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Entry date: 11-3-2022 - Trip notes part 7 - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Luckily, little miss dog was not sick the next day. We found a nice church for her to do her morning business at on the outskirts of Wichita and we were on our way. It seemed like divine intervention was at hand, too, because I found a wonderful radio station that was doing the work of the Lord to listen to on the way out of town. It was all coming together.

The radio preacher was talking about how a man came to him with questions about his faith and wanted proof that there was a God. I was fascinated by this as I had similar questions at different times in my life, especially in my early 20’s when I was at ASU. I was immediately hooked by the sermon.

Younger me wanted to understand how my grandfather, Tom, could have such devout faith when he had not lived the easiest life. As I have chronicled here, he was a paraplegic and beyond just dealing with that, he had dealt with some of the toughest problems a husband and parent must face. He went to church every day, though, and from my perspective, his faith was a beautiful thing.

I took a lot of religious studies courses at ASU as part of my humanities degree to help me understand faith. Did it help, you may ask, and yes, it did. It helped me understand how calculated the development and continual evolution of a religion is and probably always will be. It also helped me understand why people buy into religion so earnestly. In short, it feels good.

So, there I was driving out of Wichita with an anxious Bailey, listening to the sermon, and how this troubled man was only asked one thing by the preacher. This thing was: Just pray every day honestly about not knowing if God was real or not and ask God to show himself in his life. The preacher told me (and all the other listeners) that within a few weeks, the man called him, crying, and said he was ready to proclaim himself for Christ.

This was about the time I spotted the Church with a lot of grassy areas for me to walk Bailey around so she could relax. It did seem like a nice area, too, and the grounds were kind of pretty. A few people drove by and waved while we were walking, too.

Bailey took a big dump there, which I cleaned up. I’m not a heathen, and I headed on down the road. Much like the previous day, I was struck by how similar the small towns I was passing through all looked. I was on Interstate 54, which goes from somewhere in Illinois to El Paso, Texas and it cuts across the southern part of Kansas. It reminded me of being on the PCH in California. Not because it was beautiful, but because on some stretches, it was like any other freeway, but when you went through a town, it was just like any road.

We stopped again, due to Bailey being very anxious in a small town called Greensberg. There was a park on the right side of the road, so I stopped for a bit so we could stretch our legs. I was still a bit stressed about the onion eating and was worried that she might be in some distress. She didn’t seem to know what to do with herself and kept going from the front seat to the back and down to the passenger-side floorboard, too.

It was really beautiful outside. I’m guessing it was about 9am in Kansas when we stopped and probably about 70 degrees outside. Oddly enough, there was no one in the park at all. Now, I did a little research and Greensberg is only about 700 people, so that explains it, but the entire time I was in the town, I didn’t see a single soul who wasn’t in a car driving through like me.

Something felt a little odd about the park, too. It felt like a place where people might occasionally be murdered.

As I was getting ready to leave, I remembered I still had the bag of Bailey’s poop. I needed to throw it away since I didn’t see any garbage cans at the church where she took her, at that point in the journey, most triumphant dump. I looked around and found a garbage can.

As I approached, my theory about murders in the park only got stronger. Sticking out of the garbage can was a child’s rain boot. It weirded me out even more and I dumped the bag o’shit and got the eff out of there. I did take a picture, though.

The rest of the time in Kansas was mostly spent with me marveling, yet again, about how each small town looked like the next one. I did like the feel of Liberal, Kansas quite a bit. It was a nice, pleasant little town and I found myself wishing I could have hung out for a bit. It’s pretty close to the Oklahoma border, so my time in Kansas was coming to an end.

When I spoke to my mom that night from Albuquerque, she told me that one of our favorite Easy Street customers, Barbara, had gotten married and moved to Liberal years before. Barbara would be around 80 now, we figured out, and it was nice to think about her and her kindness. She always came in with another gal, Virginia, who was very nice, too, and one year on my birthday they even brought me flowers. I think that was the first time anyone ever gave me flowers other than a boutonniere.

I was only in Oklahoma for about 30 minutes or so, it seemed, and then I was in Texas for about an hour or so. Those towns on the 54 looked just like the towns in Kansas, although significantly dustier as I got further west. There was a lot of construction on the interstate, so I was constantly having to go through detours to get back the main road.

A couple of the detours took me places that I am quite sure I will never see again (if I can help it). It’s weird to think that some people like living out in the middle of flat, not very pretty, nowhere.

See you tomorrow.

Maybe it wasn't a rainboot after all. Just a cheap child's boot in Davis Park (according to my i-Phone). It was weird.

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