Summer Search

This summer the children, and the adults, have a new game in St. Louis.

Find the Cakes!

In celebration of the 250th birthday of the city. It started as a site for a trading post. It seemed like a good idea to trade for furs and other items in demand in 1764 on the west side of the Mississippi. It was a bonus to be only a few miles downstream from both the Missouri and Illinois Rivers.

The cakes show up at popular, historic, or unusual sites. I’ve only found a dozen or so. But the summer is young. And they hang out in groups. One popular shopping and nightspot district boasts four within a few blocks. Each one wears a unique decoration, suitable for the location.

So far I’m going to vote this as my favorite.

Central Library This cake wears books.
Central Library
This cake wears books.

Searching for books to go with your cake?

Starr Tree Farm and Hiding Places are available as ebook or paperback.




Birthday Girl

The exact date is unknown. Records of the early weeks and months of her life were lost last summer on a rural Missouri road.

Then she got lucky. Rescued. Taken in and checked over. Temporary care by one set of humans. Food and shelter. A little medical care and socialization.

Two humans and a black dog came to visit. She put on her best manners. The visiting dog kept his nose to the ground and ignored her. Then the pitter-patter of rain in the woods approached and humans snatched leashes and headed for shelter. (Good thing too. Rain was pretty intense for five minutes or so.)

A long ride to a new home. Lots to learn. This new, adopted, older brother accepted her new place in the family. Taught her the basics. The resident cat maintained her premier status in the household. The neighbors were friendly — especially the short ones with high voices.

Growing. Learning. Finding new ways to expend energy.

Birthday Girl!
Birthday Girl!



Party Decoration

It needs to be a large party — spanning much more than a day.

When an entire city decides to mark a birthday/anniversary you need to think big. And in multiples. Not one event — many. Not one cake — many.

They attempted a re-enactment of the February 1764 landing that marked the site selection of St. Louis. The weather interfered. (I’m thinking the winter of 1764 may have been a little milder.) They selected well for their trading post — near confluence of two large rivers, high ground, plentiful fur bearing animals and Native Americans willing to trade furs for blankets, guns, cooking pots, and beads.

The trading post grew into a village. The village swelled with settlers and became a city. Steamboats. Railroads. Highways. Airplanes. The United States grew, claimed the area as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and grew some more until the city on the west bank of the Mississippi became one of the most centrally located cities in the nation. (Kansas City could stake a valid claim to the same position.)

So put on your party hat. Grab a piece of birthday cake and celebrate the 250th Birthday of the — trading post, village, city — of St. Louis. Toasts in French, Spanish, and English are appropriate.

Decorative Party Cake
Decorative Party Cake

This “one of many” birthday cakes can be found in Forest Park.



Midwest Birthday

How do you celebrate a birthday for an entire community?

Party? Parade? Baseball?

All of the above.

My home town, the inspiration for Crystal Springs, had a grand birthday party a few years ago. They’ve done this before – for a centennial. In a series of decisions after that success event an annual summer festival with baseball, beer, and music blossomed. (This is Wisconsin – any party involves beer.) Every twenty-five years they expand the weekend to include a parade. And in honor of 150 years since the first permanent structures/founding of the village they added an All School Reunion.

The weather cooperated with sunshine. A lower concentration of dairy farmers enabled an early evening parade. (The marchers/walkers/horses thank the committee for this idea.) Spectators lined all of Main Street, cheered as the lead unit approached, and then stood to honor the flag.

American Legion Post heads small town parade.
American Legion Post heads small town parade.

February 8, 1955

Jonesboro, Arkansas is a university town in the northeast portion of the state. It is also the birthplace of today’s featured birthday celebrant, one of the most popular and prolific authors in the US today.

Perhaps you’ve read one or more of his legal thrillers. Or seen a movie based on them. Have you read his non-fiction volume?

I’m speaking of John Grisham.

As a criminal defense and person injury litigation lawyer serving in the Mississippi State House of Representatives, he found time in early morning hours and stray bits and pieces of times to write his first novel. It wasn’t easy to find a publisher for A Time to Kill.  His second, third, and fourth books skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller lists and quickly became movies.

Ah, the inspiration in that portion of the story to this and other pre-published authors. No fear. My romance and romantic suspense pieces will not be in direct competition with Mr. Grisham’s body of work. (Reader demographics may overlap – I’d like that.)

Birthday Greetings, John Grisham.

Off I go to request your latest from the library!


February 1, 1901

Cadiz, Ohio appears on a recent map as a small city about 25 miles northwest of Wheeling, WV. The boy born on the above date showed early musical and mechanical abilities. But his real love turned out to be language.

Fast forward to 1934. You’ll find this man living in California, divorced from his first wife and married to the second. You’ll also find him in movie theaters from coast to coast. This was the year It Happened One Night drew crowds. He was rewarded by his peers by the Oscar for that performance.

And he influenced his audiences. According to a source that attended this movie. “Clark Gable took off his shirt in It Happened One Night and men’s undershirt sales dropped.” (Oh, the thrill, the scandal, of a bare male chest on the screen.)

Here’s a birthday remembrance to William Clark Gable a.k.a. Clark Gable. Also remembered as Rhett Butler. (Oh, what girl with a beating heart doesn’t react to this charming rascal.)