Our rural getaway

 

Cattle among Kansas windmills

We dearly love our disabled daughter.  She is the best teacher we’ve ever had, and her example of unconditional love and acceptance of others is a lesson she teaches everyone she meets.  However, as with any parent, sometimes it’s nice to escape with your spouse for a short ‘getaway.’

Now, ‘getaways’ can be across the world, across the country, across the state, or across town.  The point is it’s a great time to catch up, recharge, and enjoy whatever surroundings you have.

Most of the time it’s thought the best getaway is in the city and all of its stores, restaurants, entertainment options and whatever.  But this time, we chose to go the other direction, to western Kansas.  What?!??  you may say.

Well, we headed to our alma mater, Fort Hays State University, to see what had been done over the years since our last visit, planned to take in a Saturday football game, and just enjoy the western Kansas cropland, farming communities, and in general small town, rural Kansas.  It was good to see the contented cattle in the Flint Hills, the rural economic development of the large wind farms doing their part for our energy needs, the farmers cutting soybeans and planting wheat, providing everything from bread for the world to tofu for, well, those who eat tofu.

Other good things:  A smile from those who didn’t know us, but have that rural hospitality about them that makes you feel welcome, no matter who you are.  A wonderful jump back to the past remembering the sites and special places on campus where we studied, goofed off, played tons of tennis, took special walks, and fell in love.  Cheering for our team, maybe over zealously, but feeling that we helped them almost defeat a highly ranked opponent, even though it really shouldn’t have been much of a game.

We saw some old friends, too.  They hadn’t changed.  When you grow up in rural America you’re instilled with values and a work ethic that stays with you for a lifetime, and is a reassuring constant for that ‘culture.’

We had a fantastic time.  We got recharged, we got back to some basics, we had a chance to appreciate rural America, and small-town America.  We don’t get too many chances to get away, and we have such a great time with our daughter, our supposed getaways often include her anyway.  But the next time we go, we have a new option.  It may not be the city lights, the restaurants, the crowds, the whatever.  We may get back to our roots again, and enjoy the special places and special people that are rural America.

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