• Last modified 745 days ago (May 29, 2019)


Another Day in the Country

Life on the road
to small-town fun

© Another Day in the Country

I’ve been indulging my chickens lately. One of my great pleasures is to let them out in the yard to forage.

There is something about that tranquil scene — the hens scratching for bugs under the apple tree; the rooster calling, admonishing, showing them morsels of food — that is very soothing to me.

It is the height of country living, the sweetest of nostalgic scenes, and more relaxing than meditation.

This treat has been possible because an offending dog is out of town on “vacation.” It’s so pleasant to sit and watch the chickens without fear of their immediate demise.

While the weather forecast was full of doom and gloom, predicting pouring rain for the whole of Memorial day weekend, Mother Nature ended up softening the blow, somewhat.

Predictions were so dire that my cousins from Colorado canceled their trip.

Georgia and Ed, who come every year from Lawrence to decorate family graves, changed their plans. Becky and Ken, from Wichita, are on “hold.” Our weekend plans with relatives just vanished.

Suddenly, we were free for the weekend, and Jess and I looked at each other and said, “What do we do now?”

Mike and Nancy, who’ve become “our friends from California,” were here for the weekend.

With airline tickets set, they came in spite of dire weather predictions.

“We’ll just enjoy sitting in that cozy house with the rain pouring down,” Mike said.

They didn’t care if things weren’t ideal. They were just looking forward to what Mike called “community life.”

I had to chuckle.

“Community life” was always fun for us, too, when we lived in California and visited Ramona once a year.

Our aunts and uncles were a bit worn down by the “same old, same old” in town, but for us it was quaint, charming, and unexpected fun. We took lots of pictures.

After a day of harrowing flight changes and lost luggage, the Kutzels arrived on the outskirts of Ramona after dark.

There was a train across the tracks.

Mike called Jess.

“We’re at the train tracks,” he said, “and a train or two is blocking our entrance into town. We’ve been here for 15 minutes. How long do they stay?”

The Iron Curtain was definitely down!

“We’ll hope not much longer,” Jess said, raising her eyebrows at me and rolling her eyes.

Then I heard her say, “Yes, there is one other way you could get into town, but I’m not sure about the road. And being you aren’t really familiar — in the dark — I’m afraid you might get lost. You’d better stay put.”

We were out at Kristina and LeeRoy’s, playing a rousing game of Jokers and Pegs.

“Do you think we should go get them?” Jess asked.

LeeRoy said, “Let’s at least finish this game.”

He was keen to win!

Twenty minutes went by. We’d started another game when the phone rang again.

“The trains are still across the tracks,” Mike said, “but don’t worry about us, I’m sure they’ll be gone soon.”

One more game, ending in a tie, and we were on our way home. By the time we got to the tracks outside Ramona, there was a line of vehicles still waiting to cross.

“We’re the second car from the front,” Mike said when we called him on his cell phone.

“Welcome to country life,” we said as we hugged our California friends beside the railroad tracks.

They’d already been waiting for a whole hour!

“I think we should try that other way into town. Turn around and follow us!”

We headed out of town toward Tampa.

“Are you noticing all the red lights on the horizon?” Jess called back to Nancy, who was riding shotgun in their rental car, stacked to the ceiling with provisions for their week of vacation.

“How could we not!” Nancy exclaimed. “There are a lot of them.”

“Wait until you see the windmills in daylight!”

We turned on Pawnee, off the Tampa road, slowing down so they could follow easily.

“Remember: You are driving a truck; they aren’t.” Jess cautioned, as the road offered some challenges.

Within a few minutes we arrived in Ramona. The train was still sitting on the tracks, blocking the road into town.

“We’re here,” they sighed, “Finally.”

For a whole year they had been looking forward to spending another day in the country.

Last modified May 29, 2019