you (probably) read that Hubby Tony have a wedding anniversary coming up. After almost 41 years we
don't feel the need to surprise each other anymore, so we went on a
city road trip together to purchase presents.
It was hard for me to come up with something that Tony would like. The internet is full of ideas for a milestone 40th anniversary. The subsequent one, not so much. A couple of websites suggested that according to a Modern list a gift of land is appropriate. I found some imaginative interpretations of the theme (such as a vacation or day trip, something for the patio or garden, or a framed map) but nothing that worked for our wants or needs. Stretching my creativity to the limit, I decided to give Tony an America the Beautiful lifetime pass, which will allow him (and me, as his traveling companion) free entry into facilities managed by the National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers.
There are two places in St. Louis to get the pass. One is the Gateway Arch National Park. The other one is the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. The Arch is located downtown. It can be a challenge to find parking, and then you might have to walk quite a distance from that parking space to the visitor's center. The Grant site is small and tucked back in a suburban area. I've ridden my bicycle past it many times, and I knew it would be easy to navigate.
After lunch and coffee we headed towards Grant's place. In the visitor's center Tony showed his identification to the ranger at the front desk, who added his name to the official log. I paid for it and Tony got his pass. The whole thing took five minutes
The ranger told us we were welcome to walk around the grounds by ourselves, but that if we were interested in going inside the White Haven house (the childhood home of Julia Dent Grant, and where she and Ulysses lived from 1854 to 1859) we needed to be with a tour group, and the next one was starting in 15 minutes. We decided to wait.
Our tour was led by a knowledgeable park ranger, and I learned a lot. The only problem was that there was a man on the tour who peppered her with questions. The questions were on point and interesting, and probably added information I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, but the temperature was close to 100 degrees and I was ready to end the day. Before the tour had officially wrapped up Tony and I made our way to the exit.
Five years ago today: When Does "Done" Mean Done?