Monday, June 21, 2010

Such a busy time of year for everyone. . . Still getting settled into the new house, unpacking notes and sorting research and books. . . . Dixie Lee had a great time with the Kansas Division Sons of Confederate Veterans on Saturday evening. Great buds!

In checking the calendar, I notice that yesterday was the birthday of Errol Flynn, born June 20, 1909. Where would Jeb Stuart and George Custer be without him? My friend, Louis Kraft, is working on a biography of Flynn and his frequent costar, Olivia de Havilland, and I can't wait to read it!

"Purtiest man I ever saw!"


June 20 is a red-letter day in my life, too, because it is the anniversary of the day Gary & I met. It didn't take long for us to realize God had sent us to one another. There have been so many experiences packed into this year, it's more like twenty, but it has all been good or worked for good. I am grateful. It's never too late for love.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Events Gone Wild

Remember the greeting card a few years ago that featured CSI Topeka? The cop looks at the body and declares, "Bored to death!"


We can't begin to squeeze in all the events--art, music, festivals, fairs--going on in and around Topeka. Two I'd like to highlight today: Wheatstock VI, June 12, and the Great Overland Station Gala, June 18.

Good friend, Doug Ruth, is the instigator behind Wheatstock. Doug is a treasure. He works long and hard to document and promote local music. His website,, is topnotch and is full of photos, bios, schedules and comments. This year, Wheatstock moves to Old Prairie Town at Ward Meade Park, thanks to another good friend, John Bell. John is the program director at this Topeka landmark and does such a great job keeping Old Prairie Town alive with quality events. For the details and lineup of Wheatstock, visit Wheatstock VI moves outdoors |

Among the entertainers is the High Falutin' String Band, pictured above, featuring Chris Frost, Tom O'Brien and Stuart Yoho. If you haven't heard them, you are in for a real good time! (Note the emcee for this auspicious occasion!)

The Great Overland Station is another jewel in Topeka's crown. Across the Kansas River from Old Prairie Town (no accident, these locations; that's a story for another day). I am so thankful that the stars aligned and that Beth Fager had a passion for restoring the Union Pacific depot before it was lost to time and the elements. Beth emailed yesterday to say that tickets will be available until Friday (June 12) for the June 18 event.

Honorary Chair, Governor Mark Parkinson, Commander of the Kansas National Guard, invites everyone who supports America's military to attend the "Red, White and Blue Gala: Celebrating Our Heroes." Beginning at 5:30, all proceeds will benefit the operations of the All Veterans Memorial and Great Overland Station.
Medal of Honor recipient Col. (ret.) Donald Ballard is the guest of honor and speaker. Roger Aeschliman (left, cjonline photo by Steve Fry) will present "General George Patton: Apology to the Troops", and the Laudate Ringers will perform "America the Beautiful" and "Stars and Stripes Forever". WIBW General Manager Jim Ogle will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The special exhibit "U.S. Armed Forces Around the World" will be open throughout the evening in the Fink Exhibit Gallery.

Tickets are $150 per person, $250 per couple, and $2,500 for a "Leadership Table". Persons interested in attending may visit the Great Overland Station at 701 North Kansas Avenue or call at 785-232-5533.

It is so important for us to support happenings like these, especially when they are located at such historic and beautiful sites. Supporting events at those sites keeps them viable and available for decades to come.

Black Jack Battlefield

Soooooo good to see old buds at Black Jack on Saturday! The Friends of the Battlefield worked so hard and did a tremendous job putting on a long and quality event. Kerry Altenbrend, above, portrayed John Brown for the reenactment of this 1856 confrontation that many historians (myself included) consider to be the first battle of the Civil War. Also in fine form, my friends Greg Higginbotham, below right, and Dan Hadley, left. (These boys are really outstanding in their fields, aren't they?)

Other friends who were there: Shane Seley, Denver Erickson, Dale Vaughn, Bob Szabo, Ed Hoover, George Bernheimer, JoAnn Barber, Ed Leydecker, etc, etc. Attendance was well over a thousand for the day's events.

Checking email and Facebook today:

From Freddy the Plumber back in Mayberry:

Did you know- Ken Curtis/Festus was lead singer for the Sons of the Pioneers???

Why, of course I did! Thanks for the link and the opportunity to share that tidbit with others who are less informed. I do happen to be one of the biggest fans of Ken Curtis (right) who died in 1991. In fact, when I had the opportunity to have dinner with Buck Taylor a couple of years ago (Newly from Gunsmoke), I told him, "You were cute but Ken Curtis was really handsome!" Buck generously agreed.

From Rick Herrera on the road in London:

A WWII battlefield untouched since 1942. An absolutely amazing story!

Keep the cards and letters coming, folks! Surely, my friends are the most interesting and creative people on this planet!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Black Jack Saturday--Battles and Buds!

Thank God we've gotten moved into our new home in time for the reenactment at Black Jack Battlefield. Coordinated by my good friend, Shane Seley, co-owner of Wideawake Films, this promises to be the best yet. I can hardly to wait to see so many old friends and introduce Gary to even more of my "hysterian" buds like Greg Higginbotham, with Shane above; now that's a pair to draw to! This photo was taken while they were working on the really excellent Wilson's Creek documentary.

By the way, Jan Biles did a great little feature on this event in the Topeka Capital Journal:

The Lecompoton Reenactors will add their historical and dramatic abilities to the event which will raise money for the preservation of the site. So many people have worked so hard and so long to keep this spot along the Santa Fe Trail viable and to educate the public about the first engagement of the Civil War. I know there's a lot going on, but take time if you can to visit.

The Cap-Journal does a great job of letting folks know about events in the area and just want to take a minute to thank Bill Blankenship, Steve Fry, Jan Biles and a host of others who work very hard to showcase local talent and effort. Which reminds me: Art Walk tonight. This is absolutely the best party in town and it's FREE!!! After the Art Walk, check out our local music scene. Visit for details.

Is this a great country or what?