FlyoverPeople Daily News

News - May 2006


May 31, 2006  Wednesday


Allen's Service Station Hamilton Kansas

Allen's Service ~ Hamilton

I like how this station is tucked away in the middle of the block. Gas was $2.69. I'm betting that the bench in front of the window is constantly in use.


Last night in Emporia we had a gutter-washer. Well, actually the rain cleaned not only the gutters, but the streets. Water reached over the gutters and into yards.

It rained at least three inches in about an hour and the streets were deep with water. So deep that the Emporia Police Department interrupted cable TV with the emergency warning alert and asked that people stay put and not drive on the flooded streets.


Citizen's State Bank, Hamilton

Citizens State Bank ~ Hamilton

May 30, 2006  Tuesday


Hamilton post office


The Main Street of Hamilton was decorated with American flags for Memorial Day yesterday.

I'd driven through Hamilton before but had never stopped. It's a nice little town. Two places with food were open yesterday morning - Linda's and Hamilton House. Both had a number of cars around them.

It's kind of amazing that a town of 328 people has two eating establishments. And Hamilton also has the soda fountain at Holmes Sundries, which happened to be closed for the holiday.

Dave and I hadn't expected much to be open on Memorial Day, especially in small towns, and so we ate breakfast before we left home.

As we were photographing buildings on Main Street, a man and woman left the Hamilton House and walked by.

"How was breakfast," I asked. "What do they serve there?"

"Mostly conversation and B.S.," the man joked.

They were a friendly couple and we visited for a few minutes.

Hamilton is in Greenwood County along K-99, about 30 miles south of Emporia.


Holmes Sundries - Hamilton Kansas

Holmes Sundries

Holmes Sundries has an old-fashioned soda fountain inside.

We'll have to return when they're open.

Dave took this photo. There were clouds in the sky over Hamilton, but the sun was on the verge of breaking through. He waited a long time for a sunbeam that would help etch out the details of the building.




May 29, 2006  Monday - Memorial Day


On the road again....


sign to  Leon, Kansas - 8 miles via county road

We had to stop for a picture of this!

My brother has always been thrilled that a Kansas town shares his name.

Located in Butler County, Leon is home to about 646 people.



May 28, 2006 Sunday


Memorial Day barbecue at the Eastside Memorial Park

A couple hundred people show up for today's annual barbecue

at the Eastside Memorial Park.

Ribs, chicken, brisket, hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks were provided by the Emporia Eastside Community Group. Individuals and families brought side dishes to share.

I had brisket and ribs. Man, these guys know how to BBQ.

This event has been going on for six or seven years on Memorial Day weekend. At some point, Barbara Finch put together photos of community members who have died. Those photos were displayed today. Because of Finch's attention to loved ones who have passed on, the group decided to rename the park

Eastside Memorial Park.

The installation of playground equipment and the shelterhouse will begin sometime in the near future. Community members and local artists have been asked to offer designs and suggestions for the park's memorial feature.




Dave and Steve Webb visited Magda this morning. The townsite has almost vanished -- looks like even the ghosts have left.

Here are a couple photos of what remains.



Cottonwood River Bridge - Emporia

Welcome to Emporia - IV.

Driving into Emporia from the south on K-99, this is the first thing you'll see - the old Cottonwood River Bridge. Although no longer used for traffic, the Marsh Rainbow Arch bridge was saved. It's a popular fishing spot and a fun place to go just to watch

the river run.



Veteran's Memoria - Emporia Kansas

Near the bridge is the All Veteran's Memorial which will attract a large crowd tomorrow (Monday) morning at 9:15.

According to the Emporia Gazette, The Emporia Municipal Band will play, the colors raised, a prayer offered. Speakers include American Legion National Chaplain James Akers, Sen. Jim Barnett, Rep. Peggy Mast, Rep. Don Hill and City Commissioner Ray Toso.

The memorial roll call will be read, flowers and wreaths placed.

Ron Whitney and Col. Lee Stolfus will give readings. There will be a firing squad and the city band will play the ever mournful "Taps."


Across from the Veteran's Memorial is the Emporia Zoo and the shady Soden's Grove Park.

