First Friday Art Walk. . . and walk. . . and walk. . . and walk. . .

It all started with my desire to spend some time with Josiah. He lives and works about 35 minutes away, and I miss him. Over the past few months, he’s come down to the house several times – for dinner, after a dental appointment, for Jessica’s wedding, etc., but it dawned on me that he shouldn’t always have to come here. If I really want to see him – which I do – I could go there.

So I was looking for something fun and possibly cultural that we might do together in Springfield, and I thought of the First Friday Art Walk. It’s a monthly event where a lot of downtown businesses open their doors for a lot of local artists to come and display (and hopefully sell) a lot of their creations, and for several hours, people can just wander around and in and out among these venues and see interesting artwork.

I asked Josiah and he was interested, so we made a date.

I thought the evening was wonderful!

After a slight delay due to our Dill Pickle issue, I met Jo at his apartment, which is just very nice. It’s a classy set-up, in a good neighborhood that’s conveniently located. Never one for stuffy formality, Josiah’s apartment has that comfortable, lived-in look, somewhat like his room at home.  = )  He and his roomies also have an obnoxious adorable kitten named Maique (“my EEK”). I believe this is the first time he’s had a pet. We shall see how that relationship progresses.

Jo bought our dinner at Fazoli’s, and then we headed toward the center of town. I drove the Durango because he said his car had been making some kind of inappropriate noise.

Having seen this verbiage on the First Friday Art Walk website. . .

Worried about parking? Ride the Art Museum shuttle! Art Walk sponsor Springfield Art Museum offers free shuttle service from the Museum to Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m. on First Fridays. Stops at Campbell & Walnut, Boonville & Water, The Creamery Arts Center and the Art Museum.”

. . . we decided to park at the Art Museum and ride.

It was just a glorious night for a walk; upper 60s, clear skies, very pleasant. Armed with a map and brochure, we happily wandered around downtown seeing all kinds of painting, carving, photography, apparel, quilts, metalwork, and even blown glass. Quite enjoyable.

We ended up at Park Central, and I was given a very special treat. Josiah’s workplace is located right on the “square,” in suite 516 of The Holland Building (vintage 1914) at 205 Park Central East. And he has keys to the building! So while other revelers roller skated (in old-fashioned metal clip-on skates!) or juggled fire, or stood on their heads, or played loud music in the center of the roundabout there, we went into The Holland Building, which, for a history buff like moi, was just amazing. It has a working mail chute, old-timey elevator, and that near-musty-but classy look and feel that you only experience in downtown buildings of significant age and grandeur.

Josiah gave me a full tour of his workplace, and I found it all fascinating. That is, until my lower digestive system made, for no known reason, some sudden and very significant complaints, providing me then with a full tour of the ladies restroom. Sometime later and feeling a bit weakened, I emerged and we continued our jaunt, ending up in a little European pastry shop. Whose restroom I again investigated at length. And while surveying the plumbing fixtures, I had a sudden and somewhat unsettling thought. It was 8:54 PM, and I couldn’t remember if the free shuttle back to the Art Museum (and my Durango) ran until 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM. That difference could be rather significant. Back in the pastry shop Josiah was waiting for his beverage order, and when I asked him the critical question, he looked both curious and concerned. I left him to get the answer with his phone while I returned to the Little Girls’ Room. And prayed for digestive mercies. . . and wondered where one could buy a fistful of Immodium at 9:00 PM on a Friday night in downtown Springfield. . . or just how far it would be to walk from Park Central to the Art Museum. . . and whether or not we could find any open businesses with public restrooms along the way. . .

Carrying a handheld computer is quite handy at such a time. Cell phones today can answer (sometimes in spoken English) almost any question, and it turns out that, as clearly stated in the above copied blurb from the First Friday Art Walk website, the shuttle did indeed cease running at 9:00 PM.


We discussed our options. There being so few of them, it was a very short discussion.

I told Jo I thought I was OK to walk some, just not too fast, and that if I said I needed a bathroom, to realize that the situation was urgent and to please try to find one post haste. We, of course, both knew that that would be impossible, but he said optimistically, “Um. . . I’ll do my best.”

And with that, we set off walking south. Thankfully, God did answer my prayer, my rebellious digestive system ceased its complaining, and I was fine. As mentioned earlier, it was a truly lovely evening for a walk, and that was good thing, for we did walk quite a ways.

We walked through some neighborhoods that I would not have walked through alone in broad daylight.

We had a long, grand conversation about all kinds of interesting things, and we kept walking. (Sing it with the French Peas, everyone: “Keep walking, but you won’t knock down our wall. Keep walking, but she isn’t gonna fall. . .”)

We kept walking.

We walked through the bar district.

We saw buildings of great architectural interest and buildings of absolutely no architectural interest.

We pushed buttons to cross many streets and were repeatedly told to “WAIT. . . WAIT. . . WAIT. . . ”

We opted not to follow Google’s suggested route when it appeared to be shorter but led through a completely dark neighborhood.

We kept walking.

We were almost side-swiped by someone who almost hit someone else while turning left. Heart palpitations for over a minute on that one.

We (I) got a bit tired of walking, but since our only option was to keep walking, we did.

We commented on trees, sidewalk widths, MSU’s tunnel, and a quart of milk sitting on the sidewalk.

We had a lot of fun and were not bored.

We kept walking.

Jo’s phone had indicated at the outset that at our current (admittedly slow, but how the heck did the phone even know?!?) rate, it should take us a mere 39 minutes to walk to the Art Museum. I think it was closer to 50-some minutes, but once we hit National, we knew that eventually, the tennis court across from the Art Museum, beside which we had parked, would have to appear, and sure enough, it had not moved during our absence. I was pretty glad to see that Durango!

I have no regrets. It was a very fun and special evening, and I’m so glad I got to spend it with my favorite Llama. I am especially fond of him.


P.S. The next day, I mapped our route, and it was exactly two miles. Thanks to my companion, they were a very memorable and pleasant two miles.


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