Off to Kansas

Trip Start May 31, 2007
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Trip End May 20, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Kansas
Friday, May 4, 2007

Spent the week with extended family in Kansas.  Saw the Dead Sea Scrolls at Union Station in Kansas City:  http://www.unionstation.org/deadseascrolls/dss_exhibitconten ts.cfm
While the exhibit itself was quite informative, the scrolls, as displayed, were not that exciting. Picture small, discolored pieces of writing displayed in cases under dim light.  Anyway, glad that my great aunt Florence and I were able to make a day out of it and the refurbished Union Station was quite nice.  Kansas City appears to be undergoing quite a building boom although they are feeling the effects of a slowing housing market.  Many interesting historic masonry buildings...an unusual site for a native Californian used to seeing buildings tailored to earthquake country. 

Mid-week I drove out to the farm in Barnard, Kansas.  This involved a rental car and about three hours driving west to Salina on I 70 then north on 135 to a smaller highway and then to the country gravel road.  The sign read:  "Barnard via Country Road" meaning "unpaved" road.  As the roads become more local, anonymous drivers transform into drivers passing with friendly waves acknowledging each other's presence and perhaps some unknown but assumed connection...or perhaps just friendly courtesy.  The fields and hills were green with current crops decorated with sporadic art sculpture.

I took a walk behind the house up the hills into the pasture and could see the cattle grazing and drinking from the pond.  Then walked back to the gravel road towards Elkhorn Cemetary where many of my relatives rest.  All that remains of the one-room schoolhouse formerly adjacent to the cemetary is a lone steel pump that produces rusty water.  The breeze rustled the wheat, damaged from a recent unexpected frost, and the sounds of the grounds being mowed filled the air.  I passed some more cattle, their heads turned to watch my approach and followed me until I had traveled a distance away from them.

My great aunt Helen and I went into town both mornings to enjoy coffee and coffee-talk at the local grain elevator office...the meeting place since the local cafe, Betty's, closed again.  The collective desire for visiting with neighbors stong enough to seek out a venue.  All were unsure of where the meeting place would move to during harvest when the grain elevator office perhaps would become too busy to accomodate the coffee groups.  I took out my pictures and shared stories about many of the things I had experienced on my travels. 

I returned to Kansas City mid-week and spent time again with my great aunt Florence, her kids and their families and reluctantly left on Friday to return to the Bay Area.
 
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