Bonner Springs Reflections – A day in KC…

Well I arrived safely back into Fort Collins.  The 10-hour drive took it’s toll on the way back.  It’s amazing how much longer the trip home seems a lot longer than the trip there.  Tomorrow I head back into the office for my one day of work before the weekend – gotta love that schedule.

Before I get to the mountain of email, the mess that is my home, and the laundry list of "to-do’s" I wanted to spend some time reflecting on the trip.

Wednesday in Kansas City

After sleeping in until the late hour of 9:30am (I hate that!), Matt and I woke up and made our way into the city with two stops in mind: a sampling of KC BBQ, and the Negro League Baseball Museum.  As luck would have it, both locations were within blocks of each other.  A DMB fan on the Warehouse boards recommended Arthur Bryant’s BBQ, saying "[it’s] the only name you need to know."  They definitely did not disappoint.  The food there was phenomenal.

From the outside Arthur Bryants, it looked like just about any other older down-town place.  It was funny because when you walk in you see a building that has to be at least 50 years old, random tables and chairs, and a swing-out screen door.  You stand in line, grab your own plate, fork and napkin.  Behind the counter is a bustle of activity, people serving up orders in what seems like chaos back there.  I ordered a Turkey and Pork sandwich and watch the guy place it on slices of Wonder Bread – no different than that you’d buy from the store. 

After getting our food, Matt and I sit down and tackled our huge sandwiches. I ate what was easily the most delicious BBQ I’ve ever had, resulting in the biggest state of "fullness" I’ve ever felt.  We’re talking beyond "Thanksgiving dinner" full.  Unable to finish our sandwhiches, Matt and I ate as much as we could, leaving quite a bit still on our plates.  The sandwich kicked our asses – but it was a delicious experience.

What struck me while sitting in Arthur Bryants was the diversity in the restaurant.  As I looked around I literally saw people from all walks of life: the suited business men rolling up their sleeves for a quick lunch; two retired men engaged in conversation; a mother with her children; young adults enjoying a bit to eat.  It blew me away that all of these people would journey down to this old place to enjoy classic BBQ. In a strange way it was a uniting and community-building experience.

After lunch Matt and I waddled down a few blocks to the Negro League Baseball Museum.  I’ve heard about this place from listening to various radio shows, and had all but forgotten it’s existence in Kansas City.  I am glad that we researched and found it, as it was an enlightening and amazing experience.

I had always considered myself a casual-moderate baseball fan.  I have a lot for the game, and as an avid sports fan, have a passable knowledge of baseball.  However, I had no idea about the role that the Negro Leagues had in baseball history.  It’s impossible to grasp the impact that segregation had on the sport of baseball, and how different history would have been if the leagues were integrated sooner.  Josh Gibson would likely be remembered in the same breath as "Babe Ruth", and Satchel Paige would have arguably been one of the greatest pitchers in major league history.  I am still in awe of my experience in the museum, and would recommend a visit to anyone who loves baseball, or simply values history.

Check out all of my pictures from my trip on my Flickr page.