I live in Kansas and I was born and raised here. I was raised in an idyllic small town. You know the type. It had an actual soda jerk fountain behind two horseshoe shaped counters at the drug store. You could order actual cherry sodas, the actual soda with ice cream. My favorite drink was a chocolate Dr. Pepper. They sold Tootsie Pops and you could even turn in the wrappers with stars on them for a free one!
My town had several churches, a couple local restaurants, and a dime store that when I was really young, you could buy actual penny candy. You didn't get charged tax until it was more than $0.25 worth. We walked home from school every single day and I would sometimes stop in at the City Clerk's office to see my Mom. She still works there.
|The dirt road near my in-law's house|
Not a lot has changed there since I graduated high school and moved away. The drug store was replaced by a dentist's office and the soda fountain got moved across the street to a little cafe. Several stores downtown changed hands, the brick Main street we cruised every Friday and Saturday night was redone, and they added a stop sign to the old 3-way stop at the end of Main. That's hard to get used to and I'm sure many a returning voyager has accidentally blown through that stop sign.
|Planting is done|
I can breathe here. I can breathe anywhere, but especially here. The ghosts of my forefathers root me to the ground and I am whole again. Many weekends we visited my grandparents. They each had farms. We bottle fed calves, let them suck on our fingers, and I even rode one of them with my Grandpa's help! We played with runt pigs, jumped off the end of an old cattle chute, climbed on top of the old tractor tire leaned up against the barn, and snuck mulberries off the trees, our stained fingers and lips telling the tale for us.
|My daughter and her Grandpa, several years ago|
I will probably never truly leave this state. My heart staked its claim on this rough hewn ground long ago. Kansas is too beautiful and stoic to be forgotten or left anywhere. Years from now, hopefully rocking on the front porch beside my husband, I will still have those memories of warm summer breezes fishing in the little pond a few miles on the gravel from our old house. I will still gaze in awe at the pristine sky filled with billions of stars and I will still feel the love for this place deep in my bones.