Sunday, July 28, 2013

Family Excursion

Driving through the south side of a northern Oklahoma town yesterday, these are the things that stood out: a Confederate flag flying high in someone's front yard, the sprawling and acrid oil refinery, a [Pioneer] Woman Museum, the Western-themed adult entertainment joint advertising "Nasty Night", and Glad Tidings Assembly of God on the corner of Victory Street. Oh, and a dead armadillo.

Suddenly my corner of Kansas felt squeaky-clean and quite progressive.

While quaintness has its incontrovertible charms...

... it has its terrors, too.

We visited two museums on our trip (not the one showcasing the "pioneer woman") and I was proud of my kids. They are skeptical of corporate propaganda, and their sensibilities are offended by exploits that were once intended to impress. What kind of person crosses the ocean to visit another country, kills one of the largest local animals, and hauls its head home on a ship as a trophy? To quote James Russell Lowell yet again, "time makes ancient good uncouth."

For me, half the fun of any vacation is the anthropological "field research"--observing how people live in other places, or studying how they lived in other times. This trip provided plenty of material, and beautiful scenery besides. 

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