News for October 2006
October 31, 2006 Tuesday
6 p.m. Doorbell rings. I'm sitting at my computer next to the door. Dave answers the door and hands out candy.
"That was a unicorn," he said, closing the door.
"There's no such thing as a unicorn."
He gave me a look.
"If you'd get away from your typewriter once in a while and see the real world, you'd know there are unicorns," he said.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN !
I grabbed a piece of Laffy Taffy out of the candy bowl. Strawberry. Laffy Taffy has jokes on the wrappers...
Q: What is a witch's favorite subject?
HAPPY HALLOWEEN !
One of the neighbor girls brought us two tiny ghost-shaped cakes with ghost-like frosting. Mmmm. And two orange jello popcorn balls.
Wow. Treats! Delivered! And I didn't even have to dress up.
On the Air
If all goes as planned, I should be on Kansas Public Radio Tuesday morning, most likely at 6:35 and 8:35 a.m. talking about Autumn Leaves.
Update: try 6:55 a.m. Not sure yet on the time for the 8:00 hour -
maybe 8:35, maybe 8:55.
Listen "live" (to the FM stream)
or listen later to the archived commentary.
October 30, 2006 Monday
I'm gonna do it this year - NaNoWriMo. I've thought about it the past two or three Novembers, but this year, yeah, it's going to happen.
National Novel Writing Month is held each November - something to give light and pizzazz to one of the dreariest months on the calendar.
What I produce won't "count" because I won't be writing fiction and their rules say fiction only. (They say: "It doesn't have to be good or publishable, but it has to be a novel.")
Novel writing is not my thing, so I'll just be using the collective energy of the more than 60,000 participants to write 50,000 words during the month of November. That's only 1,666 words per day. I'll be writing essays instead of a novel, but 3-4 essays a day.
Participants have fun with this. Many of the finished novels lack a coherent plot. (My attempt at a novel would for sure.) And many aim for quantity rather than quality. After all, you can always clean it up later and fashion the writing into something presentable.
So, is anyone with me on this? Come on, it'll be fun - and you'll have a book at the end of November. Yeah, baby!
October 29, 2006 Sunday
Check out the Flyover People Halloween e-cards!!
(The creepy guy is Sen. Preston Plumb's portrait which hangs in his spooky library at Plumb House. The Halloween decorators added the fake eyes which glowed in the beam of a flashlight.)
Some of the Flyover People gang went on the Haunted Emporia Flashlight Tour Friday night. A couple even drove up from Wichita to have dinner with us and take the tour.
Actors from ESU portrayed the lives of long-gone Emporia residents.
Four spooky places in Emporia were set up for visitors.
At the eerily-decorated Plumb Place, the former Preston Plumb home, Mrs. Plumb came back from the dead to tell
about the life she shared (not always happily) with Sen. Plumb.
Mrs. Gillette, original owner of the William Allen White home, told her story. She may haunt the home as well as William Allen White's dog, Teddy.
White's daughter, Mary White, wasn't portrayed as a ghost, but she told the story of her death at age 17 when she was knocked off a horse by a tree branch.
At ESU's Memorial Union, stories were told of unexplained events. Inside the Granada Theatre, photographer S.C. Dixon told about the darkroom ghost that haunts that place, but Rocky Slaymaker had a favorable impression of a spirit in the place.
See Dave's photo of a staircase at the haunted Granada.
I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning, but it was actually 5 a.m., thanks to Central Standard Time.
It's just an hour this way or that, but people have strong feelings about the turning of the clocks forward and back, the changing of time.
Some folks grumble about resetting their clocks, some people have problems adjusting their schedules, others hate the darkness or the light coming an hour earlier, an hour later.
Unless you live in Hawaii or Arizona, the time change is a fact of life.
Death, taxes, Daylight Saving Time.
October 27, 2006 Friday
America's Need for Speed
Speed was the place to be on August 6. Mattel Inc. chose this town of 37 people to host their "Need for Speed" Hot Wheels Festival.
OK, we drove through Speed, Kansas, earlier this month and I don't see how/where they could've put the 10,000 visitors to the community. Ten thousand people and no restaurants, restrooms, motels, parking lots.
