Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's Okay, He's Supposed To Know This

Guns are as much a part of the culture of rural Kansas as lenses are of mine. I'm not going to editorialize about it. Some people hunt. Some just shoot targets, which is what is going on here. Above is my nephew Josh with (I think) an AK 15. He is a third year cadet at West Point, the United States Military Academy, so he is required to know this stuff. Below, D.J, my niece's husband, gives a lesson to Brody, my - I'm not sure - grand nephew? I get confused about the terms for more distant relations.

I've never owned a gun and never will. I've fired one just a few times, probably all in Kansas. The great emphasis on safety these people have is impressive. Where I grew up, the only people who had guns were the police and a limited number of bad guys. Different worlds.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Transitions

First Ad Sign We saw In Tibet

I don't have any new local material so I had to dig into the archives for this one. Not at all local, in one sense. It's the first billboard we saw outside of the Lhasa, Tibet, airport. We have an American icon, written first in English, then Tibetan, then Chinese. That's a transition.

And there is a link to the home town of this blog. Look closely at the can, where it says Anheuser Busch, Inc., St. Louis, MO, USA. The world keeps shrinking.            

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Long, Straight Road

When you get off the main roads around Marysville the farms stretch beyond the horizon. Out in the countryside there are gravel roads, as straight as the land permits, spaced a mile apart. The square mile they enclose is known as a section.

It's pretty quiet out here except for the sound of farm equipment and the wind.                

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Antique Tastes

One of Marysville's attractions is the Koester House, with its museum and somewhat strange gardens. German immigrant Charles (Karl?) Koester arrived in town in 1860 and soon made a name for himself. He ended up becoming the town banker, built a very fancy house by the standards of the day and filled the garden with reproductions of, I don't know, Greece-Roman-Renaissance-Baroque sculpture.  The garden isn't very big, the pieces seem thrown together in a crowded way, and yet it tells us something. What were the tastes of the well-to-do 150 years ago? The place seems very foreign in a prairie filled with corn fields.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Madeleine In Marysville Monday: 1 or 2?

1. Audition for a slasher movie, maybe. At breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Cafe. The knife wasn't very sharp.

2. A more traditional approach. She's been a good girl all year, mostly.         

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Marysville, Kansas

I've been visiting here a time or two a year for more than 40 years. Mrs. C went to high school here and grew up on a farm 17 miles away. Marysville has about 3,300 people. The area is rolling prairie, not at all flat. Farmers grow corn, wheat, milo and alfalfa. Some raise cattle. When you drive down the gravel country roads the drivers of oncoming cars always wave hi as they pass.

This is small town America. Kansas has conservative booze laws and most bars can only serve beer with 3.2% alcohol, yet they are well-patronized. The main street appliance store survives despite the Walmart on the edge of town. Since I was here last summer, benches have sprung up all over town memorializing the deceased members of so many classes of Marysville High School. And why not paint a neo-primitive picture of the Wagon Wheel Cafe (where breakfast provides enough calories to last a week) on a circular saw blade?              

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy 98th, Elvira

My wife's mother, Elvira Kruse, will be 98 years old on Tuesday. It's the reason we come out here every Thanksgiving. She's rather frail physically but her mind is perfectly sharp. She remembers many things that her children do not.

Here she is surrounded by two of her grandchildren, my daughter Emily on the left and niece Tricia upper left, and great grandchildren too numerous to name. (And there are many others.) Only my Madeleine is out of sorts.