Friday, October 26, 2012

Glimpses of autumn

I spent a few days at the farm earlier this month, before the trees had changed their clothes. But one tree, down by the Sawmill Creek, was a vivid exception.

On the drive back to Wichita, I decided to take a photo of an old grainery along U.S. 50 near Sylvia. Its timelessness, shrouded in autumn's leaves, has always tugged at me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Indiana Jones is a lousy professor

At least, that's what I infer from the fact that he was denied tenure by his college.

An entertaining read for fans of the movies.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A dusty day in the Great Plains

Strong winds and dry conditions have created blinding dust storms in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma today.

I-35 just south of the Kansas border has been shut down after a multi-vehicle pile-up. I'm hearing there are injuries and perhaps even a death.

Cognizant of the wind threat today, and recognizing the wind would be worse this afternoon and evening, I returned to Wichita from the farm this morning. Fields were already blowing by 9 a.m., but highways weren't obscured for more than a second at worst.

Things had deteriorated significantly by the time my brother was driving back late this afternoon. He said the dust had dropped visibility to zero several times on his drive home, and he still had another 60 miles to go.

Days like today offer hints of life during the Dust Bowl, and always remind me of this classic song:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's time to crack down on bullying

This anti-bullying public service announcement is compelling.

Yet I find it ironic that we're trying to stamp out bullying with one hand while championing cheaters and jerks and game-players on reality shows scattered all across modern television.

It's an oxymoron, and sends a very different message to today's youth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

If it wasn't for those deer crossing signs.......

This phone caller is serious.


And to think she votes. And probably has children.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

A little boy in a big cowboy hat

I was on my way home from Mass on a recent Sunday morning when something caught my eye.

It was a little boy in a big brown cowboy hat nearly as large as he was. He was wearing it proudly, along with shiny cowboy boots, and he was pulling something up a small set of stairs leading to a front porch.

It was a wheelchair.

An old one at that - the kind on which the wheels fold toward the center when you lift on the back of the chair. He had reached the step next to the top by the time I spotted him. His face was a picture of determination.

I wished I had a camera to catch the moment in the late-morning sunlight.

I thought about stopping to help him with his task, because he couldn't have been more than 5 years old. But as I thought about how it might appear to have a grown man stop his car and approach a young boy he doesn't know, I decided against it. An innocent gesture might be perceived as something far more sinister.

He was just one step from the porch, I rationalized. I wondered who the wheelchair was for. There are no ramps leading up to that old poch in the old shotgun house on West Douglas.

Perhaps he was there visiting his grandparents (or great-grandparents). Perhaps this was his way of lending a hand to someone he loved. Perhaps it was a "toy" he was going to take a ride in on the porch.

I knew the answers to none of those possibilities.

I just know I'd caught a glimpse of a remarkable scene - one that sticks with me to this day. I do wish I'd had a camera with me, though.