But it was cool that a big company chose a pretty much non-existent town in Northwest Kansas to hold their rally.
For more on the event, read "Back on the Map" from the Topeka Capital-Journal.
October 26, 2006 Thursday
It's October. It's chilly outside. Yellow leaves on the ground are soaked from the morning rain. The sky is without color.
The best thing about fall is pumpkin-laced foods. I'm still a little miffed that Baskin-Robbins abandoned Emporia several years ago and left us without Pumpkin Pie ice cream - something which made October and November tolerable for me.
So, now I must seek out other orange foods: pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll-ups.
I did buy three sugar cookies with orange-colored frosting from Reeble's the other day. Stopped in this morning for a refill. Nope, they were out. So, I bought a few chocolate chip cookies, which were 30 cents apiece. Frosted sugar cookies are 40 cents and gourmet cookies are 50 cents each. (In case you needed to know that.)
October 25, 2006 Wednesday
Tuesday's Flyover People column: From Cuba to Lebanon.
Albert Taylor Hall at ESU was about half-full last night for the great debate - the Lieutenant Governor's Forum - between Democrat Mark Parkinson (running mate with Kathleen Sebelius) and Republican Susan Wagle (Jim Barnett's running mate). It was a polite event - not a lot of drama.
My friend Ele and I didn't sit too close, but from a distance, when he smiled, Mark Parkinson sort of, just vaguely, reminded me of Steve Martin - and that's a good thing, I like Steve Martin.
Here are the websites for the candidates:
Early voting has begun. You can vote at the courthouse now, or at your regular polling place on Tuesday, November 7.
October 24, 2006 Tuesday
My cousin Laramie just sent me a link to a story in The Hutchinson
News about my Great Aunt Ella (see 10/21 entry).
October 23, 2006 Monday
October 22, 2006 Sunday
October 21, 2006 Saturday
GREAT AUNT ELLA
My Great Aunt Ella Dirks died Wednesday. She was my grandmother's "little sister."
Ella was 102 and got around fairly well until about a year or two ago. And apparently her mind was clear till the end.
Most of my contact with Ella and Harv was at church when I was a youngster. We attended the Bergthal Mennonite Church three miles north of Pawnee Rock.
Family and friends gathered this morning at Bryant Funeral Home in Great Bend. Pastors Todd and Lynn Schlosser conducted the service. They have been ministers at the church for, I don't know, maybe 5-6 years now.
"It has been a joy to know Ella," the Rev. Lynn Schlosser said as she began the eulogy. "I found a note from another pastor and she wrote, 'Ella is unfailingly cheerful... .'"
"One visit stands out," Schlosser said, "the only time I wasn't able to get the daily smile. She cried and shared how much she missed Harvey and Homer and Leon." (Her husband and sons who preceded her in death.)
Aunt Ella was grandmother to my grade school classmate, Darla Dirks (now Clarke). Darla often sang to Ella in the nursing home and at the funeral she gave us, "Be Not Afraid."
I'd only seen Darla once since 8th grade - but I recognized her right away. It was so good to see her again.
From Great Bend, I drove in the funeral procession the 10 miles or so to the Mennonite Memorial Cemetery north of Pawnee Rock.
Yesterday was shorts weather, but on this 37-degree day, a 30-mph north wind whipped the canvas funeral tent. Mourners crowded in. Canvas panels on the north and west sides provided a bit of protection.
The burial service was brief: prayers, "dust to dust" and the hymn "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." We scurried to our cars and then gathered to share a meal in the basement of the nearby Mennonite Church.
So... I had lunch with cousins Mary, Brenda and Laramie Jr. I hadn't seen Laramie for 16 years.
Michelle and Laramie Unruh
Laramie and I have exchanged occasional e-mails the past year or two and it was a special treat to see him today and meet his lovely wife. (The word lovely just seems appropriate - Michelle is warm and cheerful and pretty.)
My brother (who was named after Harvey and Ella's son, Leon) has written a nice tribute to Aunt Ella.
