Monday, 26 December 2011

Kansas City

The next General Council Meeting that was not in California was in Kansas City, Missouri. This was in early spring and the weather made this visit memorable!

I flew from Vancouver to Denver, changed aircraft, and flew on to Kansas City. Bev Baptiste - the Pastor of the Winnipeg congregation - was there as well. Each of we attendees were billeted among members of the KC congregation and Bev and I were sent to the same home on the east side of the city - about a half hour bus ride from the church where the meetings were convened.

Our hosts - a lesbian couple - welcomed us and then left. They and their children were going to visit family outside of the city for that week.

All well and good - except that an ice storm swept through the area causing power failures plus icy conditions on roads and sidewalks. Bev and I were given separate rooms to sleep in which were freezing much of the time (the furnace was electrically turned off and on so, with no power, it was off all of the time).

The state of the weather in that part of North America was so severe that it was reported on the news across the continent. My roommate and his partner heard about it and telephoned MCC Kansas City to see if I was OK!

However, we did survive and did attend the meetings.

The church was a large one and was located in a part of the city that had become inhabited by mainly black people - the major street in that area was lined by shops and restaurants operated by blacks. On our last day there it was suggested that we patronize a restaurant on that strip that some of the others had discovered (a couple of our group were black Americans) and we went there.

We were welcomed by the proprietors and staff, given menus and we selected our orders.

None of the items on the menu itself seemed to be a complete meal but were items which we were free to combine in whatever way that struck our fancy. There were a few items of which I had never heard before but I did recognize some from having heard of them - or read of them in books.

That meal was delicious, memorable - and fun!

While we were eating other patrons did come in but, as our group was fairly large, there were no more vacant tables.

Yes - I did get across the state line to the twin Kansas City. A member of the Kansas City, Missouri church took us to a lovely family restaurant for Sunday brunch over there.

On Monday we returned to our various homes.

However, the weather conditions remained a problem. My ticket was, naturally, the reverse of the outward bound one - Kansas City to Denver to Vancouver. Because of the stormy weather in and around Denver, the outbound flight to KC was late which meant that the flight from Denver to Vancouver would leave without me. I had the telephone number of a Denver friend on me so I thought that I would call him from the airport (this was when the main airport for Denver was still Stapleton on the west side of the city - now it is a huge newer airport out on the plains to the east).

When we landed in Denver I went to the United Airlines counter to see about my ticket and a switch if necessary. However, there was a larger jet leaving for Seattle in a couple of hours. I changed my ticket to that flight. The aircraft was far from being full so there was plenty of room for each of we passengers to sit by ourselves and to take advantage of an entire seat on which to rest and to doze.

While waiting to board this aircraft in Denver, I began a conversation with another younger man who was on his way to Bellingham, Washington. I had telephoned my roommate in Vancouver to ask him to drive down to Seattle to pick me up and I offered a lift to Bellingham (which is about 15 - 20 miles south of the border) to the other fellow.

It was the middle of the night but we had a pleasant drive before dropping off our passenger at his home.

The border crossing was quick and easy so we were back home in Vancouver just as morning was breaking.

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