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Dispatches from Kansas Paperback – November 9, 2005
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ever since. One excerpt from one column states Parker's sentiments clearly:
"What's wrong with Kansas? I leave work as the sun becomes airborne. Mist chokes the valleys, shadowed yet by dense woods. The road slips into a slight depression and then rises and the Blue River Valley spreads before me as far as the
eye can see, a verdant channel winding southward between grassy bluffs. The road descends and leaps the river and curves into town.
I stand on my front porch, the song of dickcissels calling the sun up. A cuckoo cries behind me. Warily eyeing me, a cottontail sucks down a long dandelion stem."
Life in the prairies has been peaceful and Parker shares through beautiful prose the divine he sees in everything around him. Birdsong is surreal and ghostly in early morning
fogs along the rivers and streams. Thunderstorms are awesome, electric, transforming. Winter winds roar from the north to rattle windows, freshen air, and freeze nose hairs. Amidst nature's bounty, the Parkers discovered mysteries of daily life in rural Kansas: the art of waving at everyone you meet; the odd case of the clairvoyant cashier; the joy and adventure to be found in following grain elevators home; anti-terrorist plans, rural Kansas style.
Parker shares his Kansas experiences with subtle exaggeration, gentle irony, and incredible poignance. In his world, Nature is a blessing and a balm. And because he shares his vision generously with an honest spirit, readers will enjoy his
stories whether they live in Kansas or not.
There Park becomes a local newspaper columnist, albeit a very low paid one--along with a few other part-time jobs to help pay the bills.
Dispatches from Kansas is a collection of these stories--many of them about the difference between large cities and small towns, the people who inhabit them, and the unwritten rules you must learn to survive. This could be a small town in most any state.
As a farm girl who moved to the big city (home of the Mall of America) many years ago, we now have a lakeplace near a small town. So we know from what he speaks about small towns.
I liked this guy right away when early on he said that he read the comics/funnies first in the newspaper. His stories are well written, full of minute details, and are about the bread and butter people and issues of small towns.
He asks: What constitutes important news in rural areas? Their local weekly newspapers publish as he calls it, "who was naughty or nice"--the police reports. The newspaper publishes every little incidence: vehicle stops for illegal left turns; dogs on the loose; accidents; runaways, etc.
If you still live in a small town, you will love knowing your town isn't unique. If you are from one, you will love to reminisce with his help. If you have almost been envious of small-town life, read Dispatches from Kansas to live vicariously.
His descriptions of sights and sounds in the daytime were special, but his nighttime details were powerful. "We were the least of the creatures of the dark," he wrote, "in nature's night, I was inconsequential.Read more ›