It's nursing school spring break! Let's go to Kansas and Oklahoma! What? Strange choice, I know.
We had originally intended to spend the week relaxing at Chandler's family's ranch. Then her parent's really old cat (she's 20) got pretty sick. When she dies we're going to be giving one of ours to them and assuming that she wasn't going to make it we decided we were going to go up to Missouri and deliver Miss Lemon to her new home. She got better, but we decided to go ahead and go up there for a day or two and knock out the two states that are in between. The plan was to stop in Oklahoma City and see the OKC National Memorial and then spend the night in Wichita, KS, but we got away too late and decided to leave OKC for the trip home.
Wichita was chosen for one reason and one reason only:
That is the greatness of Eighth Day Books. Chandler called going there a pilgrimage. Here's the view from the poetry section
It's an amazing store. Go visit sometime. After spending more than we should have there (but really, how could we not buy as many books as we could hold?) we went on to Topeka to visit a non-descript elementary school.
That's the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka. Back in the 1950s it was one of the black schools in Topeka where the plaintiffs in Brown v Board of Education sent their children. It's now a National Historic Site. There are some very nice and uplifting things about civil rights and desegregation.
Of course, when you let people with an irresistible urge to do inappropriate things have their way with things like this,
You end up with this sort of thing I'm not ashamed of what I've done in any way.
Not technically in Kansas, but the state line was about a block away so we went anyway is the National World War I Museum.
It's quite well done. They start you out by walking over a bridge over a field of poppies.
If you, like the guy in the gift shop I tried really hard not to stare at, don't get the significance, look it up and don't tell me you had to. I don't want to lose respect for you.
They have more wartime propaganda posters than you can shake a stick at and they have a little station where you can make your own and email the results to yourself. Once again, we could not resist the temptation to not be serious.
I'm sure they look okay if you aren't really looking at them, but if you do they make no sense at all. What is that giant cat going to do to the tiny soldier if he doesn't know the answer to the question asked in a language he doesn't understand? As for the other poster, are the marines choking that bird? Is that blot it our some sort of euphemism? Your guess is as good as mine.
After a brief interlude with family we headed for home, but with a brief stop in Oklahoma City to see the memorial to the 1995 bombing. Across the street from it is the local Catholic cathedral which has its own memorial entitled "Jesus wept."
For those that aren't aware of the set up of this memorial, it consists of two gates, one inscribed with the minute before the bombing and the other inscribed with the minute after. Symbolically the memorial is supposed to occupy the space in between those two moments.
They've also left up the chain link fence that was put up in the immediate aftermath. People still come and put things on it. I saw a letter someone wrote last year to a loved one killed there.
It's really one of those places that we as a country got right.