Living so close to Kansas, I have heard scads of yellow-brick-road jokes. Although Dorothy Gale never specified the town in which her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em fostered her, sunflowers grow plentifully everywhere in this metro, both real and plastic. We wander through Lollipop Land with the singing Munchkins.
As for myself specifically, I mutter “Missouri” each time someone says they’ve heard of Kansas in response to my identifying my city of residence. Yes, there indeed are two Kansas Cities. We’re quite state-Xenophobic here, despite someone christening the intersection of 63rd Street and State Line as “One Kansas City Way”. The metro area grudgingly includes both, though secretly pining to have its real identity associated with “joooohhhhhnson Cownty, Kansas”, and specifically, Mission Hills. That tony town flexes its muscles across the state line, preening, luxuriously stretching in the golden sunrise with the practiced, casual ease of the very rich.
Here on the slum side of Brookside, a stone’s throw from another, more tawdry east/west dividing line, Troost Avenue, I don’t mind being considered inferior to my Kansas neighbors. My flags flutter in the quiet morning breezes. Up and down the block, intermittent barks sound reveille. My begonias and geraniums send out repeated rounds of flowers, white, red, and pink. This lush oasis rises from the straggled lawn and untamed backyard. With one foot, I keep the old rocker in motion. My coffee grows cold as I daydream. I celebrate whatever failed plan has brought me to this moment. Nothing that I have done and no day that I have lived can ever be considered deliberate. I’m here by happy convergence of tactical errors that did not prove fatal.
But I have no complaints. Not one.
It’s the twenty-fourth day of the forty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.