Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Memories of Greensburg, Kansas

I've been very affected by the recent devastation in Greensburg, Kansas. Although it's been many years since I've lived in Kansas, I felt a kinship with the folks I saw on TV, who had lost so much.

I have a memory of Greensburg that was triggered by this event. In the 60s, when we traveled around the midwest with bands, we'd look for the odd roadside attractions to liven up the trip. Prairie Dog Town, the Big Ball of Twine, and of course The Big Well in Greensburg was a must-stop.

I remember stopping at the Big Well one time on the way back from a gig. We bought some junk in the gift shoppe: The singer bought one of those giant novelty "Texas" cigars that's a foot long and three inches across. One of the other guys bought a rubber snake. Then we just HAD to go down in the well. Yes, you could go down to the bottom on rickety wooden steps.

We got down to the bottom and decided it would be funny to throw the rubber snake into the water. It wasn't as funny as we thought it would be, since it sank instead of floating. Then the singer decided to fire up that huge stogie. Oh, my god, what a stench! It was like burning chicken feathers in a rubber boot. The well filled with thick, acrid smoke and we could hardly see or breathe. We beat it up the stairs as fast as we could, stepping on each other's heels and laughing and choking all the way, but the smoke seemed to follow us up. Then I saw that the singer still had the stogie going! I yelled at him to get rid of it and he reluctantly tossed it into the water.

That rubber snake is probably still down there in the bottom of the well.

Aerial Photos of Greensburg

Greensburg's Website