Those Baldwin City traditions
It has become a tradition for me since the Signal was born four years ago. That's the Memorial Day services conducted by the American Legion's Lloyd Beaton Post No. 228.
The Post has the services every Memorial Day at the Oakwood Cemetery and I've made the last four. I've been glad I did. If you've never taken in the ceremony because of the assorted recreational alternatives during the first long weekend of summer, keep it in mind for next year.
It takes less than an hour, but is very inspirational. It has a faithful crowd of various pillars of the Baldwin City community, but there's always a sprinkling of new faces every year. I find it as interesting to see who's there.
The ceremony is always good and the speakers have been top notch over the year. The bonus is they're Baldwin's own. It's interesting to hear their take on what it means to serve their country.
Yes, it's always a patriotic tribute with a Color Guard and all the red-white-and-blue trimmings. It makes you feel good to be an American.
There were plenty of tears shed during this year's version. There always is, but I think there were more this time around. My theory is that war with Iraq was still fresh on everyone's minds.
It's also always interesting to see what's going on before and after the ceremony at the cemetery. It's the one time a year where there's traffic out there. That's also good to see.
Speaking of traditions, there's another one in Baldwin City and it's needing help. The Citizens for Baldwin City have put on a Fourth of July fireworks show for the past several years in an attempt to revive what was once a staple of the community.
The old tradition had people coming from miles around to Baker University's Liston Stadium for a fireworks show and various other all-day festivities. That died out in the 1980s and the CFBC brought it back.
The Fourth festivities have grown each year and it's become a good community event again. This year the group is having difficulty coming up with donations for the fireworks show. CFBC is also wanting community groups to volunteer to run various booths at the gathering.
If you can help out with either effort, or both, give Donna Kneedler at 594-6466 or Susan England at 594-4896 a call. Donations to help with the cost of the fireworks display can be sent to: CFBC, P.O. Box 963, Baldwin, KS, 66006.
I'm not sure how many people know, but it's true that former Baldwin City Police Chief Steve Butell is now the chief at Wellsville.
That rumor has been going around for awhile, but it no longer fits in the rumor category. He replaced Mike Reed, who had been interim chief since Randy Hinderliter was fired. New mayor John Wilhite made the change after taking office several weeks ago.
Butell resigned as Baldwin chief in July.
It's hard to believe that school's out, but the signs are everywhere around town. This school year just flew by, but I guess that's due as much as anything to what everyone has been telling me for years -- as you get older, that happens.
Gosh, I'm getting old, then.
It always amazes me how the town suddenly becomes roomier when Baker's graduation and the end of the spring semester rolls around. It's just the parking situation around the campus that sticks out, I guess.
But another sign of summer hit home this morning outside the Signal. It was the bikes, scooters, etc. whizzing by being driven by youngsters. They aren't in school and they're already having fun. The recent weather certainly has helped with that.
Graduation has also had other effects. I've had so many compliments and other assorted comments about my column last week about my boys. They've been so nice to hear and have come from far and wide.
I guess it was about time I tooted their horns. They've certainly deserved it, but -- as I explained -- I've always been cautious about that. I don't believe they suffered too much, either.
And, actually, the best compliment I heard from the column was from them.
As for the well-meaning, good-natured ribbing I've taken this spring over the lawn on 10th Street, I've graduated from there. And, no, I'm no longer mowing there anymore.
Everyone knows how much I love to mow and I'll just say that graduation has taken me to a new level. I'm now mowing acres and it will be a subject of a column later on.
Just suffice it to say for now that I'm counting hours on the tractor, not minutes. Yes, I'm in heaven.