Of the four directions, the entrance to Emporia from the south is the most beautiful way to drive into town.


Emporia Zoo sign



May 27, 2006 Saturday


E for ESU - planted yellow flowers - welcome sign

Welcome to Emporia - III.

Welcome to Emporia State University.

If you enter Emporia on K-99 from the north, or take exit 130 off I-35, you always get a lovely welcome.

ESU groundskeepers keep things beautiful. Their plantings make a good first impression to visitors, especially here at Eighteenth and Merchant and around the circle drive

at Twelfth and Commercial.

The angle of the photograph doesn't really show off the design, but that is the pointy-E, the "Power-E" symbol of

Emporia State University.

Go To ESU!

I like the slogan that ESU uses in some of its advertising: "Start here, go anywhere."



NCAA Track banners

I stopped by ESU during a down-time of the NCAA Track Meet this afternoon. Nothing was going on. To keep people from watching the track meet for free from the north end of the stadium, these colorful banners decorated the fence, showing photographs from past meets.

That hurdle photograph in the center with the red track was taken at ESU during a previous year. The hurdles have "Emporia State" written on them.

The parking lot was filled with vehicles from Missouri, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, and other states. Motel rooms around town are booked. Some teams had to stay in Topeka. This is a big event for Emporia.



Holiday weekend or not, garage sales go on.

Around here, quite a few sales begin on Friday afternoon and continue on Saturday. Some are Saturday only.

Garage sale signs on light pole


May 26, 2006 Friday


Remembering those who served.


Robert Stiner & Laura Stiner - cemetery headstone
Evergreen Cemetery - South of Emporia




Afternoon clouds slunk away, opening up the sky to another round of blue. The temperature was around 90 this afternoon.

Today was the last day of school in Emporia.

Gas is down to $2.59.



May 25, 2006 Thursday


Rainbow photo banner

Over the Rainbow


One of Dave's photos welcomes the NCAA participants to Kansas and Emporia State University. Several of these banners hang in the Memorial Union at ESU.

Today through Saturday, ESU hosts the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championship with 625 athletes participating.

Want Dave's rainbow on your computer? It's available.


Red sequins were glued to Adidas track shoes which were used as table decorations for last night's NCAA Championship Banquet at ESU.

Red sequins... you know, ruby slippers, Oz, Over the Rainbow...

Welcome to Kansas.

red-sequined shoes


May 24, 2006 Wednesday

"What's with the drab theme of the last two days?" I was asked this evening.

I agree. The sign pictures have been dreary. Part of that, of course, is the suffocating sky in the photographs.

At any rate, here's a quick antidote: pink poppies from Toad Hollow.


pink poppies



Temporarily Closed for Facelift

Welcome to Emporia - II.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that it's been at least 10 years (probably more) that a convenience store at Twelfth and Burlingame Road closed. At that time, the words on the sign said, "Temporarily Closed for Facelift."

Since then the building has been torn down, but the sign and what's left of the message remain.

This is at an exit of Interstate Highway 35. The first thing visitors to Emporia see as they leave the Interstate at Burlingame Road is a closed Burger King and an open convenience store/auto repair shop across the street. That's a Hardee's in the background of the picture and Emporia's funky water tower. Further down Twelfth street is a Mr. Goodcents with a miniature golf course, a Dillons grocery store, a Dairy Queen, Emporia State University....



I was standing in my front yard yesterday morning and my eye caught something moving. I couldn't see it well through the neighbor's shrubs, but it was dog. A large, loose dog was at the corner, running my way.

Large, running dogs usually don't bite people, they're too busy running, but nevertheless, I wondered whether I should jump in the car for protection.

Then as the dog approached, quickly I might add, I realized that it was not a dog, but a deer. A deer. Smack dab in the center of Emporia.

It sailed past me in the yard, ran into the street, took a left at the intersection and a right into the alley.

I have deer prints in my yard.


May 23, 2006 Tuesday


Or regret it forever

Welcome to Emporia.

This sign is along I-35 as you enter Emporia from the east.

And, there's another sign across the road for traffic leaving town.


