My reading at Left Bank Books in St. Louis was very pleasant. More family and friends were there than strangers, which put me at ease. The setting was tasteful and comfortable. I had lemonade to drink. A black cat was on the premises—an elusive and handsome guy, much like our Twitch. I believe in signs like that—something homey to let a person settle in. In some places, I like my back to the wall.
Afterward, we went for a light meal at Llywelyn’s. We had celebrated there before, after a reading from An Absolute Gentleman. We had forgotten that until the familiarity of the place finally clued us. Add that memory to quick, friendly service, excellent food, and talk about family, country, and books, and you know how mellow the evening was. When the group dispersed, my husband, daughter, and I sat at an outside table. Many people were about, most of them dressed more colorfully and strikingly than is common on Warrensburg’s Thursday nights, and I planned anew to elevate my dress style. It’s a frequent goal, never realized, though I add lovely bits to my wardrobe.
Then we had a mild adventure, not too enjoyable as it occurred but very enjoyable afterward: we lost our car. One of us had parked it and had forgotten which street, and then got lost looking for it. One of us obtained the non-emergency phone number for police, gave them the right intersection streets, the correct restaurant, but the wrong direction from Left Bank Books. Thus the police didn’t come. That was actually all right; it wasn’t an emergency. We were in friendly country, with taxis, cell phones, and hotels. An hour later, one of us took a walk down a street and found the car.
The next day, we visited the St. Louis Zoo, and part of that was marvelous. It was a nice day, with bright sun, and no breezes. Misting fans were strategically placed and very welcome. We enjoyed the togetherness, and, since we all love animals, looked forward to the tour. But the experience became sad. I’m sure that anyone who visits a zoo knows exactly what I mean. Some creatures seem okay in their enclosure, but if even one seems to need a cooler or warmer place, more space, more or less anything, I get uncomfortable. I mean I feel guilty. That happened at the chimp enclosures. There was nothing green. Not a leaf, a stem, or a blade. A scene of forest covered the back wall, giving the illusion of space and freedom, shade and moisture. The enclosure itself was dust, plastic, something like burlap. The chimps, three of them, had their backs to the viewers, and never looked around. I know chimps have lethargic periods, lots of naps. Maybe this was an off day or a quiet time. Maybe it was the old-chimps’ home. And, to be fair, there might have been, and be, a lush habitat just beyond that scene. It would be difficult to keep chimps in greenery. They probably destroy a living tree in a short time—I believe they need boughs and leaves and beds and fans and toys. Their immediate interior space looked like desolation. That’s what their posture suggested, too.
I have photos of the St. Louis trip and I considered posting a few with this blog, and writing only of the reading, and perhaps of the reading and Llywelyn’s. The chimps, though, require inclusion. So no photos just yet.