Thursday, April 23, 2009
A couple evenings ago, I went out to explore Pratt, Kansas. I turned off the main road onto a dirt side road and saw a couple doing something with a big yellow dog. At first, I thought they were having trouble with the dog, trying to get him into the truck or something, and so I stopped. Turns out they were just exercising Duke. They drive along the dirt road and Duke runs.
They were delightful, friendly people. I admit, my sievelike memory has dropped their names already, but he is a retired train engineer, and she makes porcelain dolls. We talked for a long time, and when they heard what I was doing, they suggested I visit Sun City.
And so, in the morning, I did. I drove along paved side roads, and soon enough, found myself leaving the wheatfields and arriving in red-dirt hills. I rounded a corner, and there I was, on the main street of Sun City.
At one time, in the 1880s, it was a bustling, busy place. You can read about it - and see two photos of the church I decided to paint, by clicking here) .
Now, it's a ghost town. Fewer than 100 people live there. The post office is running, as is Buster's, which is supposed to cook great burgers (it was barely 10 a.m. when I finished up, so no burger for me). But most of the buildings are empty. Pretty houses stand vacant. Businesses are shuttered. I could have set up my easel in the middle of the street. It makes you wonder.