Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's been nearly a year since Candace, our two dogs and I pulled the trailer into Bird City Kansas to visit her Aunt Dolly (sister to Candace's dad Buz), Uncle Bill, and an array of cousins. There's like only 80 people in Bird City. It has a main street, a few businesses and a lot of buildings that are vacant as a reminder of things past. Bird City got its name as it once was the bird seed capital of the USA. In Bird City they still make those things that you hang that are bird seed bound together to make a bell or a ball . .. things like that.

We parked the fifth wheel at a motel just off of the main highway. It had RV hookups (water, sewer, electric, cable tv) so we were pretty well set for the three nights that we were in Bird City. One night the wind blew so hard . . . I had heard of how really fierce the prairie wind can be . . . that it shook and shook the trailer. Honestly, I think that the wind moved the trailer a few inches one way or another. If someone ever mentioned prairie wind to you as being strong, believe it!

A while back Uncle Bill bought one of the old buildings on Main Street that used to house the local pool hall. It's a totally cool place that now houses all of Uncle Bill's stuff . . stuff that he has collected over the years. Any part that you would ever need, any screw, nut or bolt, any tool . . . well, Uncle Bill has it in his building. Parked inside the building are two vintage BMW motorcycles. In their younger days both Uncle Bill and Aunt Dolly would ride their bikes all over the country. What guy wouldn't love to have a whole building for nothing but their stuff? And what guy wouldn't want a whole building just to himself? Think of the peace and quiet.

Uncle Bill is like 91. And like most other 91 year old guys Uncle Bill has a problem talking and driving at the same time (I think that I'm getting there). Uncle Bill's car, while he's talking and driving has a tendency to lean go right. I had to remind him a couple of times about the car heading off into right field and without comment, Uncle Bill would get it off of the shoulder and back on track. He drives an old Honda and was he ever proud of the fact that it was functioning on only 4 or 5 of the 6 cylinders as one or two of them had long since died. Judging by the noises the Honda made, Uncle Bill was right in his assessment of the Honda. Uncle Bill often repeated that with only 4 or 5 cylinders working, that the Honda's gas mileage was outstanding. . . it was something like 35 miles per gallon.

After taking two of three trips around Bird City with Uncle Bill, it was my turn to drive so all of us piled into my Ford truck and headed off to a town about 40 miles away. Once we got there, Uncle Bill did a few things while Candace and Aunt Dolly did some shopping. We had lunch and then headed home. On the way home I thought that I'd see if Uncle Bill would correct my driving as I corrected his. I had driven 85 miles an hour down a straight Kansas road for about 15 minutes when Uncle Bill leaned over and squinted at the Ford's speedometer. "Is that 85?", said Uncle Bill. "Yup!", I replied. Sitting back in his seat and squirming just a bit Uncle Bill said, "I didn't think these new trucks would go that fast." "I can go faster", I said, getting ready to push down on the accelerator even more. "No, that's okay, let's keep going where we're going", Uncle Bill replied. As I laughed to myself I slowed the Ford down to a more leisurely pace as we headed north towards Bird City.

I like Bird City. You can a home for like fifty cents. Homes in Bird City are that cheap. Okay, they're like $50,000 for a nice 2 bedroom, two bath house on city lot. But getting to Bird City and living there would be a problem. It's like 2,600 miles away from where we live in California with the closest airport in Denver. And then there's the praire wind and all of the snow in the winter that you'd have to put up with.

Having been born in the midwest I'd live in Bird City in heartbeat but if I did I'd be without a wife. You can take the girl out of California (albeit temporary) but you can't take the California out of the girl. Posted by Picasa

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States