Croquet…. In Kansas?

Over the weekend, I was finally able to go through some pictures I took over a month ago. Mixed in with pics of cattle, wheat, bison, and prairie flowers, I came across some with a group of people dressed all in white.

What in the world?? Somebody’s pics got on my computer!

Oh wait, that’s Harland and me in one of the pics. Oh yeah…..  now I remember…..

Back a few weeks ago, we visited the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, KS., and while there, Robin, Bartlett’s owner, invited us to their annual croquet competition/fundraiser the following weekend.  Neither of us had played since we were kids, and we also didn’t have the required all-white attire. But, what the heck, it sounded like fun. So Harland bought a pair of white pants (not an easy find in farm country) and I bought a white skirt, and we were off to play croquet.

As we dressed that morning, we looked at each other and laughed. Then we sobered up as our next thought was getting to the croquet match without anyone seeing us looking like that. Unfortunately we needed cash, and so Harland had to stop at an ATM in a convenience store. You have to understand: living in farm country means NOT looking different or standing out in a crowd in any way,  and here we were looking like a couple of wingless angels fallen to earth in Kansas. But, we finally made it to the Arboretum and blended in with everyone else dressed in white. Even the smallest attendees observed the white attire rule, making for some adorable cherubs.

Robin, the elfin owner of the Arboretum greeted us.

Did I mention that Robin was a founding member of the Dixie Chicks? These days she’s a schoolteacher, but her true love is the trees and gardens she tends.

So we signed up for a round of croquet. The rules of the game were explained to us right before we started to play and they sounded much more complicated than I remembered. As a kid the only rules we had were:

  1. Hit the ball with the mallet through the wire hoops. First one to get through all the hoops wins.
  2. If your fellow player cheats or offends you in any way, chase him/her around the yard with your mallet until your mother tells you to stop.

But we played our round, and had a lot of fun even though we didn’t win or chase anyone with our mallets. The rest of the afternoon was spent watching others play,

listening to bluegrass bands on a stage under the pines, and walking around the gardens while sipping lemonade and ice tea. In the late afternoon, we had a wonderful supper eaten under the shade of the trees. Then awards were given out for the best-dressed and for the ultimate croquet winners.

A group picture was taken of all of us (to be used at a later date for blackmail purposes) and we drifted away with happy memories of our day.

And who knows, maybe we’ll wear these outfits back home and start a fashion trend in northeast Kansas.



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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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19 Responses

  1. Glenda says:

    I am loving this! What a wonderful fundraising idea. Couldn’t be more different than your normal activity there at home!
    Yes, white is divine!

  2. Tina says:

    Great Scott!! Yes, you two clean up nice. I agree with Glenda , what a wonderful fundraising idea! What a fun, fun idea.

  3. Sally Bishop says:

    I remember playing croquet when I was younger, with the same rules you knew. There seems to always be a dusty set of mallets in everyone’s garage or at the garage sale. I’m in agreement, what a wonderful fundraising idea. (I like the white it adds panache.)

  4. Lynda M O says:

    This is a fabulous idea to bring in some shekels for one’s favorite organization. I can almost see the joy as we wander all over Tilden Park with mallets in hand.

    You two look great.

  5. Julie says:

    Love this idea and you guys looked great!

  6. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    I’m so glad you stretched the comfort levels a little bit to do this. Sometimes, that blending in thing can be over-rated. Besides, I don’t think the two of you would ever blend into a crowd – you’re both too character filled. Glad you had fun.

  7. Suzanne, I am absolutely loving this! What fun!!! I want to go! I love that everyone is dressed in white! The whole thing just sounds great to me.

  8. I forgot to say that I loved what you said about chasing other kids with your mallet!!!! You have the best sense of humor and I love it!!

  9. Looks like you had a great time. I do love that everyone got into the spirit and dressed so well. Wonderful!

  10. Sherry says:

    Just wondering how much the tickets were? I am on the museum committee and this sounds like a great thing to do here in North Central Idaho, although I am not sure the other museum members will like it as much as me:)

    I happened upon your website when i was looking for really good blogs to use as examples for how to build a blog for our Museum.

    I love your website, being a former farm girl myself. Kitty is great of course and your photography is fantastic! Keep up the good work!

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