Dierdre woke as the early morning prairie sun streamed through her bedroom window. Suddenly, it was summer and each streak and mote of dust from the accumulated spring rains was highlighted by the uncompromising rays of sun.
Sixty-ish, graying, tall, thin, and slightly stooped, Dierdre was the epitome of a prairie recluse. She lived on a scrapply few acres in her old farmhouse, which had gone begging for a spring sprucing ever since her husband died and their last kid left for college.
“Better get the hired girl to wash them windows, I reckon,” Dierdre muttered to herself as she creaked out of bed. “Can’t see myself clambering up no ladder, no how. Besides, got my gardening to tend to.”
Sighing, she started her morning routine - fed the couple of hens she depended on for her eggs, milked the goat, and sat down to read last week’s Times as she sipped her morning coffee. “Better get a move on,” she muttered, glancing at her watch. “It’s almost time to go to town. Can’t be late my first day.”
Dierdre finished dressing, donned a light jacket and headed for her beat-up Chevy SUV - just the right vehicle for the wind- and dust-swept back roads. The turn-off for Tuttle Creek Lake warned her that she was nearing her destination. She glanced down to check her map. Left on Kimball, right on N. Manhattan Ave, then take the first right after Claflin Rd.
She turned into the entrance, and followed the signs to Call Hall. Parking the car, she began to feel a little nervous. Would she be welcomed? Or would she be seen as an interloper? She entered the building and spoke to the receptionist. “I’m looking for Dr. Fung,” she said. “Is he in?”
“Oh, you must be Dr. Devonshire, our new Adjunct Professor of Food Safety,” the receptionist exclaimed with a smile. “We’re thrilled to have you back at Kansas State after so many years. Dr. Fung will be right with you.”
A Note of Explanation: Manhattan, Kansas - which calls itself 'The Little Apple' - is the home of Kansas State University.