Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2003

All things being equal, a lovely day

September 24, 2003

Tuesday morning's drive into work showed what appears to be the beginning of a perfect autumn.

From the hilltops foggy patches of rising steam identified every farm pond that dots the landscape.

The tree leaves, given a reprieve from summer's drought by recent rains, are green, but here and there, autumn colors are beginning to emerge.

On a clear day, the autumnal equinox, which this year fell on Sept. 23, is recognized locally by the sunshine that perfectly traverses Fourth Street, going from east to west. Driving east in the morning and west in the evening can be hazardous on a day like that.

Long ago, Tonganoxie taught me my directions. West on Fourth Street led to Hubbel Hill, east as the crow flies led to Kansas City.

There is no day that east and west are more clearly defined than the first day of fall. The seasons change, and with them, our perspectives. We think jackets and sweaters, fireplaces glowing, hillsides painted.

Once again, as it has for as long as anyone can remember, autumn ushers us toward the promise of color, the last great burst before winter's chill.

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And, as we approach the holiday months, area residents are already thinking about how to help others.

Vicki and Matt Bichelmeyer plan to use their restaurant again this year to collect food items to be given away. A year ago Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse served as the collection point for holiday gifts. The public's response led to three pickup truck loads of Christmas gifts that were distributed by local groups.

This year, Vicki said, the restaurant's first food drive will be held in memory of the late Jean Lenahan. Lenahan was known for her work in the community, which included beautifying public street corners with her vast gardening knowledge and seemingly endless energy, as well as cooking holiday meals for families enduring hard times.

During November, food items can be dropped off at Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse. If people want to donate frozen turkeys, those too, can be accepted and stored in the restaurant's freezer. Vicki said she plans to distribute a list of the food items most needed at the thrift shop. The food items will be distributed through the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Pantry.

Tonganoxie seems to have an abundance of people who are willing to go the extra mile to help others. This is just one example. There are many more. One only has to walk through the door of the thrift shop to figure that out.

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It is only fitting to mention another group of people -- the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Saturday will be a special day for VFW Post 9271. At 11 a.m., members, invited guests and the community will join to dedicate the organization's new post home. This tireless bunch of men deserves credit for their military service, as well for the obviously wonderful park they've created for the community of Tonganoxie. Now they have a meeting house that also can be used by the community. And of course, the VFW Auxiliary has been instrumental in much of the progress.

Everyone is invited to celebrate the dedication of the building. Let's get out and show we care, as the veterans have certainly done for us, in one way or another, time and time again.

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