Meet Me In, Well, You Know

I’ve never been to St. Louis before. I’ve visited other places that the Mississippi River calls home – New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Vicksburg, Greenville, Memphis – but somehow I’ve missed St. Louis. Even still, I’ve always liked to think that, if we ever got to meet, St. Louis and I would probably be friends.


Today I made my inaugural trip to St. Louis so that I can tend to some bloggy bidness for AllAccess this weekend. And after I checked in my hotel and realized that I had a few hours to kill, I decided to go for a little walk outside among all the nature.

I’m happy to report that St. Louis didn’t disappoint. In fact, I am sort of smitten.

The first thing on my agenda was to head down to the riverfront so that I could check out that arch thing that I’ve heard about FOR MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. And do you know what? The Arch is tall, y’all. I really had no idea, perhaps because my primary frame of reference for what the Arch looks like is that scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation when the Griswold family arrives in St. Louis. So clearly I have a done a lot of serious and academic Arch-related research.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures because I was all by myself and I’m a sucker for a bright blue sky. The sky was especially pretty today. In fact, I think the sky must also like St. Louis a lot because it was really putting on a show.

I didn’t ride up to the top of the Arch because I was wary of getting into the tram/diagonal elevator thing. I mean, what if I was overcome with claustrophobia or acrophobia or archophobia and then suddenly a group of strangers felt like they needed to offer me comfort? Granted, I’ve never been particularly phobic (except where scaly textures are concerned, and I’m not entirely sure that particular fear has a name), but since I didn’t have the benefit of a companion who could be appropriately co-dependent where my potential for some random onset of some random phobia was concerned, I elected to stay put on the ground.

I’m sure you understand.

Last thing.

A few hours after my walking tour I accidentally locked myself out of my room (I don’t know why I felt the need to specify that it was “accidentally” – because does anyone really ever lock themselves out of a room on purpose?), so I went down to the front desk to ask if they could give me another key to the room. As it turned out, they couldn’t give me a key unless I could show them a photo ID, but of course I couldn’t produce a photo ID since it was LOCKED IN THE ROOM.

Funny how that works.

Anyhoo, while I was waiting for a manager who could escort me back to the room and let me in, one of the guys working at the front desk said, “So. How are you handling this heat?”

And I was all, “What heat?”

And he was all, “Oh my – it’s never been as hot as it is right now.”

And I was all, “I live in Alabama. This weather feels like a delightful spring day. I mean, I went FOR A WALK. OUTSIDE. AND DIDN’T SWEAT.”

He was stunned.

And then he said, “You mean, it’s worse than this where you live?”

So for the next five minutes, I told him Southern Heat Horror Stories. I told him about walking outside at 6 in the morning and feeling like you’re colliding with a wall of steam. I told him about 86 degrees and 98 percent humidity AT NIGHT. I told him about summers in Baton Rouge.

(To be fair, I didn’t tell him about New Orleans because I didn’t think he could handle it.)

(Plus, when it comes to describing the heat of New Orleans during the summer months, I honestly struggle to find the words. I just know that it completely saps me of any desire to 1) move and 2) live.)

The good news is that, by the end of our conversation, the front desk guy seemed to have a renewed appreciation for the weather here in St. Louis. The bad news is that I don’t think he’ll be visiting the Deep South anytime soon. What with me scaring him to death with all the talk of the unbearable heat.

And that’s what I did today.

Spreading peace, love and climate-related fear,

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  1. if you can’t brag about your endurance of southern summers then what good is it to live here? hello from 100 degree arkansas with a heat index of 105. we are expecting a big cool off next week of like 94.

  2. If I would have known, I would have driven over and ridden up the tram with you, because going up in the Arch is very cool.

    I’m a little disappointed that the desk clerk is such a wimp. When I used to visit relatives in Houston when I was a teenager, I would get very uppity and irritable when people expected me to be astounded by the heat down there. I kind of made it my personal mission to explain to them that we have a few 100 plus degree days in Missouri every year, just not for weeks on end like they do. They were never impressed, so I guess it’s finally time to concede. :)

  3. I know you so well. Especially given the fact that we’ve never met!

    Because long about paragraph #4 I thought, “I wonder why she hasn’t complained about the heat yet??”

    The reason is now obvious, because it wasn’t hot.

    Have fun with the All Access stuff!

  4. Jennifer says:

    A couple of years ago I went to visit my sister “up North” in St. Louis. Being from Florida, I felt the need to tell my husband everytime I talked to him how cool the weather felt!

