"Who Will Buy?" from Oliver, the musical, burst forth from my mouth, when I awoke in the pop-up of this camper in Kansas, or was it "Food, Glorious, Food"? Well, one of them, because we had recently seen the movie, after I had listened to album for 6 years, at least, before our trip to out west. The sky was incredibly spring time blue and I sang my joy.
My dad had parked the camper in my sister's college friend's driveway on a ranch in Pratt,KS. Being a 9 year-old girl, saddled up on one of their horses, I was in heaven.
My favorite part of the trip to KS was passing through Kansas City, MO and KS with its overlapping spaghetti bridges. "Wake me up when we get to Kansas!" my plea to my parents and they did. I marveled at the bridges speeding past, we were just carried along. The flatness of Kansas with the oil wells pumping filled this little girl's eyes, for I had never seen anything like that before. Even flatter than Ohio.
My mother taught me geography- Ohio was flat, Indiana was rolling, Illinois started the prairie. We caught the glimmer of Notre Dame gold dome. One time, Dad's army buddy, Sam and his wife Virginia, took us into Chicago. The journey to Kansas contained many delights the several times we went. But Kansas was where my sister lived, holding the most excitement.
The summer before my sister married and left Kansas, she encouraged my parents to take us to the Ozarks, the land of "The Shepherd of the Hills" and Silver Dollar City. Even though that trip was in July, I still find myself reading that novel in the spring. I reread it every so often and am doing so now. I treasure my signed copy by the descendent's of Uncle Ike, the postmaster, more each time I read it. I'm reading it now, truly enjoying the style this time. My family rode the big jeeps in the summer evening to the outdoor theater to take in the play. I liked one character was Aunt Mollie and the insanity of Pete, the young boy, filled my child mind with wonder. This was before After School Specials.
I loved the spring time the most, but summer held that old time America feeling to me when we were in Kansas. The thermometer going to 103! Escaping with the host's grandchildren to a matinée movie, with Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller. Little League games under big lights at night. A real little playhouse in the yard that Sharon and I could actually sit in. It was built, I believe for her mother, in the style of the main house.
I think the best part of these trips out west was not only seeing all the sights and there were many, but meeting new people and sharing it with my family. I loved the quiet talk between my parents at night when we traveled that I could hear from the back seat. Dad told my mom secrets about driving and his experiences. It was comforting, knowing they loved each other and me.