We drove the rest of the way between Wichita and Salina with a wary eye out for Mr. Beetle, and with me thinking every little tickle on my legs was Mr. Beetle trying to get acquainted (“Hello!” “AAAUGHH!” <<crash>>) We made it to the hotel without further incident, crashed overnight, got some breakfast (Cheerios for Katie, extra large coffee for me) and finally hit the road once Katie was able to separate herself from the TV in the dining area. Of course, we first had to confirm Mr. Beetle wasn’t in the vehicle. Either he’s truly gone OR he’s just waiting for a very opportune time to reappear (“Hello!’ “AAUGHH!” <<crash>>)
For once, Katie didn’t immediately plug in the iPad but we talked – about Amelia Earhardt (coming up with theories of why she crashed), the Titanic (how salt water corrodes everything, and that’s why there are no skeletons alongside her in the ocean) and that led somehow to Ellis Island, and how people would change their names, sometimes on their own and sometimes because the person noting their entry just flat out couldn’t spell it. But eventually she did plug in her iPad, which meant I got to hear her sing along with Uptown Funk about 4,328 times.
Stopped at a Runza for lunch (that’s a Nebraska thing), checked into our hotel (once I could figure out how to get there … it’s in a weird little corner of Hwy 2, 56th Street and Old Cheney Road without actually being ON any of those roads), and then spent the afternoon killing some time. Hit the mall for some walking and a Barnes and Noble for some reading material (books on Amelia, Titanic, and one on Neil Armstrong for good measure). Ran into Hy-Vee and picked up Skippy’s extra large Dorothy Lynch dressing (times two – yeah, it’s another Nebraska thing). Then it was time to meet up at the ballpark with my friends!
We got to the ball field – home of both the Huskers and the Salt Dogs – and Dave, Mary, and Micah were waiting; a few minutes more and Sonja and Christopher showed up. Hotter than all get out in Nebraska – and humid – but we got seats in the shade and there was a strong wind blowing, so it wasn’t that bad. The ball field is not huge and we had seats behind the home team dugout, which was prime space for catching foul balls although we didn’t get any. After downing her hotdog (Fairbury brand, of course – yes, another Nebraska thing) Katie did manage to stay somewhat engaged in the game, and she was on point to keep foul balls from conking Mary in the head (we forgot a glove, but she had her hat).
At one point – I’m not even sure I know why, or the context – Katie’s watching a batter and saying “Hit im in the nuts! Hit im in the nuts!”
Mary and Sonja were very amused.
The game ended up being something of a snoozer through the ninth inning, with very few base hits and no score until the bottom of the ninth, when the Salt Dogs were able to get runners on second and third, and the last batter got an awesome hit to the outfield that was able to bring the runner home. But, Mary, Sonja and I got to catch up on life since college, and we all agreed it wasn’t all that long ago. We are definitely NOT OLD.
After the game, Katie and Christopher got to run the bases – lots of fun for them, and for Mommas to watch – and then we patiently waited out the ground crew, doing their thing, because once they were done: fireworks.
Not certain what today holds other than (1) More Nebraska greatness via Misty’s and a visit to Archie and (2) Katie will in some number of ways continue to amaze me.