Before turning south on my return to Tucson for the winter I had several more stops to make. One stop was all the way across Nebraska to Lincoln where I planned to look up some very special people that I had not seen in years.
Here are three of the cutest, cleverest, brightest kids I have met to date..
...Isaiah, Zachy and Sean....
...and their equally cute and clever parents, Patrick and Rachel. I worked with them in Monterey 15 years ago and even though we kept in touch over the years I especially wanted to meet their boys.
Rachel had arranged for me to park at the church across the street from their house which gave us a little more time for catching up on our news. It was terribly hard for me to finally drive away--these folks were so welcoming. And their boys absolutely touched me--each so smart, creative, and brave in ways that I will always remember. Daisy thought they were pretty neat, too.
Yep, I'm in Kansas.
The 34th president of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower grew up in Dickinson County, Kansas.
"When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and, as we sat there in the warmth of the summer afternoon on a riverbank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real major league baseball player...and he said that he'd like to be president of the United States. Neither of us got our wish." D.D. Eisenhower
I wandered off the main highways in Kansas and found some lovely little mid-west towns that time forgot. One special feature of several parks that I came across was free overnight parking plus free dump stations. I took advantage of both.
In the park above, while dumping my tanks I failed to securely latch the door, and Daisy got out. Her bolt for freedom lasted about an hour as I chased, bribed, ordered and cajoled. I was exhausted and very out-of-breath before she got hungry enough to meekly climb back into the RV.
If she had broken loose in the park in Marysville, Ks I would never have coaxed her back.
The park had free parking, free dump, free water and lots and lots of free and independent squirrels...
Posted at the park:
THE BLACK SQUIRREL ORDINANCE
CITY MASCOT: (a) The black squirrel is designated as "Marysville City Mascot" and hereafter shall be accorded all the rights and privileges inherent to such designation, including the freedom to trespass on all city property, immunity from traffic regulations, and the right of first choice to all black walnuts growing within the city. (b) Anyone who knowingly or willingly maims or kills a black squirrel or, who without permission from the governing body, entraps a black squirrel within the city shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, the conviction of which shall be punishable by a fine and imprisonment.
BLACK SQUIRREL DAY: The mayor of the City of Marysville, annually at nut gathering time, shall, with the advice and consent of the city council and the business community, proclaim a "Black Squirrel Day" on which day city employees and officials shall devote their errors to the planning of and participating in this day of celebration, parading, pageantry, feasting and other nutty or squirrelly activities appropriate to the day. Ord. #1027, August 28, 1972)
There was also an abundance of red-tailed squirrels as well.
There is a legend behind the origin of the black squirrels....
In the year 1912, The McMahon Carnival came to town and, as an added attraction, they displayed a cage containing some black squirrels.The squirrels attracted the attention of a young native lad who felt sorry for the caged animals. A member of the band that furnished music that day reported that he witnessed the lad opening the cage door and releasing the squirrels. The rest is history.
Black Squirrel Day was set for the last weekend in October but I had to get to Ft. Worth for Aunt Louise's 97th birthday party. I will just have to come back some day.