Yes, there is a road sign here in Missouri which will tell you that you are three miles away from Paradise. More on that in a bit.
Yesterday, weeks overdue, we packed up the car and got the hell out of Kansas City for a day. I had yesterday and today off, we had a loose plan of where we were going, and for once, I had some spare change in my pocket. Perhaps not the most fiscally responsible thing to do. That said, we desperately needed a change of scenery. I needed to go someplace where no one knew me.
We started the day off northbound up Highway 169 towards Smithville, stopping at Lowman’s for breakfast. Lowman’s is a typical sort of country diner establishment. We’ve eaten lunch and dinner there before. This was our first breakfast, which was first class.
Our ultimate destination was Plattsburg, Missouri, the county seat of Clinton County. Plattsburg is a former railroad town which has weathered the loss relatively well. I’m not entirely sure why since the town is a notch too far away from Kansas City to serve as a bedroom community. Apparently it serves as a bedroom community for St. Joseph, Missouri instead.
The pool we were visiting wasn’t quite open yet so we moved further north toward Osborn to visit the Shatto Milk Company’s Diary Farm. Granted, I am not a milk drinker but Trinity is. Further, I like cooking and baking with their products. Throw in some cheese and ice cream and you’ve got most of the diary you need from one local company.
Since I didn’t take a picture of their milk bottles, this will have to do. They’ve got a distinctive, simplistic design working for them that I like.
Most of their newly expanded facility features repurposed and reused materials. This fountain is a perfect example.
Here is Trinity getting a little silly with Gracie, one of the newborn diary calves. It was good to hear her laugh again.
For this leg we have the obligatory Insulin Shot Photograph. I think it is one of the better portraits we have had lately.
Moving on from Shatto down to Plattsburg, we made our way to Bodie’s Pool, which was built by the City of Plattsburg in 2004. A far smaller pool than the one I work at, it is much more relaxed in many respects. The folks were friendlier on the whole and we had a great time just forgetting about our recent woes. If it wasn’t so far from Kansas City, I’d apply to work there. Granted, I’d have to take a pay cut but everyone there was very happy.
In fact, I think I might have had a fit of unbridled laughter myself while playing on their slide.
No pictures of the pool, I’m afraid.
We made our way back to Main Street where we had conducted an earlier recon of antique shops. JJ’s on Main was our choice for dinner. Trinity made it clear that she wanted to, “get my fried chicken on.”
Note the gleam in the eye, the glowing cheeks, the look of near rapture as the first bits of fried, greasy goodness pass over her tastebuds. The Woman I Love is lost in a poultry apocalypse of salty goodness. There is no saving her from it I’m afraid.
Myself? I’m a bit o snobby in that I don’t like ripping my meat off a bone. I went with the chicken fried chicken instead.
Yes, it is as good as it looks. Perhaps the best gravy I’ve had in quite sometime, heavy on the flour and pepper. Those are buffalo chips on the plate and they have just the right touch of spicy to them (which means mild in my case). Flanked by a Boulevard Wheat, another local product from Kansas City, it was a fine meal in the converted drugstore, which I am sure I’ve been to before.
My family used to live in nearby Grayson, Missouri. Plattsburg was where we went for groceries or visited the doctor. At one point I am certain I nagged my mom for a soda from the fountain in this place. But I can’t be certain.
We got our hands stamped to return to the pool but we were too tuckered for that and it was a murderously hot day around 104 on the old scale. Thus we set our bearing southward.
Of course, I couldn’t resist a little side trip to Paradise.
Paradise, Missouri is a small town just north of Smithville which makes money by selling goodies to boaters, campers and the like for the nearby Smithville Lake. I have vague memories of this town when mom bought us an access pass to one of the lake’s swimming beaches. During a navel gazing road trip in the Summer of 2008, I rediscovered the town.
It’d be nice to go camping up here sometime.
We’ll be making one more roadtrip before the summer is out in an effort to recharge the batteries. In the meantime, we’re taking it easy today. Trinity and I are headed to breakfast here in a bit and we might have a bite with my mom later this evening. We’ll top that off with a movie down on the Plaza I suspect, probably Cowboys and Aliens.
It was nice to finally get a small slice of summer vacation in. I feel a lot better, not nearly so angry and cranky as I have been of late. Perhaps there is time to recharge the batteries before Fall cranks up.
So it goes.
Steven Francis Murphy
Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday
North Kansas City, Missouri