Day 4

30 May

We were up early to see the multitudinous wonders of Dodge City and to go by the Visitors Center when it opened. The streets in Dodge have names like Wyatt Earp Boulevard, Gunsmoke Street and Bat Masterson Way. Businesses have similar themes, my favorite being Doc Holliday’s Liquors. The Georgia dentist was known to take a drink now and then. There are also plaques, statues and decorations all celebrating the real and fictional heroes of this town.

Before going to the Boot Hill Museum,the main tourist attraction, we decided to go 30 miles east to Mullinville and see the outsider art of M. T. Liggett. Liggett’s art, often political, is not partisan. He seems to dislike all politicians equally. Hilary Clinton is outfitted with a swastika but so is Rush Limbaugh. Anyway, M. T. Liggett himself appeared on the scene as we looked around, He said we could go into his studio to look and that we could buy anything we took a fancy to. Bad news for impoverished travelers from the South; good news for M. T. Liggett. But, Mr. Liggett said that he had an appointment concerning his painful feet and would be gone for an hour or so. He suggested we go see the giant well one town over and then meet him back at his studio. We thought, “Why not??

One town over was a small place, though larger than Mullinville, called Greensburg. Greensburg’s claim to fame has always been the world’s largest hand-dug well – I missed the dimensions, but Lee, who has acrophobia, became shaky just looking over the edge. The building that houses the wall also encloses a large meteorite and a history of the town. The main part of the history is the tornado that that came through in 2007, demolishing most of the town including the wooden structure that housed the well.

The people of Greensburg took the time to plan a new town, and they seem to have done well. The town’s electrical needs are provided by seven of those alien windmills, and the town even sells excess power to nearby communities. The well is enclosed in a solid brick structure, and remnants of the old town have been fashioned into public artwork. This is a place about the size of Fairmount. The lady that ran the well-museum was rightfully proud of her hometown.

Lee and I checked the well off our list and headed back to Mullinville. Liggett was there and ready to sell me some art. We briefly commiserated over foot pain and agreed that those without it just did not understand. We bough two of Mr. Liggett’s works and told him that I would pass his name and address along. He is listed in a number of on-line sources and he has a reputation as being difficult to deal with. He is really just a nice guy. His neighbors joke with him about the traffic jams his art causes, and he occasionally cracks a smile.

We put our M. T. Liggett art on top of Cash Bar. The two Liggett works will fill in some blank spaces on our walls.

We headed back to Dodge and went to the Boot Hill Museum. The museum has a lot of period furniture and household items and a few pieces that were in Dodge during the day.

The place is presided over by Brent Harrison who looks like an old western lawman. He convinced us to eat dinner at the Occident Saloon and Banquet Hall and stay for the gunfight and finally the dance hall variety show at the Long Branch.

Dinner was good, with some great corn. The gunfight was about what you might expect with a group of teenagers and twenty-somethings getting to mock fight in front of a crowd. What it lacked in gritty realism, it made up in energy. Don’t go expecting method acting.

Finally, we all adjourned to the Long Branch for a musical variety show. Miss Kitty, the star, was taken with me, but I could not leave Lee even for a shot at show biz.
While the show was going on, a severe storm hit, with wind, hail and lightning. The plains have been having a drought, so wet weather was welcome. Got some pictures of a rainbow to end the evening.


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