Tuesday, September 30, 2014


                                        Carl Sandberg

     Do young people ever irritate you?  When you were young you had the energy and vitality to believe that you knew everything, and that the old fogy's just were in the way and holding you up.  Impatience was your normal state of being.  You could not wait to drive, then you could not wait to drink.  And then you made it past those points and then those ignoring your obvious intelligence drove you to drink.
     It was said that if you were conservative when young you had no heart. and if you were liberal when old you had no brains.  Well the revenge of the elder is that at a point you will start living with aches and pains.  And then you will be having conversations with your friends about your latest ailments, the health care system, and doctors.  You will also find that the number of funerals are starting to out number the weddings you attend.
     Fall used to be my favorite time of year.  It was the season of hunting dove, quail, pheasant, and deer.  The temperatures were more pleasant and there is something about being out in God's creation that feeds the soul.  Maybe that is why I call it God's Great Cathedral. 
     Winter was fun because I could run my four wheel drive in the snow and ice and the burn on the front of a roaring fire was great fun.  Spring was nice and the farm work started.  We endured the heat of summer because the fall  was marked by the opening of Dove and Trap shooting season every September one.
     When it starts dawning on you that it is not as much fun to walk through fields for miles, more things start upsetting your stomach, and you are on first name terms with your pharmacist, you will start noticing that HEY THINGS ARE GOING BY TOO FAST!
     GOTTCHA!!  Your are no longer that young irritating know it all you used to be.  You may be the big dog at the Liars club coffee table by now, but you will notice that those young whippersnappers don't take your opinions as gospel anymore.  And the old farts are still calling you a kid as they give you the name of the latest wonder drug or the new specialist they are going to.  It is just our revenge to laugh at you for irritating us.

Monday, September 22, 2014



George Lucas

This may be where you may think I am jumping into the fray and pushing for one side or the other in the political races.  WRONG!  You should know by know how disgusted I am with the half truths and the bloviating promises that all candidates are involved in.

No I am picking up on a article that my friend Beccy Tanner had in the Wichita Eagle last week about one of my favorite places in Kansas, Lucas.

Not only is Lucas famous for the Garden of Eden and quirky artists, (and ring bologna).  They have the BOWL PLAZA public toilet.  Now one thing that is a huge problem when you have a lot of tourists is that the availability of toilets is pretty critical.  Many of the old buildings are not up to the standards or capacity that streams of visitors put them under.

Lucas utilized their artist community and designed a public toilet that is bringing it's own tourists.  Not only well designed it is comfortable and so much in the design that you spend more time looking than doing your business.

Now you can vote to have the Bowl Plaza named number one, in number one and two, in the nation.  The Bowl is in the top ten in contest sponsored by Cintas (a company that designs restrooms) in the nation.  You simple need to go to www.bestrestrooms.com and vote.

The competition?  American Girl Place - Chicago, The Fabulous Fox Theater - St. Louis, the Tiki Lounge - Pittsburgh, and six other hoity toity restrooms.

The town residents decided in 2008 that there was a pressing need for a facility like this.  They spent four years raising the money and design it.  It is by far the blingiest toilet in Kansas.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014


                          A MANNER OF TRAVELING
                                         Margret Lee Runbeck

      They always say that you cannot go back home.  In many ways this is true for we never live in the times past but only remember them.  I find that when I go back to places in my past there are a lot of good memories alive even if nothing else is.  It is always fun to set in and feel the old times yet you are still there on a visit and have to come home, where ever that is now.
      After visiting my clinic in Wichita if I time it right I avoid the traffic and travel around on paved county roads.  I find many more today than when they were a part of my fire response district.  I end up at my old stomping ground on the west end of Cheney Lake at Mt. Vernon at Creations Restaurant.
      Now Mt. Vernon has grown since a couple farm and storage sheds went up but I think the population is still around six or seven.  At the old country store next to the spot that the old dance hall sat is Creations Restaurant. 
      When I moved from poetry into music there were several of us that could see that a corner that was not in real use would be a great place to put a small stage.  Steve, the owner, was great with the idea and in a couple weeks time a stage was built and the music started.
      Every Thursday night there would be musicians wander in and out.  There might be 3 or 30 you never knew.  We had a regular crowd and it was a fun place.  I was a member of the Western Music Association and was working with the best guitar player I have ever known named Gerald Walters.  He was one of the Kingman County crowd who grew up with music in their homes on Saturday nights.  This before TV, CD, downloads, and when you charged the battery's on the radio to listen to the Grand Ole Opry in the parlor with the neighbors.
     I still get to visit with old friends and there is the memory of Prairie Dog Lafferty who I swear still haunts the place.  Sometimes a few of the local musicians pop in for a jam session.  I swear that jam session music is the best even if it is off key or the mikes are not right.  It is that live feel that makes the music special.
     Since I have been fighting health issues I have no air and when I was asked if I would sing a couple songs, I had to go by faith because I was not sure the voice was still there.  Well there was enough that I had a great time.  There is going to be something special happen at Creations around my birthday so stay tuned.
      I guess you can go home for a little bit.  But I still had to get on the road and get across that Barber County line.  Good memories.

