I have been privileged to have lived in a lot of places. Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, and Florida have all been my home at one time or another. Each and every place holds special memories, but out of them all, there is one place that claims my heart--Kansas.
|A Kansas sunset from the back of Dad's Silverado|
I've returned, albeit briefly. I'm here for a few days, and then it will be time to fly south again, this time with Dad and his camper. But for two days, I can soak in some Kansas vibes.
|This morning's tea was drunk in this spot.|
I arrived late in the afternoon in Wichita. Looking from my bird's eye view in the sky, I noticed the capricious winding of the small river (Smoky Hill), the massive center pivot irrigation lines, and the plateaus that jutted up out of the flat expanse of the prairie. And I noticed how sparsely populated the area was. There is still room to breathe in this space.
We landed and immediately headed north to my hometown of Lindsborg, Kansas. As we drove, the sun sank into the horizon and the weather grew colder.
This morning, the weather felt like 11 degrees as we drove to the coffee shop. It was still dark. Arriving first, I sipped on my tea as I watched shop keepers and farmers arrive for their morning cup and conversation. Then we were off again.
This time we turned the truck west, to Langley Cemetery and my mother's burial spot. As we drove, it began to ice over. The truck was warm, but outside was not. It was cold, icy, and mournful. To avoid the slippery K4 highway, we turned off early and drove down dirt roads past my grandparent's old farm. No one lives there at present, so we took the opportunity to drive up the long drive to see the old place.
|The railroad went this way.|
Grandma and Grandpa's drive used to be bisected by the railroad tracks. They have long since disappeared, but I can remember a time when my young legs would carry me as fast as they could whenever I would hear the whistle of the train. I knew it was coming down the line, and I would run to watch the monster engine roar past. It was always a special treat to have the conductor wave from his caboose at the end.
|The family home, no longer occupied|
We didn't spend much time there; technically it is private property, but I just wanted to peek at it one more time. The barn was still standing. We didn't drive down to it, but I remember going down there to see Barney the Bull out in the fields. My sister and I spent hours chasing the feral barn cats. If, by some chance, we were able to catch one, our reward was to be rudely scratched by them. It didn't dissuade us at all. My arms were full of scratches!
Not far from the home is the cemetery. It's small but peaceful. I love it there. The ice was still falling as I got out of the truck and walked around.
It's good to be back. It feels good to feel cold. It's wonderful to see my father. He has more silver in his hair than the last time I saw him. He wears it well.
I love this state. It feels like home to me. I suspect it always will. But it will be good to get back to my family. I miss them. And warmth!