As if to punctuate our absence of nearly 20 years, my beautiful Kansas City has managed to welcome us back into her ample bosom with quite frigid air and light dustings of perfectly gorgeous snow off and on since we've arrived - a nice taste of what was our life here in the mid-west.
The layover in Minneapolis' airport was very relaxing. What a wonderful airport: lots of high-end shops, great eateries, interesting wildlife watching . . . We were there for nearly 6 hours waiting for our connecting flight to Kansas City. When we got to Kansas City the temperature was around 60 some degrees F. From the time that we crossed the jetway into the terminal and retrieved our bags and stepped outside to get our rental car, the thermometer had plummeted into the 30's. And, it's been, to this Flahridian, Arctic ever since.
Each year on Thanksgiving evening, Santa comes to town and, along with the mayor, flips a huge switch and the entire Country Club Plaza lights up with wonderful holiday lights festooned over and around all the doors and windows, eaves, turrets, copulas, etc. (See picture above.) It's breathtaking, really. This city is one of the most beautiful in the country sporting more boulevard miles than any other city except Paris, more fountains than any city save Rome (see photo at bottom), cleaner air than Honolulu, and the nation's economy runs through it 3 times a day! The area has the second-most affluent county in the country.
Thanksgiving day went very well. I spent most of it in the kitchen getting dinner together. We ate around 5pm. Had turkey, great dressing, lumpy & dirty golden mashed potatos, gravy, Mama Stamberg's (really Craig Claiborne's) cranberry relish, mixed veggie sautee', baked sweet potatos in butter and brown sugar; and for dessert I made an apple and blueberry crostini, + we had a pumpkin pie and kick-ass pumpkin muffins from Panera. Competitive wines included several chards, a nice Voignier (mid-coast), an old vine Zin which was really chewy and yummy.
This trip has proven to be a whirlwind of appointments for us. We've so many friends to see and catch up with. Tonight we're having a cocktail party here at our host's home for the rest of the gang that we just couldn't possibly get to visit individually. Each day and night for the rest of the trip is booked with dinners and visits. We leave on Tuesday, heading back to Tampa and sun and orchids in bloom.
I must admit that driving around town has been somewhat of a surreal adventure. There are parts of it I remember quite well - others that evade memory. With Tampa and Baltimore between the time we lived here and this visit, one is a bit muddled . . . landmarks that you recall are now either gone or have completely different surroundings so you have to rethink what you see and adopt a new perspective. Not unlike the journey through Life, I suppose.
Sunday, tomorrow, we head up to Parkville, Missouri to see the college and my dear friend, Carolyn. I'm sure that will annoint me with a flood of memories as we trapse up and down the hills of that picturesque little dorf.
The main fountain on the Plaza