Glad they joined the Klub in Tonganoxie
Barbara Kramer has been in Kuntry Klub for more than 65 years.
She started in the group because her mother-in-law was a member.
“I did the driving,” Kramer quipped. “I brought her and have been here ever since.”
Kuntry Klub started as a local chapter of EHU, which, as Denise Rodgers puts it, “to me it’s like adult 4-H,” she said.
Through the years, various members would go to sessions through Kansas State University Research and Extension.
The members would then bring back that knowledge to the group.
The current group still carries on the tradition of sharing new activities.
At the most recent meeting on Wednesday, April 17, Patti Szini shared a project she’s doing with another group of volunteers. Plastic bags are cut up and tied together to make bed mats and pillows for the homeless.
“I went to a knitting class last week and failed,” fellow member Betty Englen said. “So don’t expect miracles.”
Englen, though, did just fine with the project.
If a bag had a hole in it, it had to be discarded — at least for the moment. It will later be used as padding for the inside of the mats and pillows.
“Nothing’s going to waste here,” Szini said.
She said it takes about 700 bags to complete one of the mats.
“Wow,” fellow members said in unison.
Szini’s group will meet the second and fourth Wednesday of the month in the Tonganoxie United Methodist Church basement as they continue to make the bed mats and pillows. Anyone interested in helping can join the volunteer project.
Kuntry Klub currently has 10 members: Mercedes Glor, Rodgers, Edna Schons and Szini, all of Tonganoxie; Kramer, Lawrence; Englen and her daughter, Debi Barker, both of Basehor; Jan Crawford, Oskaloosa; and Paula Rollins and Penny Woodring, both of McLouth.
The members said that they all basically used to live in Tonganoxie, but eventually dispersed into neighboring communities.
The monthly Kuntry Klub meetings help the group stay connected to Tonganoxie.
“Now it’s more of a get-together,” Kramer said.
The group still does plenty of socializing. Members rotate in hosting the event, whether it’s at their home or at another designated spot. Many in the group are retired, but some still work, so the club generally meets in the evening.
Rodgers, for instance, was the host for the April meeting, with help of guest Susan Rose. The women brought snacks and refreshments to the event.
April’s meeting resembled social hour, but the group also managed to get some business accomplished.
They read “The Collect,” an EHU staple that dates back to when it was penned in 1904.
Members also rolled through an agenda that included birthday recognition and the Penny Drill.
A decorated money bag makes its way around the room for members to drop in change.
The money eventually is donated to charity, such as Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Bank.
The women also donate items from home for sales in the spring and fall. Proceeds are then donated to Good Shepherd or other charities. Money also has gone to help others, such as victims of a home fire.
“I remember that very well,” Kramer said. “I got a donation when my house burned.”
Some of the members also have that connection to 4-H and the Leavenworth County Fair, as they volunteer to help with a handful of exhibits and serve as judges. Kramer, for instance, has been co-chair with Ferry Evans of the Leavenworth County Fair’s home economics department for more than 50 years, ever since Arlene Wedel retired from the duties decades ago.
Kramer is ready to pass the baton to new volunteers.
“I’m looking for someone to take my place,” Kramer said. “I’m to that point.”
Some of the members had to duck out early due to other commitments, but the meeting lasted close to 90 minutes.
Rodgers said that when she moved to Tonganoxie years ago, it was hard to get connected with others — she found her place with the Kuntry Klub.
“It’s just a neat group to get together,” Rodgers said.
Barker chimed in about the group’s perks.
“It’s low-key, low stress,” she said.
And for Kramer, it came back to holding on to longtime relationships.
“It’s a great way to stay in touch,” she said. “Since I moved to Lawrence, I can’t keep in touch with everyone.
“This way I can.”