Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2005

Grandparents’ Day good sharing past

October 6, 2005

Panic set in this rainy EudoraFest Saturday morning when I couldn't find my snippets of notes stashed here and there that were to become my column for this week.

Rummaging through several stacks of paper, which need to be sorted, I came across various articles torn from newspapers; some sent to me by friends keeping me apprised of just how bad things are today.

Stalling just a bit, I read every last article only to realize that it was an hour later and the theme of my column had not yet been found. After another 14 minutes of anxiety -- like there would never be another topic in my lifetime -- I found them gathered together with a paper clip, wrinkled and tea stained, jammed behind my printer where I keep some of my dirt.

As I sighed with relief, I read these great ideas that were to be a column and my heart fell -- they weren't that great. Lines like, grandparents day, lonely kids on K.U. campus, moving the office of Catholic Community Services, Katrina -- the best and worst, and finally Kelly Hunt, and Rose's Grocery store in Emporia.

Now is the question: Do I cram all of these into one column or do I concentrate on one theme? Somewhere I read that you should never totally exhaust a subject or there will be nothing left to write about next week. Amen to that! With this in mind I did an "eeny, meeny, minny, moe" and landed on Grandparents' Day, Kelly Hunt, and Rose's Grocery store.

Several weeks ago, my youngest grandson, Lucas Laws, invited me to his school to celebrate Grandparents' Day. Lucas is a 5-year-old charmer. Weighing about 40 pounds, he has huge, round blue eyes, a pointed chin and really thin little legs. He possesses a busy mind that encompasses such things as the solar system and such imaginings of how he has a television set and a recliner in his backpack, which he takes out at school when he is bored. He doesn't drop these bits of information all at once but only every now and then in a small, quiet voice sometimes accompanied with a big wink, which I understand he has just started using to charm the socks off of the school secretary and anyone else he chooses to bestow it upon.

Spending the morning with Lucas in his classroom on a little chair, I was asked to tell Lucas a story about my own childhood. He was then to draw a picture of that story for me to remember our day together.

Steering away from my more colorful adventures, I told him of my love for horses and how for several years I actually had a horse of my own, called Smokey.

In the re-telling I remembered days spent in the countryside riding my horse with my friend Rose who also had a pony. It brought to mind hot days in the summer when we rode for miles on dusty roads to return to the corner grocery store where we scraped together enough change for a Nehi grape soda.

We never had new jeans; in fact patched jeans were a badge of being a true horseman. Neither did we have saddles; any old rug would do as long as it was clean. We rode in the fall, too, bundled up in jackets and scarves. We rode until Thanksgiving, sometimes after the free movie that was shown for all the kids at the local movie house to get them out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. After that it was a long wait until spring while my horse got fat, grew a thick fur coat and tossed her head in my direction, indicating she never wanted to be ridden again.

At the end of my story, Lucas drew an interesting picture of me and my horse -- I could tell which one I was because his drawing featured me as a little stick person and the horse had a distinctive bushy tail. Not only had we shared a story of my own childhood but just reminiscing about those times recalled other times of my days growing up in Emporia.

To add to the sentimental journey, I tuned into Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" the next day, and was pleased to hear Lawrence's own Kelly Hunt and her band performing. Kelley also talked about growing up in Emporia and shared some of her best times there as a child, one of which was going to Rose's grocery story where Mrs. Rose would often slide a stick of candy into her grocery bag.

From there my thoughts turned to another grocery store, which figured a great deal in my childhood. This was Wieland's grocery at the corner of Sixth and East streets, which was owned by my best friend's father.

For several summers, my friend and I delivered groceries for her father in my 1930 Pontiac, which did not have a gas gauge. For that reason we had to stop often at the gas station down the street where a particularly good-looking boy was working the summer of my sophomore year in high school. It didn't take long for a summer romance to flourish -- at least on my part. His name was Buddy Schwartz and later I was to learn that he is the brother of our own Jane Clinton who was a teacher at Eudora High School for many years. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the one who got away was related to someone I knew 30 years later.

I never thought much of Grandparents' Day before but thanks to Lucas and his invitation I was fortunate to share memories with my grandchild and to experience a Hallmark card moment -- rather than just read one.

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