Early start for my last long bus ride to Kansas City, where I am going to stay with my long lost cousin Örn Fry. Until last year when we met under such sad circumstances, we hadn’t seen each other for far to many years to record here. I remember my sister Helga and I playing with him and his older brother Ásgeir as children in my Auntie Anna’s house in Reykjavik. I think I was about six at the time. Sadly both Ásgeir and Helga are no longer with us to help corroborate this and Örn has no memory of this. So it is great to be able to spend a little quality time together and start get to know each other. They were probably a little older than they are in the photograph below. The second photograph is that of the five cousins together last Feb, Peggy, Elisabet, Me, Brenda and Örn.
Once again my bus wasn’t too full and I had to change after about an hour. Whilst waiting for the second bus in Little Rock I noticed we had two ex convicts in the waiting room together with a correctional facility officer, waiting to be boarded onto the bus. Both were ill prepared for the cold that was going to meet us later on that day, one wearing a short sleeve t shirt and the other a long sleeved cotton shirt. Both holding a brown paper bag which I presumed was holding their meagre belongings.
This time it wasn’t a Greyhound bus, and it wasn’t properly announced, I just noticed people had suddenly moved towards a door, so I followed and found that it was my bus. When I boarded I saw a very small child, just over a year old in his baby chair on the front seat. It turned out it was the drivers baby. All was well for a while, then the little boy started to get really distressed. He wouldn’t stop crying and one of the women on the bus tried to help, but couldn’t soothe him. Eventually the driver took him on his knee and that quietened him, and he continued to drive like that for some time. Another woman then offered to put him back in his seat and as she did he started crying again. So back to his father he goes. After the next stop he was settled into his seat and was as good as gold for the rest of the day. I am sure I don’t have to tell you all the things which were going through my mind during that trip. It transpired he had asked for the time off as he had no child care that day, but they couldn’t give him the time off so he brought the baby. There were two legs to the drivers journey Kansas City to Little Rock and back, with the baby. Nightmare.
Anyway I arrived into Kansas City and snow, yes snow. I was hoping that by the time I did my return journey across the USA spring would have sprung so to speak, little did I know what an awful winter this was going to be for so many. Whilst I was lucky enough to be in the sun for most of it I am still not happy that I am having to put up with this. Fortunately I have enough bits and pieces to keep myself reasonably warm, including an Icelandic wool hat, and a waterproof jacket, so I am able to layer up, but I only have trainers and sandals. Doesn’t look like I will be able to dress up much if the weather carries on like this. I’ll be wearing jeans and jeans of and jeans. Oh well.
I few photos of the journey, difficult to take through the bus window, but you get the idea. The lorries, or should I say trucks are very very long. There was quite a lot of water on the way, it looked like fields were waterlogged.
Örn was outside waiting for me and he whisked me away in his chariot, stopping off for a bite on the way. When we got home his lovely wife Janie was there waiting for us. We spent a lovely evening chatting over a glass of wine or two, and then to bed. The following day we braved the ice and went for a drive and Örn took me to see the plane he is building, clever man. It’s called a Legal Eagle and he has manufactured the majority of the components. He still has to make the wings, but he has everything else. He has also learned to fly, even though he hates heights, must run in the family, I am looking forward to seeing the final product and hearing about his flying escapades. It turns out that Örn is a very good car mechanic and actually pretty good at working on anything mechanical as well, I would class him as an engineer. Of course our Uncle in Iceland is the same, Aðalsteinn has been rebuilding and fixing American classic cars for years and has a whole workshop full of them. Must run in the family, that and Bass playing... but that’s another story. The photograph below gives you an idea of what he is building and going to fly in, clever and brave man.
Janie was out at work, but when she got home she made us a great steak dinner, and we had another great evening together. These times connecting with my family are so precious to me, I just can’t tell you how much, having suffered so many losses over the last few years as a family and being spread so far apart, it is time to close these gaps.
The following day we had a busy morning sorting one or two things out and chatting and then Janie was home early, so we had lunch and then we all went to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. I had been missing my art fixes, the last one was in Perth, so it was much needed.
It’s a huge museum and has some interesting shuttlecocks in the grounds, huge shuttlecocks plus a couple of great sculptures of crowds of people on outside too and a great sort of water feature, looks like a big lake. There were a couple of special exhibitions on, the one we made it into was the Picasso, which not only showcased some of his work, but also some of his own art collection which had been an influence on his work. There were a lot of African pieces, it was curated in a way demonstrated the influences, so an African piece by a Picasso. His range of work is huge, I have see some really different art works whilst travelling, from beautiful sketches, amazing sculptures, classic work and some of the works he is better know for. This particular exhibition is only being shown at this gallery in the states and in France I think, so I was really lucky to see it.
Some of the Picasso below
Another special mention will have to go to a beautiful wood carving which took a year to restore, we were all a little spell bound by it, it was very intricate, I can’t imagine how long that took to make.
Some other photos of some of the pieces I liked. There was a wonderful collection of American Indian artefacts as well.
It was a wonderful gallery, a real joy to visit, next stop dinner, I was being treated to a BBQ dinner, something I had not yet experienced on my travels. After some support I chose some ribs, delicious.
The following day I was moving on, on this whistle stop tour, to Saint Louis to see my other two cousins, Brenda and Peggy. For a change it wasn’t an eight am start, so I had the morning to repack, or should I say reorganise my now messy suitcase after all these quick stops it needed sorting out. Spending the last few hours with Örn and Janie and then off to the bus station. Thanks both of you for such a good visit. Hope to see you in Iceland or England or even both ! I am sure I will be back too. I want to see you flying in that plane. The ice had finally gone, so a short and easy trip back into town and we said our goodbyes, and I boarded my very last Greyhound bus. See you in St Louis, wait a minute isn’t that the name of a film.