Friday, June 3, 2011

Columbia, Missouri

DAY EIGHT: We started off for Columbia on Wednesday morning, June 1st, and as navigator I decided to take us down IL Rte 31 through St. Charles and Geneva, IL. This was a fortunate choice because it gave us a postscript to our Frank Lloyd Wright Oak Park experience. I had bought Thomas Heinz's Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide (Northwestern University Press, 2005), and it listed an FLW remodeled house right on Rte 31 in Geneva: the George Fabyan Villa. It turned out to be a lovely house in a beautiful setting in a park on the Fox River, complete with Japanese Garden. It is amazing how Wright was able to leave his fingerprint on a house that he had only remodeled. The tour hours were limited so we couldn't go inside, but we had a lovely half-hour or so enjoying the outside views and the grounds.



Our route to Columbia took us through Bloomington and Normal, IL, Springfield, IL, across the Mississippi at Louisiana, MO, and then over US Rte 54 to Columbia. We stopped at a Chipotle Mexican Grill for supper (good!), since we were arriving a bit after suppertime, got a ice cream cone next door at a Culvers, and got to Betsey and Rob's house at about 7:30pm. They were about to watch a Met broadcast of Peter Sellers' production of John Adam's opera Nixon in China and we got to see the first act - it was very compelling and powerful. I had seen a broadcast of the Houston premier 24 years ago which featured Sanford Sylvan in the role of Chou En-lai. Sylvan was a baritone with the New England Bach Festival for years when I was singing in the Blanche Moyse Chorale, so I was particularly interested in seeing it. James Maddalena played Nixon very convincingly in both the 1987 and 2011 productions.

DAY NINE: Katie is home and hasn't started her summer courses yet, so we talked in the morning, met Betsey for lunch at the Flat Branch Pub (one of our favorite places in Columbia), then met Rob and went to the Mizzou Bookstore and Recreation Center to get Katie set up for her courses and signed up for a chance to exercise. These are both impressive facilities. We also made a quick trip to the campus of Stephens College where Betsey has just started working as Dir. of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and looked around a bit.

One of the dominant and inescapable features of life in Columbia right now is the presence of cicadas. They have emerged this year from their 13-year hibernation, millions of them, and boy, are they noisy! They are also quite beautiful in their own way.


A local ice cream place, Sparky's, made a tub of Cicada Ice Cream yesterday and sold out in an hour! They boiled them, removed the wings, rolled them in chocolate and put them in a butter and brown sugar ice cream base. I'm told they taste like peanuts. We didn't get any cicada ice cream, but we had some great Red Mango Yogurt (mine was apricot with fruit topping).


Rob fixed a wonderful meal of grilled salmon, mashed cauliflower and turnip, and string beans with aioli sauce.


In the evening we were excited to watch the Missouri University Women's Softball Team play on TV in the first round of the Women's Softball World Series in Oklahoma City. Their pitcher, Chelsea Thomas, was billed as one of the best in the country, but their opponent, Florida, had great hitters, and they prevailed, 6-2. However, it is a double-elimination, so Missouri lives to play again.

DAY TEN: We took Katie to meet a friend this morning, visited Rose Shay, Rob's mother, in her nursing home, met Katie and Betsey for lunch again, went with Katie to a camera store, and went to the carwash to clean the Corolla. It is a beautiful evening, we've had a lovely time, and Rob is fixing another great meal. Tomorrow, we'll head to Little Rock to visit my grand nephew, Ryan.

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