History repeats itself. Updated, of course. When your granddaughter Molly began driving, she had to insist you get with the program and wear a seatbelt. Once, when you didn’t want to wrinkle your dress, you pulled the seatbelt out part way and announced, “I’ll just hold it.” Molly wouldn’t start driving until you were buckled up.
Now my graddaughter Grace (Molly’s daughter and your great-granddaughter) wants me to get with the program and text. But she’s only eight, and despite the “lessons” she tries to give me, I just don’t see the point. After all, when I’m in Kansas, it’s illegal to text while driving.
Each month when Jim and I drive to Kansas, we get several texts from Molly: where u at? I leave it to father and daughter to text back and forth. But during the last two hundred miles of the trip down to Ft. Scott, I’m driving alone to visit you, Mom. We’re mother and daughter spending time together, and the rest of the family knows to call my cell phone if it’s important.
Here’s a secret just between us. Lots of times I don’t know exactly where I am during the last two hundred miles. Usually I don’t take the interstate and toll road almost to Kansas City, turn south and drive the highway on to Ft. Scott. Mostly I drive south out of Topeka. I love the two-lane roads, the blue highways between little towns and across the plains. If the weather is good, I sometimes take side-jaunts around state parks and lakes. I’ve lived in Colorado more than two-thirds of my life, but there’s still something Kansas in me that breathes in rolling plains, growing fields, and open spaces connecting the land to the bright sky. While still loving many things about Colorado, I have to agree with Kansas’ native-son playwright, William Inge:
“A person lives in this mid-country with an inherent consciousness of the sky,” Inge wrote. “One is always aware of the sky in these states, because one sees so much more of it than in the mountainous regions where the horizons are blocked and the heavens trimmed down like a painting, to fit a smaller frame.”
It doesn’t matter which route I take, Mom, I always arrive in Ft. Scott, bringing Colorado treats and some of your favorite foods, wearing a smile and opening my arms to give you a hug. My family doesn’t text me, asking where u at? They know I’m with my mom.