Kay McFarland

Chapter Five

Besides horses, travel is my favorite pastime. The most interesting place I’ve ever visited was Africa. I loved all the wildlife. I was already a judge the first time I visited in 1970.  On that trip I visited: Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa and Egypt. Americans sort of quit going to Egypt when the Russians were in control. We had a guide who took us across the Nile River and said that tourists had a terrible time when the Russians were there. While we were there the Egyptians were having disbutes with Israel. One day as we were entering the British Museum some people in our group spotted a bridge over the Nile River and began taking photographs of it. A policeman came up and said, “no pictures of the bridges,” as if tourists would take photos and then send them back to Israel.

After we left Egypt we flew to Nairobi and I recall being amazed at how big Sudan was. The flight took several hours, and my ears felt like they were going to explode. We went into the hotel and asked the clerk for a medical doctor and they had one that made house calls, so the very British doctor came straight away and fixed my ear problem almost immediately.

In Kenya we visited Leopards Lodge. It had raised platforms where leopards would come out to eat. Specifically we were at Tree Tops (the location where Queen Elizabeth was when she found out that her father was dying and would soon become queen), a wonderful place brilliantly illuminated at night, and where the staff put salt on the river banks so the animals will come in to lick the salt and drink the water for guests viewing purposes. We arrived in the afternoon and you have to walk a distance up to the lodge, with a guide in front and in back of you, all with rifles for protection. The rooms have little balconies where the animals will run up to you, particularly baboons. The lodge tells you not to feed them, but most people don’t listen. I was sitting in a little chair one day and reached around for my purse and instantly a baboon is sitting there also, on the railing, so I put a piece of bread out for him. I’ve got my hand on my purse, and another hand on the railing, and all of a sudden I have this strange sensation of a second set of hands on my purse, and guess what, it was the baboon. Once my bread ran out the baboon left looking for another food source.

Family Reunions

My family and I celebrated Christmas Eve at Leopards Lodge where they serve a wonderful plum pudding. The baboons were all sitting on the walls and there were Germans there who had very expensive cameras. The lodge has people chasing the baboons away, yet they always return. A baboon even stole my mom’s plum pudding. You can’t believe how many baboons there are. One looked at me and snarled and the reaction of the other baboons was to chase him away because he had ruined it for all of them. They knew they couldn’t snarl at us because they would not be able to stay in that particular area of the lodge. We saw a lot of baboons inside the park as well. When you were in your car you would see them, and the mothers would have their babies on their back and would come up to your car and put the babies up to the windows for food. Those baboons weren’t as dumb as people made them out to be.

In another lodge we stayed in, we arrived very early after having flown all night long. I laid down on the cot and there was a wart hog under my bed. I learned later he was the park mascot.

A man by the name of Gary Clarke was my guide on many trips I took to Africa in the years that followed. Everyone knew him very well and each place we went was almost like a family reunion. One time we were in a park and it was getting close to dark. We were planning to take the canoes down the Zambezi. I was a bit frightened because I couldn’t swim, and I knew there were loads of crocodiles. They told me it didn’t spook the animals if you were in a canoe. Gary said, “oh you just have to go,” so I did. The trip ended up being a once in a lifetime experience. At dusk we took the canoes out and were accompanied by the owner of the tour company and Gary pops up and has a bottle of Grey Poupon mustard, just like in the TV commercials, and we all laughed at seeing a bottle of American mustard in a canoe in Africa.

The fiber glass canoe had a white strip down the back, which looked like a combination of paint and glue. We asked the guide what happened, and he said a hippo had bit into the boat. I turned to him and asked what I should do if the canoe turns over and he said to run on top of the water to the beach!

After this wonderful journey we returned to Nairobi. We landed at noon and had such an amazing experience we were desperate to leap into another adventure. Instead of going straight to the hotel we tried to book a flight to the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. We weren’t sure if we would be able to find anyone willing to fly us there, but eventually we did and it was such a wonderful experience as well. Quite different than Leopards Lodge, but equally as fantastic.

Some of my Favorites

My favorite color is red and while I don’t have a favorite song I do like a lot of country music. One day Judge Terry Bullock was on the court and we were talking about music and he was joking with me and said "I’ve only known you to like two types of music: Country and Western."  Most of the CD's and records I ever purchased were country and western.

Superstitions

When I was growing up we went to lots of horror movies and I had nightmares about Dracula, Frankenstein and vampires. My mother told my dad we shouldn’t go to these movies anymore, but he thought I should just toughen up. I used to sleep with a glow stick which I thought would keep me safe at night. We used to go to see movies at the Jayhawk, the Grand and then the Dickenson. On Saturday nights they would have a horror trio: one at 7p, another at 9p and a third at 11p.

I remember one particular dream that terrified me so much. I was running in Florida from alligators and one of the alligators grabbed me and they were pulling me apart. I also had a dream about killing a man with an iron. I associate this with being able to read something and immediately visualizing it. This happened in my life with animals and also when I was sitting on the bench. One lawsuit I presided over pertained to a motorcycle accident where the skin of a woman’s leg was ripped off entirely and the thought of it made my stomach turn. It got to the point where I could no longer read the gruesome parts of detective stories as I too easily become disgusted with excessive violence.

Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland
Kay McFarland

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