The Postscript - Complimenting Strangers


“I have to say, that is a very nice hat!” I told the man as he passed me on the sidewalk. 
The man in the snazzy blue fedora had a serious look on his face, as if he was thinking deeply about something far more important than the indigo-blue hat with the red feather sitting on his head. 
But whatever less-than-cheerful thought had been preoccupying him (the gathering clouds? The declining stock market? His expanding waistline?), it was whisked away when I complimented his dapper blue hat, and his face broke into a genuine smile. 
I know people who say you shouldn’t compliment strangers. 
“It is intrusive,” they say. “It’s fake.” “Nobody wants a stranger commenting on their appearance!”
I think this is a load of nonsense. 
Everyone likes a compliment. I think it means even more coming from a stranger. I don’t interrupt conversations to compliment someone. I don’t make things up or compliment something I don’t genuinely admire. I don’t think anyone has ever looked offended when I told them they looked good or something they were wearing was attractive. 
I find myself complimenting strangers several times every day. I try to pay attention when I’m on my walks. I try to savor whatever is interesting or beautiful and, much of the time, this is either dogs (because dogs are always interesting and beautiful), or people. I have also complimented gardens, but the people responsible are rarely around to get these compliments. The nice thing about complimenting clothing is that the person associated with it is right there, ready to receive the positive feedback. 
“Thank you!” the man in the blue hat said. 
I’m sure he knew it was a good-looking hat. It was probably an expensive hat; I haven’t bought enough hats to know. But it doesn’t really matter. Even if someone has paid a lot for something—or perhaps especially if they have—they like to know that it was money well spent, that they look good and that someone has noticed. So, I try to notice.  
I’ve complimented older women on their coats and scarves, young women on the color of their hair (especially if it is blue or green), and tough-looking men on their clever T-shirts. It is always surprising how the people who look the most withdrawn are usually the ones who seem the most pleased. The young man may have forgotten what T-shirt he put on that day, but he’s pleased to know it met with an appreciative audience—even if that audience was the slightly odd, cheerful older woman. 
“Thanks!” he’ll say, looking both a little embarrassed and absurdly pleased. 
It doesn’t matter if it’s odd, I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter where the comment comes from. It really does not matter at all. 
We all want to be seen. We want to know that we do not walk invisible in this world. No one wants to feel alone in a crowd. Compliments may seem trivial or superficial, but sometimes they are the easiest way to throw a line to someone and say, “I see you! Seeing you makes me happy.” It costs nothing. And I think it can be more important than we will ever know. 
The man in the blue hat had a little more bounce in his step as he walked past me. I have no illusions that I changed his day significantly. But that’s not my job. My job is to be more like that little bird who sings the same song, day after day, and makes the world just the smallest bit sweeter.  

Till next time,

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The Postscript - Imperfections

I almost threw away my old lace napkins. They have rust stains on them. In order to cover the stains, I threw them in a pot of green dye and boiled them. The dye was not a success. The napkins all came out in slightly varying shades of green, and the rust stains—while less... [More]


The Postscript - Dogs in the Winter

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The Postscript - A Letter to Krissy

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine posted something written by a friend of his on Facebook. This is what she had to say: “I’ve been contemplating what I really miss in life. Why do I feel this empty space? I have not felt completely full in a very long time. I... [More]


The Postscript - A Good Bar of Soap

A new year is coming, and I am focusing on the small stuff. It is popular to make big, sweeping statements in a new year about the things that will change and be accomplished. I noticed a few years back that these grand announcements rarely had much effect.  What mattered,... [More]


The Postscript - Recipe for Christmas

I don’t consider myself a person bound by tradition.  Usually, I’m all about change, encouraging people to change and looking for ways to change myself. I generally think that new experiences make life both more memorable and meaningful.  Except for Christmas.... [More]


The Postscript - Feet on the Floor

I put my feet on the floor, first thing in the morning, and take a look at them.  They are not the most attractive feet, that’s just a fact.  I have big feet and skinny ankles and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how much they resemble duck feet,... [More]


The Postscript - Wrong About Papayas

The fruit lady has my number.  One of the things I like in Mexico—and other countries we have visited in the past—is buying fruits and vegetables from a stand, run by a family. I love wandering through the market, looking at all the unfamiliar things and asking... [More]


The Postscript - Waiting for My Laundry

It’s an odd experience watching someone fold your underwear.  I was thinking this yesterday as I was waiting for my laundry. When my husband, Peter, and I packed to go to Mexico, we knew there would be a wide range of temperatures. San Miguel de Allende is in the mountains,... [More]

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Michele Howell Makes First Appearance on Arson Charges

Michele Howell appeared in Wallace County District Court on Wednesday, April 7th in person via zoom meeting.  Her court appointed attorney Justin Barrett, Colby opted not to appear with his client for her first appearance. Wallace County Attorney Charles Moser appeared on... [More]

Margheim and Schippers Sentenced in Wallace County District Court

Jake Wilson Margheim appeared in Wallace County District Court on November 12th, 2020 for sentencing in case number 17 CR 33.  Margheim had been charged with 1 count of unlawful possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a level 4 drug felony, on January 28, 2017.  Margheim... [More]

