Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Controversy-free zone

Columnist eschews martyrdom for congeniality

August 24, 2006

August has finally outdone itself -- blistering heat, no rain, and green grass gone to brown stubble that pricks bare feet as you drag the garden hose to water trees still struggling in the heat.

As I drive to C&S Market, I see skinny, little boys in neon lime green and orange swim trunks pumping their bikes to the pool, oblivious of the heat as only the young can be.

The rain that has watered Ottawa and Tonganoxie has detoured around Eudora on many evenings as I watch clouds gather and bypass our town to the north and south.

As I drove by the garage sale last Sunday organized by Tom Tucker and Tami Klinedinst, I saw the heat rising from the asphalt to meet the straggling shoppers left over from Saturday. I am hoping the effort put forth by Tom, Tami and the Eudora Lions Club rewarded them when proceeds of the two-day sale were counted. They are to be commended for taking on this task -- especially Tucker who has been with it from the beginning -- raising funds for a bronze statue of Chief Paschal Fish and his daughter Eudora to be placed in the park downtown.

I know there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this project from its detractors who believe Eudora is in need of other, more practical, services. In the years to come, we will all be proud to have this part of our history displayed in such an artistic and beautiful form. Art often seems frivolous when other needs seem more pressing, but without music, literature and art in all of its various forms, we would certainly be deprived of so much that feeds our soul and touches our heart.

Speaking of controversy, I sometimes find myself really wanting to write a blistering comment on an inflammatory subject that would be sure to stir up a mess of discussion.

The problem is I like being liked too much to do that. Sometimes I write such stuff and my husband edits it and says, "Huh -- uh, don't do it."

Besides, these days it doesn't take a lot to get the posse out to come get you and burn you at the stake -- at least figuratively. Even though martyrdom is such a noble idea, I'm going to cross it off as one of the things I would like to do before I die.

If I sound morbid, it's because I am sad. You've heard of "Four Weddings and a Funeral?"

Well, my experience lately has been three funerals and a wedding. The happy relief in this time was the wedding of Rita and David Richardson -- David being one of the neighbor kids who grew up across the street from us on Elm Street when my kids were also growing up. David and Rita met on the Internet, and if you read The Eudora News a few weeks ago, Bill Snead did a great piece on their story.

The next time I saw them was last week at the untimely death of David's father, Don Richardson, who passed away unexpectedly. All of his five children spoke at the funeral, paying homage to a man they remembered, and each giving us a different version of their father.

All of the Richardsons were smart kids -- especially Phyllis, who spent lots of hours in our home doing such things as reading our mail and going through drawers just for fun.

My favorite story of Phyllis is as keeper of the scissors. Whenever we couldn't find them, we'd give her a call and she'd trip across the street and rummage around in forgotten places until she found it.

I've been spending many evenings on the back stoop watching for rain and as the sunset fades into purples and pink across the road behind the Gerstenbergers -- my favorite farmhouse -- I offer up a small prayer asking that our little bit of green space (hopefully to return with the rain) here on Winchester Road be protected from the developers who are snatching up the prairie around us and putting up more new homes.

As attractive as they may be, they nevertheless would foul up the scene and screw up my perfect view. "Oh, oh," is that a controversial remark?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.