It started as a getaway. Not a getaway in the vacation sense. No, it was a getaway in the “we-gotta-get-outta-here for our sanity” sense. Don’t get us wrong. Our first drive did not begin with a self-improving desire to nurture our love of Missouri, learn historical tidbits, or become better people.
We had just stumbled out of a particularly grueling (although doctrinally orthodox and musically excellent) service at our little church in the heart of St. Louis city. I can’t quite recall, but this may have been the Sunday where Clarence’s shoe ended up on the wrong side of the communion rail, or Anders decided to army crawl three pews north before we realized that he was missing. Or was this when Clarence decided to stroke the hand of the woman standing behind us for 30 minutes of the service (two year olds are SO strange)…?
Either way, the three minute drive home wasn’t worth the lengthy struggle of strapping in our children to their car seats and we decided to keep driving to make it worth the effort.
We headed West- and found ourselves in Marthasville, MO. We passed wine country, sloping hills and country ranches. We drove to escape the hassle of life at home where there were dishes to wash, weeks to plan, and babies to nap. We did it to have an excuse to buy Arizona Arnold Palmers and potato chips. We did it to spend time together relaxing, knowing that our kids were securely restrained in five-point harnesses.
Our initial reasons weren’t so grand or adventurous or optimistic or contented. But as we drove and tossed junk food to our baffled children, we got more and more excited. The possibilities! We were hardly an hour from our home in the city and yet we had seen so much! We were dreaming about our future home in the country, we were making bad puns with the road names, we were realizing just how much we needed that little bit of freedom.
We had no expectations for the day. It wasn’t majestic or stunning. But it was healing and invigorating and relaxing.
We went out on a whim and took a road that wasn’t on the map. We counted cows and trains and water towers. And then, we discovered the building that started it all.
Read Part II where we tell the secrets of this creepy old house.