Archive for Thursday, January 30, 2003

Winter weather brings on brain freeze

January 30, 2003

Being a novice writer, I've often heard others who write on a daily or weekly basis say you soon hit a "dry spell." I think this is it -- my very own "dry spell." In the past, various topics that interested me seemed to leap from my head onto the page, and the words flowed. Well, just like the Kansas landscape, my well has gone dry. And so I will return to my original rather spastic style, which includes several brief topics.

First topic: Snow. Yes, we had snow again. While not quite as magical as our first snow, it provided another brief chance, before we shoveled out, to be quiet and reflective. Just the sheer quiet of a snowy evening is soothing. You stick your head out to see if it's still coming down, and there is a lovely absence of noise before you return to the comfort and warmth of your kitchen or study.

Somehow wasting time seems to be much easier when it's snowy. We have permission to watch old movies, re-read the paper or an old novel like "Little Women."

The cleaning fit I experienced during the first snow is over. Instead I found myself roaming about the house eating some form of "forbidden fruit" like banana bread and not feeling guilty about not exercising. After all, it was too snowy to get to the fitness center, wasn't it?

My son-in-law Shawn once told me he loved winter because, being a restless spirit, he could give himself permission to rest during the cold season. So when the next snow arrives take a break. You'll soon be shoveled out and all excuses to kick back will be cancelled. (P.S. -- I heard it was 25 degrees in Florida recently. Bet all those rich "snow bunnies" are wishing they had stayed in Minnesota.)

Second topic: Relay for Life and one of our survivors.

I know you think I beat this subject to death, but being so involved it's hard not to mention that we are once again planning the relay for this summer -- actually June 6 and 7. This brings me to the "heart" of our relay -- the survivors. Each year we invite about 160 survivors to take part in the relay, and for the last six years many of them have been returning to every relay. One of these happened to be a small gentleman who always arrived and took the survivor lap on his scooter. His name was Kenny Badger. Kenny was the official greeter at Hy-Vee in Lawrence at the 23rd street location. Sitting in his wheelchair, his was the friendly face that welcomed shoppers as they came through the door. After surviving cancer for many years as well as heart problems, Kenny died Jan. 8 at the age of 72.

I thought it was appropriate that one of the music selections at his funeral was "The Dance." He "dances" now and will continue to do so in our memory as relay rolls around and his familiar scooter is missing from the survivor lap.

Third topic: Comment on the recent Council/School Board Meeting with State Rep. Rob Boyer.

I was excited to read the comments made by Boyer during his recent visit to Eudora. His stance on generating new business in our state through help and support for small businesses is, in my opinion, commendable. I have long thought the practice of enticing large companies into our state by providing tax abatements is unfair to all of our small businesses whose loyalties and roots are in our communities and who receive none of the same benefits. As Boyer stated "these (small) businesses have also provided 70 percent of the state's new jobs."

Let's support him with the hope that his follow-up in promoting local entrepreneurs is as significant as his words.

Fourth and last topic: The possibility of war in Iraq.

As I write this, I -- along with many others -- are still hoping a war can be avoided. Talking with friends about the tensions now surrounding this issue, the mood seems to be one of "waiting for the other shoe to drop." Many life decisions seem to be on hold until the decision is made to invade or not to invade Iraq.

For one young couple whose story came to my attention recently, the final decision will change their lives, possibly forever. My friend and relay survivor Mary Higgins called me recently asking for a favor. It seems her daughter-in-law Genevieve (Oxley) Higgins, who recently married Mary's son Ryan and who is a member of the armed forces, is being called up and may be shipped to Kuwait sometime in the next two weeks. With only 11 months left in her tour of duty, Genevieve thought being called up was a remote possibility, but fate intruded, and she will soon be on her way. Mary's request was that I have a St. Christopher medal she recently purchased for Genevieve blessed by a priest, hoping to provide some comfort for her on her journey. This I did with the hope that it will not only protect Genevieve but also send her home quickly to her new husband and family.

This sober subject reminds me of a daily reading at Mass this past week, which was one of hope and one that seemed to be appropriate for this particular anxious time. It is from Hebrews 6: 10-20 and states: "Like a sure and firm anchor, hope extends beyond the veil which Jesus, our forerunner, has entered on our behalf."

Let us all be strengthened by these words as we await the decision that may send our young people off to fight in strange and foreign lands.

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