Kansas City

Kansas City skyline at dusk

Kansas City has some amazing views.

When I was growing up, going to Kansas City was a Big Deal™.

I was raised in a small town in southeast Kansas called Baxter Springs. With a population of around 5,000 then, it was a typical small town. I did a lot of my early exploring in the city on my bicycle. If you had a car (and a driver’s license), you would cruise the main street on the weekends. “Dragging main” entailed driving up and down and then back again until you got tired of doing it. I’m not even sure kids do that anymore.

I remember coming to Kansas City for my senior trip, where the high school seniors came up and stayed in a hotel. We went to a Royals game and did … what else, I can’t remember. I do remember a couple of my fellow classmates getting high/drunk (called Roba-dosing) by drinking a large amount of Robitussin cough syrup. Sadly, the trip did not end well for me. I had fun, but while at the Royals game people were asking this one girl to borrow some sunscreen, not realizing we were actually applying sun tan accelerator instead. I turned my Irish-blood legs beat red; for days I could only sleep on my back.

Good times.

In July of 2015, I said goodbye to Lawrence, Kansas, my home of 16 years. It seemed like the logical thing to do. I had been commuting to Kansas City since the end of 2012, and commuting 50 minutes each way was sucking the life out of my soul.

It has turned out to be an excellent decision. I love the pulse of a big city. There are ebbs and flows of activity, not unlike the rise and fall of an ocean tide. The mornings and evenings are blissfully quiet, but the daytime activity in the downtown area where I work brings great satisfaction to me. I love seeing the different types of people, the large buildings as they reflect the sun’s magnificent rays, and the culture of art and style that weaves through the city.

I am certainly a long way from my small Kansas hometown.

When we lived in Lawrence, coming to Kansas City for the day was still quite an event. I live on the Missouri side, in an area called the Northland, and I’m around 20 minutes from anything I would want to do. As I drive to work each morning, my first automotive hurdle is to crest the top of a hill. When I pass over, I can see downtown Kansas City’s skyscrapers looking like mountains in the distance. As I draw near, my eyes tend to fixate on these wonderful buildings. Kansas City has a lot of character, and I love almost everything I see (even the parts that need some love and attention).

There once was some artwork in the gallery at my work that said, “I love KC well so far.”

I think that sums it up perfectly.

Kansas City and art go well together.

A photo posted by Eric J Gruber (@ericjgruber) on

2 thoughts on “Kansas City

  1. Jack

    Having grown up in the same small town, moved away, and many years later, moved back, I have a little more aged perspective. I have lived in various large cities (Tokyo, Madrid, DC, LA and Denver) and enjoyed them all tremendously. But when it comes to settling down in one place, with a family, for the really long haul, I love the countryside. Whether it be in Europe, the Far East or the USA, living rural is grand from many perspectives. Your children would have little chance to play sports or be in the school play in a very large city school, whereas, in a small town school they can virtually be in any activity they chose. Children have much more freedom in small communities where you know their friends and their friends parents, and depend on each other for daily supervision, transportation, and activities. There is a far better chance that your kids will spend much more time outside since they don’t have to wait for parents to take them to a park….they just go outside and the world is their park. Small town kids seem to develop strong, lifelong friendships that provide them with support and guidance throughout their lives. Having raised children in large cities, medium sized cities and in small towns or rural areas, I have seen the advantages of both. But when I total them up, and add in the “children factor”, I lean heavily towards the small town environs. I loved my time in the metros around the world, soaking up the culture, but where it was a joy to me and my children, I don’t believe most children would thrive as well in a city as they would in a rural area. But we all march to a different drummer, and my big city kids and my small town kids seem to have weathered the journey well…..in spite of me.

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