• Last modified 382 days ago (June 29, 2023)


Another Day in the Country

On the go

© Another Day in the Country

Everyone seems to be going somewhere now that school is out. Friends and relatives tell me their plans. It seems as if the whole world is on the move — except for me.

“It doesn’t bother me,” my sister says as we are cutting boards to the right length for shutters that eventually will grace new windows on her little cottage home. “I feel no need to go anywhere, but I know you are different.”

What is this wanderlust in me? What fuels the desire to go around the bend, over the hill, even across an ocean?

Cousins and their kids are traveling to Missouri for graduation ceremonies.

Friends in Idaho travel to Washington to help their daughter move to a new house.

My artist friend Michaela flies to Lebanon, where her daughter works for the U.S. consulate, and they travel to Turkey. She sends back photographs of spires, minarets, and gold interiors, artistic wonders, and breathtaking landscapes.

Cousins from Lawrence have taken their whole family to Hawaii. Janet sends photos of all the grandchildren standing in a row, wearing matching muumuus and Hawaiian shirts.

Back in Kansas, Jess and I have ventured to Salina. She may have been humoring my need to be going somewhere when we hightailed it to what we call “the plant place” and filled the back seat with verdant dreams of abundant blooms in our gardens.

We took in a movie at our favorite theater and headed for a supermarket. Soon, the trunk of the car was filled with ingredients for delightful meals while visions of flowers blooming in abundance filled our imagination and we got in the car to head home.

It had been a wonderful excursion, and I was content.

Then, weary from all the hunting and gathering, ready to drive back to our own little corner of the world, disaster struck. The car wouldn’t start.

Jess’s car is an old and beloved vehicle. It once belonged to our even older friend, Tony Meyer, who dubbed it “the seeedan.”

This Mercury sedan has been on the road since the 1990s, providing reliable service to whomever, and now it has a nervous disorder. Sometimes, it just refuses to start.

“Oh, she’s tired,” Jess murmurs when this happens.

She pats the dashboard and talks to the car. Usually, after a brief rest, Jess tries again, and the old girl purrs into action — ready to go another mile. But this time it’s different.

Here we sit in a car park, automobile loaded with plants and groceries. After repeated tries, she refuses to start.

We contemplate calling AAA, but what can they do? Tow the car full of overheated plants and food? Then what?

We call LeeRoy, our hero in any emergency and he says, “Say the word, and I’ll bring the car trailer and bring you home.”

Jess says we’ll try starting the car a few more times before we have him do heroics.

We’d already called Kathy and Don from Ramona in hope that maybe they, too, might be in Salina shopping and Don could “take a look” at the car and give advice.

As we sit, contemplating the complications of going somewhere, the cell phone rings. It’s Don.

“Try getting under the car and hitting the gas tank,” he instructs.


Jess gives the dashboard one more loving pat. I climb behind the wheel. My sister, always pristinely dressed, gets out and crawls under the back end of the sedan, takes off her shoe, and pounds on what she believes is the gas tank.

I turn the key, and the car starts. Hallelujah.

We call Don back and say, “It worked!”

We call LeeRoy and say, “It’s OK. We got the car started. Don’t come.”

My sister backs carefully out of the parking spot, out onto the road, and heads for home.

“I may never go anywhere ever again,” she says, although she knows that isn’t true.

On another day in the country, we’ll still venture forth — going somewhere.

Last modified June 29, 2023