Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year – 2018

Wishing a Merry Christmas and a great New Year has set my mind to spinning. Sixty-four years since my first date request from Rodney Wilson. That was to go out for a hamburger after operetta rehearsal on Wednesday night. He didn’t know that mid-week nights were off limits. I was a junior in high school and he was in junior college…a returned navy veteran…much older than me. Now it has been six and a half years that Rodney has been gone and it seems that has been forever. My brain keeps going back to the question – What made the difference for us? What we trusted shaped the way we lived. I often find myself wondering – what was it all about? One difference had to have been how much we talked about everything. When I think about the amount of time we spent apart…he...

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The Snowy Christmas

The Snowy Christmas

The Christmas of the big snow! Who can forget it? Presents and turkey took a back seat that year of 1967. We board the Santa Fe’s Texas Chief in Chicago and wake the next morning in Kansas. A world in dazzling white greets us. As we leave the train we exclaim, “Where is Grandaddy? He always meets us.” We find a phone in the station. Grandaddy’s car stuck in the snow meant several hours of waiting at the Osage Hotel. A taxi takes us into town and we mostly squirm and look at our watches. Grandaddy’s neighbor finally manages to plow his driveway and we are rescued from boredom. The translucent landscape beckons as we drive the three miles east of town to the grandparent’s hilly pastureland. The kids Ben, thirteen (now sixty-three), Tim, eleven (now sixty-one) and...

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Birding and Priscilla

Birding and Priscilla

Priscilla and I arrange to meet in Phoenix. She skips a meeting and suggests we go birding in the Tuscon region. “Sure,” I say, not very interested. or knowledgeable about birds. We stay someplace where desert birds abound. Priscilla loans me binoculars and advises me to look at the eyes and wings. At our first sighting, Priscilla turns to me. “What do you see over there?” I look and search the tree where she points. Hesitating, I say “…a little gray bird.” “Look at the eyes. Do you see the ring around them?” she says. Torn between honesty and friendship, I say “Oh, yeah. Now I see,” “You don’t see it all, do you?” she asks. “No, but this is fun,” I say. She gives me this resigned look and we continue to look for birds. I am amazed at her patience with a bird...

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Discovering the Amazing Black Hoof Park

Discovering the Amazing Black Hoof Park

An afternoon appointment in Lawrence means a time to do some exploring on the way there. Black Hoof Park has been mentioned as an interesting spot. Exploring on the internet, I discover where this park is. My internet hunt leads me to the west end of Lenexa…perfect for a stop on my way to Lawrence. Off I go… Google Map directs me to a south-west street down through Lenexa which takes me to 95th street. The 160 acre Black Hoof Park on the west end of Lenexa includes diverse wildlife, trails, a picnic shelter, and playground. Lake Lenexa holds the center of my sight as I pull into the parking lot. After I choose an area as far from the playground as possible, I park, hop out and head down toward the lake. A paved trail next to grass still wet from the...

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Celebrating with Creole

Celebrating with Creole

December 29 I celebrate my third evening of family dining with my second grandson and his family. We drive to downtown St. Paul and Jeffrey says, “We are going to Brasa, the city’s top-pick of kid-friendly restaurants.”  We pull into the parking lot and see the rooster symbol behind the name, Brasa on the front of the building. Five of us unload (Christy, Aurora, Teegan, Jarvis and me) and wait for Jeffrey to park the car. As the door opens tantalizing smells waft across our path. We are fortunate we’ve arrived a few moments before several other families come through the door. Brasa doesn’t take reservations, but we only wait a few minutes before we are led to a table for six in the back corner of this rather small restaurant. Every...

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Eighty-five Years of Adventure

Eighty-five Years of Adventure

As an author, I experience that one of the hardest moments of working on a book is deciding the title. Maybe that comes easily for some folks, but I always struggle with that task. Several years before his death, Rodney Wilson began work on his life story. Many bits of paper were filed away in the bottom right-hand drawer of his monster-size desk in his office. His grandson-Jeffrey interviewed him about his Navy service in 2006. We had this taped conversation transcribed and filed away. Then in 2008, a gentleman from the Veterans History Project came to our house and talked with him about his Navy experiences. Several months later we received the typed transcription. What a prize. I found articles about his work, speeches he made here and there, letters from...

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