During this trek I’ve heard several interesting stories, the one I heard in Cedar Vale had me laughing until I was dizzy. I’ll try to share it the best I can, but of course being there is always better. I’ll paint some background and you just use your imagination .
Cedar Vale is a small community with several older homes that look like they haven’t seen maintenance in several decades. The remains of collapsed homes are scattered along its city blocks, and the asphalt shows signs of buckling from the repeated heat and cold cycles. It’s a community off the beaten path and it’s one that probably doesn’t see a lot of outside revenue.
It’s also a community with a charitable heart. My husband is familiar with Cedar Vale. As a child he visited a relative who received treatments for alcoholism. Today that facility serves veterans dealing with PTSD. My husband joined me on this leg of my trip and showed me the town. However, before we took a tour down his memory lane he chatted and caught up with the townsfolk. I listened and smiled as he connected with a relative of a high school classmate. During the conversation the town’s lady used colorful descriptions with a twist of humor. She was a storyteller at heart.
Our meeting and conversation happened during the waning moments of a community lunch supporting Relay for Life. For a donation cyclists were treated to hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken salad, deviled eggs, potato chips, and home baked cookies and cupcakes. Like I said, a community with a serving heart. It’s also a community with colorful characters.
In the center of the open barn where lunch was served a plastic owl hung from the ceiling. Barns across the Midwest are often invaded by sparrows and their nests. Where birds are a problem plastic owls are used to scare away the unwanted birds.
As was told to me:
One night one of the town drunks decided to sit down at the barn. While there he saw an owl unnaturally floating in the air. That owl spooked him so much he pulled out a gun and shot the owl. When only the head fell with the body still floating he decided there must be something wrong with the barn and he high tailed it out of there. As he said the next morning (when he was presumably sober), “there’s something wrong going on there.”