We took a short trip last weekend and headed due east to take in the Kansas sunflowers and a couple of roadside attractions. I must admit there were more things I liked about having a road trip companion than making a trip alone. It was nice to have someone to talk to and share the driving with. However, The Girl enabled all sorts of bad food choices I wouldn’t have allowed myself if I had been alone. But she chatted people up while I shot pictures and back stories make even the dullest pictures more interesting.
This is a short list of what we witnessed over the weekend:
The world’s largest cement prairie dog
Sunflowers (yes yes we know…SUNFLOWERS in Kansas)
Animals in too small cages
A five legged cow
A dead body (TG saw the dead body, I didn’t want to look at it)
Y’all are most curious about the dead body, aren’t you? Because it sounds like we had macabre adventures in Kansas, worthy of a Stephan King Novella. I should continue to let that last point just hand there so everyone thinks our trip was a thrill a minute and we solved a crime like Nancy Drew and Bess Marvin. But this isn’t a fiction blog so I have to confess it was actually a mummy in a mausoleum at The Garden Of Eden which is possibly one of the most interesting roadside attractions ever. P Dinsmoor was in his 60’s when he decided to construct his cement and bone garden with its retelling of Genius and protest against early 20th century politics. Truly outsider art or Americana Folk Art which is now called “Grassroots Art”. He was quite the old coot and decided he wanted his first wife near to him so he constructed a mausoleum and despite the city’s complaints put her in the backyard just outside the back porch. One of the stories about him is he was so mad at the city, after they forbid him to bury her in the backyard, Dinsmoor paraded around town, driving her coffin around so everyone would know he was unhappy. He is in the mausoleum too in a glass covered coffin so you can see his mummified state. Outside of this zombie type stuff The Garden of Eden is actually beautiful and has little surprises. My favorite is this statue: The first Mrs. Dinsmoor missed her husband because he was always outside mixing cement and possibly bones for his statues. He made this little guy and he would wave at her while she was at the kitchen window. But he does look a little pissy that he has to wave at her, like maybe he didn’t miss her as much as she missed him. This tiny statue is one of the many things which completely negates the whole zombie aspect of the backyard. Before you discover there are actual dead bodies in the backyard, you pass beneath Eve offering Adam the apple. From this perspective it looks like Adam just gave Eve the apple. Hmmm…
Throughout the garden, the multiple angels appear to be swooping down to save mankind and in one instance Dinsmoor. His simplistic sculpting isn’t without emotion and proves these beings can have personalities and emotion without intricate carving. Some of his figures reminded me of Bosch’s demons.
It’s also charming the old guy was so mad about politics, economics, and big business he constructed huge statues about how screwed up the country was and how it was going to hell in a hand basket. Nowadays he would have just kept an angry blog, screamed at the television or joined a political party which stands to be high jacked by theocrats.
These statues are very tall and he constructed them while standing on scaffolding when he was well into his 80’s. The only reason his adult children didn’t bitch at him for being on a ladder was because telegrams were expensive and they probably didn’t have long distance telephone service from Illinois to Kansas. Those were the good old days, right Dad?
He weighs thousands of pounds and stands A Lot of Feet in the air. Such a photo op that a wall was constructed around him (her?) so looky-loos won’t forego the eight dollar admission fee, choosing to steal a picture from the highway. Not only did this attraction host a gigantic cement sculpture but we were “treated” to witnessing
Real! Live! Wild! Animials!
The goats were so darn cute. They weren’t sweet like the little pygmy goats but they were cute. See how they are kissing each other? Or maybe they are planning on storming the fence and knocking me down for the bits of dog food I had for them. TG was most charmed by Roscoe the miniature donkey. We were about thirty miles down the road when she found out I didn’t get a picture of him; I’m not sure TG has forgiven me for this.
plus Real! Live! Mutants!
In fact, I think the five legged cow was creepier than mummy Densmore. This cow had one leg coming out of its right shoulder with a fully formed hoof. (it was so gross, I couldn’t take a picture) I wonder if the Bull in the Bowler was paid after that little genetic gaff. Fortunately, when I turned my head there were other “amazing” things to see and that’s when I noticed two coyotes pacing in a six by five cage. The inhumaneness of their situation took my mind off the genetic mutant, and all I could think about was letting them out of the cage so they could eat the stupid little destructive prairie dogs running everywhere and possibly the geese that are actually not water fowl but minions of Satan.
Did I mention I’m not just frightened of geese but phobic about them? A goose charged and then bit me when I was four. I make every effort to avoid geese but twenty odd years ago, I was walking with Oldest Friend and a goose–I kid you not–CORNERED us in a city park. You could ask her if this is true but I doubt the memory is fresh because she is not freakishly afraid of geese. She would remember we took a walk near her sister’s home and I remember it as a brush with death.