As I sit here at 7 a.m., the sun is up, but it lurks behind the trees on the east side of the street. Light dances on redbud leaves. The sky has thin, milky clouds.

It looks a little hazy out, but then I noticed the window is dirty. Yesterday evening, I used the hose to spray off an accumulation of dust from the siding and the porch floor. Now I need to Windex the windows.

(Yeah I know, I'm using Windex improperly. Well, I'm using the word improperly--I haven't actually Windexed the windows yet--hee-hee-hee. Windex is not a verb. I'll bet that my brother, the copy editor, cringes when he reads my blog. I wish I could say that all my grammar and spelling mistakes are included here just as a means of torturing my big brother, but most of the time I just don't catch my own errors.)

Actually, it is a bit hazy. Humidity has returned to Kansas. We had a rain last night before sunset and today's high is expected to be about 89.


Red poppies and pretty blue flowers...

(Someone will let me know what they are, I'm sure. Roger told me the other day but I didn't write it down. The names of flowers fly out of my head. I must trap them on paper.)



Roger's reponse:

"The blue flowers are called Nigela or Love-in-a-Mist. They make interesting dried seed pods."

blue flowers


April Buckman's hypertufa pots
April Buckman made these and other hypertufa pots which are for sale at Toad Hollow.



Art deco.

I don't know, can anyone hear the word columbine and not think... Columbine? Two opposing images.

Some words and names are taken over by events and will never return to their initial meaning.

Columbine, Katrina, Pearl Harbor.



May 22, 2006 Monday

You've seen the pretty flowers of Toad Hollow.

Here are the major players - the people who make the garden grow:

Nina West, Empress of Toad Hollow, visits with a guest.

Meanwhile, Roger Heineken, who labors freely and endlessly at Toad Hollow, adds a subtle blast of orange to the garden's spring palette.


Gaylord West talks to the dog that adopted the family.



Jane Russell, the dog

Jane Russell, the dog.

I need to ask Gaylord how (or why) he selected the dog's name.

I remember Jane Russell from TV commercials when I was a kid. She sold the 18-hour Playtex bra "for us full-figured gals. I'm wearing it over my clothes today to show you the cross-your-heart design," she'd say.




Suzanne West

She's always as fresh and sunny as a spring morning, but

Suzanne West, Gaylord and Nina's daughter-in-law, doesn't mind digging in the dirt.


Toad Hollow is a business. But they do it for love.


May 21, 2006 Sunday


Lyon County Courthouse Archway - 1901

Just east of Toad Hollow stands the archway to the 1901 Lyon County Courthouse. This stone structure abutted the building and the main doorway was under the arch. See an old postcard of the courthouse.

After the 1950s courthouse was built, the archway was moved to this property, which at the time, had a nightclub called The Rocks.

Later, the nightclub was converted to more of a steak house/supper club. It was being remodeled in 1962 when an explosion occurred, killing the residents, a husband and wife, who lived in part of the building.

With permission of the current property owners (Caleb and Suzanne West), Roger Heineken, one of my frequently-consulted sources of history in the Emporia area, showed me around the place.

According to Roger, there was once a gas station on the SE corner of Toad Hollow's property and motel cabins not too far away (one cabin remains). Also, W.W. Finney committed suicide in this area. Finney was involved in the 1930s Kansas Bond Scandal.



archway back

A view from the back of the archway shows the countryside and the road that locals call "old, old highway 50."

Old, old highway 50 was built in 1931. It runs south of and parallels I-35 (which serves as the current U.S. 50) through eastern Lyon County.

Old (one old) highway 50 also parallels I-35, but is located north of the Interstate.



Detail on the 1901 Lyon County Courthouse archway.

Lyon County was named for Nathaniel Lyon, a Civil War hero, but, for the sake of cleverness, we have a lion.

Lyon County lion - 1901 A. D.


May 20, 2006 Saturday

On Rural Street this afternoon, I noticed a cluster of chairs near the curb in front of a house. A lemonade stand? When I drove closer, I noticed it was college-aged kids, holding cans of beer and a couple of signs reading something like "You honk; we drink."

