Memorial Day in St. Louis

Last Updated on April 18, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

I made a big mistake at work yesterday. I let someone be unreasonable and ruin my day. No, I don’t want to talk about it. I’d rather go back to a happier time… like Monday.
On Monday, Gatermann and I went out shooting. He’s experimenting with high-contrast b&w photography and I wanted some harsh and stark pictures of myself in an urban setting, so we went driving around in the warehouse district. We found a great source of used car parts–drive around the right places, and you’ll find tires, hubs, car batteries, mufflers, and even gas tanks just sitting there, and no one complains if you take them. I even found a couple of tires mounted on hubs. They must make them in some of those old buildings or something.

But that wasn’t what we were looking for. We were looking for good shots. Well, we found a building that they’re tearing down, and one corner that’s still standing has a really big word painted on it, descending down the building: “Fresh.” Gatermann said he’d be coming back when more of the building was gone to get a shot of that. And Gatermann got a shot of a modern train running past the old, abandoned, St. Louis Southwestern Railroad (aka The Cotton Belt Route) freight depot on the riverfront.

And we found some neat-looking doorways for me to stand in while he took some shots.

We drove around some more, and Gatermann said he knew of a really neat-looking trestle nearby, so we went there. It’s been years since the trestle’s been used, but someone still mows under it. We got a few shots, then Gatermann looked over to the left. Next to a building, there were a few coal hoppers just sitting there. “Let’s get a shot of you standing between those two cars,” he said. I walked over there, then Gatermann said, “No, let’s go to the other side. With where the sun is, we’ll get backlighting there.” So we walked to the last car, stepped over a rope that was blocking our way and totally ignored the sign on the rope, and then one of us noticed a sign on the door of the building: Danger. Radioactive. Keep out. I looked at the signs on the fence next to the building: Radioactive contamination. Keep out. Gatermann and I looked at each other. “Maybe it’s not a good idea for us to be here.”

We stepped back over the rope and read the sign: Radiological buffer zone.

I looked at Gatermann. “Well, that was probably the smartest thing we’ll do all day.”

As we drove off, I noticed some more signs on that fence: Guard dog on duty. Guard dog? Isn’t radiation that’s bad for us bad for dogs too?

Chances are one of the sets of signs was lying. Maybe both of them. But that just didn’t seem to be the place to be that afternoon.

We weren’t the only ones to think that. Apparently some people think the thing to do in St. Louis on Memorial Day is to go find a warehouse, preferably with a loading dock that you can use like a porch, pack up the lawnchairs and the grill, and barbecue there with your family or a bunch of your buddies. You’ll have to ask Gatermann why that is, because I’m not a St. Louis native. I just live here. I don’t even like pork steaks.

But no one was BBQing at the House of Radioactivity. I guess no one wanted to know whether the barbecue would cook faster there. Or maybe they just didn’t want to share with the dog.

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7 thoughts on “Memorial Day in St. Louis

  • May 31, 2001 at 8:59 am

    I guess my Texas upbringing is shining through again. When I read that you and Tom went "shooting", I pictured "Dave with shotgun". 😉

  • May 31, 2001 at 9:33 am

    Just read today’s post. I don’t know if I ever told you this story. Very shortly after Dr. Dave opened an office in Toledo, he had a visit from someone who had a suite in the same building. This man told Dave that EVERY office in the building had been broken into and robbed EXCEPT his office. He then pointed out that he had "Caution: Radioactive materials" stickers on every window and every door. What did his office contain? Files. Nothing more. But the signs were the very best crime deterrant imaginable. (We won’t talk too much about the building’s security guard. His name was not Barney Fife, but there were remarkable similarities. This guy’s name was Joe. Joe was allowed to carry a single bullet in his pocket–this was after he accidentally discharged his gun in the hospital lobby. At one time Dr. Dave asked me if I wanted to have a security alarm put into the office with a button under my desk so I could "ring" Joe if there was a problem. I told Dave I would prefer to take my chances with a robber than with Joe if he put that bullet into the gun!)

  • May 31, 2001 at 10:50 pm

    I had a cousin, actually a 2nd cousin. Any way, I go over to E. St. Louis and other places on the E. Side that have a less than perfect reputation. But by the train yards and tracks (I’m a train freak) it’s pretty safe. My mom was telling her that I go over to E. St. Louis and shoot allthe time, this cousin about spit out her food and had the most appalled face! Then my mom told her that I shot with a camera…

  • May 31, 2001 at 10:54 pm

    Oh, and I don’t know why that group was at an old run down warehouse BBQ’ing. That’s not a standard St. Louis tradition. Probalby some KC folks lost in the ware house district……:)

  • May 31, 2001 at 11:34 pm

    Reading your entry about "going shooting" I said to myself "alright" then reality set in. Back when I was your age my friends and I would also go shooting, but not with camera’s although I do have some photo’s of us "Shooting". Back when we were responsible young adults and participating in a great American past time.
    Take care
    Steve in Colorado
    (God’s true home)

  • June 1, 2001 at 9:26 am

    I haven’t shot a gun in probably 15 years, maybe longer than that. I wasn’t a good shot. I’m better with a camera, which is a scary thought (though a few of my shots did see small-time publication, but that was only because I knew the editor… The editor was me.)

    God lives in Colorado? I’ll have to tell my friend who’s moving to Colorado in a few weeks!

  • June 1, 2001 at 7:45 pm

    Hey Dave remember this: "Tommy & Davey’s Guns N’ Stuff"?

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