It is a small two lane road that connects south Kansas City with Grandview. Just as you cross over into Grandview there is a beautiful little house. It is made of stone and is of a ranch design. It is not a big house, but not a tiny one either. The house is about a quarter of a mile from the road. It has a white gravel driveway that leads to it. There is a chimney that does not sit high enough to look out of place. To the south of the main house is a small guest house that looks like a log cabin.
All of this sits on approximately two acres of land. The land is surrounded at the edges of the property with tall trees that separate it from the growing development and population that is taking place in Grandview.. To the south is a large new church. Across the street to the east is a housing development and to the north is new housing and a very large church. None of this can be seen though when you look at the house. It is protected very well by the trees.
On the street front of the property is a rail fence that goes all the way across the front side of the property except for a gap where the driveway enters. The lawn is lush and green without a weed making a home for itself that you can see. It is kept mowed constantly to keep that look of beauty to it. It is a house that once was in the rural area between Grandview and Kansas City but now has had to keep its beauty in spite of the growth happening all around it.
During the Christmas season the house is decorated simply with a single strand of lights highlighting areas of the front of the house and a huge lighted wreath hung on the chimney. When it snows the house looks as though it belongs in the mountains of the American west with smoke floating out of the chimney and pure untouched white as white can be snow covering the whole of the land up to the house. It could be a model for a Christmas card it is so beautiful.
The road that the house sits on is called Food Lane. I am not sure how it came to have that name but I imagine there is a pretty interesting historic story behind it. I take this road when I am traveling to Grandview with business on the east side of the highway. It is a sort of shortcut to Grandviews east side and that is pretty much all people use the road for. I use to take the road mainly when I would go to church on Sundays.
The part of the road that is in Kansas City has a speed limit of thirty five miles per hour. When you cross over into Grandview however, the speed limit immediately changes to a mere twenty five miles per hour. If you are paying attention to what you are doing this usually is not a problem. If you aren't paying attention to what you are doing then you could have a situation because the Grandview police like to catch Kansas City people coming into their town ten miles over the speed limit. This is the story of how I was not paying attention one day when I crossed into Grandview on Food Lane.
It was a wonderful spring Sunday morning. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid seventies. Flowers were in bloom all over the place and the air smelled so clean and clear. It was just one of those spring mornings that happen maybe twice a year or so. The morning itself put you in a good mood and made you feel alive and made life seem worth living.
I was cruising down Food Lane at about forty miles per hour I would guess heading out of Kansas City and towards Grandview to go to Church. The stone house that sat off to the right of the steet was decorated for some reason. Perhaps an anniversary or a birthday. The house itself wasn't decorated but the rail fence in front of the house was. There were brilliant white helium filled balloons tied to the railing about five feet apart.
They were definitely going to have party there on this day,.
As I crossed into Grandview the beauty of the house filled my whole vision field. It was beautiful beyond description with the bright green grass looking like a baseball field, the trees framing it in the background and the stone house sitting centered in the fram in my mind and the white balloons being the finishing touch to a masterpiece painting.
I drove by the house taking in all the beauty and as I passed the house I forced my eyes back to the road. As I brought my focus back to the road I caught a glimpse of a police officer standing in the middle of the road with his hand held up indicating that he wanted me to stop. The trouble here was that I was moving too fast and was too close to him to stop right away so I kept going for a bit down the road.
I stopped the car up the road and looked in my rear view mirror. There were two police officers standing in the road. The one that had been indicating for me to stop was standing with his hands on his hips and looking at me. The other one was getting ready to climb onto his motorcycle to chase me down if the need arose. I make a quick, if not intelligent, decision to go back and see what they wanted. I put the car in reverse and backed up slowly to where they were waiting for me. Going in reverse I was staying well under the twenty five mile per hour speed limit.
As I arrived at the police officer in the middle of the road I immediately took out my drivers license and handed it to him without him having to ask for it. It was the least I could do I thought. He took my license and then asked me what the hell was I thinking while I was driving? I looked over at the house with the balloons and waved my hand and said softly "balloons."
He was quiet for a second and then I noticed he was looking me over. I had on a tie and sports jacket so he must have figured out that I was heading to church on this wonderful morning.
"Balloons..." he said with a sigh before continuing, "You realize you almost ran me over?" I confirmed that I had indeed come terribly close to hitting him while he was standing in the middle of the road but then there were the balloons.
He repeated "Balloons" again with another sigh and then asked me if I realized I was going thirty seven in a twenty five zone. Well, I certainly did not realize that I was going that fast. If I had been aware enough to know what my speed was, chances are I would have been aware enough to see an officer in the middle of the road.
He walked over to his motorcycle and checked my car and myself out for any warrants or past offenses. I was clean and so was my car. He stopped and talked with the other officer for a little bit and I saw the other officer smile just a tiny smile. As the officer started walking back to my car I noticed the other officer's smile grow a little bit.
The policeman gave me back my drivers license and cleared his throat.
"I know that this is a pretty morning Mr. Clark and I know that those balloons over there are kind of pretty as well." he said looking around at the scenery as I nodded my head in the positive.
"Even though there are pretty balloons on that fence, I think we still need to pay attention to where we are driving, don't you?" has asked me obviously expecting an answer.
"Yes sir I do. And I am sorry that I let it distract me." I was trying to be on my best behavior.
"Well, I'm going to let you off with a warning this time, but let's keep our eyes on the road and pay attention to how fast we are driving, okay?" he had a small smile that he was trying to withhold but not doing a very good job of it.
"Yes sir". I said, "I promise I'll be more attentive, and thank you very much for the warning."
He then asked if I was going to church or coming home from church. I explained that I was on my way to church and was going to meet my wife there. He told me I had better get going then, he didn't want me to have to rush too much to get to church on time and I thanked him at least three more times.
"Be careful now", he ordered and I answered that I would and thanked him yet again.
As I pulled away from him I took one last look at those beautiful balloons in front of that beautiful house and lawn and headed on to church at an easy pace of twenty miles per hour.
I was late to church that morning, but you understand, there were balloons.