Around Christmastime, I really love to watch the movie Meet Me in St. Louis starring Judy Garland. It's one of my very favorites and I usually watch it multiple times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Really, it's a movie that could be watched any time. It chronicles a year in the lives of one family. For me, though, Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to a weeping Margaret O'Brien will always be the best reason to save it for holiday viewing. Anyway, the film ends when the family makes their way to the 1904 World's Fair to see all of its splendors. That World's Fair was called The Louisiana Purchase Exposition and was meant to celebrate the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase.
When I landed in Birmingham last week, I went directly to The Vulcan. If you've never been, The Vulcan is a steel statue that has been placed atop a plinth on the highest point over Birmingham. It's a great place to see an amazing vista of the whole city and it has an interesting story of its own. The statue itself was originally created to be displayed at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. The Vulcan made his debut there as a demonstration of the flourishing steel industry in Birmingham.
More recently, I toured the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX. I am a big fan of Dr. Pepper (well, Diet Dr. Pepper anyway) and was looking forward to finding out how this magical beverage was originally invented. The museum boasts an animatronic "Doc" who explains to visitors how he first concocted his elixir. Apparently, he wanted to recreate the "taste" of the soda fountain (all the cherry, orange, vanilla, ginger, lemon, etc that were being mixed) when you walked into a drug store. As it happens, Dr. Pepper was introduced to the national market at, you guessed it, The 1904 World's Fair! Somehow, I keep coming across the 1904 World's Fair. I've learned more about it than I'd ever have dreamed. Also, it feels like a happy coincidence that these references keep happening around Christmastime.
Beyond my World's Fair experiences, I've also seen the Louisiana State Capitol. I've been wanting to see it for a while because I find Huey P. Long's assassination there to be fascinating. Was he shot by the man who would eventually be blamed (who, himself, was shot and killed by Long's bodyguards inside the capitol building) or was he accidentally shot by those same bodyguards? Anyway, I saw the Art Deco wonder and saw the bullet holes that still remain from that evening.
I also made sure to visit the Magnolia Market at the Silos while in Waco. I am a fan, like everyone else, of Fixer Upper on HGTV and I had to see the market for myself. And I bought some bottle brush trees...which should surprise exactly no one.who knows me. I am a sucker for a bottle brush tree.
I also dressed up my van for the holidays to feel a bit more like home. I bought a tiny tree and some snowflake lights and I love that fireplace you can queue up on Netflix! So, it's been cozy and I'm getting ready to celebrate with friends and family soon. I was a little worried that I'd feel sad being on my own these weeks leading up to the holidays. I've honestly been glad to have a little time to myself (to watch and re-watch Meet Me in St. Louis and The Shop Around the Corner and White Christmas) and to see all of the things I've seen.