Funny story: Today, I had to stop by the mall, and since it’s our anniversary, I decided to have my rings cleaned. Well, the jeweler polished my wedding ring so well, he got rid of most of the dings and scratches. I have to admit, that made me a little sad…I earned those dings and scratches! But Ryan assures me that it won’t take long to accumulate new ones, so, for today, I’ll just enjoy how shiny they are!
We were very lucky this year, because Art on the Square, one of the most-anticipated annual events in our household, just happened to fall on our wedding anniversary. As always, it was a fun way to spend the morning, walking around, and looking at all of the amazing art that fills our town square!
Even if it’s not something I would actually buy, I love looking at it all! There was jewelry:
Plus the more traditional wall art, of all kinds:
There was also a food court:
And a children’s area (we were there too early to actually make anything):
Of course, we visited our favorite artist, Mark Hurd:
And purchased a print, which matches the poster for the year that we always purchase, and have signed:
We also saw some artists at work, including a painter:
And a wood-carver:
I’m already looking forward to going back next year, and seeing what new things there are to discover!
Last night, Ryan and I went out a couple of days early for our anniversary dinner. He made me choose the restaurant. I wanted to go somewhere new (to me), and fancy-ish, so I picked Maggiano’s.
It fit the bill. We had a candle on our table, there were cloth napkins, and the maitre de was even wearing a jacket and tie! Definitely fancy-ish!
The restaurant was also very pretty:
We shared an appetizer of bruschetta, which I maddeningly forgot to take a picture of, but you’ll have to trust me when I say it was as beautiful as it was delicious. For dinner, I got the salmon oscar (which was the real reason I chose this restaurant, once I saw it on the menu). It was amazing!
And for dessert, we shared a dessert sampler platter, which had creme brulee, an apple crostada, New York style cheesecake with fresh strawberries, chocolate zuccotto cake, and, my personal favorite, tiramisu! We ended up bringing quite a bit of it home…even when the desserts are so tiny, that’s a lot of sweets!
It was a great way to celebrate our 12th anniversary!
It’s been a week and a half since we sat in the Commissioner’s Box at Busch Stadium to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, and I’m just now coming up with words to describe how cool it was!
We got to the stadium before the gates opened (of course!). We weren’t going to miss a moment of our special day, plus, it gave us a chance to take some pictures. While Ryan was busy getting the perfect shot of the statue of “Stan the Man,” I took a picture of him. Taking a picture of someone who is, himself, taking a picture, amuses me for some reason.
Finally, the gates opened, and we headed down to the Commissioner’s Box (the section of green seats–yeah, those were ours!). That’s right, I said down. It’s not often that we have field level seats, so it was strange to not have to go up endless ramps, stairs, and/or escalators! We were greeted by a team of Busch Stadium employees–two women, who were in charge of the seating, and two men, who would be our waiters for the evening. We were invited to go down onto the field for batting practice, to get our picture taken in the Cardinals dugout, (so cool!), and to get started on ordering the endless amounts of food we could have.
There are so many things you notice being that close to the action. I watched the players warm-up before the game–fascinating, especially when the trainer gets involved. It occasionally looked painful, but I’m assuming they knew what they were doing.
I especially liked this sign–it reminded me of a certain notorious incident involving the Cubs. I’m assuming those signs have always been there, but again, I’ve never been close enough to see it before!
For some reason, I was also especially amused watching the catcher, (Molina), pitcher, (Lohse), and pitching coach, (Dave Duncan), walking to and from the bullpen before the game. Yet another little detail I might have *seen* before, but not really processed who the players were, or where they were going.
Our view of the field during the game was amazing. We had an especially good view of first base, but the rest of it was also fantastic!
The game itself wasn’t the most exciting–not that I’m complaining. It was pretty obvious the Cards were going to win, and that was fine by me. It would have been a major bummer to see a losing game from those seats on our anniversary! But, because it wasn’t a particularly tense game, we could pay attention to some other things we might have missed. We could see players blowing bubbles with their gum–funny. We got to watch the photographers working in the camera pit, and we were so close, we could even hear the shutters on their cameras. We had a great view of the police officer assigned to the Cardinals dugout, which was a little weird, but also comforting when the guy sitting next to me, and the guy across the aisle from Ryan looked like they were about to get into a fist fight (the only downside to our evening).
