Every day I’m reminded of how old I am. I get up after half an hour in a chair, and it’s not uncommon to stagger a step or two, as my legs relearn how to move in bipedal motion. I scan Twitter for five minutes and stumble across Americans so stupid I can’t believe they are able to themselves move in bipedal motion, let alone make it to a Trump rally and speak into a microphone. Or I’m sitting in a bar in St. Louis, and ask the bartender, no spring chicken herself, if the Schlafly craft brews on the beer menu are in any way related to Phyllis, or rather Phyllis’ family.
“Phyllis. Phyllis Schlafly.”
“Who’s that?” she asked. She looked at a younger guy sitting a few stools away, evidently a regular. “Do you know?” He shrugged.
Well, that says everything about our brief time on this blue marble, doesn’t it? One day you’re a nationally known helmet-haired antifeminist, founder of the Eagle Forum, the next you’re forgotten in your more-or-less hometown (Phyllis hailed from Alton, Ill., across the river, but part of the metropolitan area).
For the record, Schlafly brewing is related to Phyllis’ family-by-marriage, but she had nothing to do with it, as this story from 2014 details:
Phyllis Schlafly is opposing a federal trademark for the name “Schlafly” for beer made by a St. Louis craft brewery co-founded by her nephew, Tom Schlafly.
The Schlafly beer maker applied for the trademark on the use of the brand name in 2011; Phyllis Schlafly filed a notice of opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in September 2012. Settlement talks have failed to produce a resolution, and neither side appears ready to back down.
… Tom Schlafly is a nephew to Phyllis Schlafly by marriage — she married his uncle, the late John Fred Schlafly — but she has no connection to the brewery and never has. The question of whether Phyllis Schlafly has ties to the brewery comes up, however, especially in new markets outside of St. Louis.
Phyllis argued in her case that the name means one thing, and one thing only: Phyllis. And hence:
…“In connection with its usage as a surname, it has the connotation of conservative values, which to millions of Americans (such as Baptists and Mormons) means abstinence from alcohol,” her filing with the trademark office states. “An average consumer in St. Louis and elsewhere would think ‘Schlafly’ is a surname associated with me, and thus the registration of this name as a trademark by applicant should be denied.”
I guess she lost that one, because the name is all over St. Louis, and appears to be more connected to beer, and the branch of the public library near our hotel in the Central West End, than ol’ Phyllis, who croaked in 2016, at age 92. I think there’s a lesson here.
As for our weekend, it was pretty great. We had plenty of time to ourselves, plenty of time with friends, didn’t drink too-too much and all in all was well worth the time and travel investment. Beyond that, here’s some pix. Day one we strolled down to the Cathedral Basilica to see its famous mosaics. Which are…amazing. It’s an overused word, but it’s the only one that really applies. This church is the equal of any we saw in Europe over the last few years.
But that’s not all there is to see in the CWE. There’s also the World Chess Hall of Fame, and its attendant, the World’s Largest Chess Piece, as designated by the Guinness folks:
We didn’t go in – neither of us play – but I visited the gift shop. The HOF exerts a certain cultural influence over the crossroads where it’s located; the Kingside Diner’s children’s menu is designated “for little pawns.”
We found bike rentals nearby and toured Forest Park. It was blazingly hot. Saint Louis’ horse would have fainted, but fortunately he’s bronze:
Friday night, the welcome party, at a beer garden, of course:
The wedding couple are both genetic researchers, a theme reflected in the desserts:
The wedding day was even hotter, so we tried to go from one air-conditioned space to another until it was time to go to the venue, a secular space for a Jewish wedding. The yarmulkes matched the groom’s footwear:
Here I am with my godson, Patrick, as the killer sun retreated for the evening and the outdoors grew pleasantly habitable again:
Blue dresses go well with red shoes:
Of course there was a hora. The groom looks like he’s considering what could happen to all that science in his brain if he happens to be dropped on it.
But no one was hurt, the night went swimmingly and everyone danced to Motown tunes, proof that Detroit’s contributions to the world do not begin and end with cars.
I hope I didn’t slow anyone’s download with all the pix, but right now I’d much rather take a bike ride than sit at a keyboard. Catch you later, all.