Friday, July 25, 2008

Three Hurrahs and Five Stars for Brave Amy!

How appropriate for my sister, Lou, to arrange for our Gisel Girl Cousin Gathering in St. Louis. Yes, and following this historic event, we are tempted to nominate her for sainthood—St Louie—it has such a nice ring to it.

We had many St. Louis highlights due primarily to Sister St. Louie’s wise appointment of teacher daughter Amy as our event planner. Remember the exceptional and talented Franck? He couldn’t hold a candle to Amy’s thoroughness and enthusiasm and having her front and center so improved the looks of our cousin clan.

The historic hotel that Amy researched and carefully chose for the GGC had all of the necessary amenities—each and every one of us could have our own bed and it was within our budget as well. The toilets and showers were in a separate room from the sink and double mirror. Most of the sinks drained and most of the rooms got cleaned each day. There was a swimming pool and by and large a tolerant staff that put up with many calls and visits to the front desk even providing a free breakfast on Wednesday morning for all of us—perhaps because they liked us so much—or not.

First, Amy planned the Opening Ceremony. She wrote the first two verses of The Welcome Song (Welcome to St. Louis Cousins), to the tune of the familiar, Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis. She used clever rhymes in place of "hootchie coochie" and "tootsie wootsie" (i.e. rowy boaty/artsy tartsy, ravioli/rolly poly, and Donna added a third verse with such appropriate rhymes of woozie floozie/brewery boozie.) Amy, who had never heard the song before due to her young age, with natural teacher persuasiveness, enlisted her mom and Aunt Donna to help perform The Welcome Song. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I was asked. However, never wanting to be left out, I joyfully and enthusiastically joined in—more like a student in the front row, saying, “Pick me. Pick me”— unlike my usual coyness.
Then Amy presented fabulous welcome gifts in St Louis boxes that included “an eclectic mix of edible items from all around St. Louis” including Fitz’s root beer, Ronoco Coffee, Cardinals peanuts, a sampling of gooey butter cake, a chocolate Arch and a whole package of Switzer’s red licorice! But wait that is not all! We also received a twofold brochure that had our agenda and a St Louis trivia quiz.
Amy, a most conscientious tour guide, provided a booklet on the history of each St. Louis place that we would visit on our tour impressing the current and retired teachers which is most everyone because 11 of the 14 cousins are in that group. She also had that unique teacher ability of being able to be at all important places at once. For example, she led our straggling group, was crossing guard and also followed up so no one was left behind. She provided maps and directions and remembered where the cars were parked. She helped find keys, credit cards, and purses but lest you think we were helpless, none of us needed assistance in the restroom. Anyhow, I am sure that is where Amy would draw the line. Although with that many women, it was necessary to always know the nearest, cleanest WC available.
Amy’s teacherness was clearly evidenced as she provided for the many special needs of our group. For example, Amy provided a menu for each of the diverse restaurants where we would dine so the decision-making-challenged could get a head start. Everything worked so smoothly! Of course all were eager to help. Our first meal out was at Zia’s Italian Restaurant on The Hill. Soon after we started eating, one unnamed cousin noticed that she had spilled a bit of oil on her shirt. Immediately, five other cousins produced purse sized sprays and stain removal items to assist. The other seven gave advice on how to best use the products. It did create a not too subtle stir but really no one noticed and the spot became nearly invisible and we laughed a great deal so that I am sure no one suspected anything out of the ordinary. We appreciated that we were not asked to leave as the food was so very delicious!

Amy competently led us through the beautiful city! Not an easy task. Imagine squeezing eleven of us into small Gateway Arch cars while laughing, taking mostly non drinking Mennonites on the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour, having Fitz’s Root Beer floats with laughing women who have difficulty eating a piece of bread without dribbling, riding the Metrolink to Forrest Park with the balance challenged who were laughing and needing to make sure that all were in before the doors closed. Then life guarding while the group swam and having to find swim towels because they were depleted since it was very warm outside. No one drowned even though the water level rose dramatically with all of us in the pool. Perhaps one floats more easily while laughing. Well you get the picture. Just think of the pressure and responsibility on our exceptional tour guide and she never stopped smiling! It was great! We could have easily stayed for another three days. Although I don’t know how much more fun, Lou and Amy could have survived.
Naturally after such a fabulous St Louis experience, we had a great deal of difficulty deciding on our next year’s adventure. This will be a hard act to follow! Please spread the word that we are looking for an inexpensive, very social, creative, patient, organized, female tour director/guide with a big sense of humor—a teacher on summer break would be great! It could be like a reality show—GGC Survivor? Just imagine what this position may do for a resume! Go ahead, apply if you dare.
This ritual of passing The Box is part of our secret Closing Ceremony. Learning its secrets should be incentive enough to chaperone our GGC. All applicants will be considered but I want to warn you, the competition may be tough—or not.


Cousin Lynn said...

Oh Brenda, how fun!!! I had a couple of LOL moments! I was wondering if I could apply to be a Gisel cousin (I'm not interested in being a tour guide...) Love to you!!!

Anonymous said...

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