My favorite part, though, was watching the players in the dugout. The pitchers, especially, seemed to be having a good time, and they were always all hanging out together. We saw Adam Wainwright throwing sunflower seeds at this teammates, and we also saw how good-natured he is–he tipped his cap to a group of fans behind us who were chanting his name. (They also got a wave from Jose Oquendo.)
We also got to see Pete Kozma in his Major League debut, which was really cool. He even got an RBI double, which was very exciting, and for that night, he was batting 1.000! Guess who they named the “star of the game” afterward? He said the first thing he was going to do was call his parents–how sweet!
Ryan arranged to have our names on the scoreboard, but in all of the Kozma excitement, I almost didn’t see it. As a matter of fact, Ryan didn’t see it at all, and it will always annoy me that I didn’t get a picture of it. At least one of us saw it, though!
It was a great night–such a fun experience to be treated like a VIP for the game. And the ending was just what we hoped for–a Cardinals win!
Between lunch and the actual baseball game on our anniversary, we went on a tour of Busch Stadium. We had a really good tour guide, who shared lots of interesting side stories in addition to the stadium talk, and who also had a great sense of humor. It was a nice group, too–not too many of us, and most of the people, like us, had tickets to that night’s game.
It was really strange seeing all of the seats empty, and the scoreboards turned off!
We got to tour the Cardinals dugout. It was much bigger than I was expecting!
We also got to check out the view from the “best seat in the stadium”–the press box. The view truly is astounding–and we even got a glimpse of a few players beginning their warm ups down on the field.
The press box is Mike Shannon’s space, so it’s fitting that there’s a tribute to him. We also learned that the press box at Busch Stadium is so large because Mike has a large family, and they are often up there with him during games–pretty cool!
A view outside the most exclusive area of Busch Stadium, (aside from the players’ clubhouse)–The Cardinals Club. Yes, that’s a statue of “Gussie” Busch out front. Did you know that on his 85th birthday, while he was still the owner of the team, the Cards retired the number 85 in his honor? There’s a full-size, fancy sit-down restaurant in the Club. The folks that hold the tickets for the green seats behind home plate have full access to this club, and they never have to pay for any of the food there (or any that they order from their seats in the stadium, for that matter). On the other hand, one seat costs $14,000 per year, and you have to buy at least two seats together, with a 10 year lease, so I guess the least they can do is throw in the food!
Another exclusive area of the ball park–the Redbird Club. The wallpaper in this fancy concessions area is really cool. One of the Cards owners, Bill DeWitt, has an extensive personal baseball card collection. He used his Cardinals cards to have this wallpaper made. The only exception is Satchel Paige, who was actually a St. Louis Brown. This also led into an interesting discussion about the 1944 World Series, (The Streetcar Series), which was a match-up between the Cardinals and the Browns. It’s the only World Series to ever be played on 6 consecutive days, and a rare example of both teams having called the ballpark, (the old Sportsman’s Park), home field.
A view from the Musial Bridge, looking out on the statue of The Man himself.
Speaking of the statue, here’s a better view of Stan the Man. “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.” (Ford Frick)
This is one of the Cardinals’ old logos–Slugger Bird. This is my favorite of the old logos, both because it’s really cute, and because the name is awesome!
There’s no end to the cool plaques you can find scattered around Busch Stadium. This is my favorite, showing the proximity of the old and new parks. There really is a white stripe on the ground below!
I thought this was some cool wall art, too.
Immediately following the tour, we walked by this tribute to Jack Buck outside the stadium. “Go crazy, folks!”
It was a great tour. There is so much history to be learned when you go on one of these things–local and world history, and of course, baseball history. We’re definitely going to go back with the children, someday–it’s a can’t miss St. Louis experience!
Since we spent the evening at Busch Stadium, we decided to go out for lunch on our anniversary. Our restaurant of choice? Olympia Kebob House and Taverna in St. Louis. We’ve always wanted to go there, but never got around to it, plus, it’s located near our first apartment in St. Louis, so it also got points for sentimentality!
We shared an order of saganaki to start, and it was just like I remembered from my childhood when my parents used to take me to a restaurant that, while not Greek, was owned by Greeks. So delicious (and fun to watch)! I especially loved the slight lemon flavor…it’s completely unexpected with cheese, and yet it goes so well.