ESU graduation was last weekend. The Tech College today, Emporia High tomorrow. As I passed the civic auditorium on my way to buy gas ($2.75), people were gathering: kids in caps and gowns, parents, families, and one loose terrier running across Sixth Street.


A row of irises at

Toad Hollow.

I keep wanting to use iris to mean more than one. Iris seems plural already (you know, like deer/deer), but apparently irises is the plural form. To me, that just seems like a whole extra syllable used for nothing.

row of irises



Irises: Up Close and Personal

(Remember that Robert Redford / Michelle Pfeiffer movie with the same title?

Not that that has anything to do with irises, but, well, my mind wanders.)



May 19, 2006 Friday

After at least three weeks of chilly, damp weather with way too many clouds, it's finally warm enough to wear shorts again! Give me sunshine, 80 degrees and shorts and, well, that's it, that's all I need for a happy day. And maybe an ice cream cone. No, make that a chocolate shake.


A path through the shade garden with hostas and other happy plants. angel path at Toad Hollow



Gaylord West working at Toad Hollow
Gaylord West cleans a daylily bed at Toad Hollow.


May 17, 2006 Wednesday


Iris Girl

The colors change daily.

I took this photo on Sunday during Toad Hollow's Open House. "Urgent" is the name of this apricot-colored iris.




Toad Hollow Iris and Daylily Farm - Emporia

Iris Season

Toad Hollow's Iris Tours continue this weekend.

May 20 & 21  - 10 a.m. to  4 p.m.

1534 Road 170

Emporia, Kansas



May 16, 2006 Tuesday

dog and cat

Even working dogs like to play.

Both dogs on the Ride Into History farm liked to carry around old dodge and soccer balls. Ann told me they have a "dead-dodge-ball supplier," a friend who brings them worn out balls for the dogs.


May 15, 2006 Monday


From NPR...  

"Move over Chanel No. 5! Now there's Eau de Play-Doh. That's right, it's a perfume that smells like Play-Doh. Toy-maker Hasbro is celebrating the modeling clay's 50th anniversary with the scent. A spokesman claims Play-Doh's smell is one of the most enduring memories. Hasbro figures smelling the perfume will transport people back to their childhood. It sells for $19 a bottle. Look for it at fine stores everywhere."


I keep a couple of containers of Play-Doh on hand, just so I can occasionally pull open those soft plastic lids and inhale. Deeply.

Man, I love the smell... I mean... the fragrance of Play-Doh.

Well, now I have to go and and find my tub of orange Play-Doh. (Or the lime green stuff. Doesn't matter, they both smell the same.)




Another shot of the Ride Into History barn. This barn style was commonly constructed between 1870 and 1900.

Joyce said this barn could have been built as late as the World War I era, but that more likely it went up closer to the turn of the century.


Ann Birney and Pepper the Pinto

Ann Birney and Pepper in the corral.


Pepper sometimes travels along with Joyce when she performs one of her historical characters, "Grower." Grower is a Woman of the Earth Lodge People and tells the story of life from an 1804 perspective.

To learn about performances available by Ride Into History and other historians, check out A Guide to Historic Performance in Kansas.

These performers offer "Sod Bustin'," "Gladys the Riveter," and "Nan's Covered Wagon." You can schedule performances and learn about the Texas cattle drives or the Civil War home front, Clyde Cessna or Louise Thaden.

Joyce Thierer and Ann Birney, as Ride Into History, perform a number of characters themselves: Calamity Jane, Amelia Earhart, Grower, Julia Archibald Holmes, Georgiana Jackson, Rosa Fix, Elizabeth Hampstead.

Read More about these Ride Into History characters.

Their enthusiasm for history is contagious. In 2004, I watched Ann Birney perform as Amelia Earhart at the Kansas Sampler Festival. I was so fascinated by the story, that not only did a write a column about Ann's performance, I went to the library to learn more about Amelia Earhart and her 1937 disappearance.


Joyce and cat

Joyce Thierer with one of the four cats on the farm.

This cat isn't too fond of horses.


May 14, 2006 Sunday - Mother's Day




Joyce Thierer and Ann Birney are Ride Into History. They write and perform first-person narratives. Joyce most often acts out the life

of Calamity Jane and Ann's favorite character is Amelia Earhart.

