This is the second of a series of photographic blogs highlighting my last days in the U.S.A. and my first full year as an expat in southern Thailand.
Ten years ago this week, I arrived in the American Midwest to visit my family before I returned to Asia for what has turned out to be an entire uninterrupted decade. I flew into Kansas City International from Albuquerque and, par for the course, my father forgot that he had been assigned pick-up duties. This is one running joke in our family as it wasn’t the first time he’d left me waiting at the airport. When he did arrive, I was whisked off to my sister’s home in the suburb of Shawnee on the Kansas side of the state line.
I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about this visit aside from what I recorded in photographs. In fact, it wasn’t until a friend reminded me last night that I recalled the bar gig we’d attended the evening of March 29th, 2006. I’d been following a local band called The Rainmakers since the early 1980’s (when they were called Steve, Bob & Rich) and attended numerous solo shows by their lead singer, Bob Walkenhorst, following their initial break-up in 1990. The Rainmakers have since regrouped several times but Bob was playing a between-reunions show at Kansas City’s RecordBar when I made my last stop in town. I do recall that he mentioned me from the stage several times during the show and that he gave me a gift afterwards; through the magic of the Internet, I have just downloaded a recording of that night and am looking forward to listening to it later tonight. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of that particular evening. The collage above is from Bryan’s concert scrapbook which he’s been posting on Facebook.
The first photo I do have from that trip is a shot of my sister’s refrigerator; she’d purchased Singha Beer in honor of my destined Thailand – the Guinness was for my brother-in-law but I think we both drank more of the Boulevard Wheat than anything else. Boulevard Brewing Company is a hometown microbrewery.
The next morning – March 31st, we attended some sort of ceremony at my nephew’s elementary school where Spencer was receiving an academic award. He’s always been highly intelligent, continuing to garner high honors throughout his education. He will graduate high school two months from now.
The afternoon was spent at my father’s home where he washed his Harley Davidson motorcycle and his Mercedes. He has always taken great pride in making sure his vehicles were spotless. We had dinner at my sister’s with my best friend, Bryan, and his then-wife, Melissa. My brother-in-law made his famous beer-infused hamburgers on the backyard grill.