Sunday, October 11, 2009

I have many good memories of Dodge City, Kansas including the time my parents took my brother and me to a State High School Basketball Tournament one spring. We camped at the KOA, went to the games, and one night my brother and I along with some friends saw a new Vincent Price horror movie at the local theater while our parents went out.

Later, my husband and I stayed in Dodge on our way to points west and southwest on several of many Great American Adventures. We always found time to do the tourist-thing, visit Boot Hill, the Long Branch Saloon, and the museums; even discovering some great restaurants with our motorcycle friends and it was no different this year when we stayed at Dodge on the first night of our trip to New Mexico and Arizona.

It was hot and day, a typical western Kansas summer day. My friend and I walked downtown, then decided it was too warm to venture too far and returned to the hotel. The restaurant was within walking distance and my dear husband and I had an enjoyable evening dining with several other couples in our group.

Early the next morning, we left our hotel and Dodge City, riding the short distance to the Santa Fe Trail marker just west of town. The prairie was just waking up under the warming rays of the morning sun. A light wind stirred the short grasses that flowed over the horizon to meet the pale blue sky; sunflowers dotted the rolling swell of grass, punctuating the view with bright yellow splashes in the early light. Grasshoppers buzzed, flying away in front of us as we left the boardwalk and tramped through the short prairie grass leaving moisture from the light dew on the toes of our riding boots. The air was fresh, cool and carried the tunes of a few early song birds. I couldn’t imagine walking these prairies day after day, following a wagon trail west from sun up to sun down. However, this morning, the silence was deafening. It could be so lonely here, but peaceful for those who travel the fast lane – like the cars that whizzed by on Highway 50 just a short quarter mile away.

For a brief moment we were caught up in the peaceful sounds of an empty Santa Fe Trail, imagining what it would be like to walk the lonesome prairie, headed for a new life. Then in another moment, we were back on the fast track with all the rest of the highway traffic headed toward our next destination of La Junta, Colorado. Until next time, enjoy the solitude of the open prairie whenever you can; it is fast disappearing along with the peaceful, slower times of yesteryear. God bless you and your family. Vicky