Comics, Violins, Ice Cream and Horses

Or, How I Spent My Saturday.


As usual, personal issues impacted my Free Comic Book Day. This year it was a violin recital by Christine’s daughter Emma (and if it’s Christine’s daughter, by the rules of BFF, she pretty much Laura’s niece, which makes her my niece.). I couldn’t be mad at Emma, because after all she didn’t schedule the recital, unlike the people who chose to get married on Free Comic Book Day.

9388_589423341075744_236022846_nThe recital began at 1 p.m., which meant we had to leave St. Charles by 12:15 p.m., which meant I had to get home by 11:45 p.m. in order to change, shower and eat something (There’s no point in showering before you go to the comic book shops, because you’ll only have to do so again anyway when you get home).

Since most comic shops don’t open until 10 a.m. — even on Free Comic Book Day — that gave me roughly 90 minutes to pack in all the FCBD goodness I could. My first stop would be Star Clipper, the premiere comic book shop of St. Louis, a good half-hour drive away. I didn’t want to get there before 10 a.m. because I don’t want to be one of those pathetic nerds standing outside the comic shop waiting for it to open. I’m a pathetic nerd in many other respects but not that one.

I arrive at 10:10 a.m. and there’s a line that runs into the building and out onto the street, practically to the Tivoli. Dammit, nerds. I knew the place would be busy but I figured most of you wouldn’t show up before noon. Do I wait in line or try my luck elsewhere? I’m already here so I figure I’ll wait a bit and see how it goes.

The line moved smoothly and as we waited we were greeted by a guy dressed as Spider-Man (he wasn’t the real Spider-Man because he wore tennis shoes), an Elvira, someone in something I didn’t recognize, and a guy dressed as The Punisher (he wasn’t the real Punisher because he was making balloon animals for the kids).

TheWalkingDeadFCBD2013_CorrectedI was considering bolting when I was informed that we would be allowed 10 free comics once we got to the table. That’s probably a much better deal that you’d get anywhere else, I figured. No wonder everyone converges here. I was only here for the Marvel Infinity comic, a Walking Dead comic for a zombie-loving person I work with and this year’s Archie offering for Sister2. I can get everything I need in one stop, and then some, so I stayed.

At 11 a.m. I walked out of the store with 9 comics and an awesome “Iron Man 3” pen that had a rotating puzzle thing on top so you could mix-and-match Iron Man, War Machine and Iron Patriot. I liked it more than all my comics.

By the time I hit St. Charles I still had time to stop at Comic Relief, so I dropped in. They were offering 2 free comics and 1 free comic for every $5 purchase. Now you see why everyone goes to Star Clipper. However, CR had “Iron Man 3” HeroClix figures which SC did not, so props for that. I grabbed a tiny Iron Man and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic and headed for home. Another successful FCBD, although some day I would like to attend one and not have to rush around.


We arrived at the violin recital a little after 1 p.m., just in time to listen to the kids tuning up. The program began precisely at 1:13 p.m. because it’s never too young to teach musicians how to be divas.

photo-31Laurie went down front to sit with Emma’s entourage while Andrew and I sat in the back. I handed him my new Iron Man pen and he enjoyed twirling the puzzle part around so that kept him occupied. Emma’s performance was in the first half of the program which was good. Sat through several versions of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Small children dressed up and playing the violin are adorable.

Emma took the stage and gave a moving and flawless performance. And I’m saying that in my role as a somewhat professional entertainment reviewer, not as proud uncle. A few songs later and it was time for intermission. For once I am glad for intermission. Andrew and I go for a walk and by the time we return there are only a couple more songs until the big “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” jam/finale.

Ice Cream

After the show we did what all musicians do to come down from a big performance — we went out for ice cream! The closest ice cream parlor was Serendipity. Dunno if it’s related to the one in New York that was featured in the John Cusack movie of the same name. They did have frozen hot chocolate. At least it was on the menu. When we tried to order it, they were out of hot chocolate mix.

The ice cream was good, but then it’s hard to screw up ice cream. The place could use a larger dining area. We got kicked out when a birthday party arrived. Fortunately we had finished our treats.


It was around 4 p.m. when we parted ways with Emma and her entourage. Since we were near where the Mother In Law lives, I suggested we drop in for a visit. Because that’s the kind of son in law I am.

We cruised down Big Bend to Aberdeen Heights, where there was a Kentucky Derby party going on. Got some drinks and retreated to MIL’s apartment. Andrew kept busy drawing at the dining room table while we sat through an hour of preliminaries before the two-minute main event. Given that Laurie and her mother are native Kentuckians, they get a lot more out of the Derby than I do.

We left shortly after the race. As we finally made our way home, I realized we had left my beloved new Iron Man 3 pen back on the dining room table.

Oh well. Almost a perfect day.

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