Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hannibal is Not Just Some Guy With Elephants

I admit I have issues with nostalgia. Sometimes I do things just to try to recapture the magic of my youth with varying success. Things like visiting Onondaga Cave and going to a baseball game with my high school sweetheart get big pluses. Things like eating unbaked cakes and visiting the town I grew up in not so much. But still I find myself drawn to places I have been before and in some ways recreating the experience I had as a child. Hannibal Missouri just so happens to be a childhood memory lane destination.

I went to Hannibal as a girl scout and even earned a badge for my efforts. I think the one thing that has stuck with me from that trip was the climb up 184 stairs to a lighthouse which overlooked Hannibal. I have so few good memories of my younger sister and I, but this is one of those memories. It was something we did together and at the end we both got little gold cards proclaiming our prowess at achieving such a feat. I even think I might still have my card stored away somewhere. So while at Hannibal this weekend I thought I should climb those steps again just to prove I could.

I have made it a point to climb to the lighthouse in Hannibal everytime I have been there so this will make (by my reckoning) the fourth endeavor to do make the ascent. My friend Fiona decided to join me on the trip and we headed up with our cameras in tow. Neither of us rushed the trip as we stopped to photograph flowers and river vistas. As we got closer to the top it got a little harder to steady my hands to hold the camera as a wheezed my way closer to the lighthouse.
Somewhere about thirty steps from the top I just about melted in a huff and puff of sweat. The lighthouse seemed miles away and I could not even gasp for help. After several moments of agony I forced myself to the top and immediately collapsed on a bench. At one point I wanted to send Fiona back down for oxygen, but I survived. I got in some nice shots and gave myself an attagirl. Fionna and I headed back done the winding stairs stopping at the little gift shop at the bottom for our award in completing the task of climbing all 244 stairs.

WAIT! 244 stairs! Who added 60 stairs on me? No wonder those last set of stairs about did me in, they were never there before. The woman at the gift store said in 2000 they re-did the stairs and discovered they needed more stairs. Wow! I am getting better with age, I can climb even more stairs than I could at 11. Granted not very gracefully, but hey I am about results, result no heart attack. I still got it.

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