  5. We took the kids to St. Louis for spring break. I absolutely love that place. You should go to the Botanical Gardens; they are beautiful. The zoo is fantastic and it’s absolutely free. And if you want a good BBQ place that’s not all touristy, try Pappy’s. We’d go back in a heartbeat.

  6. I’m sitting here, in Florida, drinking coffee, while experiencing a hot flash. After reading this post, suddenly I’m hotter. I didn’t think that was possible.

    And I had no idea you could go up into the arch. Clearly I live in a cave. A very hot, humid cave.

  7. You Southerns gals are MASTERS of spreading climate-related fear. And I love every second of it.

    We went to the Arch twice on our zoo trip. Once on our trip down to OK and TX and then for Zoo #51 (St. Louis). You are so right. It is big.

  8. You are super-entertaining me this morning. I’m from Texas and understand about the heat. Also, I wouldn’t ride that elevator thing either. I look forward to reading more…

  9. For the record, when you get to the top of the arch – it sways.
    Back and forth. In the breeze.

    True story.

  10. I always get tickled when people who aren’t from the south talk about their “hot summers.” To be fair, we complain about the cold in the winter and I’m sure they could wear shorts. I’ve been to Peru a few times during our summer/their winter and I always crack up seeing people wearing heavy winter coats in 60* weather. It’s all relative, I guess!

  11. How could he NOT know that it’s hotter in the south?!?

    I’m an Iowa native that’s been in central Alabama for the past 11 years. There are actually days when the temps and heat index up there are higher than down here. But they don’t have to live with it for long, like we do.

    Jessie’s right, the arch sways. And the arch tram . . . it clunks…

  12. Melissa says:

    Well, I’m a Texan living on the other side of the state of Missouri and I giggle every time someone complains about the “heat” or the “humidity.” Seriously. It’s not HOT, y’all…this is a thing called WARM with a lovely breeze. I have not sweated the entire six years I have lived here–true story!

    And I wouldn’t go up in the arch either.

  13. Melanie says:

    Welcome to our fair city! And to be fair, the days BEFORE yesterday were stinkin’ hot! Like, 10pm and 89 degrees with the high humidity. The botanical gardens are a good idea to visit, as well as Forest Park–home to many FREE museums. St. Louis is a great place for a little family vacation–it’s so inexpensive to visit!

  14. Make sure you see Dr. Jennifer Degler one of the authors of “No More Christian Nice Girl.” She’s my Sunday School teacher! You’d LOVE the book!

  15. Glad you are enjoying STL. I’m assuming you’ll have no zoo time (and maybe without your little man the zoo is the last place you’d want to be) but the STL zoo is awesome and free. I’ll be in STL this afternoon to start LP live. Can’t wait!!

  16. I LOVE LOVE LOVE St. Louis. I have been to a couple of Joyce Meyer conferences there!!! Such a neat place. And the next time to you go, go up the Arch. Really not that scary :) And absolutely love the Riverfront!!

  17. Well, I lived in Georgia for 12 years, and now I live in St. Louis, and while yesterday was indeed a beautiful day (all the children in our neighborhood were outside playing and enjoying it) it has been hot, even for the south, here. The humidity has been higher than Georgia most days and I’ve found myself longing for a Georgia summer. Just in defense of the guy.

  18. Welcome to St. Louis! I moved here from Florida about a year and a half ago and have really enjoyed it. If you have time, be sure to check out Forest Park and the Soulard Farmers Market. Enjoy!

  19. Yes, they say the Deep South heat is what made Sherman turn back North.

    Well, after that whole Atlanta thing.

  20. New rule:

    When you will be in my hometown, you MUST tell me.

    Because we are twins separated at birth, I am convinced. Like Haley Mills & Haley Mills.

  21. Aww bless your heart!
    Tell em! They don’t KNOW hot like southern hot! :)

    Enjoy your weekend! Fun times, friend!

  22. My husband and I moved to Kansas City almost 2 years ago. I get such a kick out of people stressing over the heat here. They always want to bring up the humidity. I kindly remind them that i grew up in south Louisiana and I KNOW what humidity is! But to be fair, they get a kick out of me come October when I start wearing my winter coat and some goofballs are still wearing shorts. They also get a kick out of my “Ya’lls”, but that isn’t (almost said ain’t! my mother would die!) changing because I’m gonna keep it real ya’ll!

