"Life's too short to be serious." Printed on a tiny, squishy yellow pillow. For sale at the Sixth Floor Museum Store + Cafe. You know, the one that caters to patrons of the Sixth Floor Museum, the museum that features exhibits about the untimely death-by-assassination of our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
It's not quite the level of tacky reached by some of the items formerly for sale at the Women's Museum, but it does seem a bit heavy-handed. After all, Kennedy's is probably the most famous short life in American history. Still, the grand opening at the Sixth Floor Museum + Cafe, which took place yesterday at the corner of Elm and Houston, was an upbeat affair.
La Duni, which provides the museum's museum-priced food, handed out free samples of chicken salad and locally sourced sweets. Goodie bags with postcards and pencils were doled out at the door. Fresh, natural lighting pours in from the direction of Dealey Plaza. Altogether, it's an entirely pleasant place to sit and think about a horrible crime, which is all too uncommon these days. If I have to ponder John Dillinger's ouevre in another cold, dark drainage ditch, I don't know what I'll do.
Even though you can no longer pick up your rollicking conspiracy tomes from the self-styled historians who've been ousted from Dealey Plaza, don't expect to find comparable replacements in the museum store. It's filled with Kennedy and 60's memorabilia -- John books, Jackie books, paper dolls, peacenik gear, fair trade bags and baubles -- no hardcore third-gunman fare in sight. The store's nice, but it's hardly a replacement for tourists who, by all accounts, have a seriously interesting time talking to the conspiracy theorists who used to populate the plaza.
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(I took my best lady and native Midwesterner, Susan, to the grassy knoll for the first time back in January. Getting the unofficial lowdown from a sweaty guy witha weathered fanny pack of self-published pamphlets was surely the highlight of our trip.)
La Duni's food is tasty-ish. A decent meal will run you about $15, particularly if you opt for one of the freshly muddled lemonade drinks -- I had a suiza, and it was lovely. The icy beverage will perhaps distract you from your icy sandwich -- everything comes out of a fridge, from the tortas to the pressed sandwiches.
Thirsty for agua? Your only option is designer bottled water that will make you want to call things "clutch" and yearn for a 3-series, but the self-serve frozen yogurt sold by the ounce redeems with a plethora of available toppings, like fresh fruit, rainbow sprinkles and gummy bears. Ice cream and sandwiches on the site of a president's death.