A Look Back — Christmas Thru The Window Glass

The last few days before Christmas!  Santa’s sleigh is in the shed for its scheduled maintenance check and going over.  The reindeer are out on the training  ground for their final pre-flight practice and run thru.  Elves are working overtime finishing, polishing, prepping and wrapping.  Mrs. Claus is busy in the kitchen keeping everyone fed and on their toes as the clock ticks down to Christmas Eve.  Gallons of hot chocolate!

Vintage Santa Claus in his Workshop Making Toys

Vintage Santa Claus in his Workshop Making Toys

How are things going for you?  In a rush to get ready? Shopping yet to be done? Gifts to wrap? Cookies and treats to be made? Final decorations and stockings to be hung? Things can get hectic this time of year.

I’m sure other folks my age remember the old-fashioned holiday window displays in the department store windows. New dolls and toys on display.  Bicycles, BB Guns and Baseball Gloves.  Red wagons.  Teddy Bears.  Model trains running thru tunnels, across bridges and round and round.  Airplanes flying thru the air.  Cold little noses pressed to the window glass to get the closest look.  Wished-for presents and dreams just out of reach!  Call me old-fashioned, but I miss these.

As a kid, the display windows seemed to make Christmas even more special. It was a highly anticipated trip all in itself to visit the department stores downtown at Christmas to see the display windows and visit with Santa Claus. Lunch out at the cafeteria nearby when home cooking was the norm and dining out reserved only for very special occasions. And the yearly trip to see the store windows and Santa Claus qualified as a very special occasion indeed!

I know you’re busy so won’t keep you.  Just taking this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the Joys, Happiness  and Peace of the Holiday Season!   Maybe you better go check the kids now.  Looks like they are getting their own preparations in order!  — Jim (and Red!)

Joyeux Noël !  ¡Feliz Navidad!  Buon Natale!  Frohe Weihnachten!  Merry Christmas!

Celebrating 60 Years of Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri!

Not having many (any?) old photos to share, I have not jumped on the Throwback Thursday wagon yet. But I did happen across a news feature this morning about one of my favorite places nearby—Grant’s Farm in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

Grant’s Farm opened to the public 60 years ago this week. Before it became known as a tourist destination, it was (and still is) home to members of the Busch family, of Anheuser-Busch Beers fame and fortune.

Before being owned by the Busch family, the land was the Hardscrabble home of President Ulysses S. Grant. Hardscrabble was purchased in 1907 by August A. Busch. The log cabin hand built by Grant for his family before the Civil War was disassembled and rebuilt on the Busch estate, which encompasses over 280 acres of the original land owned by Grant. The two-story cabin is located about one mile from its original site, and is on the tour trail of Grant’s Farm to this day. Years ago, visitors were allowed to disembark the tour trains in front of the cabin and tour the actual inside, which I was fortunate enough to do several times. Having been out of the area and not visiting there in quite some time though now, I am not sure access to the cabin is still allowed in order to preserve it.

My first visits to Grants Farm were shortly after it opened waaaay back in the 1950’s.  My heroes were Davy Crockett and Marshall Matt Dillon on the TV show “Gunsmoke” at the time.  Visiting Grant’s Farm and seeing my very first live bison and elk up close and being able to pet a horse in the stables actually named “Gunsmoke” were heady adventures indeed!   It’s a great place to visit, especially with children.  Be sure to visit early in the day to feed the baby goats before they get full and lose interest.  Also be sure to double knot all shoelaces because they have a knack for untying shoes.   Adults can sample free Anheuser-Busch Beer products in the hospitality area.  Stables with the famed Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales can be toured there also, allowing an opportunity to get up close and personal with the giant horses and learn more about them.

There are many more things I could tell you, but it would be a lot more fun for you to come, visit and find out for yourself.  Here are a couple links for more info on hours, directions and such if planning a visit to the St. Louis area in the future.