New sights and smells in familiar places

First Baptist Church of Shenandoah, Iowa

I love visiting new places. I’ve blogged this year about first visits to FranceSwitzerlandItaly and Royal Gorge. In each case, anticipation and discovery are part of the joy of the trip.

Shenandoah, Iowa, and Kansas City are not new places for me. In my vagabond life, no place is more familiar than these communities. I know what to anticipate and I’ve discovered most that either destination offers.

I lived six-plus years in Kansas City and seven-plus with Shenandoah as home base (though I was away for college for most of four of the Shen years). And it seems that I’ve spent more time visiting Shenandoah and the Kansas City area than I spent living either place.

My sons and I became ardent Kansas City Chiefs fans while we lived in Kansas City and they became lifelong Royals fans (my loyalty to the Yankees was unshaken, but the Royals remain a fond second-favorite), so I’ve returned many times to Kansas City for ballgames. Mom moved to a retirement community in Lee’s Summit, Mo., three years after I left KC, so I’ve been back more times than I can count visiting Mom at three different homes as her care needs have grown. I’ve been to the Kansas City area as well working on news stories and speaking at conferences and for a job interview.

I know the quickest ways out of the ballparks to beat the traffic. I have a favorite barbecue joint that we nearly always visit. Whatever Mom needs (this time it was a watch battery), I generally know where to find it nearby. Continue reading