Ann and Joyce travel across Kansas and the United States performing at events and in schools, not telling about history, but showing it, revealing it, with their stories and clothing and props. Two of their horses, Spirit and Dusty, often travel along and are part of the program.

With a passion to teach authentic history rather than mythical history, Joyce and Ann started Ride Into History in 1994. You will find them at Chautauquas, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events, the Kansas Sampler Festival, at Kansas Humanities presentations.

For these women, the stories of individuals is what is important in teaching history. "The narrative, the narrative, the narrative. Where are the people? What are the stories? What are the decisions they're making?" Ann said.

Joyce Thierer and Pepper the pinto

Joyce Thierer prepares Pepper

for riding.

Not only do Ann Birney and Joyce Thierer research and perform, but they also provide workshops to train other historical performers.


In the barn - Ann Birney

Ann Birney

in the Ride Into History barn.


Barn and steel silo
Joyce Thierer teaches history at Emporia State University and specializes in agrarian, western and women's history. She said that this is one of only a few metal silos still standing.


May 13, 2006 Saturday


Cheryl on a horse named Pepper

Whoa! Sometimes you end up in places that you'd never expect to be again. Like on the back of a horse.

Ann Birney sent an e-mail this week, said she had something for me - from the Kansas Sampler Festival - and wanted to

arrange a time to deliver it.

Because I had never been to the Ride Into History farm near Admire where she and Joyce Thierer live, we made arrangements for me to pick it up there.

No, the surprise was not a pony, but I did get to ride

this sweet Pinto named Pepper. I had not been on a horse since I was about 16.


Stay tuned for additional photos from the farm.


We Kan! award

This came from Marci Penner and the Kansas Sampler Foundation.

The ceramic plate was made by

Elk Falls Pottery of

Elk Falls, Kansas.




jet contrail

What a glorious day.


Singing birds.

Warm air. No wind.

Green world.

Blue sky. Sunshine.




May 12, 2006 Friday

Hmm... I don't know what happened today. Gas went back up to $2.85.



Today: Sunshine. 70.

Yellow finch wings on the welcome mat. Bad cat.

Gas has been selling at $2.65 for most of the week!


Saturday: William Allen White House State Historical Site FREE DAY

Tour the William Allen White House State Historic Site this Saturday for free. In recognition of the one year anniversary, the William Allen White Community Partnership, Inc board is inviting you to tour at no charge Saturday, May 13 from 2 PM to 5 PM; last tour begins at 4:30.

Soon, days and hours of operation expand. Beginning Thursday, June 1 the historic site will welcome visitors Wednesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM; last tour begins at 4:30 PM.

William Allen White Home

William Allen White House

State Historical Site

927 Exchange


May 11, 2006 Thursday

I appreciate Tiger's dedication to provide us sustenance (since we are incapable of catching our own food), but still, it's a little disgusting to walk out the front door and keep finding dead birds in various stages of dismemberment.

This week there have been three dead birds on the doorstep, feathers scattered over the welcome mat.


Tiger sniffing cactus

Not everything smells good.

Tiger after sniffing cactus


May 10, 2006 Wednesday

OK, I've mentioned the radio commentary for three days now. But this is one of my favorite ones.

If you listen, be sure to scroll down to the SECOND set of options, the set that has the intro and music. Click here to listen.

Here's the text.


May 9, 2006 Tuesday


This morning didn't work out, but hey, I might be on the radio Wednesday morning!







This puppy is in the neighbor's backyard.

He's a good dog. He seldom barks -- that's my definition of a good dog anyway.


May 8, 2006 Monday


Hey, I might be on the radio Tuesday morning.

Kansas Public Radio will likely air my commentary "Drama Queen" at 

6:35 and 8:35 a.m.

You can listen online if you're interested.


old radio



A Willie Nelson song comes to mind today:

Blue skies, smiling at me

Nothing but blue skies do I see

Blue days all of them gone

Nothing but blue skies from now on.

Yippee! The sun came out. The clouds are gone (temporarily). Rain is predicted for most of the week.


tree-shaded street

This is what many streets look like in the heart of Emporia.

