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24 hours in Lawrence Community stories

A foggy beginning with a clear ending

I may as well have been wearing a blindfold

May 22, 2007

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The most special part of my Thursday in Lawrence wasn't actually in Lawrence!

Most of my Thursdays are fairly routine - up at 4:20, drive into Lawrence, run for about 7 miles on a route that includes the KU campus and Mass Street. I was so looking forward to documenting that hour-plus run. It's such a special time of day in town and it belongs to only a select few who know the wonderful secrets of the 5:00 a.m. hour. But, it wasn't to be. As I left my garage for the 19-minute drive into town, the fog - that hadn't been there when I got up to let the dogs out - had rolled in and completely taken over the universe! I drove about a mile or so on the gravel road telling myself (with my usual rose-colored glasses on) that it was just patchy and when I got to Highway 59 (or 59 Highway as I hear it called by people from the area) it would be clear sailing. I was grateful I left in plenty of time to allow a couple of minutes of fog-slowed driving.

No such luck. I may as well have been wearing a blindfold. I turned around to head home wondering what would be the next-best topic for my hour in Lawrence.

Besides the early disruption in my routine, the rest of my day progressed pretty much as usual with the exception that I actually had time to read the paper before work - once I found the paper in the fog. What a delightful discovery when I opened the paper to find Denise Gossage's story on a family from Greensburg right there in black and white! Way to go Denise!

Thursday's are usually long days because I start with my early run and end with a yoga class after work. This Thursday, I heard that Pizza Hut was donating 10% of their profits to Greensburg. I hadn't planned for dinner and wouldn't be home until about 8:00 p.m., so when I remembered that there is a Pizza Hut just a few doors down from my yoga studio on Mass Street, I called before I left work to order a pizza to be ready at 7:30 so that I could pick up on my way home.

Yoga was both exhausting and exhilarating at once and when class was over, in an outfit that was half yoga and half work (I figured it fit in just fine in downtown Lawrence) and in my post-yoga calmness, I walked down the street to Pizza Hut. The line was long and the phones were ringing incessantly. I felt sorry for the people working and waiting but happy that it seemed their efforts to help Greensburg were going well. There were people at the tables, people in line and people waiting for carryout. I expected to get up to the counter and learn that they had either lost track of my order or were so behind that I would have to wait. I kept thinking - what will I do if it's not ready? I WANT TO GO HOME!

Not to worry, though. I finally reached the counter and a hot pizza with my name on it was waiting! I paid and walked out the back door to the parking garage. I felt guilty when I heard the people waiting for carryout complain about having called two hours ago and then waiting for an hour. I almost gave them my pizza but it just smelled so good!

Once I got home, there was still some daylight left so I took my pizza and a beer directly to the patio table. It would have been polite if I had waited for my husband to climb off the mower and join me but the pizza was getting cold and the beer warm. I waved to him, held up the pizza and beer so he could see what I was doing, and started in! With their eternal golden-retriever optimism, the dogs sat quietly looking at me with devoted eyes and dripping jowls. It didn't take long for my husband to join us.

The pizza had begun to cool but it didn't matter. We sat there listening to the country sounds and watching the birds until the sun went down. We were in that perfect place out in the country on a BEAUTIFUL Thursday in Douglas County, Kansas. Not in Lawrence but opportunities in Lawrence for both of us make it possible to have our beautiful piece of rural Kansas.

Laurie Comstock is a fellow in the Citizen Journalism Academy.

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