big horses, beer and a train

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This post shows how random I truly am. While driving into the city today, I heard that Senator Frank Lautenberg had died.  My sister  was an intern for Senator Lautenberg one summer.  Hearing of his passing reminded  me of a trip I had taken to visit her while she was in  Washington DC. That same summer Bruce had wanted to attend a Firefighter Convention in Baltimore . So we decided to include the Firefighter Convention, the Washington DC trip and a trip to Kansas in our summer vacation plans. We would stay at hotels in Baltimore and Washington then tent camp in St Louis and continue onto Bruce’s sister’s home in Kansas.

There are a couple of funny antidotes from that trip that still make me smile or is it cringe?!? Emily wondering “where the seatbelts were on the train?” Meghan being folded into the new umbrella stroller as we crossed the street. But the thing I always remember was when we returned from this adventure and people asked my kids “so what did you do on your big trip?” My girls responded “we saw the big horses at the place they make beer!” Did I mention they had been to the Baltimore Aquarium, ridden the train from Baltimore to Washington DC, had a private tour via my sister of the Capitol and even gone in the Senate chambers when it was in session. And we visited the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian, driven by all the Memorials at night, swam in the hotel’s rooftop pool, seen the Arch in St Louis and visited the St Louis Zoo. And the *Anheuser Busch tour was the thing they liked best. Oh, I did I mention they were 4 and 7 years old. And people especially church people give you funny looks when your kids talk about “the place they make beer.” Still makes me laugh.

The other note worthy story  happened on the journey home. When we left Kansas, we drove back to St Louis for our first stop.  It was later than we had planned and it was raining. As Bruce got out of the truck to  register us, I said “see if one of the cabins is available.”  When he returned, he informed me “there were no cabins and the train runs right by here.” I didn’t really pay attention to the train comment. Setting up a tent and fixing dinner in the rain with two young children was not my idea of fun but “we” muddled through. The girls sat in the pickup truck as we set up the tent and some way or the other I made dinner. We cleaned up and crawled into our sleeping bags.  I looked at Bruce and said “this is the last tent camping trip I am doing.” And then in the middle of the night,  the ground  started rumbling and the train rolled by. In the Midwest the trains are long, very long and the ground shakes, really shakes.  And  I thought this is how the Native Americans felt when the white man came. In the morning the sun was shining and I could see that the train tracks were very close. Years later Bruce would “confess” that he didn’t ask about a cabin. He figured we had the tent so why not sleep in it. Oh, my!

*As I wrote this, I originally wrote Budweiser then I realized that was wrong. Obviously I wasn’t the beer drinker in the family. And my girls were right  Clydesdales were cool. 🙂

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