When we started talking about leaving Denver I would over and over ask Kirk, “are you sure?” and everytime he’d say, “Jessie, I’ve always wanted to live in a college town.”
I had to stop and think about that.
I mean, I HAD lived in a college town (the exact one we are moving to, in fact) and wasn’t really sure what he meant. I mean, he had lived in one too (he went to college, didn’t he? TWO, in fact)….and his middle name is Denver (Reeve’s too)….so how could he think about leaving it?
Then, I had to step back and think about what it means to live in a college town.
In Lawrence, EVERYONE is a Jayhawk fan (except for maybe a very few Kansas State Power Cat fans). And everyone wears red and blue and the mythical bird on their clothes, everyone has a flag, a license plate, you name it touting their college pride. Was he prepared to leave the Rocky Mountains for a bird?
It’s more than that though. It’s the locally-owned shops and restaurants that residents are so loyal to that small mom-n-pop shops stay afloat while Barnes & Nobles goes out of business.
It’s the tailgating.
It’s the Rock Chalk chant and all the acronyms and legends only residents know (RCJH, LFK, etc).
It’s the parades down Mass Street and Santa landing on Weaver’s rooftop.
It’s the local celebrities like Dennis and Rob.
It’s Mount Oread and the rolling hills (Kansas is NOT flat)…
It’s the Granada, the Replay Lounge and the Bottleneck for live music.
It’s The Java Hut, Amy’s Fabrics, Jeffersons…
It’s the “Beware of the Phog” and Allen Fieldhouse.
For God’s sake, we wouldn’t even HAVE baseketball without Lawrence, KS….
As someone who has frequented all of these places as a college student, I can attest to how unique and great they all are. To Kirk, an *outsider*, I totally get their appeal.
While we saw all of the great *places* to visit, what we didn’t *see* but definitely *felt* was that good old Midwestern friendliness. EVERYONE waves. Everyone supports the same college and 2 high schools. Friday night football games are BIG! Everyone loves their Jayhawks, but also their KC Royals…
It’s a COMMUNITY!
You walk down Mass Street and people know your name.
We NEVER had that in Colorado. We missed that.
Every time we would go back to visit, we would always laugh and grin at the tables full of old men sitting at restaurants talking about “the game” and “the score.” It was just so quaint…so promising coming from a city of people who are always ON THE GO! Sure, Denver has great museums and restaurants and skiing and shoppings and lots to do…but everyone is always rushing, in a hurry! The rats are racing, the Joneses’ have a new car and everyone has so much STUFF their homes are overflowing and then they have to build a newer, bigger home.
Denver was feeling crowded and rushed. Buildings and highways…
We wanted our outsides to match our insides.
For God’s sake, we tried to explain to Reeve that people have to “work the land” and farm b/c “where do you think food comes from, boy?” and he’s all “Target?”
NOT how we wanted to raise our children.
I often tell Kirk about this dream I had where we have land and three little boys and green farm truck and I play Keith Urban’s Raise ‘Em Up for him and I cry when he sings:
So you meet someone
The only one
You take her by the hand
Make a stand
Buy some land
Make some love
And then babies come
Raise em’ up
Raise em’ up
We don’t want to be so busy that after an hour spent in traffic trying to get home Kirk only gets an hour each day with the boys before it’s bedtime.
We wanted a life where we PAID ATTENTION. To corn growing in rows. To a neighbor who may need our help. To a community with one goal. To details. TO EACH OTHER!
It’s hard to focus on your family, on your MARRIAGE, with just a few hours together every week.
And so we did it….
we bought some land with a couple of horses on it and we are slowing down!
Something in each of us changed. And we can’t wait for the adventure that awaits us in Lawrence, Kansas.