Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Midwest Marvels

Yesterday I went to LA's airport and sat in a metal tube for four hours. At the end of that time I got out of the tube and found myself in Kansas City. It would have taken less time, but Midwest Airlines was doing some shenanigans that required a change of flight plans, and we lost an hour.

While I do not enjoy a trip to LA, I most certainly enjoy traveling to Kansas City and its suburb, Blue Springs. It is a big, sturdy, wealthy area in the middle of America where most things are new and growing. And where the people do not exhibit the effete snobbery of coastal cities.

This is definitely "flyover" country. Yet there are major companies headquartered here that hire "the brainy set" for such things as telecommunications. They are supported by solid universities and the arts in ways that you would never read about in The New York Times. The people here have worn grooves in the airways to such places as Austin, Texas and San Jose, California where other technologies abound.

It is an area where people and businesses are patriotic--you see flags and hear radio programs that make you proud to be an American.

Those of us who live on either coast tend to forget there is such a vast sprawling area of industry and endeavor in the middle of the nation. It has a beauty of its own and as an added attraction, four complete seasons. During a hike today down a country lane, with farmland on one side and large beautiful homes on the other, I passed a lake, a barn, a flock of geese, and almost no cars or trucks.

Leaves had fallen from the trees, so I had to shuffle through them. A slab of limestone lay by the side of the lane. Its surface was covered with fossils from sea life, hundreds of millions of years old, from a time when the middle of America was engulfed in a shallow, warm ocean. It extended east through Kentucky and parts of Ohio, where many of America's geologists come from.

A hundred years ago in Kansas City my great-great uncle owned a huge pharmaceutical company. His is one of the few old buildings that still stand. The rest are new with an architectural style all their own, a statement of the area's independence.

This is indeed an admirable place with opportunities for many and attractions for all.

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