October 20, 2006 Friday
October 19, 2006 Thursday
Yes, I know, it's 8 p.m. and I haven't posted anything yet today! My friend Flips (not her real name) can't sleep if I don't post something every day. She worries, thinking poor little Cheryl has taken ill. My friend Roger just naturally assumes that I've been abducted. Neither is true today - I've just been busy. By the way, Roger's birthday is on Saturday. If you're up at ESU tomorrow, stop by the Memorial Union Information desk and say "Happy Birthday, Roger!"
Gas has been pinging around this week... $2.07, $2.19, $2.15. On Monday, gas sold in Lawrence for $1.99.
While doing laundry, I hit the jackpot - three quarters left in Dave's jeans. Usually all I find are pennies and the occasional flash drive.
Oh happy day, The Gazette has changed their online format, so the Flyover People columns are now accessible - free of charge!
Here's this week's column: North by Northwest.
October 18, 2006 Wednesday
Now you can send Flyover People e-cards!
Send a Kansas rainbow, autumn leaves, sunflowers...
October 17, 2006 Tuesday
October 16, 2006 Monday
THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!
The geographic center of the U.S. is a mile or so north and west of Lebanon, Kansas, in Smith County.
My understanding is that the actual center of the U.S. is nearby on private land, but this is where they put the marker.
In case you're wondering...
Latitude: 39 degrees, 50'
Longitude: 98 degrees, 35'
NE 1/4 - SE 1/4 - S 32 -T2S- R11 W
New, just for you, Dave's black-and-white gallery: casual images.
These are great pictures.
October 15, 2006 Sunday
October 14, 2006 Saturday
October 13, 2006 Friday
Ooooh, it's Friday the 13th!
A while back I mentioned discovering Unruh Fire, a fire truck-building company in Sedgwick. Well, I wrote to them to find out if they had a T-shirt that they would be willing to sell me.
the front, the back
More from Mankato, the county seat of Jewell County....
I've only gotten up to the Mankato pictures (I can't help myself, I'm posting them pretty much in chronological order).
Dave, however, has posted a shot from Cawker City: Cheryl and the Great Ball O'Twine.
October 12, 2006 Thursday
October 11, 2006 Wednesday
Here's yesterday's Flyover People column about Nicodemus, Kansas.
October 10, 2006 Tuesday
Cheryl's Link of the Day:
This webcam is looking east (from Broadview Tower, I assume.) The first intersection is 6th and Commercial (K-99/US-50). The second intersection is 6th and Mechanic. Just beyond Mechanic Street, the large gray-white building on the right is William Lindsey White Civic Auditorium.
The elevator in the background is Bunge (pronounced BUN-gee).
They take in soybeans.
Last night, "Paper Moon" was on one of the movie channels. It's been a long time since I watched this film. At one point, when Addie and Moses were cruising around Central Kansas, it's as if they were name-dropping towns: Lucas, Sylvan Grove, Lincoln, Great Bend, Hoisington, Wilson.
This 1973 movie, shot in black and white, was filmed mostly in Kansas, and the scenery looks like Kansas. Tatum O'Neal, 10, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the youngest person to win in a competitive category.
Back to the trip....
October 9, 2006 Monday
The banks are closed; no mail today. Columbus Day.
October 8, 2006 Sunday
Ten years ago today, while crossing the street in front of his house in Pawnee Rock, my dad got hit by a pickup truck. The driver was blinded by the morning sun and Dad, perhaps, didn't look both ways well enough.
An ambulance hauled him to Great Bend. Dave got the call from Betty, came and told me at work and we headed west toward Great Bend, but prepared to turn south. At Canton, I found a payphone (didn't have a cell back then) and called the hospital. He was being flown by helicopter to Wichita. So, we turned South and beat the helicopter to Wesley.
Dad was unconscious, not responding. A head injury. I had a moment with him before they wheeled him into emergency surgery.
Then followed the long days of waiting for a sign of hope, of movement. He was in a coma. For 12 long days. Then his eyelids flickered. Then they opened. We saw those blue eyes again. But they didn't see me. He didn't know me for about another 2-3 weeks - long weeks of walking the halls in Wesley Medical Center.
I credit Betty, my stepmother, with praying him back to life. She dug in her heels and would not think a negative thought.
