Friday Favorites…that have nothing to do with politics

"What'cha lookin' at?" ostrich at Rolling Hills Zoo.

“What’cha lookin’ at?” Ostrich at Rolling Hills Zoo.

African Message Pole, Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina, KS.  I think it's a happy message.

African Message Pole, Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina, KS. Interpret your own happy message from the symbols!

Finding this old picture of my dad and Fritz, having their morning "talk."

Finding this old picture of my dad and Fritz having their morning “talk” made me smile.  (Fort Scott, KS)

My dad appreciated old trucks--especially Fords--he said it was "a guy thing."  His granddaughter protested: "girls love trucks, too!"

My dad appreciated old trucks, especially Fords; he said it was “a guy thing.” His granddaughter protested: “trucks are for girls, too!”

Max Ehrmann, author of DESIDERATA: A Poem for a Way of Life, wrote this: “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”     Geese crossing

Today, I want to share some of my favorite things that make me happy when I travel to Kansas. You already know of our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren (at the top of our happiness scale), and my dad, who died of Alzheimer’s, and my mother who is lost deep in dementia. These people are the core of our focus and thoughts when we drive to Kansas each month.

But there are also many cheerful, striving-to-be-happy places and things in Kansas I want to share with you through these pictures. My dad was right: if you take a deep breath, look around, and appreciate things that make you smile, you can also find reasons to be happy and have hope.

Gunn Park "Tiny House" (Fort Scott, KS) Built in 1927 by the park caretaker for his young daughters and visitors. It's 14" high and 12" long, including the front porch.

Gunn Park “Tiny House” (Fort Scott, KS) Built in 1927 by the park caretaker for his young daughters and visitors. It’s 14″ high and 12″ long, including the front porch.

Happy Children bench sculpture, downtown in Abilene, KS

Happy Children bench sculpture, downtown in Abilene, KS


Bakery fundraiser: iced cookies:  KS, and Chapman High School --both delicious!

Bakery fundraiser: iced cookies: KS, and Chapman High School –both delicious!


Milford Lake Butterfly House (near Junction City, KS)  A colorful, fluttering good time!

Milford Lake Butterfly House (near Junction City, KS) A colorful, fluttering good time!


Abilene, KS (where the h.s. sports teams are the Cowboys and Cowgirls). I want a sign for writers: Writer Parking Only: All others will be rejected.  :)

Abilene, KS (where the h.s. sports teams are the Cowboys and Cowgirls). I want a sign for writers in front of the writing section of the library: Writer Parking Only: All others will be rejected. 🙂

A summer sunset on a farm outside Fort Scott, KS.  Tomorrow will be a gorgeous day!

Summer sunset on a farm outside Fort Scott, KS. Tomorrow will be a gorgeous day!



Filed under Abilene Kansas, Dementia/Alzheimer's, just doing the best we can, lessons about life, special quotations, Things to be thankful for

32 responses to “Friday Favorites…that have nothing to do with politics

  1. juliabarrett

    Oh, Marylin! I look at the photos and I long for the Midwest. My husband loves the weather out here in California but I’ve been homesick for 20 years!

    • There is something renewing about experiencing all four seasons each year, Julia. While Colorado gets three good seasons, our springtime is often a continuation of winter, while in southeast Kansas it’s rich with flowering trees, early gardens, and the springtime smell of green. I loved it growing up, and I appreciate it now as I return to visit my mother.

  2. I love the cowboy parking sign as my dad was a cowboy. He would have loved that!! I also agree with Writer Parking Only: All others will be rejected. Great photos.

    • Darlene, there is something so charming about little towns in Kansas. The unique parking signs, collectible and antique shops and home made crafts and foods. In Pres. Eisenhower’s Abilene, where he grew up and played sports, the side streets have “bootprints” painted along the route where the marching band will lead the way to the football field for the high school games. 😉

  3. Molly

    Mom…. First of all that is Big Bird’s house….. Don’t know why but that’s what grandma and I always called it! 🙂

    Next, you are missing pictures of the polar bear between Kansas City and Fort Scott, the Kansas version of Cape Canaveral, and Chicken Annie’s!! Oh my goodness, if we started a project of taking pictures of all the things in Kansas that mean something to us, our phones/cameras wouldn’t have any memory left!

    Love the post this week!

    • It’s such a miniature house, hardly big enough for sparrows, let alone Big Bird, Molly! But of course you and Grandma would have fun coming up with your own names for the house. 🙂 There are so many happy places in Kansas; sometime we’ll have to do an entire post on Chicken Annie’s!
      We had so much fun taking the kids there during our last visit to Grandma, and then taking chicken and homemade bread back to her. ❤

      • Jim

        Hey there, Molly and Mor-Mor! I’d want to add a picture of the twin steeples in Victoria that earned Molly a whopping 25 cents when Molly was a little girl. What a hoot we’ve had over that Kansas memory! :}

      • Kansas plains churches rival others, that’s for sure. Especially St. Fidelis in Victoria, KS. But I think the one Molly couldn’t see until there was a quarter on the line was farther west and w-a-y out on the plains. But I could be wrong; I didn’t win the quarter, after all. 😉 ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. Thank you for a light-hearted blog post this week. We need this, Marylin.

    Your Ford photo reminds me that car & truck grills have often looked personable, which makes them so appealing, I guess.

