Palm trees in western Kansas? Pablo in western Kansas?
As some of you may know, my youngest son has taken a job as a high school social studies teacher in Colby, Kansas. (He’s also getting married on Saturday.) He and his fiance found an apartment out there and got early possession of it. Thus the weekend before the wedding, we rented a big truck and took many of their things out there.
Colby is about seven hours west of my Kansas City suburban home, and as these things go, we weren’t out of the house that morning as early as I had hoped. Then we made a stop at their old college town where the fiance had a storage locker of her things to be loaded in the truck for the journey west. Then there was chow on the road and stops for fuel (6-10 miles per gallon in that beast of a truck, and it was fully loaded). It was a long drive, with the prospect of unloading a big truck waiting at the end of it.
But many hands, as they say. We reached the apartment by mid afternoon and immediately began unloading. Fortunately (for the movers among us anyway), they didn’t want to set up housekeeping that day but merely wanted their things moved into the first-floor apartment. They will sort it out beginning when they arrive on Sunday, their post-nuptial life having really started then. So unloading was not unpacking, and we simply went back and forth from the back of the truck to the front of the apartment.
It’s a nice apartment for the price. They have a large living and dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and three bedrooms. They even have a washer/dryer hookup should they choose to stay long enuf to want to invest in those machines. But, boy oh boy, are they on the edge of civilization. Just across the street the western prairie asserts itself, and one of those flat, endless vistas western Kansas is so “famous” for begins.
And the palm trees? Well, Colby is along Interstate 70, betwixt Denver and Kansas City (though far closer to Denver). For travelers, it is a sort of oasis, a watering and resting place on the long journey. The town has just over 5,000 inhabitants, but it boasts 500 hotel rooms! Just about every major chain eatery is represented in Colby (yes, that’s a Starbucks sign in the photo), there is a community college in town, and the high school (where #3 son will teach) is massive and new. Colby can even claim host to the Prairie Museum of Art and History, which wasn’t open on Sunday morning when we were free to visit it, but we’ll be back.
Western Kansas cannot support palm trees (in fact, most trees out thataway were found only in the draws where water might collect and the trees could be a bit sheltered from the relentless wind). But the collection of trees you see above rises beside one of the big truck stops south of the highway. What you can’t see in the picture are the steel wires helping to hold the trees upright. They’re made of metal, of course, so they don’t qualify for mention in the Festival of the Trees.
- Squirrels bear summer litters.
- Mars shines high in the eastern sky.