Monday, March 26, 2018

March Showers Bring May Flowers?

March has been unusually gloomy this year. I haven't been able to locate a chart that says how many days of cloud cover we have had, but so far 16 of the 26 days this month have had rain. My response to that is, "If I wanted to live in Seattle, I would live in Seattle!" I am definitely one of those people who need light. I would not go so far as to say I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I would definitely take a cold, sunny day over a warmer, cloudy day. It especially bothers me when I cannot go out and shoot photographs, something I hadn't been able to accomplish since going to Cabo.

But yesterday, despite the cool, cloudy day, I drove with Jim and another photographer friend to Perryville, Missouri to attend an event at one of the projects Jim has been working on. Along the way I made them stop at a couple of oddities I had read about on the website Roadside America. I have written about this site before, but in essence it is a documentation of weird or unusual things you can find while driving around America. Since there is nothing too exciting about spending a bunch of time in the car, you might as well stop and see some fun things along the way, right?

For purposes of this trip, I found two stops that seemed worthy of our time. The guys might disagree, but hey... First up was the life-size Pink Elephant. Once part of the Pink Elephant Batting Cage and Mini Golf, the recreation center closed but the elephant remained. Later a gas station was built on the lot on Missouri Highway 141 in Fenton. A martini glass was added to the elephant, but someone broke it off, so the elephant's trunk is oddly wrapped around a metal rod.
Pink Elephant
15 foot bowling pin
We continued south on 141 until we reached southbound I-55. Next on the list was a stop in Imperial to see a bowling pin that stand 15' tall. Easily seen from the interstate, the pin is located appropriately next to the Imperial Bowl bowling alley. The place was hopping on a Sunday morning! Lenten services at the lanes?

After another hour on I-55 we arrived at our destination in Perryville. Missouri's National Veterans Memorial is a new 46-acre site encouraging veterans, families and citizens to gather and pay tribute to our service men and women. The heart of the development is a built-to-scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. Attendees at yesterday's Mark of Remembrance were encouraged to write a message on the concrete wall before the granite panels are placed. The messages were very moving, and I was thankful I had a tissue on me. To see all the veterans gathered in one spot was amazing. This project is funded all by donations, so it will take time before it is completed. The master plan, created by SWT Design, contains walking trails, a reflection pool, an amphitheater, burial areas and gathering spaces, among other things. What an amazing thank you for the vets!

In meeting with the volunteers and those who are working on this project, you couldn't help but be touched by their passion and enthusiasm. It will take a lot of time, energy and money to accomplish the whole plan, but I have no doubt they are up to the challenge. Judging by the hundreds of people who came for the Mark of Remembrance event yesterday, I think they will have a lot of support. Considering the weather, it was amazing to see the number of veterans who arrived on their motorcycles. I can only image the turnout they will have on Memorial Day.

Missouri's National Veterans Memorial

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