Return to the Club

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Editor’s note: This summer we spent a few days at the “clubhouse” built by my great-grandparents near Clearwater Lake. It was our first time back there in a few years. Though the lake was very high because of spring floods, we still had a great time. On our way home we visited the Johnson Shut-ins. Ludi shares a few memories from the trip:

When we got to the lake, my dad needed to buy supplies for fishing. The Lake was very high. The only way to reach the dock was by boat. Josie and Joseph rode a boat with him to go to the dock to buy stuff.

During our trip, my dad was whittling. I asked him if I could try. He had one or two extra pocket knives, so he let me use one that he got at church. That’s how I learned how to handle a pocketknife and how to whittle.

We hung up the hammock. We walked around. We went fishing near the top of the flood parking lot, then waded in the water after we finished fishing.

After several days, we packed up and got ready to go to the Johnson Shut-ins. There were these huge rocks there, so you could climb on top of a rock, and there would be water going over it. You could slide down it like it was a slide.

As you got deeper through, the water would get much deeper. It was fun because there were certain areas where there were big rocks together, so it was like a fort. Me, Josie, and Joseph would play in the fort and splash water at each other and stuff. Then there was a scary part: a family said they saw a snake. Me and Josie were really scared because I thought I saw a snake when we were heading back towards the shallow area, but we never did actually come across one.



This morning Yoli and I had a rare kid-free couple of hours. We thought it would be fun to to see the new film Jerusalem on the Imax screen at the St. Louis Science Center.

The film is very nicely done. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, it tries to show the different facets of Jerusalem through the inhabitants. The film features three girls: one Jewish, one Christian, and one Muslim, who talk about their lives in the different quarters of the old city. The film also features beautiful visuals, and a good helping of archaeology and sightseeing to explain why different faiths care so deeply about particular places.

Watching the film with Yoli transported me back to the year 2000. As the editor of the student newspaper at UMSL, I received a flyer in the mail inviting me to apply for a seminar in Israel for college newspaper editors sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. It didn’t take me long to decide to apply.

Continue reading ““Jerusalem””

Kristkindl and cookies

Three years ago we took our first trips to Hermann, Mo in search of Springerle cookie molds and a fun time.

On those trips, we missed out on the Kristkindl Markt, not realizing how early in the day it finished. It’s a bit tricky for us to make it out there, with our church and work commitments on the weekends.

Anyway, Sunday we went straight from church to Hermann. Upon arrival, we drove to a town square area where the Kristkindl had been the last time we were in town. But it was empty. Yoli found a friendly older couple who explained the market was being held at Stone Hill Winery. The gentleman also advised us to visit St. George Church for its rectory tour, which he assured us was beautiful and full of trees.

Eventually we found the correct hill, parked the car, and wandered into the winery’s gift shop, thinking it might be the market. Lots of grapey gift items, but not what we wanted. At last we were directed to the right spot.

Inside we found plenty of lovely handicrafts and food items. If I was a lottery winner, I’m sure I could have bought a minivan-load of stuff, especially the beautiful hand-turned wood items.

Particularly eye-catching to me were some hand-painted clay Springerle “cookie” Christmas ornaments. Given Yoli’s affinity for Springerles, this seemed like a natural purchase. The lady selling them loved our little kids and let each of them choose an extra little ornament as a bonus. We also purchased some beeswax ornaments from a honey vendor.

We left the winery and made our way back downtown to St. George’s. We walked through the sanctuary of the church, which was beautiful but bereft of trees. The girls were quick to point this out: “Where are all the trees?” A lady directed us to the other side of the church where the rectory tour began.

What a beautiful tour! We only explored a fraction of it before the kids (nap-less and hungry) began to get restless, Joseph especially. Each room had its own theme, and all were striking. Yoli and I could have stayed all evening exploring it all.

Our final stop was the Deutschheim historic site. Time was running short (I had to get back home in time for work), but we browsed the rooms with old toys and Christmas decorations, transporting back in time.

And at last, we made it to the most important part of our visit: the Deutschheim gift shop, where they sell replica Springerle cookie molds. Yoli has been itching for some new ones to increase the variety of the cookies she makes.

The gift shop setup was different this year than the last time we were here. The gift items were being sold out of one of the old, electricity-less buildings. So all the transactions were being done long-hand. It took quite a while, and when it was done, the worker who was helping me realized he had the carbon paper in backward. So he had to copy the receipt again. Ah, the modern conveniences we take for granted. A nice Square credit card reader hooked up to an iPhone sure would have been handy for the gift shop folks.

And the proof of our purchase: Springerle cookie dough waiting to be pressed into molds and baked.