The Midwest, at least through the prism of Kansas and Missouri, gives the lie to everything the Left says about flyover country.
I have spent the last couple of days driving through Kansas and Missouri, and what little I have seen has delighted me. Yes, to a gal raised in the San Francisco Bay area, the states are pretty flat. They are also just plain pretty. They are green, well-maintained, and filled with delightful hollows in which trees grow or hills on which old farms stand proudly.
I had an especially lovely time in Salina, Kansas. We had a hard time getting a room because the town was full up thanks to a classic car show. To put it more accurately, it was filled up because of the Kustom Kemps of America Leadsled Spectacular Car Show.
The car show was a blast. Car enthusiasts from all over the Midwest were there are to show off their cars from the 20s through the 70s. All of the cars were American. Some were fully restored classic cars, while others were tricked out classic cars or cars built from kits. All were fun. All were gorgeous. Here are some pictures:
The crowd was a happy crowd. One of my favorite things was a man in a T-shirt that said, “I know. I know. Drivers license and registration, please.” You just know he has fun once he gets behind the wheel of his custom or classic car.
Something that struck me strongly was that the car show exemplified an idea I’ve been mulling over about which is the difference between horizontal and vertical America. Vertical America is blue, urban America where a lot of travel is done in elevators. Horizontal America is red, rural or suburban America where a lot of travel is done over vast spaces, with the best way to accomplish that travel being by car. There are multiple other differences, all of which relate in my mind to this type of geographic and spatial separation. I’ll try to develop it over time into a more coherent theory.
Because we had to hit the road again we weren’t able to stay as long as the car show as we would’ve liked. Nevertheless, what we did get was a delightful glimpse into at very happy place.
Not long after we left Salina, we started seeing signs for the Dwight David Eisenhower presidential Museum, library, and childhood home in Abilene, Kansas. Because we still had so many hours of driving ahead of us, my first impulse was to bypass the place entirely. When I got abreast of the exit, though, I found I just couldn’t do it. I had to get a glimpse of the town in which one of the most important figures of the 20th century grew up. We ended up driving to the complex presidential, but did not spend time there, beyond looking at the exterior of the minute, and charming, house in which he grew up and lived. Here is a picture:
It was important to me to see the environment that produced such a man. Back to that horizontal versus vertical theory, I have to believe that growing up in the vast plains, in a small town in which people must’ve been very dependent on each other, and in which they were imbued with traditional American and Christian values, shaped the man Eisenhower became. That is, I don’t think he could have been the same person, and had the same impact on the world, if he been raised in New York, Los Angeles, or some other large cosmopolitan region.
I ended the day meeting one of my readers and his delightful family. Dave, this is a shout out to you: I could not imagine having met a nicer or more charming family than yours. Thank you so much for your generous hospitality and the pleasure of your company.
I am going to wrap this up now for I am ferociously tired, and still have a lot of driving ahead of me. Just as I have been on past travels through the US, I am constantly more enamored of my own country. This is a blessed and fortunate land.