First off, Congratulations to Chief Ramsay on being named the new Chief of Police for Wichita, Kansas. Wichita is lucky to have you, and Duluth will definitely miss you. Having lived in Kansas for a time, I wanted to offer some advice to help you with your transition to living there.

Many years ago, when I got done with school, my first radio job was in a very remote town in Western Kansas; population 5,000. I had never lived in such a small town in my life. Having grown up in the Milwaukee area and living in Minneapolis after college, needless to say this was quite the culture shock on many levels. I lived in this Kansas town for a year, then thankfully moved to a bigger town.

Luckily for Chief Ramsay, he will be living in Wichita, which is the largest city in Kansas; and is also in the Eastern part of the state. That half of the state actually has some rolling hills and trees, unlike the western part of the state, which is completely flat and you are hard-pressed to see any trees.

So, Chief Ramsay, as you prepare to depart for Kansas; I offer these insights to what to expect while living there:

  • People wear cowboy hats all the time. If you get one for yourself, you'll learn when you take them off, you should set the top of the hat down (upside down) so you don't bend the brim.
  • People also wear giant belt buckles. Do not ask them If they won it in a crane game. I know from personal experience. Surprisingly, some of these cowboys can't take a joke. Apparently that is one of the prizes you get in a rodeo. Seriously, learn from my mistake on this one.
  • They are super proud of their BBQ skills and beef, lots of beef cows all over the place. It is also known as the sunflower state, and it is awesome to see rows and rows of them everywhere.
  • If you see what looks like a dried out Christmas tree blowing across the road - it is actually a tumbleweed. I made that mistake. Not nearly as embarrassing as the belt buckle thing, but still not a good one to make.
  • Every time it rains (well, almost every time) it hails, so always have a plan for a place to hide your car if you see rain clouds. Also, it rains so hard! With no runoff on the (mostly) flat land, roads tend to flood pretty easily.
  • You will run into some people with very thick Southern accents. Just like in Minnesota, some areas have a thicker accents than others, just be patient and you will figure out what they are saying. On the flip side, be prepared to be mocked about your Minnesota accent. Even if you don't think you have one, you do, and you'll be called out for it. Since you will be Chief of Police, I hope they're more tactful than that.
  • Lastly, the winters are way less harsh than they are here. The snow tends to melt pretty quickly after it falls, but people have no idea how to drive in it so it does become a hot mess fairly quickly. You'll be way ahead of the skill curve, but like they say, "It's the other drivers you need to worry about."

Best of luck Chief, and remember tornadoes are no joke down there. Oh, and if you are feeling homesick, just click your heels together and repeat "There's no place like home." You're always welcome to come back and visit! :)

Sincerely,

Jeanne Ryan