The Avatar Reaches Dighton
you need Lane County, Kansas!
When checked on the running Avatar in early March, he was in Atwood, Kansas, and having trouble getting much mileage due to various minor health problems in his alter ego, which is to say me. He didn't know the meaning of sluggish back then. After logging an unremarkable but respectable March, I caught a persistent crud that limited me -- and the Avatar -- to a miserable 19 miles in April.
When you stop running for more than a few weeks, you can start to fall out of the habit. So, as I started feeling better this May, one of my goals was to start "being a runner" again. I found an old wall map from my Kansas days, and since the Avatar is in Kansas, I figured it might be kind of motivating to hang it at the top of the stairs and plot his progress in real time. Me and Mrs.5000 have kind of a flexible approach to interior decor.
Anyway, last Sunday I made it to Dighton!
There are two little motels in Dighton. I parked the Avatar at Jay's Inn.
As the seat of, and only real town in, Lane County, Dighton has about a thousand residents. Heck, that's even smaller than ~my~ hometown! If they wanted to put on an amateur production of Mahler's 8th, they could only pull it off if everybody agreed to participate. They'd have to recruit the audience from out in the county.
A lot of towns this small have nothing but basic statistical data in their Wikipedia entry. Dighton has a little more content, but I'm not sure if it helps. Here, for instance, is the section on the town's 20th century history in its entirety:
On May 23, 1928, the Fleagle Gang arrived in Dighton after robbing the First National Bank of Lamar, Colorado. Needing medical attention, they kidnapped local doctor W.W. Weinenger, and later shot him and dumped his body into a ravine.So that's what the 20th century was like in Dighton, I guess.
The courtroom mural, "The First House of Lane County," by Mary Alice Bosley, was featured in Kansas Murals: A Traveler's Guide, by Jost and Loewenstein. The canvas work, painted in 1961 as a background for the pageant at the Lane County Fair, was then installed in the courthouse, where it still remains.
The slogan used on the town's official website, dightonkansas.com, is "Where Children Can Walk to School." This probably perhaps tells us more about the ideas Dightonians harbor about the outside world than it does about the virtues of life in their own little town.
The Lane County Economic Development department's website, with the charming URL of ilovelane.com, is on-message as it invites us to "Lane, America's Breadbasket":
If you live in a town where children dare not venture out and your personal safety is only as good as your door locks, then you need Lane County, Kansas!
Now, I don't know if everyone in Dighton is so freaked out with fear of the outside world, but I'm certainly not picking up much of a "welcome, stranger!" vibe. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about, though -- according to the most recent statistics available from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Lane County's violent crime rate is only a little bit higher than that of the state as a whole.
The running Avatar says hi. Perhaps he'll visit your town, somewhere down the road!