After a month at Wesley, he was transferred back to Great Bend. By December 14 he was home and walking and talking with nearly all of his memory back. There was still months of recovery ahead.
Last March, Dad celebrated his 80th birthday.
October 7, 2006 Saturday
BOOKS AND KIDS
IT'S THE ANNUAL
AT EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY
About 500 kids from across the state of Kansas participated today. Events at ESU included face-painting, writing fan letters to authors, beading, looking at zoo animals, having temporary tattoos applied, being bubbled and having characatures drawn.
This was a noisy parade. Sure there were two bands - Emporia Middle School and Emporia High School, but most of the volume came from the kids: "We're from Fowler, couldn't be prouder, if you can't hear us, we'll yell a little louder."
I ran into Gazette reporter Scott Rochat along on the sidewalk. As the herd of kids marched down the block, the chatter and chants all blended together and faded a bit in the distance.
"Sounds like a bunch of starlings," I told Scott.
"Less likely to attract shotguns though," he said.
(Emporia has a long-standing feud with the annoying starlings. When clouds of these birds take over neighborhoods, sometimes the cops come out and fire off a few rounds -- which merely chases the birds to the next neighborhood.)
Emporia High's band played "Stars and Stripes Forever."
"I'll have that tune running through my head the rest of the day," Scott said. But a few minutes later, I heard him sing along with the band, "On Wisconsin, on Wisconsin," so maybe that song is stuck in his head now. I know Wisconsin is still on my mind.
October 6, 2006 Friday
Dodge City is the county seat of Ford County.
Does Ford County have like a Chevorlet Township?
Hey, I'm on the air this morning at 6:35 and 8:35 a.m.
Or listen later to the archived commentary.
Read Along: Autumn in the Air
More from Washington, Kansas...
Using Marci Penner's Guidebook for Kansas Explorers, we easily found many of the sites and attractions in the town of Washington. It was like a scavenger hunt, tracking everything down.
Fun stuff, too.
October 5, 2006 Thursday
Tune in to KPR-FM tomorrow (Friday) morning at 6:35 and/or 8:35 a.m and likely you'll hear me talking about fall and football and Friday nights.
Barnes (pop. 144) is in Washington County and has two, count 'em, two dining establishments: the Hometown Cafe and Our Daily Bread. We ate lunch at the cafe and bought scones and a cookie at the bakery.
Barnes is along Kansas Highway 9.
October 4, 2006 Wednesday
OK, I have like a kazillion pictures from this last weekend's adventure to north central and northwest Kansas. I'm just torn about how to post them.
I like chronological order. My nature says to post them in sequence- all the Waterville pictures, then all the Barnes photos, then Washington, etc.
But I may just put pictures up as they call to me.
So we may be bouncing around the state without rhyme or reason. Take a Dramamine pill if you become dizzy.
October 3, 2006 Tuesday
Cheryl's Link of the Day:
This is cool... Free Hugs
From the Associated Press:
Nickerson: Camel Escape Ends in Tragedy.
It's Homesteading all over again. The City of Washington is offering free residential and business lots. Free! (Check out the Free Lot link on their website: www.washingtonks.net.)
Washington is a town of about 1,200 people. I counted three floral shops, so they must be a cheerful and giving bunch of people.
October 2, 2006 Monday
October 1, 2006 Sunday
Boy, do we have a lot to share with you! Dave and I took a 2-day excursion into north central and northwestern Kansas.
I don't even know where to begin. There was so much good stuff to see and photograph out there. So in the weeks ahead, expect a lot of cool stuff.
We were westbound on US36 and I slammed on the brakes when I saw the sign to the "Home on the Range" cabin. For some reason, I was thinking this cabin was located near the Colorado border, so it hadn't even been in my plans for this trip.
What a treasure. This was one of the highlights of the weekend:
The cabin is on private property, but visitors are welcome. It's a beautiful wooded spot in the country, just past several colorful milo fields and a family of wild turkeys.
And, just for the record, it was 97 degrees this afternoon when we were in Mitchell County.
Gotta love it. (Well, you don't have to love it, but I did. Can you believe it -- nearly 100-degrees on October 1.)
P.O. Box 1215, Emporia, Kansas 66801