Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Aaaaah, Kansas!

He's a good sport, isn't he? 

Say what you want about Kansas.

Say that our weather is weird, that our landscape is boring, that our politics are insane, that our elected officials (with the exception of Husband) are all of the above.

Say whatever you want about my state and I will nod politely, disagreeing with almost every negative accusation you can zing at me (well, except that part about the elected officials). I purely love Kansas.

Last weekend Husband and I took a tiny little vacation to celebrate the conclusion of tax season and the beginning of May Madness at Small College. (Rabbit trail here: Do all two-income married couples have the same total lack of synchronicity in their work schedules? From January to mid-April I sit around like Penelope waiting for my CPA husband to file all his returns. Then boom! April 15 comes up on the calendar, Husband is back in the house, and I'm all "Sorry, Odysseus! I'm off to meet deadlines and write stories and greet alumni and hug new graduates! Buh-bye!")

Anyway, we managed to sneak away for a day to attend the Kansas Sampler Festival. During this day the small towns in Kansas set up booths and boast about where they live to people who have the common sense to appreciate the good-natured and the quirky.

I have lived in this state my entire life (apart from a few years in the Peace Corps) and this was a learning experience for me.

Did you know that Kansas has a Testicle Festival? Because of course it does.

And that it also has an annual Meatloaf Festival? Which, frankly, appeals to me a lot more than the other festival does because while both of these festivals call for jokes I cannot even imagine, I believe I'd rather hear the jokes about meatloaf.

Anyway, Husband and I wandered around the booths and picked up several dozen brochures and booklets touting sites we will now add to our bucket list of places to visit. We listened to bluegrass and jazz and we appreciated the Swedish dancers outside the Lindsborg tent. We also ate ice cream that was churned right there in front of us, and sampled a Viking on a Stick (meatballs wrapped in rye bread and deep fried), as well as supporting the economy of the state by buying some locally sourced sauerkraut, and some chipotle mustard, and some jalapeno jelly. I passed on the emu lip balm but we spent a glorious hour in the photography tent looking through stacks of pictures that celebrate our weird weather and our decidedly non-boring landscape.

During that entire day, I don't believe I saw a single person who wasn't smiling. These are my people, and we were surrounded by reminders that that we may be boring and weird and insane, but we are Kansans to the core.

And we purely love Kansas.


  1. Er, excuse me, but Penelope's husband was Ulysses, not Odysseus...

    1. Well, phooey. That's what I get for trying to act all smart. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Best part of the state!!! (I grew up in Great Bend and am not biased AT ALL).