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Friends In Other Places

Elderslie Farm, Kansas
Elderslie Farm, Kansas

How’s that for a VFYT? It was blackberry cobbler, dessert today at a big lunch Philip and Becky Elder threw for me at their farm outside of Wichita, as a farewell. “This is the Benedict Option,” said Becky, showing me the great room in their farmhouse. It was filling up with friends and neighbors who came by for lunch:



Philip and Becky are homeschooling pioneers in Kansas. They and other family members run their farm too: they have a sawmill there, and horses, and goats, and and an organic garden that provides food for their local CSA. Becky is the headmistress at the Northfield School of the Liberal Arts, in Wichita. She is also a dynamo; I suspect she is often mistaken for a tornado roaring across the plains.

Becky and Philip Elder, and a hairstyle victim
Becky and Philip Elder, and a slightly mad hairstyle victim

Prof. Russell Arben Fox and I finally met, and it was like old times:


It was so impressive, the place these folks have and the community they’ve gathered around themselves, that I promised the Elders I would be back, with my family in tow. And I meant it, too. What they do is what we aspire to do. It’s so strange and wonderful to meet people for the first time and feel as if you’ve known them for ages — but that’s how the people in Wichita made me feel. Thank you, friends!

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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