30 October 2016

Saluting Ozark Air Lines; Vacation in KC

I worked Saturday morning (22 October) at the rental branch, then headed for the St. Louis Science Center (http://www.slsc.org/) for a special program presented by the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/). This was a special tribute to Ozark Air Lines, which operated from 1950 until 1986. Several former Ozark employees told of their experiences at the airline, and two documentary films were screened: "The Swallows' Tale: The Story of Ozark Air Lines" and "Ozark Air Lines: The Sky's the Limit." Additionally, the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum (http://www.airandspacemuseum.org/) displayed Ozark artifacts in its collection. It was quite a nice program, with quite a few former Ozark employees in attendance.

Midday last Sunday found me at Whitfield School (http://www.whitfieldschool.org/), where I helped referee an under 13 boys' soccer friendly. Two teams from the same club played the match, and it was intended for giving the players plenty of match experience in a more relaxed environment. It went well, I thought.

Work this week has been busy, but good. It was a manic Monday as usual, but we got through it well.

Right after work Tuesday night (25 October), I headed for the Delmar Loop (http://visittheloop.com/). After dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill (http://chipotle.com/), I walked to the Tivoli Theatre (https://www.landmarktheatres.com/st-louis/tivoli-theatre) for volunteer orientation for this year's St. Louis International Film Festival (http://www.cinemastlouis.org/about-festival), which runs from 3 to 13 November at 11 venues in Metro St. Louis. I and several other volunteers got a briefing on our duties, had our questions answered, and we received some posters and cards to promote the Festival in our neighborhoods. I'm working three Festival shifts: Sun., 6 Nov., 6-10 pm, Webster University's Webster Hall; Thu., 10 Nov., 4:30 to 7 pm, Tivoli Theatre; and Sat., 12 Nov., 3-6:15 pm, Washington University's Brown Hall. Hope to see you there!

Thursday (27 October) marked the start of a three-day vacation I took in Kansas City, Missouri. After renting a car that morning from Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) in Ellisville, I headed west. My first stop in Metro Kansas City was at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/) in Independence. I had not been there in many years, but I really enjoyed seeing the museum's presentation on Truman's life and presidency. After making some purchases in the gift shop, I drove by the Truman home (https://www.nps.gov/hstr/index.htm) a few blocks away to take pictures of the building before going to check in at the motel in Independence.

That night, I was back at the Truman Library for a discussion with historian and author H.W. Brands (http://hwbrands.com/), author of the new book "The General vs. The President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War" (http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/253136/the-general-vs-the-president-by-h-w-brands/9780385540575/). The library's director interviewed Brands, then opened the floor to some questions from the audience. After that, Brands signed copies of his book--including one I bought that day at the museum's gift shop. (I actually started reading an ebook version recently, but could not pass up the chance to meet Professor Brands and to get his autograph on his book. A very nice person, he is.) It was a very interesting and informative evening, which was recorded for telecast.

After a good night's sleep, I was up early Friday to enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then began a busy day of sightseeing at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (http://www.nelson-atkins.org/). In approximately two hours spent there, I enjoyed seeing a great variety of art objects, ranging from Baroque era paintings and English pottery to modern photography and African masks. A terrific place to get immersed in fine art, and it's hard to beat its admission cost: Free.

Then, it was quite a change of sightseeing gears, as I went to the National World War I Museum and Memorial (https://www.theworldwar.org/). It was a most impressive museum, starting with walking on a glass bridge over a field of 9,000 poppies--one poppy for each 1,000 persons killed during the war. There are displays and artifacts about Europe and the world before, during, and after World War I. Display items include weapons, equipment, uniforms, art, and photos. The museum also has a recreation of a Western Front Trench and a large shell hole, helping give you that "you are there" feeling. There are also interactive displays that help you understand the war and those who fought it. I also went to the top of the 66 m (216 foot) tall Liberty Memorial, and enjoyed the view (although it was a bit windy). After raiding the gift shop, I left the museum with a great feeling. I highly recommend this place.

Before going back to the hotel, I dropped by Country Club Plaza (https://countryclubplaza.com/), a gorgeous and long-time (since 1922) shopping and dining complex. This is a great place to at least window shop, with many fine retailers (including Barnes & Noble, Tiffany & Co., and Tesla Motors), plus some local shops. I also spent time admiring the Plaza's J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, a real beauty in a city of fountains. I got dinner at Burger King before returning to the motel for the night.

I checked out Saturday morning before visiting a few more sights. First, it was the American Jazz Museum (http://americanjazzmuseum.org/), located in the 18th & Vine area. I very much enjoyed reading on the history of jazz and of jazz greats: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Kansas City's own Charlie (Bird) Parker. I then walked to the nearby Charlie Parker Memorial, a simple, yet eloquent memorial to the great saxophonist.

I drove to the National Airline History Museum (http://www.airlinehistory.org/), located at Kansas City Downtown Airport (the former Kansas City Municipal Airport). A volunteer showed me and two other visitors around the museum's displays of photos, maps, models, crew uniforms, and other artifacts from various US airlines over the years. The volunteer took us to the hangar, where several aircraft (including a DC-3) were being restored, and took us into a Martin 4-0-4 airliner. He then took us out on the ramp and into their Lockheed L-1049 Constellation airliner. Quite a nice little museum.

Then, I made my way across the airport to the TWA Museum at 10 Richards Road (http://www.twamuseumat10richardsroad.org/), which told the story of Trans World Airlines from its founding in 1925 until it was merged with American Airlines in 2001. Photos, models, advertising, crew uniforms, dining service items, and memorabilia told the TWA story. They also had flight procedures trainers and airliner seats on display, and we also got to go aboard the TWA McDonnell Douglas MD-80 "Wings of Pride," with its unique red with white trim scheme. Another nice little museum, and also--like the National Airline History Museum--worth a visit.

My time in Kansas City concluded with lunch at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (http://www.gordonbiersch.com/), located in the Kansas City Power & Light District (http://www.powerandlightdistrict.com/), a neighborhood of shops, restaurants, and bars. I enjoyed a Czech Pilsner beer, brewed on the premises, with a Marzen BBQ burger and garlic french fries. After walking a bit around this area, I got in my car and drove home, arriving that night.

Just been relaxing today, getting my laundry done and doing a bit of piece work. Back to work in the morning. Happy Halloween!


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