told them that if they eat more, we can come back sometime. We were going to go in the cavern, but it was pretty expensive ($20 per adult and $10 for each child), plus the tour would have put us behind an hour and a half. The gift shop was pretty cool, all sorts of ktischy wonders in that place.  We let the kids throw rocks in the river for a while and watched people zooming across the zip line.

We finished the book Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan and there were some really sad parts in the book, almost all of us were crying. I even got teary eyed and choked up as I was reading out loud.

On our way to Joplin, MO, we received an email from Aidan’s middle school telling us that a student had died suddenly and that counselors were available should the students need them. The boy who died was a friend of ours. Collin had gone on a kayaking trip with him, our children sang a song at his baptism, and we would all stop and chat with him when we saw him around town. He is our friends’ nephew. We were all naturally devastated by the sad news. Our children cried a lot. Aidan felt regret that he hadn’t gotten to know him better when he had the chance, but felt comfort in knowing that his friend went to heaven.

We stopped in the 1960’s era Joplin Municipal Building, to see a mural by artist Thomas Hart Benton depicting life in Joplin at the turn of the 20th century. It was the last work he completed before he died.  Then we drove down one of the streets most devastated by the recent tornado. It was sobering to see an entire block completely razed to the ground. Stranger still were houses standing completely undamaged in a sea of rubble.  Many businesses had signs stating that they were still open. It was heartening to see that people still had that fighting spirit and were carrying on with their lives in the face of disaster. It made us all feel really grateful that we live in an area that historically doesn’t have freak natural disasters. We are so thankful for what we have. So not the happiest day on our trip, but that’s life. Every day can’t be fun and wonderful. Plus, the sad times really make you appreciate the good times.

Claremore! We arrived at Collin’s uncle Steve and his wife Shelly’s house around 7 p.m.  They have 3 kids at home: Nick, Maison, and Taylor. Aidan, Emma, and Ian played Wii with them.  Steve recommended a Mexican place called: 

El Maguey 
1958 South Highway 66
Claremore, OK 74019
(918) 314-7677

right across the road in a strip mall. The chips were hot, super thin, and crunchy. The salsa was super fresh. Emma tried salsa for the first time, but it didn’t float her boat. Everyone else loved the chips and salsa. Collin ordered the Rancherita (one chicken burrito and one chicken enchilda topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese). Aidan and Emma split a steak quesadilla. Ian ordered grilled shrimp and rice, topped with cheese. I ordered la Bandera (three enchilada topped with our three sauces, one chicken, one cheese, and one bean served with rice and beans), I also ordered a side of guacamole and sour cream. Collin and I shared an horchata. My cheese enchilada toped with cheese sauce tasted like fake cheese, otherwise, everything was sabroso. The food was totally authentic.  All the workers there were Latina and very nice.We all practiced our Spanish a little. I ate WAY too many chips. I could barely eat my real meal because I pigged out on chips and salsa and drank so much horchata. There were a few moments when I thought I might throw up from stuffing my face.

Lightning split the sky as we rolled ourselves back to Steve’s, almost too full to walk. Steve and Shelly have a family tradition with their kids of watching America’s Got Talent. Steve and Shelly's dog bear was really friendly. Collin and the kids loved petting her. Shelly said they should rename her Pig Pen from Peanuts because she sheds so much.

Tomorrow, more donuts, this time from the Donut Shop in Sapulpa, Okla., Shelly's hometown. They are sold out be 10 a.m. every day so we're going to have to get an early start.


SeƱora H-B said...


1) I'm so sorry to hear about your friend passing away. How sad!

2) I can't tell you how many times I've stopped at that over-the-road McDonald's on the way to my parents' house. Crazy!

Tara said...

Where do your parents live?