History is one subject that I can’t get enough of. My mother is the same way-after all, she majored in History at the University of Arizona. So, I blame her for my bad habit of asking inane questions that most wouldn’t dare say out loud.
For example, Mom and I went to a tiny town called Kimmswick, Mo. It’s known for its pioneer era buildings and mile-high pies. Each cute little shop is bedecked with pretties that would make most women break the bank. You can buy tutu’s for your little girl, ceramic figurines, sparkly shoes, chocolates, stuffed sock monkeys and most anything else that you “must have”.
But, instead of shopping, I ask these types of questions while we walk around the town.
“How old do you think this building is? What was it’s original purpose? Who built it?”
To which my sweet mother typically responds very kindly to my 5 year old questions: “I don’t know. Are you hungry yet?”
I press on, curiosity getting the best of me. “Do you think those wooden gutters were original or an addition? How many times was this added on to?”
My mother states that pioneers wouldn’t be concerned with gutters and no, they weren’t original.
I ask how she knows that, and she says, “I don’t know, I just do. What should we eat? Oh, shoot. Where’s my phone?”
A cute little teenage bird calls to me, its fluffy head feathers waving in the wind. “Do you think he fell out of his nest? Do you think he knows that he’s hanging out on a 200 year old porch?”
“Nope,” mom says to both questions, probably wondering when her adult daughter is going to quit asking inane questions. She walks towards a tiny shack of a building, just behind this one.
I follow her to the tiny shack-which was a homesteader’s home in 1876. The bed was lofted above the kitchen/living/dining room and the entire thing couldn’t have been more than 100 square feet.
“I can’t believe that a whole family lived here in 100 square feet. No wonder everyone frowned in their pictures and died around 45. Everyone was sick of each other!,” I said and laughed my hearty, embarrassing laugh.
“They frowned because they couldn’t move in the pictures and they died early due to disease, childbirth and unsanitary conditions,” mom said.
I liked my explanation better.
This building sat vacant, but used to be the “fancy” restaurant in town. I guess it was too fancy and the prices were its demise. That didn’t stop the two curious kittens (mom and I) from pressing our noses against the glass to get a good look.
The linens were still on the table, a mop propped against the wall, spiderwebs caking everything.
“I think this must have been a stage coach stop or something, originally,” mom said.
“I don’t know. I just think it’s too big to have been a home.” Mom led me to go look at the menus that still were still behind a glass display case-although most of the glass was broken.
“So, why do you guess it would be a stagecoach stop? Is this indicative of what they looked like-you know-since you were alive then?” I said.
I got a punch in the arm for that one.
By this time, I had started to annoy even myself with my questions. There’s no point in asking questions that cannot be answered-unless you’re me and you just can’t help yourself.
We gave up our historical search of Kimmswick and decided to go grab lunch at the Blue Owl-the famous mile high pie maker and the best restaurant in town.
“Do you think we’ll get pie?,” mom asked.
“Definitely. You’ve earned it.”
Thanks for putting up with me and my inane questions, Mommy. I love you.