Local holiday tourists greeted with warmth
Balmy weather Sunday ushered in the Eudora Holiday Home Tour, which benefited the Eudora Statue Project. We saw several friends while on the tour, which took us to the homes of Hank and Pat Turnbaugh, Rob and Sue Howig, and Tim and Cheryl Beatty.
Because of a time crunch, we were unable to visit Larry and Loretta Gantenbein's home or the Pilla House owned by Sue Fulcher. We have visited their homes in the past, however and Loretta's incredible collections and the historic significance of the Pilla house are both truly impressive.
Most of all, I enjoyed the small differences that made each home unique and realized that it's not totally about Christmas or decor but the personalities that enter into the making of a home.
Rob and Sue Howig have totally redone and added a huge new addition to their home at 103 E. Seventh St., which was always a dark little house when I was raising my family just down the street at 729 Elm.
Watching their renovation over the years has been a source of fun and admiration as so much of it was designed and completed by the couple. The rooms are painted in fresh, bright colors Sue said reminded her of the Florida beaches they hope to live near one day.
Most of the decor matches the airiness of her theme with the exception of several unique touches like the Eudora room, which is in the old section of the house and displays a Native American theme. The kitchen and music studio in the basement where films can be viewed are also quite unique.
The Turnbaughs have a lovely ranch home filled with Christmas decorations and holiday memorabilia, and the sparkle inside extends to their outside lighting display. Hank says he starts putting up the lights in October. They are really special so hurry on out to view them before Christmas. Pat spoke lovingly of so much of their collection like the music boxes, which have special memories; indeed, she had a story for each one.
Cheryl Beatty greeted visitors at the door in the costume of an early American housewife. On the lower level of her home we discovered Santa had taken up residence there for the event, greeting everyone with a jolly, "Ho, Ho, Ho." I hope there were children on the tour to enjoy his presence, as he never slipped out of character.
The Beatty's love for their Montana roots was also on display in the many framed photos of their life there, as well as various art objects that come from that part of their world.
A huge tree in the living room and the many Santas they have collected and that have been painted by Tim were also on display.
Several years ago I attended a Christmas home tour in Lawrence which featured many of their grand, old historic homes that were quite impressive. However, I had trouble finding a cozy nook where you might read a book.
Most of the homes looked unoccupied, which led me to believe that perhaps they had a truck back up to the door and take away the usual household clutter -- at least for the day.
The Eudora homes were all warm, inviting and filled with good cheer, tasty snacks and Christmas fragrance. Thanks to all the participants for opening their homes as well as the preparation for the event. A lot of work is involved in decorating to say nothing of cleaning, etc.
Thanks also to the Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Lori Fritzel, who were the organizers for the event.
I would like to thank Kenny Massey, who is President of our local school board, for his remarks in last week's paper referring to keeping Laws Field intact because of the much needed green space that is needed in our community.
It provides not only green space but an additional place for sports and community events as well. It makes sense to keep it as is as it adjoins the new recreation center and pool and the tennis courts as well as the baseball field to the south. All of this makes for an appealing first impression of Eudora as you enter on Church Street.
Green space has not been something that has been overly considered in most of the developments in Eudora, and as such, kids play in the street in many neighborhoods.
Regarding my column about Christian Long two weeks ago, I want to thank so many of you who read and commented on the brief story I wrote about Christian. I only wish I could have done both he and his family justice when writing the piece. Sometimes I think it's impossible to catch the spirit of an individual like Christian, who is a pure gift.
Perhaps someday a better writer than I will make that happen.