Tuesday, June 24, 2008

tourist [dis]tractions

maybe it was the solstice, maybe it was the weekend, or maybe it was the need to escape the commotion of the down town metropolis of wichita, but i had an itch to do something "touristy" the other day.

one downfall of returning to work in a city where you grew up, is the feeling that you've seen and done it all. well, last weekend i wanted to change that mindset, and prove to my fellow wichitan's there was indeed "something-to-do-in-this-town".

I had heard of an elusive mill in a small town down south, and i wanted to check it out. i got in my truck, rolled the windows down, turned the old time country station up and headed to oxford. i didn't really have an idea where the old mill was, but surely it couldn't be that hard to find.

i drove and drove and drove....and eventually made it to town. i puttered around the two block downtown, but deciding to mingle with the local folk a bit, i thought i'd stop into the gas station and ask directions. who knows...maybe even get a chance to chat it up with an old man that would relate to me the entire history of the mill and how it had helped oxford out of the great depression!

opening the door, and before i had a chance to look around, i asked,

"hey, do you know where i can find the old mill?"

the teen-aged, slightly emo girl, behind the counter said,


not only was i a little disappointed that my hopes of chatting it up with a bunch of good ol boys had disappeared, but i was astonished that she didn't know where the old mill was! surely this had to be the best thing in the whole county!

"ummmmmmmmm.........i think jake might know........let me get him.........HEY JAKE!!!!!" she yelled towards the back storage room.

jake, looking a lot like kip from napoleon dynamite, came from around the corner....

i asked, "do you know where i can find the old mill?"

"ummmmmmm..........yeah.....i think" jake said hesitantly,

great! I had a glimmer of hope! jake, gave me directions as best as he could. i thanked him, got in the truck and continued my quest.

sure enough, jake got me there. hidden amongst the trees, down a long path, there she was....the old mill. i got my camera out and started walking. enjoying the view, i started looking for the best shot. finding one, i knelt down, but before taking the picture, i felt a buzzing in my ear, swatting at my head, and looking at my arm, i found the most mosquito's i had ever seen on my arm...on my arm! freaking out a little, i did the little "there's and insect on me and i want it off dance" everyone does when trying to rid their bodies of bugs.

after my little mosquito mambo, they came right back for more. realizing this was hopeless, i snap a few pictures, and ran for the truck. a little disappointed, but not wanting to get bit, i decided to head back.

during the drive, i passed a wheat field being harvested. i slowed down, and eventually stopped. watching this post-card in motion, i realized that i had found my tourist destination. it wasn't a spot on a map, or an address you could google, it was something better. something real, something honest, something truly kansas.

and best of all, there were no mosquito's!

....however my allergies did start acting up.


Anonymous said...

Last year, the Oxford School District began leasing the Old Oxford Mill for an entrepreneurship center for our high school students. The community has done a great deal to support this endeavor from volunteering to cleanup the grounds surrounding the mill to recreating a nature trail (probably where you encountered the many mosquitoes!). The high school students sponsor community dining events and private parties in the Old Oxford Mill. I hope you will come again and see the inside of the Old Oxford Mill. It is quite remarkable. Please contact Deb Hamm, Superintendent, at 455-2227 for more information or check out our website at www.usd358.com.

Heather Dawn said...

Man I wish I could have seen the Old Mill in Oxford. You got a great shot! A friend of mine knows of a building between Douglass and Leon that has an old wooden bridge you have to cross to get to it, but you have to make sure your tires are on the planks or you can't make it across, I don't remember what it's called though. As for how she found your blog, if you do a google search for "Old Oxford Mill" your blog shows up. Mystery...