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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