The Postscript - Dec 26, 2019 - Caleb, the Christmas Tree

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I went with my parents to get a Christmas tree. 

All the trees were wearing hangtags shaped like bells and all the bells had hand-lettered names on them. At first, I assumed these trees were spoken for and the names indicated the person who had reserved the tree. Then I realized that, no, the names were for the trees. 

This was a fancy place and apparently, when you spend as much as this store was charging for a tree, the tree came complete with a name. Actually, for what they were charging, I’m surprised the trees didn’t come with at least a two-year degree from a Vo-Tech college. Still, they were lovely trees, I must admit. We immediately spotted a Balsam Fir named “Howard,” and the wind was so chill I was fully prepared ready to pile Howard on top of the car and call it a day. 

But tradition insisted we make something resembling a hunt and so we reviewed the rest of the trees lined up in the windy parking lot until we came to one that seemed to have near perfect shape: not too bushy, an attractive leader at the top, no straggly branches at the bottom, and just the right height. There was only one problem: the tree was named “Caleb.”

“Mom, Caleb is not a good name for a Christmas tree.”

“No, it really isn’t,” my mother agreed. We both studied Caleb silently. There was no denying that Caleb was an attractive tree. 

“Maybe we could rename him,” my mother suggested, as we strapped Caleb to the roof for the short drive home.

My dad got out the metal tree stand which is old and a little rusty and will never be replaced because you can’t buy one like it anymore. He pounded the tree down onto the stake in the middle of the pan and tightened the screws. He raised the tree into a standing position and its branches slowly relaxed, showing off its full splendor, then he wrapped it in a few strings of lights. 

“Do you think that’s enough lights?” my mother asked my husband, Peter, (who is the least likely to have an opinion on the subject) and Peter declared that there were plenty of lights. 

Then my mom pulled out the ornaments and wondered aloud where many of them came from and how long we have had them. We don’t remember. 

Except we know the little fellow in the canoe used to be holding an oar until my dad carved a tiny paddle for him (because what was he doing with an oar in a canoe?) And my mom remembers the ornaments she brought back the year they visited the Holy Land. But what about the sled that had my dad’s name on it and the year: “1982”? It is a mystery—as is the angel made of pinecones and the tiny skiers holding tiny skies and the surprising number of mice in Christmas attire. 

“You could have dressed up a whole string of them you caught under the sink this week!” I suggested to my mom (a thought she did not seem to care for). 

There were a few glass balls hung to fill in the empty spaces and the whole process was finished in what seemed like no time at all. 

“I think Caleb looks very nice!” my mother declared. 

And, while I still thought it was a wildly inappropriate name for a Christmas tree, Caleb had somehow managed—as is often the case this time of year—to embody the Christmas spirit exactly. 

Till next time,

Carrie

POSTSCRIPT

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The Postscript - Feb 20, 2020 - Raising the Roof

The roof fell in on the church I started attending The collapse occurred after I’d been coming only a couple of weeks. While I have not always been a regular churchgoer, I thought this was kind of an over-the-top response to my unexpected appearance in church.  The... [More]

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The Postscript - Feb 13, 2020 - Romantic Impulses

I was looking at my hair in the mirror. “I think I might need a touch-up,” I noted to my husband, Peter. “Hmmm,” Peter replied, without looking up. (Which means, “If you think so honey. I honestly believe you might be able to hold off a week!”... [More]

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The Postscript - Feb 6, 2020 - Mouse Vomit

Last week I started doing something I’ve never done before. I started writing fiction. I realize this does not sound shocking since I’m writing every week. My husband, Peter, says I write fiction all the time—every time I write about him. But the truth is,... [More]

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The Postscript - Jan 30, 2020 - Learning to Whistle

My sister learned to whistle at age two.  She was precocious in other ways as well. She knew how to read by the time she started kindergarten. She demonstrated a physical dexterity I never did. She was much more talented at the piano. But it was the whistling that really... [More]

