No knitting yesterday at all, though my knitting needles came in handy when the conversation at dinner turned to hijackings and possible weapons. The non-knitters were considering whether knitting needles could really result in carnage, and I was able to whip mine out and offer them as evidence.
Otherwise, it was driving, museums, reading aloud of Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants, and eating. We set out early, and weren’t expected anywhere till dinnertime, so I got to have that “on the bummel” feeling. We had breakfast out. This is always my preference; I like to start as close to first thing in the morning as possible, and stop for breakfast along the way. The kids were agreeable to this. We crossed the state line before 9:00, with number two daughter reading aloud to us. She is very good at that — her theater background, I suppose. And the books by Louis Rennison are very well suited to reading aloud. From them we have learned that the country where we live is Hamburger-a-go-go-land.
Along about noon, we decided to stop and picnic. Accordingly, we pulled off in a town which we knew to contain a small, unusual museum. Really, there is no point in stopping if there won’t be some curiosity to check out. Number two son had vetoed the idea of the George Washington Carver Historical Site or the Giant Coal Scuttle, but agreed to visit an historic jail.
Without much difficulty, we found ourselves at the Bushwhacker Museum. There you can see a set of rooms of 19th century vintage (we always find lots of things in such rooms that we have at home; in this case, they had exactly the same punch set and pickle dish we have, and several pieces of furniture just like my mother’s). You can see medical and dental equipment from the time, including a Tonsil Snarer. This mystified me a little. It sounds as though you would be lurking around trying to trap the tonsils, while I would have thought they were essentially stationery.
You can also see the old jail, which was in use from 1860-1960. Thisis a truly horrifying thought. It’s one thing to see some barbaric prison from the days of the Old West, and quite another to think of people in the twentieth century still being in one. The sheriff and his family lived in the building, too, and the sheriff’s wife cooked for all the prisoners. There was one female sheriff there, the first in the United States, and I suppose she had to do the cooking along with her other duties.
From this refreshing interlude we emerged to find that we were locked out of our car. Never mind how it happened. We tried to open it with sticks, we sent number two son back to the museum to beg a coat hanger from the kind docents, we sent him back in a little while to ask if they would call the police to come and open it for us — they don’t do that in that town, by the way, unless you have a child locked inside.
Fortunately, a good Samaritan came along and helped us out. He had tools in his car, and the needed skills, and had us back in our car within about 45 seconds. We were very thankful. However, having spent half an hour on this adventure, we decided to skip the picnic and eat while we drove.
We arrived in the Big City without incident and made our way to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. There are no words to do this place justice. There are paintings by all your old favorites, artifacts and art objects from all over the world, and sculptures. People are allowed to go in and enjoy these things at no cost. One lady who passed by us with a passel of children said that she would hate to do the dusting there, but otherwise I think everyone was entranced by the sheer beauty of the place. Number two son liked best the paintings with dreamlike landscapes, perhaps especially those which began with a foreground of intense detail and then ended up with dreamlike mists in the background, and the twenty-foot tall seated Buddha. Dr. Drew, who met us there, said the entire second floor was his favorite. I think I was most impressed by the Chinese furniture, the Japanese paintings of the Edo period, the 17th century English ceramics, the 20th century paintings, and — well, perhaps for all of us there was so much to find impressive that it is impossible to choose just a few things.
We joined my aunt at her home. If I lived in a big city, I would want to live in a neighborhood like hers. She can walk to the Nelson Atkins, and to any number of interesting coffee shops and bookstores, but she also has trees and flowers and things. Her son and his girlfriend joined us for dinner, and we enjoyed the visit very much.
Some people find themselves disoriented when they wake up in a strange place, but I only have two questions: is it too early to get up, and can I get a cup of tea? I chanced getting up, and found no tea, but did find coffee, croissants, and elderberry jam. The kitchen is thus my next objective. I hope you are all enjoying your weekends as much as I.