Friday, January 28, 2011

St.L. vs. K.C.

Once when coming home on Amtrak, before the 19th-century (era) Union Station was turned back into a train depot from a shopping mall (ah, the '80s; what had developers been thinking?), and the terminal was a 12-by-10-foot structure underneath the multiple interstates (ah, we were thinking about cars, indeed!), we came across a man a few blocks later who said, "Do you know where they can stick it?"

He was referring to the Gateway Arch. I won't mention how it's undergoing structural failure. Another whole cultural conversation, that one …

My reason is to say that my hometown has a claim of being the "Gateway to the West," yet this other town (once known simply by its port-name) claims also to have been the true starting point of those heading on the Santa Fe and other trails. The last outpost.

Well, that makes plenty of sense to me now.

Here, things were truly rough. There, they truly thought they were the last of civilization. I agree. Kansas City has the second-largest rail hub (after Chicago … both seem related to the nation's lust for bovine meat), but St. Louis is perched on one of the world's largest rivers and once was a typography titan.

Both cities did pretty well with (German-American) beer manufacturers.

Today, I summed up my sentiments once again when asked to compare this Missouri border town/city to the other one: I greatly prefer the original architecture in St. Louis, but people in Kansas City are much more approachable and far less racist.

Those factors seem to be consistent with the cities' relative age and cultural heritage, even if Kansas-proper still remembers how people this side of the state line fought tooth-and-nail to keep slavery solvent.

We used to sing "John Brown" in Kindergarten, but nothing about Jayhawking ever came up … just something about his baby and a cough, which I never understood.

I saw my first Space Shuttle launch in that room.

Upstairs in that same school, apparently 25 years ago, I watched Christa McCauliff and everyone else there show me what hope was all about. I'm glad that private enterprise is taking over space travel. It was so precious then. Now, any millionaire can do it.

Still, doesn't Kansas City have clay? Choosing to forage porous calcium carbonate instead strikes me as an example of what's wrong with "Americans."

This is all just my way of tilting at windmills, hating on my own house.


Nick said...

perhaps. but w/o porous calcium carbonate how could i teach my girls to paint books? which i will tell you they really really like especially if they're pooh books cause the emotions are easier to discern and therefore ascribe appropriate colors. also when we do this i will raid the water closet for train/plane reading material and gather up all dan brown and ilk products to be painted stamped w/ variations of black navy blue or in some cases ugly brown.

Hyperblogal said...

I will only fly NASA.... too many extra charges on the private rockets.....

Applecart T. said...

chalk is good, but not for building. the romans had something with that concrete concept.