I have to admit that it's been years since I've been in Emporia. Oh, I routinely pass through there on the way to somewhere else on the Kansas Turnpike, but I think the last time I spent any real time there was when a tornado hit back in the 1980s.
But Emporia was my destination on Sunday for a reading of FALLEN TREES as part of the Kansas Day Authors Showcase at Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore. I was one of 20 authors featured at the event.
I was delighted to see it was a packed house - no small feat, considering it had started at 1 p.m. and I was the final author to read, shortly after 4
Towns of every size need bookstores, so I was pleased to see the support for a relatively new venture. The owner, Marcie Lawrence, was most gracious and offered such a glowing introduction that I was tempted to turn around and see if she was introducing someone else.
Coincidentally, Emporia has a major role in the first book I wrote, the nonfiction work INTO THE DEEP, about the deaths of 6 people in a flash flood on the Kansas Turnpike about 10 miles south of Emporia in 2003.
Five members of the Rogers family died in that flash flood on Jacob Creek. The lone survivor, Robert Rogers, was brought to Emporia for evaluation and treatment at a hospital. My eyes invariably find the crosses still rising from the prairie soil at Mile Marker 116 just inside Chase County whenever I'm passing through that part of the Flint Hills.