Happy In Bag

Friday, November 17, 2006

Stay On the Wagon












Farmers.

Along with a few schoolteachers and preachers, generations of my family in Kansas were small-time farmers.

My Scottish and German kin began settling in Kansas about 150 years ago. I don’t know what compelled them to stop their westward journey in what are now towns like Hutchinson, Ellsworth and Zenith. Did they run out of money? Were they simply exhausted? Was winter setting in? Or is it conceivable that the endless prairie felt like home?

I wish I could somehow reach out to them as they made their fateful decisions. "Don’t stop!" I’d plead. "California is the promised land. Keep moving."

7 Comments:

  • At 9:02 AM, Blogger emawkc said…

    California is overrated.

     
  • At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having travelled across Kansas at modern highway speeds many times, I can only imagine what it must have been like at what, 3-5 mph in a covered wagon? On a good day?

    I think they stopped in those areas because it seemed to them like the monotonous prairie would just go on forever and there wasn't any point in going any farther. The next 200 miles would look just like the last 200 miles, so why bother. Just give up. Surrender. Build the damn cabin. This is as good as it's going to get.

     
  • At 2:31 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Oh yeah, Emaw? Does that mean Hays is underrated? Napa Valley vs. the Flint Hills- where would you rather own 100 acres?

    XO, your theory may be spot on... What a bunch of quitters!

     
  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger P. McB. said…

    I wouldn't look on them as quitters. LOL.

    Kansas land looks inviting to people who move from the east. Wide open spaces, lots of sky. And I'm talking about right now, imagine it without cities.

    I moved from the north east coast (MA) 4 years ago, and I love it.

    I guess people gravitate towards what they haven't already experienced.

    So Happy, what stopped you from completing the trek when you got old enough to go, seeing as California is the promised land, and is still there?

     
  • At 10:46 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    I was afraid someone might ask that of me, P. A physical place becomes part of you, and I feel a deep connection to the Flint Hills and to the crumbling small towns of central Kansas. That's who I am. That's what I am. And it fills me with pride. That said, I sure don't feel guilty when I dip my toes into the Pacific Ocean a couple times a year.

     
  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Pensive Girl said…

    that's very "waiting for guffman." if you haven't seen it, you should.

     
  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger R. Sherman said…

    At least your people got farther than mine. Here in St. Louis we have a columnist who remarked, "We're the only city to have a monument to people who had the balls to leave town."

    Cheers.

     

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