Hercules, Venus And The Polar Bear

“Let’s go to the Art Museum picnic,” she says. “It’ll be fun,” she says. “Free ice cream,” she says.

“It’ll be crowded,” I says.

“Not if we go late in the afternoon,” she says.

Like a fool, I believed her.

I have a dream. A dream that some day I will go to Forest Park and no one will be there. And I will drive around and around for the fun of it, not because I’m forced to by pylons that keep me from going where I want to go. And I will drive at my own chosen speed, not at a crawl. And I won’t cringe every time I meet a car because there isn’t room for two cars on the road because of all the idiots parked on the street. And I will park wherever I want to park, not miles from my destination. And I will wander the zoo and the basin without having to put up with people, people, people.

Yes. I have a dream. I have another dream, that I will win the lottery and become independently wealthy. This dream has a better chance of coming true, even though I don’t play the lottery.

And so it was that last Saturday we drove down to Forest Park for the Saint Louis Art Museum’s annual picnic. We were willing to pay the $5 member fee for parking in the museum lot, but first we had to get to it. The easiest and most direct route had been blocked off. Why? Who knows? Because it would’ve been too convenient, I guess.

We eventually made it to the museum, but I pulled into the free lot across the street just in case. Much to my surprise, there was a young couple leaving who left us with a primo space. Five dollars saved!

bearWe were early for the picnic so we walked down to the zoo. The line to the polar bear enclosure was insane and ran through the penguin house so we walked around it and straight to the back on the polar bear condo. One of the staff was setting out melons and ice and lettuce for him to eat. A few minutes later he came out and we got to watch him eat and wander around for a bit. And we didn’t have to smell any penguins to do so. More success!

The Wife then took the five dollars I’d saved on parking and bought a bag of kettle corn and we checked out the seals and walked through the River’s Edge and it seemed like all the animals were more alive than usual. Nice.

venusBack at the art museum they were offering tours of the new sculpture garden so we signed up and got our free ice cream while waiting. The serving was like a spoonful of ice cream in the world’s smallest cone. I wondered if this was a promotion for “Ant-Man” but it wasn’t. At least we didn’t wait in line.

The sculpture garden is very nice. Lots of trees and pathways and about a dozen statues. Three decent human-looking ones and several abstract, modern-art things. There was a nice Venus with a water element that I liked and another female nude called “The Mountain” that was neat.

hercThe most impressive piece though was “Hercules and the Hydra.” The Hydra shoulda been bigger and more imposing but it was a cool piece anyway.

After that we went back to the front entrance where the line for a free spoonful of ice cream was now a mile long. I would not have been happy to wait through that line for that small a sample. But free is free.

Went back to the car and got the picnic basket and regretted I didn’t bring the one with wheels. Parked it in the grass and enjoyed a nice picnic dinner. Afterwards The Wife and Son decided to go down and walk around the basin. I decided to stay behind and guard the lawn chairs. After making the big circle, Andrew ran up Art Hill back to our spot. I can barely walk up Art Hill. The main reason I didn’t go with them was because I knew I would have to walk back up that hill.

Laura joined us 10 minutes later.


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