The least light of a pale blue and an even lighter hue of pink edge the eastern horizon. The silhouette of an eighty-year-old maple stands above the reach of elms and chokeberry in the fencerow running south between our place and Fleek’s Market. Beyond the trees, their plant nursery, car repair, used car sales and produce buildings line the north side of Highway 36 and comprise the most prominent visual aspect of Blair, Kansas. Unincorporated.
Burlington Northern took out the rail line several years ago, a few decades after it was last used. The only evidence I’ve seen of Blair Lumber Co. is their stamp on some of the rotten rafters I tore out when I built a new roof for the back porch that had been converted into a mudroom. That would indicate that the lumber yard was a going concern in 1917 and probably for some time after that. I’m guessing, but don’t know, that there also used to be a grocery/general store, a post office and probably a smithy of some sort. The big horse barn was turned into low-rent apartments years ago.
There are bound to be a hundred stories here, buildings that used to host something resembling a flourishing business, once-fine houses now lived in by the last, poorest cousin of some entrepreneur, once-occupied, now empty lots including the one where they finally tore down the old school. The north branch of Randolph Creek forms the eastern edge of the town, village or whatever you call a settlement of this size. All of the newer homes have been built up the slope on the west side. There are several here that are comfortably well off and a few more than that who appear to be struggling financially. I’m guessing there are fewer than fifty people who call Blair home.
It is not a place of much significance except to the people who live here, those who love them and those who enjoy the convenience of not having to drive to Saint Joe for whatever plants, produce and automotive opportunities are provided by Fleek’s Market.
But since Jesus is among those who love the people who live here, it is a place worthy of sharing his love, his life and his message. Like each starfish thrown back into the ocean, those who receive will believe that the effort was not wasted.