Traffic Court July-December 2020

Elmer Nelson of Lamar, CO was fined $93 plus court costs on 9/3/2020 - cited driving 73 mph in a 55 mph zone on 1/18/1994 by WACOSO. Kathleen Brammer of Grain Valley, MO was fined $69 plus court costs on 9/10/20250 – cited driving 79 mph in a 65 mph zone on 10/05/2018 by... [More]

Small Claims Court Proceedings

Case number 2020-SC-2 D Walker Concrete, LLC vs Jory Parks. On June 15th, 2020 (plaintiff) D Walker Concrete LLC filed claim against (defendant) Jory Parks, DBA Heartcross Ranch Designs LLC in the amount of $1150.25 for concrete delivered, plus $15 for sheriff service and $67.50... [More]

District Court Sentencings

Rolando Gonzales appeared in Wallace County District Court on January 12, 2020 for sentencing in case number 2019-CR-10 with court appointed attorney Christopher Rohr of Colby, Kans. On February 13, 2019, Gonzales had been found guilty of count 1 Possession of a Controlled Substance,... [More]

Traffic Court March - June

Skyler Jacob Adams Urban, Goodland Kans, transporting an open container, purchase/possession/comume by minor. Deferred adjudication, 12 months. Court Costs $108. William M Dysart, Jr., Weatherford, Okla, driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone, Fined $87, court cost $108.  Shane... [More]

Wallace County District Court Proceedings

Rene Trevino appeared in Wallace County District Court on October 2, 2019 for sentencing in case number 2019 CR 12.  Trevino had been charged with 1 Count Domestic Battery, a Class B, Person Misdemeanor on September 7, 2019.  He appeared in court with court-appointed... [More]

Traffic Court for January and February

Catherine Elizabeth Capra, Pleasant Hill, Mo, driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred, court costs $108. Justin Blake Meyer, St. Francis, Kans, liquor purchased by minor, nolo contendre, fined $200, court costs $239. Transporting an open container, guilty plea, fined $200.... [More]

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Snow Blankets Wallace County Last Week

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Kuhlman named to President’s list

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Workshop Explores Family History Writing

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“The Kansas Legislature” returns

Another LIVE production from Smoky Hills PBS, The Kansas Legislature, will kick off Friday, February 3 at 7 PM.  Streaming will also be available on our YouTube channel: The show airs during the legislative session, which gives the... [More]

Governor Kelly Advocates for "Axing Your Taxes" Plan

Governor Laura Kelly traveled to Wichita recently to call on local legislators to support her 'Axing Your Taxes' plan, which would save Kansans more than $500 million in tax cuts over the next three years. The three-pronged plan includes a push to immediately 'axe the tax' on... [More]


Wildcat Basketball Against Bulldogs

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WCHS Winter Homecoming Royalty Crowned

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Hennick Lumber Giveaway Winners

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Bugle Notes - 1/26/23

Cottonwood Connections is a new video series on Smoky Hills Public Television being produced through the Friends of the Cottonwood Ranch with film director Ed Lowry. An initial season included host/historian Don Rowlison who explored such subjects as Legacy of the Cottonwood... [More]


Bugle Notes - 12/1/22

You are invited to join us at the Fort Wallace Museum this coming Sunday, December 4 at 5 pm for our annual “Candlelight Christmas!” The 1888 Bethany Lutheran Church is the location for a traditional Swedish Lutheran Carol service, with special music. Afterward, attendees... [More]


Bugle Notes - 10/27/22

The Fort Wallace Museum is pleased to announce another venture, this time into the publication of a children’s book “A Dragon’s Tale” by Marla Matkin. This whimsical piece of historical fiction features a little boy named Elliot who loves to imagine himself... [More]


Bugle Notes...

The Fort Wallace Museum recently gained another marvelous piece of history by way of our good friend Lt. Col (ret) Dennis “DK” Clark of Lansing, KS. This esteemed military strategist and historian is the namesake of our historic lecture series as well as sponsor of... [More]


Bugle Notes - 9/29/22

During the recent History Exposition, our guest historian and bugle expert Jari Villanueva was intrigued by the musical instrument displayed in the Enlisted Barracks area. This strange brass instrument has been in the Fort Wallace Museum collection for many years and is inventoried... [More]


Bugle Notes - 9/17/22

The Fort Wallace Museum has just completed a big weekend of activities, which in spite of small challenges, was a success. Our 2022 History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days had the theme of “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail, “ and brought in local historians... [More]


Fort Wallace Museum to Host History Exposition

Don’t miss this weekend’s History Exposition and Outdoor Education Day “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail!” On Friday and Saturday, the grounds will be filled with demonstrations of telegraphy, oxen, printing press, bugle calls, Cheyenne Ledger... [More]


Bugle Notes - 9/1/22

Our big History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days are approaching on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10! This year’s theme is “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail,” with exhibits on telegraph, telephone, military communication, bugle calls, Plains... [More]

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