FIRST THE FLINT HILLS THEN PARIS: Part Two
Well, after considerable hesitation on my part, we did go to the Flint Hills of Kansas, and if John Hacker had been with us he’d have plenty of thunderstorms to photograph. In lieu of summer-typical blazing heat, our three day weekend was blessed with exceptionally mild temperatures and rains to sweetly moisten the atmosphere.
I still can’t figure out how we find any leisure time to see the sites, but we do and the memories we make in the company of Dan and his delightful family will be with us forever! Dinners at Ad Astra and the Grand Central Hotel and Grill, impeccably restored by Suzan Barnes, are impressive and palate pleasing.
We’re awed by the massive stone Old Cedar Point Mill on the Cottonwood River where Dan has created a not-for-profit foundation focused on the mill’s restoration. Our side trips to the Stone Arched Bridge and the almost-completely-abandoned-one-time-cattletowns-turned-prospering-boomtowns give us peeks into the wild west out-law days dating back to the 1860’s when the latest Paris fashions are sold out of the backs of wagons.
The Victorian flint rock mansion grown up around a one-room homesteader’s cabin, Clover Cliff Ranch, owned by gracious ranchers Warren and Susie Harshman, is perfectly sited and appointed well above the highway and railroad tracks and worthy of a write up in every travelogue.
Our family sunset wagon ride behind the ranch’s two huge, working black percherons, Rosie and Roxie, is straight out of a movie as we jostle and bump over the prairie pasture and through the curious members of the ranch’s one thousand steers. David’s and Dan’s brother-in-law’s late night jam session around the fire pit is as magical as the lightening dancing across the expansive sky.
The bunk house reserved for us by Dan is private, spacious and exquisitely conducive to romance as we lay in a newlywed embrace listening to soft whistles of train engines pulling their trailing cars that seem to stretch out as far as the California coast.
Like my “regular” wedding band engraved with “everyday” and my “special” stone-embellished wedding band engraved with “forever”, David’s and my working honeymoon in the Flint Hills, a là Dan Clothier’s generosity, gives us precious memories to savor every day and forever while we anticipate our “real” honeymoon on foreign soil.
Today, as we save our pennies for Paris, France, we return to Carthage more newly-wed-in-love for having explored and fallen in love with the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas.
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