“Day 24, part 4: I love kansas….. FROM MY REAR VIEW MIRROR!”
August 16 2002
Couldn’t get out of Kansas fast enough. We stopped to get some gas in a town named,”Edson” and I went into the market to buy a USA today paper and the cashier, named “Edna”, said,”We dawnt get the usa paper here in edson. I guess they figger we can’t read er sumthin'” I told her that was just wrong and that edson, as much as a worthless town it is, deserved to know what was going on in the country. Then i noticed the sadness in Edna’s eyes. She was pushing 50 something but you could tell she’d seen better days. Somewhere, deep down inside, Edna wanted to leave Edson and maybe try out the big cities like Colby or Topeka or lawerence Kansas. But she’s probably married her high school sweetheart, Jim Bob, had a few kids, turned the TV on and , at some point (probably when Jim Bob’s drinking got too much and he got fired) she got the job at the gas station.
So I wondered what kind of day does Edna have? I mean, you sell people stuff at the gas station market, take her break, have a smoke or two and then it’s back home, but not before picking up a 12 pack for Jim Bob with her employee discount.
Jim Bob is most likely sitting in his favorite chair-or maybe on the couch-watch WWF wrestling or maybe the Fishing Network. Aside from bagging on Edna like a tamborine on those really drunk, frisky nights when he can’t piss straight, he probably doesn’t pay her much attention. But you couldn’t pay Edna to leave Edson. No way. She loves this dusty, desolate place with no library but 6 Mc Donald’s in it. This is home. And who am i to disagree? (ok, um…i disagree,)
But, that’s what was on my mind when i saw the Colorado border in view and Kansas in the dust behind me. I was saying goodbye to more than just the dirt roads (see what happens when you don’t pay taxes?), the fascist state troopers, the cornfields, the jayhawk birds..even Stephanie at the cracker barrel, who wanted her picture taken with me. No, i was saying goodbye to so much more. I was leaving a part of America most of us will never see (thank god) or hear about until Jim Bob get’s surrounded by the FBI for not paying his taxes. I was leaving the sunflower state, 81,000 sq. miles of not much of anything but corn. I was leaving my innocence. I was leaving Edna.