  23. You make me laugh.
    that is all.

  24. My oldest ‘baby’ (he so hates that term:-) moved to St Louis last summer to pursue his phd at Wash U. Thanks so much for your pictures and thoughts – made me feel a little closer to him. As a side note – it was 102 with very high humidity in Richmond Va yesterday – kind of reminded me of my first time in Louisiana – ah, summer in the south:-)

  25. I LOVE STL. Such a great city – if you are ever there with your little man, you MUST take him to the City Museum (the coolest place we have EVER taken our kids to) or the Science Center (FREE!) or the zoo (FREE!). STL is such a great city for families. And now I am not sure of the current temps in the Lou, but the last time we were there, it was 102 with 400% humidity and could have rivaled the South. ;)

  26. I live in Michigan, which means I have climate related fear of everywhere except Alaska. 80 degrees is hot to me.

  27. I’ve taken that elevator thing up in the arch. Trust me, you were right to avoid it. Totally freaked me out. Of course then I got to the top and realized I had to board it again to go back down. I will view it’s loveliness from the ground thank you.

  28. I think it’s funny when my friends from Oklahoma talk about how humid it is there. I live on the Gulf Coast, so when I was in Oklahoma I was so thankful for how dry the air was!

  29. Too funny! Yeah, I threw-up at the arch when I was a kid (after the elevator). It is pretty cool up at the top but don’t think my “matured phobias” could handle it AT ALL now. We’re in the mid-west, a few hundred miles north of St. Louis and I understand the hotel dude complaining, I complained too – then a friend’s sister visiting from Alabama told me this was “perfect” and proceeded to put “the fear” in me as well. : )

  30. The weather all depends on your perspective! As an Arkansas native I knew it was not TRULY hot when I turned my AC on in my Rhode Island house this week. But it was 86* inside and I had a slight sweat going just sitting still. I cannot bear sweating just sitting still. I’m happy to report that today the humidity has dropped and we are now barely 80* outside. I’m telling ya, New England in the summer time is the place to be!!!

  31. now when I think of the Arch, I think of Percy Jackson falling from it. You’ll read the books one of these days.

    And I moved from Oregon to the Sahara desert. It was really rough. But then I was in Seattle last summer and i heard someone say “It’s supposed to be 90 degrees today–I nearly stayed home!” and I just had to laugh. I remember being like that. But seriously folks, 90? That’s winter in the Sahara. ANd everyone in Oregon has AC now, and uses it, and it’s freezing half the time. And no one in Mauritania has it, where you REALLY need it.

  32. It sho is HOT in Georgia too. But I had a tradeshow in NOLA once, and the soles of my shoes began to melt on the asphalt as we walked to lunch. No kidding! Have fun in St. Louis!

  33. I am with Melanie….the days before yesterday were MUCH worse. Yesterday we had a break of sorts. (I live 2.5 hours from St. Louis, so I am assuming the weather was similiar..) The weatherman referred to a cold front coming through, which resulted in the brisk upper 80’s we were experiencing.

    I can’t imagine how hot it must be where you live, though. To us, MID 90’s IS hot. Really hot. And my hair and humidity? Yes. It looks like Monica’s on FRIENDS, while they were on the island for the (a?) wedding.

    I will stop now.

  34. That reminds me of a conversation I overheard in the rocking chairs on the porch of Cracker Barrell in Florida. It was early spring, with nice spring time weather, and some lady was complaining about the heat!! We all laughed and told her to come back in June or July when we hit the triple digits!!

  35. Whew! You ain’t lying— the Deep South summers are MURDER! I was born in Orlando, FL but grew up in small-town GA and middle TN and the sweat just drips off of you.

    Now I’m living in Alaska and LOVING our 75 degree summers. In fact, I’ve only visited home during the summer once since I moved here. Every other time it’s the middle of December- the only bearable time TO visit!


  36. We took the kids to St. Louis to a Cardinals game the Year-o-McGuire-and-Sosa (before we had accepted they were juicing) and it was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. Rode down the MS on a paddleboat, went to UnioN Station (think that’s what it’s called) and yes, you MUST go up in the arch! I am terribly claustrophibic – TERRIBLY – and popped half a nerve pill to take the trip. It. Was. AWESOME. I’m also afraid of heights. It was so impressive, we went up AGAIN at night, to see that view. I even did it without pharmaceuticals!

  37. Those Yankees have no idea, do they?

  38. I lived in North Louisiana until I was 40, moved to Tulsa and thought it was Heaven on earth…breeze blowing almost all the time. That is, until it was the middle of summer and with the heat the “breeze” felt like you were in a convection oven. Now living in Cincinnati and folks here talk about humidity! HA! They have not got a clue about humidity. Humidity is when you wake up in the morning and your driveway is soaking wet and it has not rained!

