We took our granddaughter, Gracelyn, on a journey through Kansas to show her where I was raised. I was amazed at the flashback of memories that erupted. As I mature in my faith, I realize I have never taken time to thank my Heavenly Father for the blessings in my childhood, and my memories of the good ole’ days.
We drove by the Pratt Auction barn where I remembered going with Dad and they were giving away a litter of farm dogs. The auctioneer held a little brown and white Shepard mix puppy up in the air and said, “Who wants this little dog?” Dad reached for the puppy and placed Duchess in my arms.
Thank you, Father, for giving me such a sweet Daddy and a lifetime love for dogs.
We continued driving west on highway 54 through Pratt and passed Lemon Park. I had forgotten the name of the park until I read it on the sign. The folks had a reunion there with friends after they took a bus tour to The New York World’s Fair in 1964. It was the first time we three kids stayed home alone. Deena and I thought Dennis was naughty because he left us home every night and went to Kinsley to drag main.
Thank you, Father, for keeping us safe during our childhood.
Continuing to head west, we quickly came upon the Greensburg Airport. That was where Troy took his first airplane ride with Norm and I. We decided to fly Norm’s Cessna 152 from Arkansas City to spend the day with Mom and Dad. Troy was around a year old, and I remember him clinging onto Grandma and Grandpa, while we were loading the plane because he didn’t want to get back in our Cessna for the bumpy flight home.
Thank you, Father, for a sweet, sensitive son like Troy that loved his grandparents and for our many safe flights.
It saddened my heart to see how Greensburg had changed from the 1950-60’s. It was hit by a tornado in May 2007 which destroyed all the large trees, and small homes. Now the treeless city is being replaced with modern green homes. Population is half the size it was when we lived on the farm. There is a new museum surrounding the Big Well and pictures and artifacts are displayed of tornado destruction.
As children, we celebrated birthdays at the Big Well park. We lined up on the block wall surrounding the park to take picture’s during our party. Grace and I sat on the wall as I shared the story of birthday parties with childhood friends.
The block wall seemed really small, and so did the merry go round. Finding an old picture, I realized it probably got replaced after the tornado.
Thank you, Father, for childhood friends. Bless the Greensburg community as it struggles to rebuild.
It was sad to see the farmstead. The barn was old, needed painting, but will collapse some day from lack of use and repairs. The last time it was painted was when Norm helped Dad about forty years ago. Dad’s machine shed was gone and all the granaries by the barn. At that moment, a tumble weed blew across the road reminding me of the tumble weed forts we used to build with Butch Bartlett. We also walked the fields as children pulling rye from the wheat crop and moved irrigation pipes twice a day.
Thank you, Father, that I was raised on a farm where I learned that hard work doesn’t hurt you and playing with neighbors was fun.
Luckily, we timed our arrival when Lester and Jay Derley were harvesting wheat on Daddy’s land. ( I will probably always call it Daddy’s land.) We stopped and visited with Lester, and he gave Gracelyn a ride on the combine. Norm and I were discussing how that deal was made years ago between Lester and Dad with just a handshake.
Thank you, Father, for Lester who is farming Dads land, and for growing up when all it took was a handshake to make an honest deal. Bless all the farmers in our community and country. They love the land and are striving to be successful and make a living at farming in our uncertain world.
We proceeded to drive over the Kinsley bridge and my favorite picture of Mom and Dad are standing on
the bridge. We used to fish there and I remember one year it flooded. We camped out under a truck tarp along the river as Dennis cooked for us to complete some of his merit badges to become an Eagle Scout.
Thank You Father, because Dennis turned out OK.
As we passed the swim pool and fair grounds, I have ten years of memories in 4-H. All the animals we raised and sold, the fun meetings with friends when we gathered for cooking and sewing classes.
Thank you, Father, for parents and leaders that worked together and taught us lifetime skills so we would be self-sufficient as we grew up.
I always make Norm stop at midway park in Kinsley, so I can visit the Centerview church that was the beginning of my Faith journey.
Thank you, Father for all those prayer warriors that prayed for the children growing up in the Centerview church. They were part of the Village of parents that raised the farm kids.
We stopped in Dodge City and walked through Front Street. While looking at the Smith’s blacksmith shop, I remember Beverly telling me her Dad donated some things to that exhibit. Norm shared with Grace the story of working in a blacksmith shop during high school.
Thanks Father, for good lifelong friends like Beverly and a hard-working husband like Norm.
Grace bought a harmonica and Kazoo at the gift shop and we were serenaded through Kansas headed to Colorado Springs. We were on our way to visit cousin Connie Livengood Kieft where many more memories will be shared.
Thank You Father, that I was raised close to my Cousin, and married to a man like Norm that loves his granddaughter, and does not complain about listening to Kazoo music for three hours. Thank you that Todd had a daughter like sweet Gracelyn, that we can embrace being Papa Norm and Grandma Dana. Thanks for a safe journey, and that I am able to continue to recall the memories of the good ole’ days.