Neighborhoods established over a hundred years ago have plenty of mighty and meaty old trees.


Oh, and hey, look at those shadows on the street. Ya gotta have sunshine to get shadows like that.



Salvia is blooming.




May 6, 2006 Saturday


Phoebe's Cafe & Cakes - Emporia

Phoebe's Cafe and Cakes

We had lunch here today. Phoebe's opened a couple months ago, I suppose, but this was our first visit.

I had quiche and potato soup and two tiny chocolate cupcakes (25 cents each). It was a good meal.

Also on the menu: hot Italian pasta meals, sandwiches, salads, Panini grilled sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, scones.

AND desserts:  brownies, fruit tarts, cookies, baklava, cheesecake, cupcakes, creme brulee, cakes...


Phoebe's is at 332 Commercial in Emporia and is open for breakfast and lunch, Monday - Saturday.

Phoebe also makes wedding cakes, birthday cakes, etc.



soup and quiche



Another rainy, gloomy day. I don't know how many days of clouds we've had in a row. (I lost count after Day 1.)

At the Farmers Market there were only about six vendors: lettuce, radishes, jelly, honey, plants. Drizzle, sprinkles, rain. Not a good day to stand around in the parking lot at Seventh and Merchant.



What is the Kansas White Way? I'd never heard of it until I found Lori Parker's Web site: Kansas White Way.

From her site:

May 15, 1914, 500 intrepid souls braved a dusty, winding, meandering rural road through northern Kansas. It was the inauguration of the Kansas portion of the Great White Way, which stretched from Chicago to Colorado Springs. In honor of their feat--and just for the fun of it-- let's do it again on May 13, 2006.

And this:



Sounds like fun.


This weekend (May 6-7) is the Kansas Sampler Festival in Garden City.


May 5, 2006 Friday


The price of gas dropped from $2.85 to 2.75.

Thick clouds muted the sun today. No screaming rays, just a smear of gray.

Recent rains have turned the world as green as it ever gets.

Sometimes I hear mourning doves--another good thing about spring.

Garage sale season has begun, bringing with it garage sale parking: against the flow of traffic, along the side of the street where no parking is allowed, blocking neighbors' driveways, three feet from the curb. Car doors open into traffic, kids run into the street, adults step in front of moving cars. I imagine that garage-saleing is the 8th leading cause of death during warm weather months.


Water Lilly
Another lily on Roger's pond.


May 4, 2006 Thursday


Bigger Baby Birds

Same baby birds from 4/29 entry. Only bigger. They have eyes.

The birdies are still in the blue bowl hanging from Roger Heineken's porch ceiling, but I had to crop out the bowl because the birdies' parents pooped all over it. Can you believe that? The whole wide world they have to poop on and where do they do it? On the babies' bassinet.

Sure, it's nature, and I could've included it, but it just had an ick factor that I chose to avoid.




Water Lily
On Roger's Pond


May 3, 2006 Wednesday


downtown Lebo

A block of downtown Lebo.

The top of that I.O.O.F. building on the right, now the Lebo Senior Citizens Center, indicates it was built in 1898.

You don't see too many Rexall Drug Stores around anymore.



Garrison Keillor wrote about Mother's Day. He's funny.

Read: Let's Talk About You and Your Mother.

(Now see, if I recommend all these other things for you to read, I don't actually have to blog anything myself.)


May 2, 2006 Tuesday


Last week I mentioned the delightful writing in Tom Parker's blog, Dispatches from Kansas. And I complained that he didn't post often enough.


I'm happy to report that today he added another well-written column: "Sudden Summer, Little Acts of War."


It's excellent and entertaining. I highly recommend it.



The Lebo Gazebo

The Lebo Gazebo

Part of the Memory Garden in downtown Lebo.


May 1, 2006 Monday


bowling ball with hat

Miss Majorie

That's the name written on the base of this sculpture. There was no indication as to whom Miss Majorie (not Marjorie--unless it's misspelled) is or was.

I found this in downtown Lebo in

the Memory Garden.



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P.O. Box 1215, Emporia, Kansas 66801