March 19, 2006

Crossing Kansas

Family business has cut into my blogging time--now the university's spring break is here, and I am giving up mine for a trip east to Missouri to look over some rental properties that I (in theory--as a trustee) manage, and to meet with the real-estate broker, the lawyer, the accountant, and on and on.

Merrill Gilfillan writes in Magpie Rising: Sketches from the Great Plains (1988):

Crossing Kansas in any direction, even for the fifteenth time, is oceanic enough an undertaking to rouse the adrenalin. There are good crossings and bad, wild and dull ones. Crossings with weather and without. There is U.S. 36, a great one, and 50, an overworked one, and 83 and 37 and 96 and little Kansas 4 squeaking through, and 160, the Oklahoma-flavored passage. They take you through villages with chunks of the late 1940s suspended intact, stowed for safekeeping: ghost hotels, ranks of green and white elfin tourist cottages gone to seed, and tiny ex-chili parlors and pool halls abandoned on weed-choked corners.

And since I plan to detour to Greeley, Colorado, to visit an old friend, U.S. 36 was what I had in mind, but of course it's the equinox, and that means "crossings with weather."

A middle-size spring snowstorm seems to be moving in on us.

I have compulsively checked the boat Jeep: water, sleeping bag, MREs (military rations), cell phone. "No big hurry," that's the mantra. The first appointment is not until Thursday.

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