At long last, we begin Homebodies: Homes on the Range! A few weeks ago, before I was consumed in finishing my third semester of grad school (sorry for the disappearing) and before tendonitis struck again (I don't know why surfing the internet doesn't love me back), I flew to Salina, Kansas, with some buddies from Bennington to celebrate the birthday of our classmate Rolf Potts.
Honestly, how often to you get an invite to Kansas that begins by getting picked up from the Wichita airport and packing full a white eight-seater minivan that your host-slash-driver, an award-winning travel writer, drives back across the state while explaining--in a way only a fact-squirreling adventurer can--the history of the area and its settlements, the birthplaces of the state's celebrities and fast-food tycoons, and the contributions of Kansas's great forgotten publisher, until you arrive at his modular home on an actual prairie and kick it at the goat farm with good bourbon and better company? Where I'm from, the tourism board's motto is, "Say yes to Michigan!" But I left the prairie saying yes to Kansas, too.
"Rolf, can I get a picture of you climbing up the stairs to your house?"
"Like this?" (The photo above; Yes, exactly.)
Normally I write some kind of bio thing about how I met my Homebodies guest, but I have absolutely no recollection of meeting Rolf, and, for the record, neither does he. That's sort of the vibe of the MFA program we're in, I guess. In June of 2009, thirty of us were thrown into a co-ed dorm situation and tried to figure out if we were supposed to share, boy-girl style, the bathrooms (no). Before not long, I found myself having endless chats with Rolf in the campus's many Adirondack chairs, which he refers to with affection as "the insane-asylum chairs." Fast-forward a year and a half, and check out the view of the prairie in the morning from the guest bedroom below!
Below, Rolf at his office area in the living room. On this morning, I'd skipped out on farm chores (his parents live nearby) and skated around his place in my socks, taking pictures of books, masks from foreign travel or Halloween...
and the exterior of the house in the morning light...