I lived in Kansas for 25 years. Having now left, I am beginning to understand how much I love it. I didn’t realize that I did. I always liked to make cracks about its politics and seemingly lack of culture. So, who would have thought that I would miss its rolling landscapes but I do.
But also having lived there for a quarter of a century, there weren’t many day trips that were new. I’d enjoyed going into Kansas City or going to Abilene but I’d been there and done most of it. Now I’m some place new and I am in love with the fact that no matter what town we go to, it is brand new to me.
One of our favorite things to do in Kansas was to just head out and drive. It was all new to Brian and I enjoyed showing off the state and seeing it through a newbie’s eyes. And now- I’m the newbie! A couple of weekends ago, we decided to just drive and see where we ended up. We ended up in St. Francisville. It is a charming little town with beautiful historic homes. There were antique stores and “antique” stores. We got suckered in by a couple of the “antique” stores- we should have known by the pink and cream and painting that they weren’t going to be filled with grandma’s old kitchen utensils. Rather they were filled with jewelry, little bedside lamps for $70 and candles and lotions. Fortunately, we found real antique stores- the kind that aren’t pretty inside, make you sneeze in the first five minutes and have old 45’s mixed in with really old farm tools and headboards.
|Chicken Magnolia- yes.|
We had lunch at Magnolia Café. It was a mixed experience. Brian and I split a cup of amazing gumbo. It was almost as good as Brian’s gumbo and this is saying a lot. He ordered the Chicken Magnolia sandwich. I got a Shrimp pizza. As soon as the plates were set down, I had order envy. (This is become an all too common occurrence since I met Brian. The man always seems to know what the best thing on the menu is going to be.) This was another case of serious order envy.
|Shrimp pizza- no|
As with most things, it came down to a matter of ratios. The shrimp were quite delicious. The problem was the cheese. But, Heather, how can that be?? Cheese is one of God’s most amazing gifts. There are very few cheeses that I have met and not liked. And this was good ol’ mozzarella. What’s not to like?? Well, simply put- there was too much of it. Way too much. Probably twice as much as there should have been. And they didn’t cook it long enough to get the cheese a yummy golden brown in the middle. And the crust didn’t have much flavor. So, all in all, I was not a fan of the pizza. However, I will absolutely go back… and get the Chicken Magnolia and the gumbo.
After lunch, we drove around some more and saw some amazing Live Oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Romantic and creepy. Did you know that Spanish moss is actually fungus and you don't want to get it on your trees. But the tourists like it. Tourists- sheesh.
|Bridge to New Roads, LA.|
Then we went home via a brand new bridge over the Mississippi River. Brian had not been over the bridge yet and he wanted to see it. He (and most people down here) have a love affair with Mississippi River. They see a beauty in the constantly moving brownish-gray water that I haven’t found yet. Brian says it comes from growing up here and having so much of your life revolve around the river and its ever-changing personality. Their lives and livelihoods are dictated by how high the river is and how fast it’s moving.
The river also dictates the geography down here. City borders and streets are rarely straight, which can really be confusing for a newbie. Especially someone from Kansas, where the 1 mile square grids of country roads make it nearly impossible to get lost. In Kansas, you orient yourself by the sun and it’s easier to find north. Down here you orient by the river and you don’t always know where you are or where you’re going. But there is almost always something new around the bend.