  39. If this was Thursday, I’ma kick that desk guy’s but. Thursday WAS GORGEOUS HERE. (I’m in STL, if you can’t tell.) Wednesday was as miserable as it’s been so far, but Thursday was so nice. Hottish, but no humidity. I’m all worked up about this!
    And the Arch is nice, but the most terrifying thing once happened to me on the way up – they put you in these little eggs with seats, and there are windows in the doors. And there was A WORKER, WORKING in one of the legs of the Arch. Except I didn’t know that, so for a split second I thought we’d stumbled across some sort of underground society. Not that I’m a freakout or anything.

  40. Love STL. Make sure you go to Ted Drewes for custard. Oh my….

  41. pam-tastic says:

    I went to STL once…for July 4th and saw a Hootie and the Blowfish concert outside under the Arch. I haven’t thought about that in years. I think I’ll send Hootie a tweet and see if he remembers it. I”ll tell him I was the one singing real loud and waving my arms…that should remind him.

  42. I live a couple hrs. from St. Louis, believe me it gets alot hotter than this. This was considered like spring weather. The hotel guy doesn’t get outside too much. Hope you have fun!

  43. laughing in New Orleans, where you only WISH you could cut the heat with a knife. and hurt it. and make it go away.

  44. You aren’t kidding about the “Mork from Ork” thing into which one must climb in order to get to the top of the Arch! I did it once when my husband (of 24 years) and I were dating. It was the trip we made when he brought me here (from VA) to meet his family. Sometimes, a girl has to put on a brave face when she’s trying to impress a cute boy and his family. That was my one and only trip and we’ve lived here 17 years now.
    Hope you’ll come back with your cute “boys” and see all the great stuff STL has to offer.
    From a southern transplant, who now calls Southern IL home!

  45. I went to a Cubs game in Chicago many summers ago. The folks sitting near me were very concerned, since I was out in the August sunshine with a long-sleeved shirt on. It was probably mid 80’s but to this Alabama girl, it felt like October! Good thing I wasn’t in the shade. Then the guy beside me started going on and on about the humidity. HA!

  46. Julianne says:

    This was a great post! I live in the Lou but am visiting Florida, where the heat and humidity feel pretty balmy compared to my hometown. They say the stifling humidity in St. Louis has something to do with the two rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri coming together – it forms a low lying area of still, wet air. :)

    You have to go up in the Arch. It’s truly an amazing experience. And everyone is afraid – no one will try to comfort you, they will be white knuckling it themselves!

  47. Now I’ve got to go see what the temp was in St. Louis yesterday :)

    It’s been plenty hot here in Georgia, too, and the AC keeps going out in the car (which was fixed this week for the third time). Fortunately, my van stays nice and cool. :)

  48. I honestly think looking at the arch from the ground or maybe an airplane is what God meant for southern women to do – there is no NEED for crowding in with people you are not related to and running the risk of being stuck in something you cannot climb down. BTW don’t know if you are still there or already home (cannot keep track of days) but if you get the chance – get someone to go to this steak house – just as barbecue in the south is a delight – this place knows how to thrill carnivores (and the bread is wonderful)

  49. Andy Rooney once said that New Orleans in August was like hell…but with mosquitoes and humidity.

    I totally agree.

  50. Enjoy your lower-humidity weather! And don’t let those Northerners get away with teasing us about our cold winters…without humidity, 25 degrees there feels like 40 degrees HERE. I’m in Georgia–my husband and I lived in Lustre, Montana for a year when we first got married. Before winter hit, we traveled a bit while we could and a hotel clerk told me, “Don’t let them scare you about the winters here, hun. I’ve lived in Georgia before, and *your* winters make the knees hurt! You’ll do just fine here.” LOL

    “Southern Heat Horror Stories”? Love it!

  51. We live in Michigan now. It is delightful. Absolutely 100% delightful!

    We moved here from the Virginia peninsula. The only thing hotter was when we lived in Baton Rouge. I had my third child there in the month of September. I didn’t quit sweating for the last four months. Our bedroom was like the scene from Father of the Bride 2 where I had to block my husband from all the fans blowing.

    We moved to the Virginia peninsula after having lived only 20 minutes from downtown St. Louis (on the Illinois side of the river) for six years. We always thought when my husband retired from the Army we would move back there, but God had other plans and now we have been in Michigan nearly two years and love it. (We are originally from Arkansas.)

