Friday, December 16, 2022

Family Road Trip – Thanksgiving Too!

 …yet another break from my ongoing series of posts related to our late summer adventure to Michigan and beyond.

In this instance, once again Laurie and I were off on a 10-day family road trip built around the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The first leg of our trip followed I-75 north to I-40 west to I-24 north to I-57 north and finally to I-64 west…and then into St. Louis Missouri for a pre-Thanksgiving visit with Laurie’s sisters and other family members.  Traffic was relatively lighter than I’d expected…but I-24 North was a problem.  Vehicles were stacked up for miles in a construction zone and that cost us over a half hour delay.  Still, it was a nice sunny day to be stuck in traffic!

When we arrived in St. Louis, it was dinner time at Laurie’s sister Bonnie’s house in Maplewood… Bonnie had prepared his special lasagna paired with a side salad, a bit of cranberry sauce and crusty bread.  It was a great way to start our family road trip!

Other than just chilling out and stopping at a couple of locale places that I’ve featured in previous St. Louis based posts, Laurie and I experienced a Holiday event we hadn’t seen before… From left to right in the photo shown above: Bill, Bonnie, yours truly and my better half, Laurie.

Bonnie had purchased tickets to “Garden Glow”, a holiday related light show installed at the Missouri Botanical Garden which is located in St. Louis.  This was the 10th year for this light show.  Despite Laurie and I having met, getting married and our living in the St. Louis area for several years, I had never been to the Botanical Gardens.

The Missouri Botanical Garden occupies 79 acres and it was founded in 1859.  It features the second largest herbarium in the USA, only behind New York’s Botanical Garden.  To learn more go to

The above is a sampling of the fantastical lighting effects and colors that lined the route from the Visitor’s Center through the gardens and back again.  We all especially loved that giant blue tree! 

Somehow we found ourselves following the path in reverse so we encountered few other visitors during the first half of our exploration…and then for the second half we were like salmon swimming upstream. 

As some may recall, the last time we visited a botanical garden…Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha…either I got lost in my wanderings or others misplaced me due to a misunderstanding as to where we were going to meet.  In any case, we stuck together at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Our next stop was in Omaha for our Thanksgiving feast with our son and his family.  We arrived Wednesday evening and spent several days at the family home.

The selfie above shows both the Thanksgiving table and the gathering of the family.  From the left: David II taking the group ‘selfie’, yours truly, Laurie, David II’s better half Amy, David III, Emmett Lee and RuRu…grandma.

This year I was hoping to escape the turkey carving task…but once again my ‘talents’ were pressed into service.  The table was loaded with food ranging from rolls to massive amounts of turkey to stuffing and sweet potatoes and to green bean casserole to baked macaroni and cheese. 

Of course the best part about the Thanksgiving feast other than the family gathering is the guarantee of turkey and stuffing sandwiches as well as hot turkey sandwiches and hot turkey with gravy over mashed potatoes.  David II and I are bonded over this satisfying post-holiday repast!

We mostly hung around the house during this visit so family photos are in order rather than ‘exiting’ new dining experiences, it’s all about family photos… David and Amy celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary back in June of this year.  They are still best friends and they have provided us with 2 fine grandsons!

David and Amy’s oldest son, David III is now in his senior year at New York University.  It won’t be long before he graduates with his degree in computer science.  Then he’ll will face the reality of job hunting and working for a living.  He’d love to stay in New York City but it’s probably cost prohibitive.  Chicago is another possibility…but time will tell.  Whatever he decides to do or to live, he will do well!

Soon after Thanksgiving, David III had to fly back to NYU to finish the semester.  Then it was Emmett Lee’s turn.  He’s finishing his first semester as a freshman at the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, a school within the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  With David II and Amy, we returned him to the campus.  His dormitory is located in the heart of the University’s campus close to the library, food options, the student union and other key services.  Amy took the photo above with Emmett, some old guy, Laurie and David II.  Back to work Emmett!  

Following the Holiday weekend, Laurie and I headed back home with an overnight in Effingham Illinois along the way.  We had a great time as well as a relaxing time in both St. Louis and Omaha!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Bonnie's lasagna looks amazing! Congratulations to David and Amy! Awesome that you gotta spend some quality time with your son's family.

  2. That light show looks spectacular and is something I always enjoy. Hard to believe David III is a senior already - time sure is flying.

  3. What a great couple of family gatherings! I do know those construction zones on interstates...I think the guys sit arond all week waiting for pre-holidays to start working (shame on me for thinking that out loud!)

  4. This was a nice after holiday post, Dave. It was great to see the get together with your son and his family and to read how well both grandsons are doing. The light show looked like a fun adventure as well and we may be doing one as well this week in NH.