    • I know I definitely needed something light-hearted this week, Marian, pictures of the Kansas that charms and uplifts, reminding me of kinder and simpler times. Sometimes I’m desperate to look away from the world.
      The old Ford trucks still make me laugh. Even when they’re battered, they still often run, and their “faces” are full of so much personality. 😉

  5. This is a perfect escape from all of the hatred in the political environment, Marylin. I LOVE the photo of your father and Fritz!

    • It is such a cute picture, Jill; I’m so glad I found it. They got Fritz at the dog pound, a tiny fur ball, but my mom said the size of his paws warned her about how big he would get. 😉 My dad had a routine, going out to the back yard and saying, “Let’s talk, Fritz.”
      Fritz jumped up on the picnic table, and it was so cute to see them out there, Dad petting Fritz and “talking” to him. These are images I need to override all the political fights and attacks.

      • Aw…I love that they shared man to man chats. In the photo, they look like best buds! Back then, I’d vote for your father as President, and Fritz as his running mate. 🙂

  6. Oh, I love it, Jill! And with your writing talents, you’d probably also come up with stunning bumper stickers and–er–dog tags! 😉
    Thanks, Jill. You’ve made this picture even more fun! ❤

  7. Jane Sturgeon

    I ❤ the photo of your Dad and Fritz. I had a dream the other night about rattling around in an old truck…I love them so. I keep day dreaming that I will find one. I learned to drive in an old truck with my Dad, down the dirt track that lead to the farm in Africa. ❤ With all the upsetting news and fears that assault our senses presently, it's a joy to read your post. I'm with you and your Dad..there is joy when we pause to see. Your Mum is exactly the same. I always think of you and her when I am baking. Thanks Marylin. ❤

    • You learned to drive an old truck down the dirt track leading to the farm in Africa, Jane? You have the core of a terrific story or personal essay here. What an amazing life you have. I hope you do more with this scene, a “Truck on a Dusty Road In Africa” kind of thing. It’s so real.
      Thanks for your sweet comment than made me “pause and see” the joy of your life. ❤ ❤

      • Jane Sturgeon

        Bless you Marylin, my Mum said the other day that I should write my stories of Africa down. We went out there as a family (I so love my adventuring parents), when I was 12 and they returned to the UK when I was 17…I moved around and stayed out there will I was 22. Many adventures and memories and I feel a lot of what happened out there shaped me and I am always grateful to Mum and Dad for opening the world up in that way. ❤ xX

      • Jane, I’m serious. Your posts about your life now–moving around, trying new places, jobs, adventures–are excellent. Now to add the adventures and lessons in Africa (especially driving the old truck 😉 ) would be additional excellent episodes.
        Ask your writing group, or take a sample to share, and see what they say!

  8. All things that would make me smile too, Marylin! Your dad was correct, where there is a smile, there is hope. We need smiles, lots and lots of smiles, especially in the world as it is today! XO

    • Your portrait photography captures so many smiles or hope, Robyn. You have a true gift.
      When we have pictures, we have the joy waiting to take us back to memories that give us fresh hopes. 🙂 ❤

  9. Marylin we need stories like this in our crazy world. I had an uncle named Fritz. I don’t remember him very much. Have a peaceful week.

    • Thanks, Gerlinde. I think you and I are on the same page; things were just getting too tense and crazy, so I wanted to focus on lighter things.
      My guess is that your Uncle Fritz had less hair/fur than our dog. Our Fritz could hardly see because of the hair over his eyes. 😉
      A peaceful week to you, too, Gerlinde.

  10. Jim

    I love your picture of the monarch butterfly, Marylin. Your readers will appreciate how much you love monarchs. Every time we pass that certain Rest Stop in the middle of Kansas, you say, “There’s where we saw all those monarchs in the trees.” We did in fact see hundreds, probably thousands, of beautiful monarchs swarming the trees when we stopped there years ago. You found out later that monarchs are pretty amazing. We happened to see them that day “resting” during their huge migration across the Great Plains to the cooler summer temperatures of the Rocky Mountains. Pretty smart, I’d say. “Amazing” surrounds us when we have a Marylin to make us take notice!

    • Aw, sweetie, that really was so amazing, monarch butterflies flittering and floating all around them. SO many, and so beautiful. There we were, at a common rest stop off the interstate in Kansas, experiencing these amazing, colorful butterflies.
      We make our own special memories as we drive to/from Kansas, honey, and everywhere we go.
      Love you lots. ❤

  11. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Thanks for that pleasant break! Love your idea for a writers’ sign, too.

    • Wouldn’t you love to have a writer’s parking sign like that, Nancy! Abilene has a wonderful original with big modern addition, and the writing area is in the old part. Huge polished wood writing tables and beveled glass windows–very conducive to thinking and writing! I love going there.

  12. Marylin, your blog makes me smile which makes me happy. It’s so important to look at the positive things in life, instead of focusing on the not so positive. I always love looking at your photos too. Blessings, my dear, blogging friend. ❤

    • I’m glad it makes you happy, too, Tracy. I smile each time I look at these pictures, and they take me away from the political conventions and chaos in the world. Blessings on you, dear Tracy, and your newest creation using “Be Still And Know I Am God” within the coloring picture. Well done!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s