That’s No Museum

(Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts about the first meeting of three online friends.)

Simon Turns the ScrewCount Your Mokshas

At least one of you has looked at kids in those crawl tubes at fast-food restaurants and thought, “I wish they had that for adults.” On my recent trip to St. Louis, a unique place granted that wish and more.

Mark and Moksha CorkscrewingView from the Corkscrew

I don’t know that a long, drawn-out narrative would do this place justice, so I’m going to let the pictures tell most of the story. Warning: veritable photographic blowout ahead.

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Hey, Arboretum

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(click any pic to enlarge and sharpen)

The Dallas Arboretum is the centerpiece in an oasis in a concrete jungle. Plus, the deli makes a great panini.

Lone Star GangShannon and I loaded up her father and Ben in the minivan and headed out last Sunday for a warm, overcast-then-sunny afternoon among the flowers. Every city’s residents should be fortunate enough to have such a grand retreat into Nature’s colors.

Tulips ruled the day, azaleas took second and Japanese Maples ran a close third. If you don’t make it to the bottom picture of this post, then you just ain’t livin’.

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Friends and Neighbors

Click to enlarge and sharpen (sorry, no slideshow option now, but I’m working on it — but please don’t suggest a free photo hosting site, because I refuse to use one that my work Internet filters block).

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Real Inspiration for Bernie

(Note: Those reading “Bernie,” please continue today with Part Three)

When I finished up late that Thursday night making a video and doing crazy voices at Moksha’s house, I stopped at the picturesque private college nearby. The snow continued falling fast and steady, with about three inches already on the ground. I missed wooded parks blanketed with snow, and this college was the next-best thing.

I turned carefully into the school’s main entrance — the snow not cleared as well there as on the main thoroughfares. A couple of cars moved slowly in the distance, glistening horizontal cones of snowflakes leading the way.

Across from one of the beautiful buildings bedecked in Greek columns (or were they Roman?), I noticed a dark figure lying on a concrete bench.

As I drove closer, the prone form looked more and more like a homeless man huddling up from the cold. Why would he be out in the open instead of bundled up near a doorway? Was he alive?

He hadn’t been there long, because the snow had only just begun to pile up on him.

Relishing the opportunity to speak to a real homeless person just before posting the first of my chapters about Bernie, I pulled into a side street and parked. I prepped my camera and my recorder, never sure what I might need.

hobofullI cranked up the ISO setting so I could get a few pictures without using flash. A bright white streetlamp shone on him from one side, a yellowish nightwatcher bulb from the other.

My camera’s mirror slap was enough to roust him. He turned toward me, and as soon as he realized I was taking his picture, he held up his hand in protest. “Get away from me!” he yelled.

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I managed to get a couple pictures of his face.

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