I Walked Through Hell with Gasoline Boots (and my kids) and Lived to Tell the Tale

St. Louis is not my favorite city on Earth. In point of fact, I’m not sure it’s anyone’s. But despite being surrounded by tribal-tatted troglodytes with a Bud in one hand and a fancy vape in the other, I managed to meander right through the mouth of hell with nary a singed leg hair. And I had my kids with me, no less.

Listen, I tend to put down this city every chance I get, but the fact is there is some decent, family-friendly fun to be had if you know where to look. The City Museum was actually fantastic and my kids were over the moon crawling through the various tunnels, caves, and ball pits. Even our rooftop hotel pool, which had been converted into a mini trailer park party complete with a playlist that leaned heavily on Kid Rock, was bearable.

And in between, I managed to prove to my daughter that her old man knows what he’s talking about. She was adamantly opposed to the concept of calzones, but changed her tune the moment she had her first bite of her choice at Sauce on the Side. My son couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was and I was smiling from ear to ear around mouthfuls of a pepperoni/bacon/meatball/smoked cheddar gut bomb that nearly equaled Bartolo Colon’s weekly caloric intake. My fear now is that I’ll equal Bartolo’s colon.

The game itself was almost secondary, and perhaps became more so due to the final tally, to the day I had been able to share with my kids. To have them running around all day and then sit there and actively follow the action without once complaining was pretty awesome. When the game ended, even the Cards fans around us were high-fiving my son and daughter and telling them how great they had been. Under other circumstances, this would have been a game that faded into the tapestry of the season, but this one has been outlined in gold thread for me now.

I don’t even want to pay the outcome much due, though it would have been much more personally satisfying to have seen the fool in front of me — who had even his fellow Cardinals fans telling him to shut up — have to eat his words. The most depressing part of the experience was seeing my son on the verge of tears when he just missed getting Chris Coghlan’s autograph during pre-game warmups. But since he’s 6, the blues were quickly washed away by the prospect of a hot dog and fries.

On Saturday, we’ll be hitting the Arch and the zoo before making our way home. Maybe I’ll even make it back in time to watch the game on TV. Believe me, I will be a happy camper when I’ve put this city in my rearview mirror, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a great time while I was here.


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