Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Dusty Farmer

The Dusty Farmer Motel in St. Francis, Kansas, was neither dusty nor filled with farmers, but it was fine and comfortable for me and Ruby.

My traveling companion is a plush jackrabbit puppet named Ruby, one of the four principal puppets who participated in the Where the Wild Things Worship service for which I was a leader/organizer for the past two years. Church friends felt that Ruby, my favorite puppet, should get to come with me on my adventures, so I strapped her into the passenger seatbelt, and she has ridden along happily with me for the first eight hundred miles, and she slept beside me the first night at the Dusty Farmer.

This is the first long road trip I have ever taken all by myself - well, all by myself except for Ruby. I'm loving everything about it. Route 36 across Kansas was so beautiful. One of our CU philosophy department grad students is from Kansas and adores all things Kansan; she told me to stop in Smith Center (very near the geographical center of the lower 48 states), and I breakfasted there at the Second Cup Cafe, where I seemed to be the only non-local among the little old ladies enjoying a leisurely chat together.

In the car as I drove on after my veggie omelette and home-made English muffin bread, I listened to many hours of The Paris Wife, a novel about Hadley Hemmingway, Ernest's first and most beloved wife. It was strangely satisfying to be dividing my focus between Kansas and Paris. I drove seven hours straight without a break, so happy, so happy.

Now I'm in Hannibal, Missouri: more stories to come. And this afternoon I'll be in Greencastle, where my new life will begin.


  1. That cafe is just a block and a half from where my grandparents lived (though nothing is very far from anything in Smith Center)! We used to walk over there for donuts on Saturday morning. You, an outsider, eating there is probably the most exciting news to hit town in weeks!

  2. Could one of those little old ladies have been your grandmother???

  3. So sweet to think of you traveling with Ruby strapped beside you. I think you are very brave.