Archive for Thursday, January 8, 2004

Bits and Pieces

Matinees, cruises illuminate post-holiday blahs

January 8, 2004

The big days (Christmas and New Year's) have come and gone for another year. I finally got the Christmas tree and lights taken down. I loved my tree.
My grandchildren were upset when they heard I was not going to have a tree this year. One cold evening several weeks before Christmas the doorbell rang, and I found the three "G" boys on my doorstep proudly displaying a beautiful tree they bought for me at a local tree stand.
It was the best one I have ever had -- not only beautiful but also a gift bought with love. What more could you want for Christmas? I wanted to wait until the Christmas season came to its official end on Epiphany, Jan. 6, to take down the outdoor lights, but with the snowstorm Sunday it was better to take them down earlier. What a switch after the past few days, which have been practically balmy.
Reading Theresa Abel's column, "Days Gone By," in the paper last week reminded me what December used to be like. She mentioned that in December of 1973 "rain and sleet damaged many trees and shrubs. Five inches of snow fell in a weekend, and temperatures hovered between zero and 10 degrees."
I remember those days. The kids were always delighted because school was out, but making the trip to Lawrence to work each day was hazardous. Besides, I always felt like Cinderella -- everyone playing in the snow and having fun while I had to go to work.
Speaking of feeling like Cinderella, 16 couples from Eudora were in Florida last weekend preparing to board a cruise ship for a four- or five-day cruise through the Caribbean. Don Durkin, who organizes the Eudora ski trip during spring break, also organized the cruise. I'm sure they will have a great time. Do you suppose they will think of us once in awhile?
My grandson Grant will be staying with me part of that time while his parents are living it up in the sun. Maybe I'll get some good stuff for a "kid column."
I've been scoping out the news stories from last year in the Eudora News the past two weeks wondering what all of you think was the top story in 2003. I had a hard time deciding.
Certainly the pool bond failing to pass was a big one. Tragically, long time Eudora resident Naomi Kidd died in a fire that demolished her home, and two other Eudora teenagers were severely injured in an automobile accident on Kansas Highway10 just before Christmas.
The completion of the new high school and the initiation of several school related programs, the Eudora Community Learning Center and a high school completion program, along with plans for an upcoming high-tech program yet to be decided upon by the state, were all big stories for the community.
Bill Long retired as police chief after 35 years, and many of the Relay for Life committee members retired as well after leading the community in raising a record-breaking $65,000 plus in 2003.
Living on Winchester Road, I'm partial to the road project, which finally saw Winchester paved in 2003. Considering that this has been years in the doing, it is a big story. Now I'm waiting for the city to come fill in the big trench they left alongside my yard. I haven't complained about it yet. Can this qualify as a formal complaint?
I'm not sure what most people do on New Year's Eve -- stay home, I think -- but I do know what they do on New Year's Day. They go to the movies in droves. Unless you bought a ticket early, it's doubtful that you got into the movie of your choice that day. Two movies I managed to see were noteworthy.
It's doubtful that "Something's Gotta Give" starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton will win any awards, but it will certainly give you a few laughs. It should boost the morale of women over 40 or 50. Without giving away the plot, it was great to see Keaton playing the part of the older woman -- wrinkles and all -- being wooed by the ever-entertaining Nicholson and the young, handsome Keanu Reeves. I'll let you wonder which one gets the girl/woman.
"Shattered Glass," described by the critic in the Lawrence Journal-World as a "masterful movie," recounts the true story of a young journalist, Stephen Glass, who fabricates 27 of the 41 articles he wrote for the "New Republic" in the late 1990s. As a young, gifted writer he becomes enamored of his own writing ability to entertain, thus furthering his own ambitious career. Never mind that what he wrote was fiction in a magazine known for its scrupulous accuracy. As the critic says, "the film is a fascinating look at how a situation like this could be allowed to occur."
Might sound slow, but trust me it's a real study in the complexity of human nature.
Another must-see movie on the critic's list was "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" starring Russell Crowe -- "an epic story of war at sea during the Napoleonic Wars."
According to my friend Pat Kedhe, who is part owner of a bookstore in Lawrence and a person who would rather read the book than see the movie, this one is truly a must-see. She read the book. In fact she read all of the books in this series by author Patrick O'Brien.
Now, go buy a ticket (early) and watch one of the above. Maybe I'll see you at "Cold Mountain" or "Lord of the Rings." Which part are we up to now? Caution: Must be seen with your resident teenager to explain what's going on now in this new episode with the hobbits and the dwarfs (or is it "orcs?" Or is that another movie?)
Saying goodbye to 2003 and moving on, there is big news in 2004. Anthony Brown is running as a Republican for the Kansas House seat left vacant by Rob Boyer, who is seeking a seat in the 9th Kansas Senate District.
Anthony, of the rugged good looks and his wife, Susie of the sweet, heart-shaped face, despite their boy/girl next-door appearance, have five children and have been residents of Eudora for sometime. Quite naturally, Anthony says family issues will be uppermost in his mind as he seeks office. Congratulations, Anthony. I'm sure you will have a lot of support from friends in Eudora.

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