Over the weekend, a young man said to me, "I don't know how you live in Kansas. It's so boring. What do you do for fun?"
Sadly, it's not the first time I've heard that kind of thing. And, quite frankly, I want to smack such people over the head. Seriously. What do they think we do in Kansas? Fight Indians? Battle hoards of grasshoppers? Pick up cow chips for fuel? (And, don't even get me started on the Toto crap...)
Kansas gets a bad rap--an undeserved one. Most people's impression of Kansas comes from driving through the state on I-70. Therefore, they see a 400 miles stretch with 2 miles along either side of the Interstate. Guess what, I-70 was built where it is for ease of construction. The engineers wanted a relatively level area to make construction cheaper and easier. If you are traveling west, Kansas is the first state you come to that takes more than 4 hours to travel across. So, it does seem like a long monotonous trip. Additionally, the Interstate is not urbanized all the way across Kansas like it tends to be in eastern states, so you do see more stretches with fewer fast food restaurants. And, yes, there are fewer trees out here, so it is an abrupt change from the eastern stretches of Interstate.
If you truly want to appreciate all that Kansas has to offer, GET OFF THE INTERSTATE.
In Southeast Kansas, you've got part of the Ozarks and mining communities. In North Eastern Kansas, you've got lots of rivers and trees. Then there are the Flint Hills. In Central Kansas, we've got the Postrock country. And, more hills. In South central/west Kansas, you've got Red Hills. Northwest Kansas has more rolling hills and don't forget the Arikaree Breaks. You don't hit really flat country until you get to the extreme Southwest corner of the state. Even though it's flat there, it's beautiful country.
And nothing is better than a Kansas sunset. Nothing, except a Kansas dawn.
You can see the stars--lots and lots of stars in Kansas.
As to what we do...
Idiot, we do the same things that you "blessed city dwellers" do. Only better.
We have electricity and central heating and cooling. We go to church and visit with our friends. Sorry, but there are no wild Indians left to fight. We have Malls and the same stores you have in your cities.
Just because you drive across our state doesn't mean that you "know" what it's like here. Believe me, you've missed the best parts of Kansas by driving through on I-70. And, you know what, with an attitude like that...you can just keep on driving.
But, next time, when asked "What do you do in Kansas?" I think I'll say, "Well, just yesterday, I had to draw water from the windmill to do laundry. Then, I had to go out and pick up buffalo chips to build the fire with so I could cook lunch for the chillins and then I had to shoot a couple of Indians who were trying to steal my chickens."
Wonder what kind of reaction I'll get from that???