The Baby New Year and old Father Time were walking up North Grand Avenue right before New Year’s Eve. I caught up with them as they were checking things out by the Fox Theatre, across the street by Best Steak House.
“We just flew in from Times Square in New York,” jabbered Baby. “Looks OK for us in NYC. Now we’re making sure everything is ready for us for First Night here in St. Louis. Tell us you will not have that goofy Steve Harvey introducing us – he’d get us mixed up!”
I motioned both of them into the steak joint so I could buy them a bite and tell them the news: No Steve Harvey. No First Night.
“There’s no First Night in St. Louie this year,” I sighed. “Last year’s New Year’s may have been the last night for First Night. Our Grand Center CEO Vince Schoemehl nixed it, saying First Night outgrew the neighborhood.”
The New Year’s Baby objected that he would not take up much space in Grand Center. His protests were drowned out by an incessant, “Next! Next! Next!” To borrow a line from Jerry Seinfeld, the Steak Nazi was demanding Baby’s order.
“Look, Baby, step aside and let the old man in front of you,” I suggested, as Baby shook his rattle at me. “Age before beauty. Besides, Daddy Time looks like he is running out of time.”
The constant “Next! Next!” rattled old Father Time. He lost his scythe and almost dropped his hour glass. I was afraid he was going to lose his sash. Baby and I helped out the oldster, got our orders and headed to a table.
We sat near a window and saw the Fox lights advertising, “HeartByrne – A Tribute To Talking Heads.” Neither Baby nor Father Time seemed much interested in attending a rock concert put on by Talking Heads on Jan. 1.
“HeartByrne? I’ll show you some heartburn,” sneered Father Time, as he began popping locally-produced TUMS to quiet his talking tummy.
“This was not the year to cancel First Night,” growled a scowling Father Time. “Baby and I had a very serious message to bring to St. Louis. We’re ‘Going Green in 2016.’ We are all in with this sustainable living.”
“Going Green in 2016”
Father Time was clearly ticked off. I told him that his anger was not sustainable and that he ought to cede a little time to Baby to explain what was meant by Going Green in 2016.
“Here’s the deal,” explained Baby. “You have a smelly, smoldering landfill in the St. Louis region that’s about to go radioactive. I don’t know a gamma ray from a beta ray. But I do know a thing or two about bad smells.
“I also know that your landfills are full of disposable diapers, and my goal is for every baby born on New Year’s in 2016 to dump the disposables and move to cloth,” said Baby. “Disposable diapers make up a big portion of our landfills and they take more than 250 years to decompose.”
Babbling Baby said he was not in St. Louis just for a New Year’s Party, but for a Diaper Party. Area moms had invited him to one of their local green parties to encourage use of cloth.
Father Time was not exactly green with envy over not getting an invite to discuss cloth versus disposables.
“I guess with me it all Depends.” said Father Time. “But I really don’t feel up to a big discussion on the use of Disposable Depends right now. I have been wrapped up in cloth for a long time — and lately I just worry about falling on my sash.”
Unsteady Father Time had a point. He was an alarming sight with everything about him looking second hand.
“So, what’s your gig for Going Green in 2016?” I asked the old codger.
Like Baby, Father Time insisted he was not in St. Louis just for a New Year’s Party. The Old Timer was here for a Green Burial Council certified burial party at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
“My days are numbered – actually it’s a matter of hours for me,” lamented the Old Timer. “So, I am investigating a way to go out that doesn’t leave a big carbon footprint. I am considering a shroud burial so that what nutrients are left in this tired, old body will be recycled back to earth.”
After our dinner at the Best Steak House, Father Time said he was more than ready to go, and so departed. As for Baby New Year, he burped himself, put on his top hat, and was last seen skipping past a line of mortals at the FOX for “HeartByrne”
This piece about the “Dynamic Duo” originally appeared in The West End Word for the final week of December 2015 and it mentions the Talking Heads Tribute Concert scheduled for 1:30 a.m., Jan. 1, 2016, at the Fabulous Fox. Any takers for an early morning tribute band?
The “Dynamic Duo” column mentions two “going green” phenomena: cloth diaper parties to encourage parents to move away from disposables; and, the green burial trend. Both of these topics are covered in the book, “Environmental Missouri.” The book has an interview with Jo Sehee, founder of the Green Burial Council. The book also draws from an article by environmental journalist, Julia Gabbert, who interviewed Megan Blind, a coordinator of diaper parties in the state of Illinois. It’s amazing how many diaper party sites have sprung up on the web since Gabbert did that original story on the cloth diaper movement in 2012.
A nice article. Best was a regular piece of my life for a number of years. I first learned about it as a student a few blocks away at St. Louis University. I was working for the student newspaper, and one summer the editor called about meeting to discuss some plans for the upcoming school year. We went down to Best and he told me “You are not really a staff member until you have had a “Bestburger,” don’t call it a hamburger. One of those little quirks that along with “Next” make it a fun place.
I continued to go there for several years with my mom, as we had season tickets to the Fox. We would go down early, and have lunch at Best. A burger or chicken sandwich on that Texas toast, and a baked potato. Good stuff.
Listening to the the staff converse in a mix of Greek, English and whatever else made for a entertaining show of sorts as well.
Neat restaurant and neat article Don