Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yesterday in Lawrence

The Jones family visited the KU Natural History Museum yesterday. I hadn't been in Dyche Hall in 19 years. The place is elderly and the taxidermy appeared well-worn, but the Bug Town exhibit and the live snakes were hits with my crew. We dug the dinosaur fossils too.
I wandered down a back hallway and stumbled upon a locked door that led to the ichthyology department offices. I peered through the door's thin window. The hallway looked dusty and forlorn. But there were lots of fish posters on the walls and office doors.
My son remarked that people walked more in Lawrence and declared that he wished he lived there as we parked the car in the new lot next to the student union. He asked why we didn't walk when we prepared to motor downtown for lunch. It was a beautiful day. I told him the walk down Mount Oread is splendid. The walk back might tax him.
We ate lunch at Tellers where my daughter had a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. We saw four sorority girls in matching black cocktail dresses drinking bloody marys. At one point three of them ran out into the street and hugged a young man in an untucked button down shirt, ball cap, and flip flops. They shouted "Logan" and made much drama and fanfare about spying him from the restaurant window. He declined their offer for a bloody mary. Afterall, it was 1:30 in the afternoon and he wasn't wearing a cocktail dress.
We paid our tab and hit the sidewalk. A missed Kodak moment: A young man, perhaps homeless, held a cardboard sign that read: Ninjas killed my family, need money for Karate lessons.
I saw my old friend Art Hadley having lunch among the throngs of visitors. He reminded me I invariably ran into somebody I knew when we used to go out in Lawrence with the Audio Reader gang in the late 80s. Odd but strangely satisfying that I ran into the man who remembered that about me and he shared that bit of trivia with my family. Normally you have to wait until your funeral to hear those quirky little anecdotes. Not in Lawrence. It beat the hell out of Oak Park mall.

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