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The Postscript - Jan 23, 2020 - The Cigar Box

I spent the weekend in New York City.  I hadn’t been to New York in quite a while. I was performing at a theater conference and so was traveling alone, without my husband, Peter.  New York intimidates me—as all big cities do. I am not a nervous traveler,... [More]

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The Postscript - Jan 16, 2020 - Unexpected Cowboy

I want to start out by making it clear that I have nothing against cowboys.  One of the new developments in my life is that I recently got a manager, Bob, to book performances of my writing. I’ve never had a manager before, so I didn’t know what to expect.... [More]

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The Postscript - Jan 9, 2020 - A Night at the Funeral Home

 “What do you think?” my husband, Peter, asked about the link he’d sent me as we prepared to head home from the holidays. “The funeral home?” I asked. “Yeah, that one.”  “I thought it was a joke.” “No,... [More]

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The Postscript - Jan 2, 2020 - Sparkles

I glanced up as the bells rang to herald new customers walking into the used clothing store. I was looking for a pair of warm dress pants. Visiting my parents in Minnesota, I had forgotten entirely about the possibility of extreme cold and the idea of going out that night in... [More]

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COURT

Traffic Court September-December

Forman, David Scott, Miami Fla, driving 78 mph in a 50 mph zone. Fines $177 Court Cost $108. Hagan, Audrey Ann, Columbia Mo, driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone. Deferred. Court Cost $108. Pfeffer, Samuel Tyler, Sharon Springs, Reckless Driving.  Bench Trial – Not... [More]

Traffic Court up to September 2019

Turner, Philip Russell II, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred adjudication, court costs $108. Patton, Amanda, driving 93 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred adjudication, court costs $108. Ramey, Tyler Ray, failure to stop or obey railroad crossing signal, fines $195, court... [More]

Wallace County District Court Sentencings

On May 15th, Vance Diamond Halsey appeared in the Wallace County District Court with court appointed attorney, Christopher Rohr, Colby for sentencing in the matter of case 2019-CR-03.  Halsey was charged with Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer on March 12, 2019, ... [More]

Traffic Court for May-June 2019

May Traffic Report Thomas, Dyami R, Bellingham, Wash, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $105, court cost $108. Araujo Pompa, Almedio, Coral Gables, Fla, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $105, court cost $108. Lennon, Jake Owen, Pittsburg, Penn, driving 93 mph... [More]

Traffic Court for April 2019

James Manuel Phillips, Gardner, Colo, driving 77 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $57 and court costs $108. Kenzie Marie Spreier, Colby, Kans, diving 80 in a 65 mph zone, fines $75 and court costs $108. Erick Edward Jarosz, Canon City, Colo, driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone,... [More]

Brandon and Fugate Sentenced

Jonathan Brandon appeared in Wallace County District Court on April 10th, 2019, with his court appointed attorney, Steve Cott, Garden City, for sentencing in cases 17 CR 51 and 17 CR 58. Each case charged Brandon with Distribution of Methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school,... [More]

Traffic Court reports Apr 11, 2019

Chandler, Garrett Scott, Pueblo, Colo, driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $69, court costs $108. Palmier, Joshua Quayshun, Birmingham, Ala, driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $99, court costs $108. Chavez, Brenda Icilice, Denver, Colo, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone,... [More]

March District Court

On March 13th, 2019 Charlene Valdez appeared in Wallace County District Court with court appointed attorney Leslie Beims, Goodland in the matter of case number 2017 CR 42. Valdez had been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, within 1,000’ of a school,... [More]

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NEWS

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Weskan Community Building Starts To Take Shape

The Weskan Community Improvement Association is excited to introduce the Weskan Community Building: a place for community members to gather for events as small as a baby shower or as large as a wedding reception. This building will also come alongside the newly renovated Weskan... [More]

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Quilts Of Valor Foundation

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. The foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by “Blue Star” mom Catherine Roberts.  Thousands of... [More]

