The notion that there are far more cities in the world other than Lee’s Summit, Kansas City, Independence, Blue Springs, New York and Ottumwa, Iowa is often lost on my daughter, Addy.
The first handful are towns I have lived in, worked in and that she has relatives living in or near. The latter, my hometown.
So, when we were on one of our downtown Lee’s Summit walks recently, I had a small revelation that each new city Addy comes across is, truly, original.
We found a rock on Third Street that had been painted with angel on one side, and the words “Raytown Rocks” on the other. Similar to Lee’s Summit and other communities, Raytown has started a movement of encouraging the painting and hiding of rocks around the area, then hiding those with the hopes the finder will take to social media and return the favor, re-hiding the stone.
When Addy read the word “Raytown” it gave her pause, asking, “What is that?”
I explained that Raytown isn’t a “what” but a “where” — a nearby town of around 30,000 residents that is close to where the Royals play. I could have sensed the 21 questions coming (Addy doesn’t play 20 questions, there are always more).
“Have you ever been there? Who lives there? Wait, have I ever been there? When are we going to a Royals game again? Are the Royals playing tonight? What time is my bedtime tonight?”
You see the progression. She eventually got back to the rock. But it took a while.
I got to walk and talk with her about my days as a sports writer, which often took me to places like Raytown, Oak Grove, Grain Valley, the Northland and other cities around Kansas City. I absolutely love her inquisitive nature. And whatever direction our conversations take, it’s usually just fine with me.
Her pension for rules and reasoning, though, are fascinating to me. She asked if it was OK that Raytown rocks were in Lee’s Summit. And, if so, could Lee’s Summit rocks be hidden in Raytown? My sense of my daughter’s regional view came sharply into focus.
Absolutely, I assured her. In fact, they would encourage that.
She’s traveled to California, New Mexico and, next year, will be hitting New York. In that regard, she will have logged far more miles by air and train at 8 than I could have dreamed of.
After our rock talk, Addy waited patiently while I chatted with a friend on the street about the recent Lee’s Summit elections and the political aftermath. I swear this kid has had to endure more dogmatic discussions than any other 7-year-old should. And, as I am learning, she takes a lot of it in and processes it thoughtfully.
The ensuring conversation turned somber as she asked if certain people were “going to be OK” and if it was fair what was happening.
We’ve had the “life can be unfair” discussion already. I informed her that extends to politics as well.
Addy then suggested that some of those in the discussion (among them, former Mayor Pro Tem Rob Binney, mayoral candidate Ron Williams, current MPT Jose “Beto” Lopez” and newly-elected Mayor Bill Baird) play on the same kickball team (“same” was critical here for her), thus mending any fences.
I assured her I would try to bring that up at public comments at some point.
Although, upon further thought, I told her it might be better if the City Council team planned a weekend project of painting rocks together and hiding them in Lee’s Summit.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.