© Another Day in the Country
On Saturday, I lolled around late in bed with a long list of reasons for not getting up. For one, it was Saturday. And then, I hadn’t been feeling well — it is allergy season. Also, I’d not slept well and there was nowhere I had to be, nothing to worry about — except what to have for breakfast.
It was then that the doorbell rang.
“Not to fret,” I said to myself, crawling out of bed, “It’s probably just Jess.”
I’m not an overly proud person but I at least attempt to present myself to the world every morning groomed! My hair is combed and I’ve put on a splash or two of makeup after I’ve gotten dressed, ‘dressed’ being a key word. When my tossle-headed, sleepy-eyed, under-dressed self opened the door, it wasn’t my sister standing there, but my cousin Glenn from Kansas City.
“Come in, come in,” I cried in astonishment, “let me run put something on,” as I made a beeline back to the bedroom to find some semblance of a robe.
Obviously, I was surprised, but I’m always glad to see him. Usually he comes as a duo; but on this particular Saturday his wife was attending a genealogy workshop in Hillsboro and Glenn was making a genealogical inquiry of his own back in his home town of Ramona.
My older cousin by two years, Glenn is going to be the speaker at the annual memorial service at Lewis Cemetery in May. He was in town, doing what I call ‘gathering sermon material,’ preparing his talk and he was looking for one of the locals to give him information. “We’ll call Junior,” I said, “He’ll know the answer to your question.”
That’s one of the nice things about living in the country, after a while you know whom to call if you don’t have the answers. Junior didn’t answer, so I left a message.
“Maybe he’s already out in the field,” I said, knowing how farmers pretty much work 24-7, but I was wrong — Junior was at the auction west of town.
It was the big day of Warren and Paula’s sale on Saturday. I know that many of you who read this column know of these two because their roots run deep in Marion County and beyond its borders. Whenever there is a sale, like the Fikes, it feels like the passing of an era. And, Warren and Paula’s era and their influence on our little community was a good and memorable time. For awhile now we’ve felt the impact of their loss — it’s just not the same without them. After Uncle Hank, Warren was our go-to guy for local history.
“I wonder what is going to happen to his waffle iron collection?” I said to my sister.
She looked at me with that certain resolve in her eye and said, “We don’t need another waffle iron. We have one that works.”
Our days of hunting and gathering are over!
“You are dangerous at sales,” she reminded me. “You shouldn’t go!”
She’d actually stopped by the sale herself, she admitted to me as we drove out of town, heading for Salina and a movie. As we came down 360th we looked over toward the Fike farm and there were cars lined up on both sides of the road for over a half a mile going both directions. Jess stopped for me to take a picture of all those cars and then resolutely turned in the opposite direction. Maybe we’d have waffles on Sunday morning; but it wouldn’t be using one of those old antique waffle makers that Warren kept neatly on shelves in his basement.
On Sunday, we went out to play games with another cousin’s kids. LeeRoy said he’d been to the sale.
“Did you buy anything?” I wanted to know. He’d bid on a few things, bought even fewer, but one of the things he came home with was an old air hockey table for five bucks. Their little boy, Clayton, who will be turning 3 this summer, was anxious for me to see this new toy, so he and I went downstairs. Already Clayton knew about this game and he and I pushed the puck back and forth across the table — we didn’t bother with the air part. Clayton was most thrilled when I got the puck in his slot — he cared nothing about the score! (I chuckled noticing the ‘slot’ was held safely in place with duct tape, which is a particularly country solution.)
As we batted the puck back and forth across the table, punctuated by squeals of delight, I imagined the Fike kids, years and years ago, all excited at Christmas time with their new air hockey table, having the time of their life on another day in the country.