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23rd Annual Heath Fair

The 23rd Annual Wallace County Health Fair was held last weekend at the WCHS Commons Area. Many area residents lined up for blood draws as early as 7 am.   Breakfast items including rolls and juice were available, which was particulary handy for those who had fasted... [More]

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WPAA to feature “Laughing Matters: Juggling and other Nonsense”

Because laughing matters, Jay Cady and his wife Leslie Seifert-Cady of Mission, Kansas will perform their show “Laughing Matters: juggling and other nonsense” for Western Plains Arts Association at 3 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 1 in Quinter. The venue is the Quinter High... [More]

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Census Participation Part 1

Census Participation Important to Area Representation In March, mailboxes across the country will bring an opportunity that only comes around once in a decade – the chance to be counted during the U.S. Census. Getting a complete and accurate count of all the people... [More]

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Kansas Bankers Windbreak Award

The Kansas Bankers Windbreak Award is given each year by the Kansas Bankers Association cooperating with NRCS, FSA, Extension Service, Kansas State University, State Conservation Commission and the Wallace County Conservation District. The award is presented each year to stimulate... [More]

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Kansas Bankers Soil Conservation Award

The Kansas Bankers Soil Conservation Award is given each year by the Kansas Bankers Association cooperating with NRCS, FSA, Extension Service, Kansas State University, State Conservation Commission and the Wallace County Conservation District. The award is presented each year... [More]

Greetings from The Wallace County Cruisers

What a wonderful "ride" it has been these last 16 years. The support of this community and of neighboring communities has been such a blessing...the beautiful vehicles and their owners, delicious food vendors, craft vendors and most of all..YOU! You the car show enthusiast who... [More]

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BUGLE NOTES

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Bugle Notes - Jan 30, 2020

One hundred and fifty-four years ago, the beginnings of what would become Fort Wallace had been established on the bluffs two miles east of Pond Creek Station and south of the Smoky Hill River. Established by order of General Grenville S. Dodge on October 26, 1865, Camp Pond... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Jan 16, 2020

This Sunday, the Fort Wallace Museum is looking forward to hosting Greg and Cee Heller from Kannapolis for the screening of the new documentary film “Fort Harker: Gateway Post to the Frontier.” Please join us at 2:00 pm MT for the 45-minute film, followed by discussion... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Jan 9, 2020

Happy New Year! The Fort Wallace Memorial Association is looking forward to a fun and full 2020; we invite everyone to join in and help make it our most successful year ever!  There are two ways to join our organization. “The Fort Wallace Memorial Association”... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Dec 12, 2019

Christmas arrived at the Fort Wallace Museum this past Sunday, with the annual “Candlelight Christmas” service, followed by a festive gathering inside the main building. The 1888 Bethany Lutheran Church was filled to capacity for the traditional service. Worship was... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Dec 5, 2019

In 1865, David Butterfield raised money from New York investors to create Butterfield’s Overland Despatch Stage Line along the Smoky Hill Trail - the shortest route from commerce centers near Atchison, Kansas to the gold fields near Denver Colorado. In 2019, Butterfield’s... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Nov 7, 2019

On Saturday, the Fort Wallace Museum welcomed author Chuck Warner and his wife Karen to the Museum to discuss his new book “Birds, Bones and Beetles,” about his grandfather Charles “Bunk” Bunker, who was a KU Naturalist that explored Wallace County and... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Oct 31, 2019

The 2019 Smoky Hill Trail Conference held at the Fort Wallace Museum is now in the rearview mirror! The event hosted 75 folks, including several national names in Western History research, as the role of Fort Wallace in Trail history was explored. Tours, lectures, networking,... [More]

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Bugle Notes - Oct 17, 2019

The Smoky Hill Trail Conference weekend is here, and we are excited to host folks from all over Kansas, Colorado and beyond! The theme of the weekend is “Fort Wallace - the Fightin’est Fort on the Smoky Hill Trail,” and presentations will explore the events,... [More]

More Bugle Notes