It was the summer after my first grade year. The first seven years of my life had been, to my knowledge, pretty good. I had no major complaints, I had made some friends, and had even learned to ride my bike without training wheels. Things could not be better.
Despite this, I found myself leaving my entire world behind. All of my belongings were packed and my family headed out of Dewey, Oklahoma headed north to Kansas City.
When the news was broken to me that I would no longer be eating at Dink’s barbecue, that my class field trips to Woolarock would be ending and that I would be leaving behind my friend Corey and his sweet Sega Genesis, I was crushed. My world was falling apart. I cried, I was angry and upset. I could not believe that, this early in my life, I was losing everything.
Then I got to Kansas City.
For the past 19 years of my life, I have been able to push that Sega Genesis into the back of my mind and experienced a vibrant city full of life. I have grown to love this city and I would proudly pit against any other Midwestern city.
Now, I find myself leaving. Tomorrow I will jump into my clunker of vehicle and pray that it does not explode as I drive down to my new hometown, Nashville, Tennessee.
It is a bittersweet move. While Nashville is a great city that I am sure I will grow to love, I will miss this cow town more than anyone could understand.
I will be honest. There is a lot to not like about Kansas City. The summers are hot and humid. There is poor public transportation. Every time you mention Kansas City to someone from another part of the country, they mention “The Wizard of Oz.”
There is way more, though, to love. There are the Saturdays wandering through the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. There are the evenings spent in Westport. There is the history of Jazz or the Negro League Baseball Museum. While these are some of my favorite places in the world, that is not what I will miss the most.
I will miss the times that happened at these places. Sure, I will miss the sweet potato fries at the Brick, but more than that I will miss the times I spent with them. Yes, I know it is ridiculously sappy and incredibly lame, but it is the truth so deal with it.
There are parts of Kansas City that I will never leave behind. You will not find me wearing a Tennessee Titans shirt in the near future and I will continue to root for the Royals even though they have not made the playoffs since before I was born. I will never warm up to any other style of barbecue and I will continue to believe that Kansas City’s coffee is second to none.
Perhaps, though, Nashville can grow on me. Over time, maybe I will feel the same pride in it.
If I was able to forget about a Sega Genesis, anything is possible.