Friday, September 5, 2014


                                      Marcus Tullius Cicero

      An article saved for me by some very good friends renewed many memories.  It was in the Hutch News written by Kathy Hanks.  The story was about an abandoned cemetery and the Old Order Amish.  I have had the privilege to become friends with an Amish family and the people and history hold a special interest for me.  It has been a long time since I was back to Yoder and say hello and drink coffee with the men.
     My friend was one who had the misfortune of coming down with cancer.  His was the only Amish funeral I had ever been to and it was an experience that I will never forget.  My best friend went with me at the time.  He had been the bulk truck driver picking up the family's milk for a while.  We were two of three 'English' at the proceedings, yet we were made to feel a part of the ceremony.  There were bus loads of friends and relatives from as far away as Ohio.  I never had the chance to count how many were there for the service.
      I have always been fascinated with the Old Order Amish views of the world we live in.  The article brings back a lot that I have not thought about for a while.  The story is about a long abandoned cemetery south of Dodge City where an Amish settlement had once been.  It is one of the 'Failed settlements' in Kansas.  The severe weather took it's toll on the settlers in Kansas.  Six settlements were abandoned.  Traces of the settlements soon were gone but the cemeteries are still there.  Unless the advice of the Kansas State Government has been heeded by township officials over the years.
     You see this cemetery south of Dodge City survives because a township official could not bring himself to pull up the head stones and plow under the plots.  You see in Kansas after 15 years of abandonment and no one puts forth ownership, or assumes the care of, Kansas has no protections for them.
      I made the effort many years ago when my State Representative at the time would listen, and give consideration for things that were not a hot topic, and yet should be done just because they were right.  He managed to lose his next election before we got anything in the works.  I know a land owner in South East Kansas that has been tending to an abandoned cemetery for years since no one will do it.
     Maybe it takes a group of Amish from Iowa to come and save a cemetery that they don't have to, to set the example.  Shouldn't we introduce a bill and pass a historic cemetery act?
     Sometimes it takes a simple people to set an example to bring us back to the time when we respected those who went before us.  To prevent the despoiling of the hallowed ground where the dead lay shouldn't there be protection? 
     Along Kansas trails and ghost towns lay many a lone grave.  Most are lost except in the notation in a book.  South of Clearwater several miles on the Chisholm Trail there was a lone trading post.  A family traveling through sometime in the 1870's had an infant die.  It was buried nearby this trading post joining a Vaquero that died coming up the trail.  I can't help but wonder if there is a family somewhere in their genealogy that remembers that infant?
     The old cemeteries are the history books that don't fit on our shelves.  Don't you think we should give them the protection they deserve?

Monday, September 1, 2014


Will Rogers

     Time has this way of running faster than you are expecting.  The sure sign that Fall is about here is the ads for the new 'hit' TV shows, the messing with the schedule's of the shows you do like, and the ads for the State Fair.
     It also is the realization that all the places that I have wanted to visit in rural Kansas are still unvisited.  Part of the reason on my part is the health challenges that I have been confronting the last two years.  It is getting harder for me to make road trips.  I love the little out of the way cafes and dives that are sometimes the only link for a former town and the ghost town status.
      Hearing on the Kansas Sampler Foundation's Facebook about Mo's closing in Beaver shook me up.  Everyone has the right and sometimes no choice, to retire at some time.  Apparently the hamburgers at Mo's are no more.  I have been so close when traveling the back roads, which is my preferred way, I have always wanted to be able to take that jaunt over to Beaver for the hamburger.  Normally it is when I am going to Bunker Hill or Lucas that I whiz by.  I can understand how frustrating it is for Marci Penner to update her Kansas Travelers guide.  You want all these cool places and experiences for those who will be using the guide for the next decade.  It is so hard to guess what will still be open when the third edition is done.
     I have been wanting to get to Marquette for years. The chance finally came up when the South Central Kansas Tourism Association had it's meeting there.  The frustrating part for me was the pain from the drive took it's toll on me and I never had the chance to get into the Motorcycle Museum.  There was a great antique store that I did not get into.  I did get into the old drug store and the nice people allowed me to use there restroom.  It was a good one, you don't expect that in many old buildings.
     We had a good meal at the Ranch House.  My sandwich was good and the hamburgers looked great.  I will get back sometime and do the things I love to do in small towns.  Even though Marquette just lost their school I think the town spirit will keep this unique community growing.  I am going to try to get up there for the Swedish food festival, but let me serve notice now I will not be trying the Lutefisk.
      Closer to home there is a new steakhouse opened in Attica.  The Crazy Horse, good steaks.