Sparing a thought for the jade plant wilting in the backseat, we stopped for lunch at a “family restaurant” in Belville, Kansas on the edge of town. We forsook a picnic lunch for two reasons. One, for an area with so much land, none of it was for public enjoyment and two, in a new place I am compelled to be among people who call it home.


Sit anywhere, a young woman indicated. A dining room to the right and the left. On the right, plastic tables and what may possibly have been the entire retired community of the town, in parties of one and two, for a total of seven. That room was crowded. On the left, an empty room save for a couple in the corner. Wooden tables. Mom heads to the right, through open stares and uninhibited curiosity toward a table for six; I turn left. “You’re both going the other way,” a grandmother chuckles. I smile and suggest to Mom we take a smaller table in the other room. All heads turned to follow our progress.

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