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Ex California girl shares random thoughts while driving Vintage BMW on the deserted country roads of SE Kansas

Updated on September 13, 2010

Random Thoughts While Driving my Vintage BMW


By Kathy Novelli

Driving to town on the beautiful road to my country farm, I am struck with many thoughts; wistful fantasies while listening to Steely Dan, my favorite jazz/contemporary group of all time. The mood is magical; the intelligent musical arrangement and words which always move me, are doing it again.

I am in wonderland. Drifting in my own personal world. Because I spend many hours alone, I am so fortunate to have this time for whimsical imagination. And feelings.

There is nothing more freeing to my soul than to be flying down the road in my mechanically perfect vintage BMW, engine humming, stereo loud, wind blowing through the car and into my face. I love it! I feel like I am floating, taken with the beat and throb of the sound system, entertained by the creativity of the musicians I love the most! I am an onlooker or even a player in the melodic melodramas musically unfolding as I drive.

This is freedom; this is what it must mean to be free. I glide to my destination, my mind creating all types of imaginary situations; I believe I can leave my body; soar to wherever I desire.

Imagination is as real as ‘reality.’ The feelings are as intense, the sensations are equal and the satisfaction derived from flights of fantasy ….for me…..are as profound.

I feel like I’ve “come out” here in Kansas. I have not felt this fancy free in years; decades. Meeting all types of people, finding myself in new, unfamiliar but inviting and delightful situations, taking part in local activities, meeting friends at the very popular restaurant/bar which is “dressed up” in ’40’s attire. Laughing and feeling like life is new. This place is wonderful.

Sometimes, I feel reborn. “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that, now.” Thank you, Mr. Dylan! I believe I’ve found my home. The place I’ve yearned for, for so long; the hometown my hometown ceased to be for me. This is heartland Americana, Norman Rockwell’s America.

Entering the outskirts of town, there are young boys riding down the street on their bikes, kids walking to the nearest pond with rod and reel in hand; little children being little children. Childhood has not been lost here in Independence, Kansas. Young pre teens and giggling ‘just teenage’ girls gather with their friends cued in line at the SnowCone Palace, a delightful old establishment which has been in town for years; obviously an old home turned into the kids’ favorite summertime refreshment stand.

Though they participate in many sports, family responsibilities and duties, school plays, club activities and more; the kids here are still kids. Families proudly display banners in front of their homes proclaiming the activities their kids specialize in. Walking down the street, one will see “Baseball,“ “Cheer Leading,“ “Football,“ “Tennis” and more, recognizing the young ones’ efforts. They have not been overexposed to the ugly side of human nature; not yet. The youngsters here smile freely, they are helpful and respectful; they really seem to be happy. Parents are involved with their kids’ well being but they don’t appear to smother.

The primary street, Pennsylvania Avenue; fondly referred to as “Penn,” is “main street” America without a doubt. Populated by soda fountains, complete with the long counter and swivel chairs, home made breads and soups, all the ‘goodies;‘ you name it. The local drug store, is a Rexall, no less. Stores with names such as “Nanny LaRose’s,” “BeAnnes Beads,” “Middy‘s Creations,” and “Uncle Jacks,” line both sides of the street. Mostly locally owned for decades, few franchise and even fewer “big box” type structures exist - with the exception of a Wal Mart on the north end of town. Downtown Independence is virtually unsullied by modern day madness. People frequent the stores; the businesses thrive. This town serves the local population with pride. There are hardware stores, a sew and fabric shop, “Little Angels” children’s shop, a local photographer’s store where high school graduation pictures are his expertise, and so much more.

Renovation is rampant in Independence but, unlike other unfortunate Urban Renewal projects; the old historic buildings here are being preserved in all their former glory. Tiled and festooned with filigree; hand hewn rock and beautiful wooden sculptured entryways gleam with the effort; the touch of caring hands whose owners know the value; the worthiness of the old edifices. I am so glad to be able to say, “I was there to see it reborn.” Even without the ongoing facial lift; this town is beautiful, inviting, warm and friendly.

I am easily lost in it all. And I am easily swept up and away with the whoosh of feelings inspired by this place and my fortune for having found it. And the time allowed to entertain myself with uninhibited musings.

And, as I drive home, almost in ‘auto’ mode; I feel as though I know what Joe Montana meant when he referred to being in “the zone.” The surroundings give way to that “lighter than air” other worldly feeling. Light as a feather and free as a bird; I am as unfettered as my imagination allows. I bathe myself in the almost surreal nature of finding myself in these pristine surroundings. Trees swaying in ever present winds, a sky so big it rivals Montana hands down; so expansive that it takes your breath away, clouds so luscious and colorful, their true beauty cannot be captured by camera. This is the perfect set for flights of fantasy.

Fantasy. Not the typical fantasy which may spring to mind when hearing the word. I mean, real, unbridled, and an almost ethereal experience. Sometimes, I think this must be what is meant when one hears of “enlightenment,” or that ultimate ‘realization,’ life beyond the physical. A priori! It is all real, to me. All equally valid.

These are the ideas which pass through my mind as I drive the long, beautiful road, home. It’s a feeling that is almost lost when I try to describe it in fact, I am not really able to explain it; to express this freedom I feel. The moment I try, a part is lost.

But, I know that, soon, I’ll be driving to or from town again, windows down, music loud and gliding down empty country roads I am the only one traveling this way today. There is no one else in sight and, again, I find myself driving in the auto zone; lost in imaginings too wonderful to fully communicate.

How lucky can a girl be!?!




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    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Well, Mr. Alastar Packer! Thank you, sincerely, for this kind visit. Your words are incredibly astute...and ring w/the clarity of truth. You know, I haven't read this is a very very long was something I wrote probably 3 years ago...oh, no...4 years ago, at least. Rose colored glasses! All you recognize is absolutely right; and how I 'see' it is a projection; a way in which I see it...! And now, it's time to change. What a treat and a favor that you visited this hub...for some reason I remembered it as less "flowery" but, now, I is! thank you, Alastar! (feeling a little whimsical mixed w/an expected nostalgia once I fly out of here for the last time.....these days)

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Glad I choose to find and read one of your first writings. One can see why you may have conflicted feelings Kathy. There are advantages to rural America vs the big city even if the latter is what one calls home. I can only say you must let your inner voice tell you where to go. In the metro areas there can be a concentration of negative emanations that are not conducive to the feelings you described above. However many can better that situation by putting forth their own positive emanations. You know all your many friends are here for you no matter where you settle}{

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hi smcopywrite! I am very complimented that you have visited my site..this hub was one of my first..or earlier efforts. I've really enjoyed writing here. Very much appreicate your encouragement! Thank you.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      hey ex california girl. its amazing the thoughts and feelings that run through our minds when we have the time to allow it to simply run.thank you for sharing this information with us and keep writing great hubs.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      ...oh to be honored by one of Epigramman's famous top ten lists - lol - well here goes:

      Top Ten observations about Kathy and her writing:

      10. I will follow you until the end of the rainbow.

      2. you have a sweet captivating style which is personal and heartfelt.

      3. you are a lover of life and its obvious that life loves you.

      4. Again the power of a great evocative title: The Auto Zone

      5. You seem like you are your own best friend - and that is a good place to start - in order to give out love you first have to love yourself.

      4. you are a good soul and you write like one as well.

      3. your delicious charm and sense of humor

      2. inimitable wit

      1. You are you - and there's no one else like you - and that's not just being kind because as they say - it takes one to know one!