Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Squirreled Away

Kansas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, & Other Offbeat Stuff by Pam Grout
 Earlier this summer, I got to play tour guide to my good friends Cory and Karen, who were visiting from Iowa and looking for a Kansas adventure. Although they probably would have enjoyed the local Lawrence scene — Sylas & Maddys Ice Cream, the William Burroughs House, Free State Brewery — I thought their visit would be a great excuse to get out and see some of the sights I’ve been wanting to see since moving to Kansas about a year ago. You know, Council Grove, Holy-Field Winery, The Garden of Eden…

Instead? I checked out this crazy book from the Library and we wound up 2 1/2 hours north in Marysville, KS, to see some black squirrels. Sometimes the library will lead you astray.

To be fair, the book makes it sound like a great bet:

"Drive in any entrance to this prosperous river town and you’ll see big signs proclaiming it “The Black Squirrel City.” Indeed, coal black squirrels have the run of the town, with a city-proclaimed right-of-way on any street, alley, or railroad track. Anyone who dares hurt one is fined $25. In 1972, city commissioners made black squirrels the official town mascot, granting them immunity from all traffic regulations, freedom to trespass on all county property, and the first pickings of the town’s black walnuts.

 "No one knows for sure where the huge population of black squirrels came from, but the most persistent legend claims a local hooligan unlocked a cage of the dark rodents from a carnival of Gypsies who camped in City Park for three nights in the 1920s."

But, did black squirrels overrun our vehicle when we crossed the city line? Of course not. After (creepily) trolling the streets from our car for half an hour, we finally spotted our first black squirrel. Which ran away. And then we took some afternoon refreshment at the local taqueria. At least the salsa was spicy and the company was great!

Rachel - Programs

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