I chose a pork kebob for my meal, and it was delicious. It was also my first real experience with feta cheese, and while I was apprehensive, it turns out that I really like it. All of the assorted vegetables were also delicious, as were the wonderful Greek olives.
Ryan got the gyros. I gave him a hard time about the lamb, (I tend to have a “no cute food” rule when eating), but I ended up sampling it anyway, and it was also delicious. The tzatziki was especially good. I’d even go so far as to say that I might order the gyros should we ever go back there. Rules are made to be broken, right?
I also got really adventurous and tried the ouzo. It was…interesting. Very strong, much more so than I was expecting. And while I was expecting it to taste like licorice, I wasn’t prepared for just how strong the flavor would be. It was almost like drinking a box of Jingles. I doubt that I would order it again, but it was part of the whole experience, so I’m glad I gave it a try!
We sung these three stanzas of “Go, My Children, with My Blessing,” at our wedding 10 years ago. I still think the wedding verse is beautiful, and really captures the joy found in a Christian marriage:
Go, My children, with My blessing,
Waking, sleeping, I am with you;
You are My own.
In My love’s baptismal river
I have made you Mine forever.
Go, My children, with My blessing–
You are My own.
In this union I have joined you
Husband and wife,
Now, My children, live together
As heirs of life:
Each the other’s gladness sharing,
Each the other’s burdens bearing,
Now, My children, live together
As heirs of life.
I the Lord will bless and keep you
And give you peace;
I the Lord will smile upon you
And give you peace:
I the Lord will be your Father,
Savior, Comforter, and Brother.
Go, My children; I will keep you
And give you peace.
There are two additional verses which can replace verse three above, so the hymn can be used for regular services, as well, (the first of which is particularly meaningful to me):
Go, My children, sins forgiven,
At peace and pure.
Here you learned how much I love you,
What I can cure.
Here you heard My dear Son’s story;
Here you touched Him, saw His glory.
Go, My children, sins forgiven,
At peace and pure.
Go, My children, fed and nourished,
Closer to Me;
Grow in love and love by serving,
Joyful and free.
Here My Spirit’s power filled you;
Here His tender comfort stilled you.
Go, My children, fed and nourished,
Joyful and free. Lutheran Service Book #922
Today is our tenth wedding anniversary. Being the sentimental sort that I am, I can’t help but look back over those ten years, and all of the changes we’ve experienced, some very bittersweet.
I’m remembering dear loved ones, family and friends, who are no longer with us. While I rejoice that they are home with our Lord, it still makes me sad to remember those who are no longer here to celebrate this day with us, especially our baby who we never got a chance to know.
The church in which we were married is in the process of moving to a new building. It makes me very sad to think that the church building (the same one in which I was baptized and confirmed) will no longer be used for regular worship, that other happy events will no longer take place there. I am, however, very grateful that the congregation remains intact, because they are the soul of the church, not the building itself.
The restaurant at which we had our reception has been razed. I had always hoped to go back there someday, and have a regular dinner, but we just never got around to it before it was torn down. Again, I’m sad to think that events as happy as our wedding won’t have the chance to take place there.
Even the resort at which we spent our honeymoon has been sold. This was another place I thought we’d go back to someday–maybe for our 25th anniversary or something. We could go to one of the “sister resorts,” in the future, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be quite the same.
My bittersweet memories even recall the somewhat ridiculous–I’m sad that Friends is no longer on TV. You see, Monica and Chandler’s “wedding” was the night before ours, and I watched, so excited to see my day playing out on my favorite sitcom. OK, it wasn’t actually *my* day, but I still felt it was something we shared, and once that season came out on DVD, we started watching it on our anniversary (or the night before), every year. Then again, I’m very happy that we are able to watch it and reminisce every year!
Even when I look back at the path I *thought* our life was going to take, I feel a little bittersweet. Where we ended up is so much better than I could have dreamed, and yet, it’s not where we planned to be. But you know the old saying: “Man plans, God laughs.”
In spite of all that, I look back over these last ten years, and I am so happy and grateful. I have a happy marriage, four beautiful children, a nice home, and we belong to a fantastic church. I couldn’t have seen all of that coming down the road ten years ago, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world!
“Tell me I may always dance
The Anniversary Waltz with you.
Tell me this is real romance,
An anniversary dream come true.
Let this be the anthem
To our future years,
To millions of smiles
And a few little tears.
Tell me I may always dance
The Anniversary Waltz with you.”