Why am I in Lawrence? For my family, this is home; in fact, it has been home to some of the family since Civil War days. Land drew my ancestors across the ocean from Germany. This heritage continues because before sundown on Thursday, I drove out to the farm in Grant Township to check on the new corn crop, some of which is turning the valley green and some of which was not yet planted. Planting is late this year of the Greensburg tornado and torrential rains. Growing corn for energy instead of for food consumption is a new experience for those with ties to the land. My father's father, for example, would be more than dubious about making ethanol from crops.
Over the noon hour, I scheduled a hair cut, and at HyVee I mailed a "Pinckney Package" to Jane Dicker Jones, a classmate at Lawrence High School, a Pinckney graduate who had not been able to attend the 75th anniversary party earlier in May. Leaving Lawrence that day for Los Angeles were two Pinckney T shirts and one Pinckney panther (blue and gold). At HyVee, I also picked up a wool shawl and a red London Fog raincoat at the cleaners. Then I bought a can of Scotchgard to treat the coat.
My brother, Jerry, called a couple times during that sunny day. I stopped by Lawrence Athletic Club to do my water routine in the pool. In my suit and sweats, I also stopped by the KU campus, namely Nunemaker Hall. It seems as though I have become something that my mother was: an oldtimer. When KU celebrated the 50th anniversary of the honors program this spring, I did not receive an invitation. Why? I am older than the records. However, I took along my letter of invitation, and the staff seemed very happy when I provided my list of the entire class of honors freshmen, along with their high schools, hometowns, and advisers (such as Stitt Robinson and James Seaver). In fact, Director Stan Lombardo "hooded" me with KU's golden honor cords, and I left with a matched pair of anniversary mugs.
As I retired for the evening, I double-checked the alarm, and indeed, it was set for 6 a.m. At 7 a.m., I had to be ready to ride west to Hays with the president of the Fort Hays Alumni Association, Bonnie Lowe, for the Graduate Faculty Luncheon. How could I pass up an opportunity to have lunch with the world's oldest college graduate? True, she would not graduate until the 13th, but Nola Ochs and I sat in the ballroom at adjoining tables. Afterward, when I mentioned I wanted to be like her "when I grow up," she replied, "Drink your milk. Eat your carrots. Eat your spinach." That conversation was only 12 hours into the future when May 10 came to an end.