September 14, 2013
Wendy and I were weary from a week of work, so we withdrew to Wichita. She has been buried in Individualized Education Programs and other processes for her special education students, while for me Tuesday night was the culmination of years of committee work with a successful school bond election to finally address our secondary school facility needs.
We Finally Passed a Bond Issue for Secondary School Facilities
Election night was more a moment of relief than exultation for me. I liked the February 2012 bond issue plan better, but it was rejected by the voters. So I worked hard to help get a stop-gap bond passed in August 2012 to meet the district’s basic capital needs for seven years.
Months more of committee work with dozens of dedicated community leaders would craft a new proposal for the secondary schools. But after enduring many years of construction at Bartlesville High School, I didn’t look forward to more years of work to expand it to add freshmen and sophomores. However, unlike our dysfunctional Congress, I know that compromise is how we get things done. So, despite my distaste for doubling the size of the student body at our site, I created a fresh bruinbond.com website about the bond issue, drafted and edited the flyer with help from the campaign subcommittee, and created the slideshow which other volunteers used in community presentations. All of the work by dozens of individual volunteers paid off with a landslide vote of approval…which means my work on this project will continue through at least two more years of planning and construction, with the first transition committee meeting coming a week after the election.
So, like Wendy, I truly needed a break from Bartlesville. She had loved the Poco Pollo Magnifico at Jose Pepper’s in Wichita when we were returning from Colorado in late July, while I knew we could enjoy strolling through a couple of the cow town’s museums.
Magnificent Little Chicken
Jose Pepper’s east side location was our first stop, with Wendy examining the rose bush outside. She was alerting on the symptoms of the rose rosette virus, while I admired a caterpillar nestled in one of the blooms. Inside the restaurant, she enjoyed her magnificent little chicken while I enjoyed the tasty steak fajitas. Then we headed to Old Town for the Museum of World Treasures.
The Museum of World Treasures
I had discovered this odd trove when my colleague Betty Henderson and I visited Wichita in June 2009. It is an assemblage of collections, arising from the artifacts collected by Dr. Jon and Lorna Kardatzke. So it has everything from dinosaur skeletons to Egyptian mummies to Roman coins to autographs from every President, uniforms from various wars, and so forth. I cracked Wendy up when I commented that the owner of one Egyptian coffin must have wondered, “What am I going to do with all of this hair?”
We spent a few hours perusing the collection, apprehended a couple of times by an enthusiastic docent who showed us a Christmas card from Hitler and told us about a Civil War night attack which was foiled by donkeys.
Wichita Art Museum
By the time we left the museum, it was 4 p.m. Most of the city attractions close at 5 p.m. on Saturdays. So we drove over to the nearby Wichita Art Museum, pleasantly surprised that admission is free on Saturdays, and saw what we could before they closed.
Wendy liked James Penney’s Industrial Structures; I liked how they complemented it with the nearby sculpture Space Densities by Ibram Lassaw. She also enjoyed delving into the dark complexities in George Grosz’s The Pit.
Lately I find myself often preferring sculptures to paintings, and I was taken with Hiram Powers’ Ginevra.
The Old Mill Tasty Shop
We headed back to Old Town for dinner at The Old Mill Tasty Shop, which has operated for over 80 years. Wendy enjoyed her Seafood Crab Salad with their homemade dressing, while I feasted on BBQ beef brisket on rye. The soda fountain meant she simply had to order a chocolate soda, while I had a chocolate shake.
We zigzagged our way home across southeastern Kansas, pausing along the highway when the clouds briefly parted to admit a red sunset shining through the guy wires of a cell tower. This day trip was sorely needed by us both, and will help us make it through another work week.