National Geographic : 1961 Jul
raged here years before the bombardment of Fort Sumter. But now, as my family and I visited Law rence, its pleasant elm-shaded prosperity and college air gave no hint that the city had ever experienced anything worse than high water on the Kansas River or a low score by the University of Kansas football team. Green Grass Turns "Orange" Approaching Topeka, we drove through a part of Kansas that always reminds me of New England, with its trees, hills, and neat towns. But beyond the State capital the high way knifes suddenly through range country: the Flint Hills. Covered with succulent blue stem grass and fat red Herefords, these tree less hills are virgin prairie-most of them never plowed because a layer of rock lies just inches under the surface. Like a ship lane through a green rolling sea of grass, the highway plunged west with hardly a curve for 65 miles. Then, beyond Junction City, we entered the wheat belt, a change so abrupt that Donna exclaimed, "Look at the orange grass!" The truck ahead had a message for us: "I may be slow, but I'm ahead of you." In the roadside eating places the talk was about the tax on diesel fuel, Federal crop controls, and too much rain. Next morning the breakfast menu offered a "stack" (three pancakes) for 30 cents; a "short stack" (two pancakes) for a quarter. No orange juice was available, and the tooth pick seemed a socially accepted implement. "You bet" replaced "You're welcome." Nothing made me feel as much at home as visiting the Eisenhower house in Abilene. A white frame structure with trellised porch, it reminded me of my own birthplace -even down to such details as the "Sunday parlor" and the adjoining family room with its up right piano, Seth Thomas clock, Maxfield Parrish print, Harold Bell Wright novels, and old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS. Next door, on a plot once gardened by Dwight David and his brothers, stands the new Eisenhower Museum, filled with a $2,000,000 collection of mementos, trophies, and tokens of honor. This year an Eisen hower Library will open across the street.