A Slew in St Lou

A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the flea, Let us fly.
Said the fly, Let us flee.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

A girl and a girl ate a slew
Of sandwiches just in St Lou.
Mammer Jammer, Prosperity,
St Pauls, three for verity,
The Gerber, covered in goo.

Along-for-the-ride Heidi and I drove west to St. Louis with LouFest in the center of the compass. At points north, south, east and west were indigenous sandwiches that had been filling my daydreams – The Prosperity, The Gerber, The St Paul and The Mammer Jammer.

We did well while there, and we did well en route. Both journey and destination were sandwich and music-packed. Heidi did reconnaissance on the music, loading her iPod with Lou Fest tunes by Cory Chisel, the Bottle Rockets, The Airborne Toxic Event, Alejandro Escovado, the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

I did reconnaissance on sandwiches, excavating my files, not paying attention to Heidi’s recent vegan/vegetarian semi-conversion. I was not along for the ride on that one, so I took on a lot of sandwich eating, sometimes two or three at a time, with meat, meat and more meat. You gotta make hay when the sun shines and the sun was shining on big, sloppy, meaty wiches that weekend.

We loaded up our brains, and hearts too, with To Kill a Mockingbird on cd, checked out of the public library. Between Columbus and Indianapolis this line slid into the air, spoken by Sissy Spacek, “The shadow, crisp as toast…”. It was, you must know, Boo Radley, behind the parlor curtain. Crisp as toast. Crisp as toast.

First stop for sandwich – one for me, meatless sides for Heidi – Shapiro’s in Indianapolis, second day, first lunch.

Living “in the moment” has a nice ring to it, or could, if a moment was firm and could be rung, like a bell. Moments keep moving though, melting into the next and the next and the next. I’m gonna ride the wave of time, time being liquid, one sandwich at a time. We experienced Shapiro’s in time forward and back, going to St. Louis and on our return as well. The sandwiches eat stupendously, moving from east to west, moment by moment, or west to east.

Rilke’s words, part of a poem, this part not in quotes because I cannot remember his exact choice of words, Temporary-ess-ness (had to make up a word because I cannot think of another way to say it succinctly)…got that?, Temporary-ess-ness “is the fragrance of our lives.” That last part is the poetry part, and it lilted into my brain and stayed to rest.

We did rest a bit in St Louis, just long enough to check in, catch our breath and check the map. Ruma’s Deli, home of the Gerber Sandwich, is in south St Louis. We got there after dark, not too long before closing, and my heart was pounding a bit.

The racing of my blood slowed to a creep simply from the scent of a Gerber. Eating the Gerber and the Prosperity essentially Perry Como’d me. Not quite comatose, but close.

Second day, second lunch – The Gerber and Prosperity for me, Same thing minus the meat for Heidi, more or less – at Ruma’s Deli in South St Louis.

Thought we were done for the night after the Gerber adventure, but noooooo. The glowing OPEN sign on the Oriental Wok revived me. Whoosh, I was wide-eyed and on an epic St Paul alert. We followed the trail of fortune cookie crumbs.

Second day, third lunch – Three St Paul’s for me, Pork, Shrimp and Vegetable, Vegetable St Paul for Heidi – from the Oriental Wok, South St Louis.

They were so so so cheap, I ordered three. Under 10 bucks with a 20% tip. Who did I think was going to eat three of these things?

A St Paul is a 55% sandwich eating encounter because the top slice of bread sticks as tightly as epoxy to the top of your mouth. There is no chewing and/or swallowing it. The bottom slice I used as a napkin. That left the egg foo young and condiments. East meets west in a melding moment. Time almost stands still, holding its breath.

Third day, first lunch – BBQ all around the truck cab – from the Iron Barley via Blues Fest.


Third day, second lunch – THE MAMMER JAMMER!

We did have another full day of music before we hit the road for home.

Fourth day, first lunch – Shapiro’s reprisal.


Fourth day, last meal on the road.

Please forgive the bizarre syntax and egregious spelling error. Too, to, two late now for corrections.
Oh, nevermind my apology. The previous two photos are out of orders. That explains everything. It does take chutzpah to open something this fine in a such a quiet stretch. The Upper Crust jazzed the part of me that has faith in the future.

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3 responses to “A Slew in St Lou

  1. This is such an epic post! Love the handcrafted photo/caption layout! Plus, you reference Boo Radley, Rilke, chutzpah, The Bottle Rockets, egg foo young, Perry Como and BBQ in the same post. You are truly the Queen of Eclecticism (and ‘wiches).

  2. What a great post—wonderful to re-live the trip! Just wore my C.Chisel shirt the other day.

  3. Double super Bravo!

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