622. Howard, Elk County (KS075)

The brick wasn’t red, but I saw a theme continuing from the courthouse perspective.  Other than that, I got nuthin’.  That said, this was also the point where I realized that my travel weariness had finally caught up to me in a more serious sense (at least for this trip).  I noticed while I was doing my photography that Howard claimed to be the United States Capital of…something.  Of what?  I don’t know.  I didn’t think to take note of it.  I didn’t photograph a sign.  I didn’t find it on the internet.  Thing is, I’m not the type to let something like that just fade away and dangle without a little investigation.  I made some phone calls: the Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, the Library, the Courthouse, several libraries of surrounding towns…  I did not get one human response from any of those sources (and, in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, one of two attempted numbers was disconnected).  Did I fail you as your intrepid reporter on the scene?  Maybe.  Did I fail you as your fact checker?  A little, but only in that none of the sources who could confirm information could be reached in a reasonable amount of time before this was written.  If I was a truly committed professional, I could try again because I have more than enough time between when this was written and when it would be published, but this does not take into consideration a few very important points, namely a) nothing about anything I have ever written has screamed “professional”, b) I’m not “committed” because I don’t really care all that much (which I think relates back to point a, but meh…), and c) I’m not a journalist.  My point here (and I do have one) is that I was starting to drag pretty hard by this point.  It had been a long few days and I always push myself when I’m out on the road.  It does eventually take its toll. 

The cache, grabbed on the way to the courthouse, turned out to be a bison at the grave of Benjamin Hobbs, the first teacher in Elk County.  A bunch of students and teachers put together a little memorial to honor him.  I don’t know exactly what he might have done here to earn such an honor, but I do know that being a teacher usually doesn’t earn the credit and respect such an important position deserves.  It wasn’t always this way, but it has become so, especially in this day and age.  The last year and a half has been a testament to how much crap teachers must endure.  So, sleep well, Mr. Hobbs.  Your students did well by you, at least well enough that people, in this case, me, are thinking about you over a century later.  But not for long.  That tiredness and the passage of the day well pulling me towards home.  Once the courthouse was seen, the southward drive took me to pass through…

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