Archive for Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Reflections along a country drive

December 8, 1999

While driving in the country Friday afternoon this time searching out a news tip that by the time I got about 20 miles north of town had disappeared I realized that the drive (otherwise known as a wild goose chase) was not all in vain. For on the way, I began mentally cataloging the things that a journalist and photographer should never be without.

The first is the biggest stepladder that will fit into the trunk of a car it's amazing how many times the best view from which to take a photo is also the highest.

The second is a small tape recorder to record the things we remember while we're on the way to somewhere else that need to be done when we get back.

The third is enough cash to cover lunch at any cafe in the area. Some of the best story ideas are generated from conversation in the coffee shops. It always pays to stop for a spell, enjoy the fine food and talk to those who live there. This is also a good time to remember these words: "A stranger is a friend you haven't met."

Aside from all the necessary camera equipment to lug along, a pair of binoculars might come in handy. Is that an eagle or a red-tailed hawk in that tree row on the other side of the field?

A pair of scissors and string might seem extravagant unless you come across some roadside grasses or dried flowers that will fill a crockery jar or grapevine wreath at home.

And of course the other necessities, things that in an emergency might be easy to overlook a tank full of gas or a spare tire.

Road maps are also important. In an area with as many hilly, curvy roads as we have in Leavenworth County, a county map is just about as important as a state map. Unless you know where you're going, don't leave home without one.

A cellular phone is a handy thing to carry, but it doesn't take long to learn that when you're in an area where the phone reads "No Service," it means no service. Period. If the car breaks down in one of these spots, better have along a good pair of walking shoes.

I sometimes wonder if the world would be a different place if we were more often given the chance to ruminate on vacant reflections as such happens on long solitary drives, or yes, even wild goose chases, down country roads.

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We always appreciate the many citizens who work to bring joy to others during the holidays. The mayor's Christmas tree lighting ceremony was one example. The VFW members worked for days to bring a Christmas tree in from the country to to decorate it, along with the rest of the park. Mrs. Stratton's fourth grade students sang Christmas carols at the tree lighting ceremony, a high school flute trio played more songs, and Amanda Albert recited a Christmas poem. And then, wonder of wonders, Santa arrived, not in a sleigh, but in a fire truck, and greeted the children with candy and hugs.

Agnes Kissinger, who lives at the Pleasant Village apartment complex for senior citizens, called The Mirror to praise the Reno Bobwhite 4-H members who brought decorated tins full of cookies and treats to all the residents.

"When you see all the things that are happening in the world today," Kissinger said, "It makes it all the more wonderful that little kids are out there doing nice things like that."

She's so right. It's just one more example of the nice things that people do to brighten lives, especially during the holiday season.

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