On days like this I dream of Kansas fall, with that BLUE sky, a bit cool but not seriously chilly. Perfect football weather, crisp leaves under foot, and that dry wind over the flint hills.I love living in Alaska, but I live in a rain forest, fall is the wettest time of year, and October is the worst. Continually overcast, fairly constant cold rain, getting noticeably darker every day. This morning I wore my down jacket to walk to work. Brrr. We're expecting high 30's to 40's and rain for the forseeable future. Yuck. http://www.juneau.lib.ak.us/cam/southcam.phpRDW
Yeah, my wife's from Anchorage and married an expatriate Kansan (now living in Washington). She's never been to Southeast but she knows it pours worse than Seattle (I lived there 16 years and hated every minute of the rain). I understand her missing termination dust, because I miss the Flint Hills big time. Used to go back once a year just to feel the solid ground (well, sometimes muddy), see buildings built of good Kansas limestone, and eat real beef. Washingtonians have no idea, by and large, what real beef tastes like. They've never heard of ranch rodeos.We were back in Chase County one year in late summer and it was time to harvest my aunt and uncle's grapes (they insist on growing these and making wine in the Flint Hills). She wondered why it had to be done now. I explained: "Dear, this is Kansas agriculture. When it's time, it's time, and it's all hands on deck. Congratulations--you get to participate in a Kansas harvest."
On days like this I dream of Kansas fall, with that BLUE sky, a bit cool but not seriously chilly. Perfect football weather, crisp leaves under foot, and that dry wind over the flint hills.You're mising a hell of a day, then. Its exactly what you've described, except there haven't been many leaves fall yet. The sky is high, with few clouds, and its about 60 degrees.Ray
Washingtonians have no idea, by and large, what real beef tastes like. Except those lucky enough to have dined at Seattle's Metropolitan Grill. Even having grown up in Kansas and lived 12 years in Chicago, it's the best steak I've ever had.Phil
I don't think I ever ate at the Met, but I knew of it when I worked in downtown. The Keg used to have pretty good steaks (I usually went to the one out off 145th & Auwhora) as chains go, but I think it's been gone for quite some years now.
Chase County. That's where I buried my mom last October, just outside of Cottonwood Falls. Lovely country. I'll bet your aunt and uncle knew my aunt and uncle, who farmed outside of Strong City, or maybe even my grandparents, who farmed near Clements, if they're old enough. Small world.As for steaks, yeah, not such a good thing in Alaska. Or fresh "real" tomatoes, another thing I really miss. On the other hand, I love the fresh salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab. Mmmmmm.RDW
>>Chase County. That's where I buried my mom last October, just outside of Cottonwood Falls. Lovely country. I'll bet your aunt and uncle knew my aunt and uncle, who farmed outside of Strong City, or maybe even my grandparents, who farmed near Clements, if they're old enough. Small world.<<Indeed. My dad was a good quarterback for the 'Dogs, a long time ago in the early 1950s. The family ranch is just outside Strong, on Peyton Creek, just east of the Z-Bar. Grandfather (since passed away) was once a Chase county commissioner. Grandmother lives on the ranch with aunt and uncle; she was a Wilson then (and now) a Johnson; her mom knew Mr. White. Dad's family are Kelleys, now all died out in those parts. Aunt and cousin work at ESU. I've heard of Clements, which I guess is like Wonsevu and Saffordville--sort of barely really exists except as a memory. Most of the tribe has either migrated up the Turnpike to Johnson County, or south to Wichita/Andover.May your mom rest in peace (and peace is one thing not hard to come by in Chase). It's probably the same cemetery where my paternal grandfather, his wife and other family rest. I never learned the name because I know where it is. And if it's not that one, it's probably the one where my maternal grandfather rests. There probably isn't a local cemetery in Cottonwood or Strong vicinity where we don't have anyone.>>As for steaks, yeah, not such a good thing in Alaska. Or fresh "real" tomatoes, another thing I really miss. On the other hand, I love the fresh salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab. Mmmmmm.<<No doubt of that. My in-laws in Anchorage just sent down a pile of salmon--in fact, we're having it tonight. I've only been up there twice, and while I can't sing the praises of the beef, in Anchorage I found that Alaskans do food right. They eat real food. Delicious.
