Archive for Thursday, December 5, 2002

New friendships start with chats

December 5, 2002

I recently had conversations with two interesting Eudorans. One a relatively new resident, Steven Bogler, who with his friend Bob Trapp, bought the old Christmas tree farm at the corner of old Highway 10 and Winchester Road (E 2100 Rd). They are transforming the rolling hills of their property into a lovely haven of gardens, lakes and eventually a million dollar home. And another conversation, while at the local fitness center, with Roberta Lehmann, a young mother of five children and a resident of Eudora since birth (with a few years away during college).

Being a nosy neighbor, I rode my bike one day down Winchester and straight through the gates of Steven Bogler's property. I have wanted to do this for many months as I've noticed the transformation of that property taking place. Not being able to see much from the road and buoyed on by accounts from other neighbors (Eva Belle Gerstenberger and Shawn Cleveland) that the new owners were very nice people, indeed, I sailed through the gates not sure what to expect. After talks with the young men who were working that day, I found the owners were not at home. As I was leaving, a truck drove up and out stepped a very tall, gentlemanly looking man (50ish) in overalls. What followed was a sometimes intense conversation about why Winchester Road was still not paved and a brief tour of the grounds, to be followed by a visit to his office where Steven presented me with gifts of a Trapp candle and room fresheners. It seems his friend Bob Trapp is the owner of the business that makes this wonderful line of lovely, little luxuries based in Kansas City, Mo. I felt I had made a new friend and thought as I pedaled away how nice these two gentlemen, who could obviously locate anywhere, have chosen Eudora for their soon-to-be new home. What an asset to our community. I'll bring brownies next time, Steve.

Another interesting conversation, on a rainy day when it was impossible to walk outside, was with Roberta Lehmann, the youngest member of the Tom and Alberta Pyle family. Pedaling my stationary bike at the fitness center, I noticed Roberta working her own program of lifting weights and using the exercise machines. Both of us attend Holy Family Church but have never really had a conversation. I began by commenting on the fact that most of her family has such good genes that the need to exercise didn't seem to be a necessity.

After exploring various topics such as living next door to her parents (she and her family love it) and her parent's health and her commitment to them as they age, we talked about her parenting techniques. We shared ideas about entertaining children when they were out of school on rainy days (having just spent the previous day entertaining my grandsons who were also out of school), and Roberta quickly ran through a list of activities designed to keep them entertained and maintain her sanity. I was struck by how nice in this day of family mobility that Roberta's children will grow up close to their grandparents and will be part of their day-to-day lives.

This reminded me of a scene long ago that is still fresh in my memory ? that of a little girl hanging onto her mother's leg at the gravesite of a member of Holy Family Church (Dorothy Anderson) as she was being buried.

I remembered thinking what a good thing it was that this little girl would not need to take a class on grieving in college to know what it was like to go to a funeral or witness a burial. No matter how we try to protect our young ones from the harsh reality of death, life intrudes and experiencing this cycle is really a sacred vent. I also thought how wonderful that in small towns we accompany each other through those cycles ? from baptisms through Holy Communions, confirmations, marriages and finally we see them through life's final door ? at the gravesite. That little girl was Roberta who along with her mother, Alberta, was seeing our friend Dorothy off on yet another new journey. How very fortunate Roberta has been to be part of that cycle, and now her children have that opportunity as well.

This has been a column, I guess, about new experiences and also a trip down memory lane. Thanks for letting me share with you these two conversations.

I would encourage you not to wait for an invitation to welcome someone to our community or fail to strike up a conservation with an acquaintance at the fitness center. Such small occurrences make our days memorable.

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