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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: We're off to see the city

© Another Day in the Country

Every once in a while, we’re off to see the city. It’s just such a delight to be in a place with a plethora of choices. There are plays to attend, classes to join, theatres with a myriad of options, halls full of crafts, arrangements, events, and town causes. Even if we don’t actually go to a single thing, we’re delighted because we could go if we wanted to.

It doesn’t take much to be bigger than Ramona, so we don’t have to venture into really big places like Kansas City or Wichita. In fact, our very favorite city to visit is Lawrence — which really isn’t all that big.

Lawrence is special because it is home to not only our cousins but also a whole town full of people who think like we do. Lawrence has a whole lot of folk who are into healthful living, natural foods, homeopathic medicine, artistic, fresh air, bike path loving, be good to each other, smiling, kind of neighborliness. Who wouldn’t want to live there?

There was a time when I hoped for, maybe even believed, that we could create at least the last half of those things in Ramona, but now I’m not so sure. You’ve got to have a majority of people who lean in that way to make it and our majority has tipped some other direction.

So every once in a while we just have to head to Lawrence. Our cousin Janet is such a good cook that we don’t even have a need to visit one of a jillion restaurants that serve interesting food; but we could if we wanted to. So Janet saves all the magazine and newspaper articles that tell about interesting people and fascinating food for me to read while I’m there. Just the reading about possibilities is a cheaper fix than attending and partaking. Sometimes, we take in a play, go to an exhibit, eat out while we’re there, watch a parade, buy something, but not always. Breathing in the atmosphere of an organized, cooperative town is invigorating enough. Lawrence is full of more possibility than I can even imagine.

A trek into what we call “civilization” is an adventure in its own right. Salina qualifies. Kathy saves the activity portion of Salina’s newspaper for me to read every Friday. I review the possibilities and discover movies at the Art Centre, concerts at the theatre, and gallery classes in Lindsborg.

A while back we went to see a movie at the Art Centre (where movies are shown once-a-week) and discovered it wasn’t what we thought was showing. “I wouldn’t have driven all this way for this movie,” my sister muttered to me under her breath as we waited for the projection to start — not that there weren’t other movies to see at the mall. This movie was called “Pride” and was based on a true story from Wales, set in the 1980s.

“I probably would have let this one slide, too,” I whispered back, “but here we are.” You know that turned out to be such a fine movie, one I needed to see, heartwarming, and at the end there were tears in my eyes and joy in my heart. “I’m really glad we came,” I said and Jess agreed — a happy accident, such is life in a bigger town.

A person who spends a lot of time in a small puddle needs to be reminded of the ocean, don’t you think? — even if you’ve never been splashed by a wave.

We did get our feet wet in Lawrence — rained all the way there even though the weather forecast was only “partly cloudy.” We were immersed in family with cousin’s kids and cousin’s kids, kids running around and half a dozen conversations going at once (all of which I’d liked to have been part of but I had to choose). We sat around the table talking, telling stories, remembering the strands of our lives that bind us together as a family. In the process we learned things about each other and things about ourselves.

And then we drove home, out of the city, back through the Flint Hills, down a dirt road that ended up in Ramona. It was good to be gone and surprisingly, a relief to be back to spend another day in the country.

Last modified Nov. 26, 2014

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