Grandfather (since passed away) was once a Chase county commissioner. Grandmother lives on the ranch with aunt and uncle; she was a Wilson then (and now) a Johnson; her mom knew Mr. White. Dad's family are Kelleys, now all died out in those parts.Great-Aunt (by marriage) Nora was an Ice, of the Cedar Point Ices. The cemetary there is full of them. My father's people are buried in Newton, and as we drove past Cedar point on Hwy 50 he'd say that one day he'd like to stop and put flowers on the graves of her and Uncle Rainey (Showalter).We never got around to it while Dad was alive, but one day when Cousin Barbara and I were on our way to Newton we stopped. Felt good. That weekend in Newton Cousin Shirley (Whitney, nee Pletcher), may she rest, mentioned that an Ice was a prominent Newton attorney. I said, "Tell him to get off his dead butt and get up to Cedar Point and decorate the graves!"Honestly, these moderns!Phil
I'll ask my grandma about the Ices. She remembers a lot more than she forgets, even at 88. I hear you about the graves. I was rather tactfully reminded of my duties the year after my grandfather died, when my cousins mentioned that while decorating their (my mom's) side's resting places, they'd also taken time to visit and decorate my father's side. Deeply moved, I thanked them, and told them from here on out if they wanted to keep that up, the least I could do would be to fund the effort, so in April or May each year I send along a check.I trust all of us Flint Hills folk have read Heat-Moon's _PrairyErth_. The irony there for me is that Heat-moon keeps touching my life. First, in _Blue Highways_, he went through the small Washington lumber town where I went to high school--a pic in there is of people I know. Then _PE_ with its obvious connection. Then _River-Horse_, and his boating causes him to stop here in the Tri-Cities (near the confluence of the Columbia and Snake). And if that wasn't weird enough, I was in Costa Opa's (if you like Seattle restaurants, you probably know it...Greek food, Fremont bridge area by Dusty Strings) one day and there he is at the next table. Unmistakable-looking gent. After his party finished and were getting up to go, I talked to him for a bit. Nice fellow. His book sure added a lot to my reminisces of Chase.
I trust all of us Flint Hills folk have read Heat-Moon's _PrairyErth_. Not to mention Jim Lehrer's We Were Dreamers, a memoir about his parents' futile try at running a bus line through the Flint Hills during his youth. I suspect it's out of print, but for those with an interest in the area, it's worth finding.I was in Costa Opa's I've been there!Phil
Chase County. That's where I buried my mom last October, just outside of Cottonwood Falls.I've got good friends from Cottonwood Falls. That's good country.Ray
>>I've got good friends from Cottonwood Falls. That's good country.<<The region is prone to a certain amount of begrudgery on its worse days, but that is balanced by a basic taciturn goodwill.Last time we were back, we went to a ranch rodeo at the local arena. Now, I don't look at all like I fit in. Very few Chase Countians have beards that hang down their chests, and few of those have purple Washington t-shirts and weird necklaces. Chase is pure cowboy country, just about, with farming less prevalent than the rest of the state. But since I wasn't nervous (why should I be, when both my folks grew up here?) they weren't suspicious, and we had some good commiseration about the relative fates of UW and K-State that early fall.It's one of those places that the uninitiated urbanite takes one look at and thinks, omigawd, 'these are the toughest-looking rednecks I have ever seen, get me out of here.' The person more at ease in the world simply says 'howdy' and goes about life, and finds a pretty friendly place. Of course, it helps if you like beef.
I have family buried at Cottonwood Falls, Clements, at a couple of little cemeteries out in the hills between Clements/Elmdale and Marion, and some cousins in Marion, to boot. In Chase County the family name is Mauderly, with cousins in the Park and Meierhoff families. Mom spent the past several decades in Emporia, but went "home" to Chase County to join her parents.I grew up a Navy brat, and while I spent a couple of years on my my grandparents' farm, I spent much of my life living far away in urban areas. I don't particularly "belong" there, but still feel a strong sense of connection to the area, if that makes any sense.My DH is buried at Osawatomie (as Phil can vouch, for he visited there for me a couple of years back). I even have an aunt and uncle in Overland Park, Kahuna. Odd people. Don't know them that well.RDW*I suspect we're all odd people, in our own ways, LOL.
My dad and his exceptionally large family is from Osawatomie. They were notorious there a generation ago.Ray
RaySpring Hill used to be very small and rural. Has it become suburbia yet? I think the KC street numbers go way past there, the roads have been improved, and that in the last decade or so there has been a lot of development in that direction....(?)RDW
Elmdale. One can talk to a lot of people without finding anyone who's heard of Elmdale, Bazaar and Matfield. They buried my grandfather from a little church in Elmdale. Cousin used to teach in Matfield, back when there was a school there.I'll ask her about all the names. There are, what, 2600 people in Chase County these days? A woman who's lived there about seventy of her 88 years probably has heard of just about everyone.
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