    And you’re right…the Arch is big. It’s also beautiful.

  52. So glad to hear you are smitten with the Lou…great place to be from and visit and live! Salt of the earth people, no “phonys”. Enjoy!

  53. Sophie,

    I finally got to say hello to you and meet you this weekend. I was the one that came up to you when you were in the back row on the floor level. Missed getting a picture with you, but you were so sweet…

    Hope to see you again in the future…

  54. Great pictures of the arch!

  55. St. Louis is one of our favorite family get-aways. There is a TON to do for FREE. Yes, ma’am. Load up dear Mr. D and Alex and head there for a long weekend. Free zoo. Free museums. So fun. And no, I do not work for the St. Louis tourism industry. We just spent 4 days there (2 years ago) and my kids keep begging to do it again.

  56. If you’re ever in St. Louis with your family — kids from 3 to 93 love, love, love “The City Museum”. Sounds boring. It isn’t a crazy artist created a playground for kids big and little with historic junk from the area. An amazing place.

  57. My daughter is coming to Alabama for a mission trip at the end of July. I’m afraid the heat may keep her from ever doing another kind thing in her life. I am not a good warm person and unfortunately I passed that on. Enjoying the mid 70s in Pittsburgh today :)

  58. I LOVE IT!!!! (and I love St Louis!) We were in Boston (from Louisiana) one Summer and there were people DYING from the heat. Literally. Dead. We had to go buy sweatshirts to stay warm at night! We asked if they swim in the ocean and they thought we were crazy…then my dad said “so have you ever gotten into a swimming pool and it be so warm that it offered no relief from the heat…more like a bathtub?” and they looked at us like we had 10 heads. Wow!

    As much as I think that this Summer is going to kill me…I love living in the South!!!!

  59. Oh I just love this blog! I had to comment after I got to the part about the heat. I was born and raised in Texas for 21 years before moving to Boston, and I have to tell you that these Yanks have no idea what heat is. We’re having our first “heat wave” of the summer (if you can call three days of the lower 90s a heat wave) and you’d think we were standing on the Riverwalk in San Antonio in August. I smile when I walk between hospital buildings and feel a breeze and, as you said, don’t break a sweat, though I do feel sorry for the poor souls who are just fanning away like their world is ending. The lower 90s in Texas in June is a cool front.

    In closing, I walked outside with my boss yesterday around 10am and she immediately started fanning.
    “Is it this bad in Texas?”
    “Well, the humidity is quite low, there’s a breeze, and you can see the blue sky because it’s lacking the steam-induced haze. This is nothing compared to Texas.”
    “You mean it’s worse than THIS?!”

    Ohh, you non-South live-ers. What a sheltered world in which you live…

  60. I live in Mississippi now, but I am from Missouri. We were visiting family there a couple of weeks ago, and they people went on and on about the heat. I told them the same thing… I live in MISSISSIPPI. :) and I am proud to call the deep south my home!

  61. I probably told you this, but when we arrived in Chicago the other week, our driver told us the same thing about the heat, how we needed to wait inside because it was *so* hot outside, nearly 80 degrees. I had to tell him, we are from Texas, it was close to 100 when we left very early this morning. It was quite pleasant there, imho.

  62. Straight from the horse’s mouth here in Baton Rouge, it HAS been unbearable. And I went to NOLA last weekend, and it was even more unbearable. I was HOT the whole time we were at the Aquarium and the Riverwalk, and I was thinking that the a/c must have been broken in BOTH places!!! So much for trying to escape the heat. We have had a reprieve in Baton Rouge the last few days thanks to Hurricane Alex. It has been very overcast and rainy. Our highs for the last 3 days have been in the upper 80’s. Thank the Lord above:) Your guard dog squirrel post is simply Hilarious!!! Signing off in Baton Rouge….Amy

  63. I live in way south Alabama and still get tickled when I think about my sister’s reaction to my telling her I wasn’t going to ride over to her house until the sun went down…she said, “what are you a freaking vampire?”. I said, “it’s just so hot!” and waited until dusk to go. For being raised in AL, my system gets more delicate as I age I guess.

  64. Oh, Soph, I love how you make me laugh out loud. That part about how the heat in New Orleans “completely saps me of any desire to 1) move and 2) live.)” totally had me rolling. Once I visited New Orleans in August. Voluntarily. My Alabama humidity tolerance was no match against the sauna-like atmosphere, but on a brighter note, I think I lost some weight.