Archive for Thursday, June 18, 2009

It’s a small world

June 18, 2009

We have all heard about how the world is shrinking. Until a week or so ago, I must admit that I was skeptical; however, I learned from two different perspectives that the world is, indeed, a much smaller place.

Let me start out by saying that my father did not own a car when I was growing up. This meant that everywhere we went in Garnett, we walked. I have always been convinced that I walked tremendous distances in those long, long ago days. I envision myself as a chubby preteen ambling a mile to grade school and many, many more miles to high school or the swimming pool. I have long complained about the difficulty of having to walk everywhere I went.

Over the recent Memorial Day weekend, we made a trip to Garnett to decorate my parents’ and grandparents’ graves. The Garnett cemetery is outside of town and, as usual, I was pointing out the hardships of not having a vehicle. I pointed out that we walked from my house to the cemetery every Memorial Day, pulling a wagon loaded with flowers to decorate the graves. Both Jean and I agreed that it had to be more than three miles from where I lived. We were convinced it could be up to a couple of miles from our house to the high school.

As a lark we decided to check the mileage using the trip odometer on the car. I have to tell you that the results were shocking! It was just one mile from our house to the cemetery and a half-mile to the high school. It was a quarter mile from my house to Irving School, where my father was a custodian. The walk from my home to the newspaper office where I worked was just a few blocks.

I will admit that I was just a little amazed. I guess that maybe when I was young my legs were shorter and distances seemed longer. On the other hand, maybe it is more fun to have something to complain about when we remember the rigors of our youth, even if they weren’t as hard as we thought. Don’t get me wrong. I still think growing up without having a vehicle available was tough. On the other hand, I survived it.

Another way I learned the world is a small place was on a recent trip we took to the Lake of the Ozarks. In this case, it wasn’t that the distance shrunk, it was the intertwining of people. The first such incident happened when we were taking pictures in the early evening. A couple came up and asked if we would like a photo together. We agreed and they snapped a picture of Jean and me. We told them we were from Bonner Springs and they said they lived in Garnett, the community where I grew up. They were younger than I was, but they knew my father.

Later that evening, we came upon a group of women enjoying the beach. In a conversation that followed, one woman pointed out that she and her husband owned a fast-food restaurant in Carrollton, Mo., where we had lived just prior to coming to Bonner Springs.

The third such incident came the following day when we were hiking along a trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Missouri. We briefly visited with a couple along the way and continued on our way. A little later they were returning and asked if I was “Clausie Smith.” It turned out they live in Linwood and have family members who play in the City Band!

I had to wonder what the odds were of meeting three persons with whom we had past connections.

On the way home from the trip I wished the world was even smaller. We were caught in a vicious thunderstorm along I-70. The rain was so heavy that visibility was limited to yards. Fortunately we were able to get off I-70 and find shelter in Odessa, Mo. When the rain let up, we slowly ventured home and I found myself thinking that I really wished the world were smaller in terms of the miles from Odessa or Oak Grove, Mo., to Bonner Springs!

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