Friday, July 29: the day the road took me to my most poignant place.
On this sunny day I began a journey nearly 14 years in the making. For it was on this day that I headed to Bonner Springs, KS to be a guest at Back in Thyme Bed and Breakfast and to review The Elephant Man for The Barn Players of Mission, KS.
If you’re a first time visitor to this website, The Elephant Man is my favorite play and it played a rather profound moment in my life. For the full details of that story, click here. I had long made my peace with the events of that day which is why I was so excited to finally have an opportunity to see the show and come fullish circle. The timing couldn’t be more appropriate as this article will be posted on the 14th anniversary that I heard the results of that audition.
Bonner Springs is a suburb of Kansas City so it provides a unique blend of small town living with the perks of a nearby major metropolitan area for things to do. Back in Thyme, owned and operated by Judy Vickers, is a beautiful “new-old” Queen Anne house nestled on a secluded acreage near Nettleton Avenue.
Given the size of the house I was surprised that it only boasted 3 bedrooms for rental. On the other hand, the limited number of rooms does make it ideal for peace and quiet. As I climbed the porch steps, I met Brantley and Ashley, fellow guests who were in the area to see a Rascal Flatts concert. As I reached the top step, I was greeted by Judy, a very hospitable host and a fount of knowledge on fun things to do in the area.
Judy led me to the Bay Laurel Room which would serve as my base of operations. It’s one of the most comfortable rooms in which I’ve stayed with its soft armchairs, burgundy walls, feather pillows, and a queen bed with a firm mattress. The room also boasts a fireplace and I mildly wished it were colder so I could get a crackling blaze going.
I unwound in my room for a while before sprucing up for the show and enjoying a 6pm appetizer with Judy and a couple of her friends. I ended up in a great conversation with Fred, a rather intelligent man who is currently writing three books. I enjoyed a pleasant hour conversing with Fred as we nibbled on cheese, olives, crackers, and baba ganoush.
When Fred noticed traffic starting to back up on the highway, I decided to head over to the Barn Players. Once more, Mapquest tried to put one over on me by telling me to make a right turn on a street when it should have been a left. Shades of Richardson, TX flashed through my brain as I got my bearings and got back on the right track. Luckily, I made it to the theatre with about 7 minutes to spare.
The Barn Players is a bit of an institution in Mission and has quite an impressive reputation. Many of its alumni have gone on to professional acting careers, most notably Chris Cooper. The show was almost everything that I hoped it would be. A few flaws kept it out of the excellent region, but it was still very good and thoroughly enjoyable. You can read my review for the show here.
I returned to Back in Thyme where I wrote my review and curled up in my bed for a good night’s rest.
After a comfy night’s sleep, I awoke ravenous. I headed downstairs and enjoyed chit-chat with Brantley and Ashley as we dined on Judy’s wonderful scrambled eggs cooked in thyme butter, crispy bacon, French toast, and fried apples.
Having restored the inner man, I went upstairs to do a little work on the computer before deciding to take advantage of the pleasant day and walk along some trails I found behind the house. Normally I like communing with nature, but I got a faceful of nature in the most literal sense as I stumbled through myriad spider webs as I wandered through the woods. I escaped from the woods yanking webbing off of my face and hair.
Judy had suggested several areas of interest, some of which I will save for a future visit to the K.C. area, but I did take time to visit Bonner Springs’ famed Moon Marble Company.
As the name implies, the store is famed for its marbles and even gives demonstrations into a making of marbles, but the store is so much more than that. The store also specializes in board games, puzzles, and classic toys. I was amazed at all of the hard to find toys and games located in the shop. Duncan Yo-yos, rare board games, Jacob’s ladders, Fisher-Price toys that I remembered from my childhood. If you like vintage toys and games, take some time to visit Moon Marble Company if you find yourselves in Bonner Springs.
After I drove around the downtown area, I returned to the inn where I killed a few hours watching a mystery series before cleaning up for church and dinner.
I attended services at Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Shawnee, KS where I enjoyed a wonderful service preached by Fr. Oswaldo. When services were done, I headed over to Hereford House for dinner.
Hereford House is a Kansas City institution and this was one of the tastiest meals I have ever eaten. I indulged in a small salad with creamy Italian dressing before supping on the main course of a 12 oz ribeye blackened with garlic butter and a side of Cheddar Ranch potatoes and a bit of bread. Most of my dinner came back with me where it currently rests in the inn’s guest fridge for a future meal.
I spent the remainder of the evening working on this article before turning in for the night.
I awoke to a rather gloomy day and am expecting some rain on the drive home. I spent a bit of time editing this article and then went downstairs for another rousing breakfast.
At the table, I met Courtney and Ashley from Olathe, KS who had just come in from having coffee on the porch and we chatted while Judy served us a sumptuous meal of sausage, green chile egg casserole with salsa (now one of my favorite dishes), zucchini muffins, and cantaloupe. The pleasant meal and talk was over much too quickly and I began to pack up for the drive home.
So if you find yourself in the Kansas City area, spend an evening at Back in Thyme in Bonner Springs. You’ll find some good (and healthy) home cooking on a peaceful estate with plenty to do nearby.