Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Autumn is best time in Kansas

November 13, 2002

This is the prettiest autumn I can remember. The tree leaves have hung on longer than normal in all their splendid colors. The tree by my dad's office is so colorful that last week I took pictures of Mom and Dad standing before the golden leaves what a fitting backdrop for a couple who through the years have created their own nature preserve of sorts where they live and work and play.

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Throughout our town, there seems to be more activities going on than ever. Take a drive downtown on a Saturday evening. You'll see cars lined up for blocks, with Glen's Opry, the Fourth Street restaurants and now, several shops, drawing visitors. Not only is Tonganoxie a beautiful town, it also has become a popular destination spot.

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Thanks to Tammie George and Steve Woolf for e-mailing the first-nine-weeks honor rolls for Tonganoxie Elementary School and Tonganoxie Junior High School. The e-mailed names not only saved time, it helped ensure accurate name spellings. And, parents who have been asking to see their children's names in the paper appreciate that.

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We have, in the trees surrounding our house, what I think is a long-eared owl. According to our book, "Birds of North America," a long eared owl will make a screeching sound, followed by a series of low hoots. From our listening point, the hot tub on the deck, the owl's spine-tingling screeches eerily pierce the silence of the woods at night. The low drum-like hooting quickly follows. We've seen the owl gliding, wings outspread, through the limbs of the now-leafless walnut tree just overhead. It's an awesome sight to see the impressive bird silhouetted by night's moonlit sky.

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My knowledge of history is vastly limited, and I realize this most when talking to veterans. Bill Lux, a veteran of the Korean War, knows the geography of the country, as well as the history of Korea's political climate and he hasn't been there since his service there stopped in 1954. Nearly half a century has passed and his memory and knowledge gained since then is sharp. It just proves that often, if you want to know more about our nation's history, talk to a veteran.

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It's with bittersweet feeling that I take my final class toward my master's degree in journalism this semester at KU. On one hand, I can't wait to have a diploma to hang on the wall, to complete a goal I started working on five years ago, and to have no more homework.

But on the other hand I will miss being a part of KU. There's something overwhelmingly invigorating about being on a campus with 25,000 people as well as the contagious enthusiasm of youth.

And, the view from Mount Oread, one of my favorite places in the world, is breathtaking. Perhaps the view means more to me because when living in central Kansas I always missed the hills and the trees. To those of us who love this area, the beauty of northeastern Kansas especially when the tree-covered hills are burnished to the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn is unparalleled.

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