Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nondescript, Kansas

I spent the fourth of July weekend in Nondescript, Kansas among family. I'm sure you have a town like Nondescript in your life. Maybe your grandparents live there. Perhaps you'll recognize it.

In Nondescript, if you drive too far east you end up, not on the wrong side of the tracks, but the wrong side of the grain elevator.

The aforementioned grain elevator is the tallest building in town.

Nondescript has grown enough for Wal-mart. This Wal-mart has been affectionately termed Wally World by your relatives and serves as a source of amusement while visiting Nondescript.

Other sources of amusement: Grandma's front lawn. Even though Nondescript is hot as Hades in the summertime, you have yet to know someone with an actual pool. Instead you purchase a cheap children's pool, and while the kids splash you "hang out around the pool."

Since it is so flat in Nondescript and the city planners neglected to put in a very good drainage system fifty years ago, after a good rainfall the streets turn into shallow rivers and the children have something better than a pool to splash around in for awhile.

Nothing changes much in Nondescript. Change makes Grandma nervous. Too many things in her refrigerator make her nervous, and although she has been sitting most of the time you have been visiting, she finds the energy before you walk out the door into your loaded car to start emptying her refrigerator onto the kitchen table. She asks if you want to take any of it home.

The most oft watched channel in Nondescript? The weather. (Which brings me to another favorite pasttime particular to Nondescript, Kansas-Tornado chasing. I'm serious. My uncles' and my dad's favorite pasttime. Take the camera and the radio and hop in the car. Actually my dad asked me this year if he could use my Honda. I said, "Why my Honda? You have a perfectly good Honda and it's newer than mine." To which he responded, "But your Honda is already trashed. Can I use it?")

It is pretty relaxing in Nondescript. It's where you go to sleep in and make sense of your life that you left back at home. There are no such things as High Fructose Corn Syrup or Partially Hydrogenated Oils in Nondescript. Grandpa does the dishes. You take walks. You go fishing. You walk through the graveyard down the street, and it's not creepy. When you are old enough to bring your family, you revel in passing the beauty of Nondescript onto you children.


  1. This sounds a lot like a place I grew up visiting. Unfortunately grandparents have died and my children won't get to experience summers of laying on a flatbed trailer to pick cucumbers, or picking corn and putting it onto a conveyer belt to be bagged or shelling peas until your thumbs turn green. They won't be able to jump into a canal to feel the mud squish between their toes at the bottom or ride to the local store and buy four chocolate bars for a dollar.

    But of course no one can do that anymore.

    Nice post.

  2. Okay so I realized I have to qualify my high fructose blah blah blah comment. Yes, I am one of those people. Not organic, but I look at labels. However, I don't think my son will be ruined if he eats processed cookies in nursery, and it's okay. ESPECIALLY in Nondescript, Kansas. Me and my child eat whatever we want.

  3. I love Nondescript, for a moment I felt like I was there shooting off the fireworks to heaven with you guys :) And I love that every time we go there we have to buy a new kiddie pool (whatever happens to the old ones?). And that the Weather Channel is watched so much in the family that the TV we inherited from Dr. Ling had the main weather channel line burned into the screen. And Grandma's house to this day still has what I classify as the best sleeping basement. My favorite graveyard memory: When Grandpa laid down on his back with his arms crossed across his chest and his eyes closed in the burial spot he bought for Grandma and him. Oh, I could go on. Thank you for making me happy with the memories.

  4. What a pretty and well-written post. I love it! So the name is really nondescript? Because this almost sounds like an .... eek, what's the word? I was thinking analogy, but maybe metaphor? Or a story that's symbolic. I can't remember what it's called.
    Anyways, I really liked reading this.

    And I'm careful what I let my kids eat too. Though I do give them cracker stuff.

  5. Patti-I like your Nondescript. I want to squish in mud and lie on a flatbed trailer. One day my Nondescript will be no more, too. It's just too depressing to think about...

    Katie-We have the old pools from the last two years at Mom's, but one has holes and the other was being used and too covered in dirt and ants to load up into the car. And we needed an excuse to visit Wally World.

    Jessica-No, it has a much cooler REAL name. It's just a nondescript town. My son got to chew gum and eat candy on our trip to Grandma's, which he doesn't get much at he approached me and let me know, "I just like gum and candy." Shoot, if only I had known, I wouldn't always be feeding him hummus and spinach.

  6. Nondescript was where i grew up in FL. INstead of trash guys - we took ours to the dump every sat. And I actually thought it was fun ;0

  7. Lovely descriptions. I felt like I was there. I lost my Nondescript—they paved over my grandma's house when they widened the road...

  8. That sounds lovely, if only because it's so different from (and so much more peaceful than) so many big cities. A change of pace is always nice for a while.