Aren’t we fortunate to have the exquisite taste to be St. Louisans? We are among the favored few in a world going mad We allow the country to intrude on our paradise. The columnist has heard compliments about our town from among the 5,500 secondary and post-secondary college admission counseling professionals, who are currently filling 10 downtown hotels. More than a few Norman Rockwell families are being introduced to our world-renowned St. Louis Symphony Orch of which Adam Crane hailed as having racked up revenue of $8.1 million for the fiscal year – more than $1 million over the previous year. The educators are probably aware that: the first kindergarten was established here; St. Louis University is the oldest college/university west of the Mississippi River. If they knock off a pork steak, gooey butter cake, Dr. Pepper or – heaven forbid – a martini, they should know they were all St. Louis firsts. It was an exorcism here that led to a best-selling book and hit movie. Entrepreneurs? From Build-A-Bear Workshops to wheel-out cameras, with generators, that work for 30 days documenting car break-ins on construction and shopping center sites and transmit the crimes to the security office. Such is the case with Mike Hackett’s “HackettWatch.” The former restaurateur is filling orders by day and night under the eagle-eyes of his dad, retired St. Louis chief of detectives James J. Hackett. Jim, by the way, was feted on his 79th natal day at MAC-west by his entourage of long-time pals: Tony Karakas; Stan Musial; Ed Thornton; Tom and Bill Suntrup; Cindy Crider; Dave Dolan and barrister Jim Holloran, who gifted Hackett with a police special and a pair of handcuffs, that drew guffaws. Holloran quipped, “They won’t give me the bullets.” The handcuffs might’ve reminded Hackett of his days on the beat. It seems the cops were on the prowl for a felon, whose two fingers were missing. One day, Hackett popped into Gus Torregrossa‘s barber shop. He noticed upon entering, that Gus quickly shielded a guy in the chair with a barber’s gown. The customer’s hand was visible – sans two fingers. Both the barber and the client were hauled into jail. If they watch enough television in their hotel rooms, the conventioneers will see faces of candidates almost every hour on the hour – deft performers they’re not. But, there’s always high-end shopping in the chic stores at Plaza Frontenac, with the type of apparel described by the late style icon Sir Cecil Beaton: “Never in the history of fashion has too little material been raised so high to reveal so much that needs to be covered.” So here’s a toast to Kitty Ratcliffe of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commish and a wish for many more tourists upon rest our hopes and half-aspirations to discover that it’s better to be poor in St. Louis than rich in New York.