Monday, November 13, 2006


Yesterday we had the time to indulge one of our favorite weekend activities and we went out sightseeing. We hadn't been to Alton - the "Most Haunted City in Illinois" - yet, so we drove the scenic Great River Road past St. Louis to check out the haints and antique stores. Very pretty town! It's one of those historic river towns that used to be inhabited by river barons, sitting high on a curving bluff overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. We drove along the brick paved streets admiring the magnificent old brick mansions and Queen Annes, restored to the colorful pallette that gave them the nickname "Painted Ladies." I'm sorry we were just a couple of weeks too late to see the trees in their full autumn colors, but they're already putting up the Christmas wreaths and the community Christmas tree ... and it was cold enough with the wind blowing off the rivers to seem timely.

We didn't see any ghosts, but we did stumble across the naturally mummified corpse of a human being, curled into a fetal ball around a chunk of wood planking and displayed in a three foot square glass box. It was unceremoniously piled on top of a bunch of dusty junk in the back warrens of an antique emporium, and I almost bypassed it as a weird statue. But on closer inspection we both decided it looked like an authentic desiccated dead guy. We also decided that it was grisly, disturbing and illegal. At least I'm pretty sure it's against the law to sell dead people in glass boxes ... and if it isn't, it should be.

The owner of the emporium chuckled in that "wink wink" way and said, "Oh that's not a real dead guy. It just looks like one." Ev replied that he was doing a damn good imitation of a dead guy and we left. It's been bothering me ever since, and I keep wondering if I ought to tell someone ... then I wonder who I'd tell.

We didn't buy the dead guy to decorate our foyer, although I'm reasonably sure he'll decorate the nether reaches of my brain for quite some time and we'll probably meet again in the middle of the night when I've eaten something that doesn't agree with me and I'm sleeping fitfully.

We also saw the worst name for a daycare center and the best name for a bar ever. The daycare center was called "Leonard Bo-Peep's," and although the other sign was on the front of a manufacturing plant in East St. Louis it just cried out for neon. I mean, really, wouldn't you go out of your way to stop in for a couple of drinks and a game of pool -- or something -- at the "St. Louis Screw and Bolt" ???


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