Tag Archives: Kansas

“We’re taking you to the Keeper of the Plains,” I was told, and there was little elaboration after that.

“Okay,” I said. “And the Keeper of the Plains is …?”

“You’ll see.” I must hand it to my friends. They know how to create suspense.

It turned out to be a 44-foot-tall statue of a Native American man standing at the crux of the Big and Little Arkansas (pronounced “Our Kansas”, for the record) Rivers in downtown Wichita.  A raised hatchet in one arm, its headdress and fringed pants seeming to blow in the wind, the statue looms tall over the nearby bridges and park that offer views of it and the river. It is a tranquil place, but as a white American woman from a devoutly-PC part of the country, I found myself looking around and thinking, “This is cool, right? We aren’t offending anyone?”

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There was a knock on the bathroom door in the middle of the night.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I said. Which was sort of true. I was presently in the process of squatting in my friend’s old clawfoot bathtub, running cold water over my head and body in an attempt to alleviate the crippling migraine that had come over me. Migraines aren’t new to me – they strike more or less monthly (it takes little sleuthing to guess when) and render me a miserable wreck. This time, one had hit while I was visiting my friend Christine, who was now knocking at the door.

“I didn’t throw up,” I shouted over the rush of water. As though it was an achievement.

“It would okay if you did,” Christine said gently, as only women who are mothers can.

I’ve no doubts she was sincere when she said those words. Christine and I met in the seventh grade. There are elements to our friendship that are grandfathered in. Among them, she can call me Deenie (and before you ask, no. Do not even think of trying it, even as a joke), and I may vomit in the Victorian clawfoot tub of her Wichita home.

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