Mysterious statues come and go
Chances are, Pappy Shoemaker would've been proud.
For years, Shoemaker each spring tilled a garden plot on part of the land that now makes up Tongan-oxie's Reusch Memorial VFW Park.
When he died in 1995, his wife, Agnes, decided to donate the space to the VFW to enlarge the park.
And later, Shoemaker's family dedicated a park flower bed to him.
But recently the area has been growing more than flowers.
Bo Himpel, a VFW member who oversees the park, noticed in early March that small concrete statues had been added to the Shoemaker flower bed.
"The figurines started appearing," Himpel said Friday. "I counted five on the first day and a couple of days later I went down and there were nine. Later it got up to 12 and I think we're up to 14 now."
Among the figurines were a painted turtle, a rabbit, an elf and several little girls.
After Himpel reported the curiosity to the Tonganoxie Police Department, Sgt. John Putthoff took a look.
"We don't know who put them there," Putthoff said. "They're little ornamental things, I just assumed the family had put them there. They were placed in there real nice."
John Shoemaker, the son of Bud "Pappy" and Agnes Shoemaker, said he had no idea who's responsible, but he said he liked the new look.
"I think it's great," Shoemaker said. "They really looked good there. We checked on them or a week or so and they were still there, so we thought they were going to stay there."
The timing of the extra activity in the park was appropriate, Shoemaker said, with gardening season starting up this time of year.
"Dad would have had potatoes planted there by now, he always had them in on March 17."
However, the mystery took on a surprise ending last weekend.
"I went down there Sunday morning and all of them were gone," Bo Himpel said. "I don't know what's going on. I looked in the creek and all around and I couldn't find any of them they must have taken them with them."
Himpel chuckled at the situation.
"It's kind of a mystery to me," he said. "Maybe we'll find out someday, I hope."