Historic changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba are coming. Having traveled legally to the island in 2002, my feelings about the breakthrough are mixed. As I watched President Obama outline his vision of increased travel and commerce between our countries, I couldn’t kick the sensation that — poof! — one of the world’s last truly exotic destinations has vanished.
The greatest thing about giving up TV these last three years has been falling back in love with books. Ditching TV was no sacrifice, more like ridding the house of wasps. Still, I’d forgotten the restorative power of luxurious hours of reading. Here are 11 titles that entertained me with lush language and indelible characters.
Lama Chuck Stanford of Stilwell founded Rime Buddhist Center with his wife, Mary, in 1995. Standford is the organization’s executive director and spiritual director. This conversation took place inside the worship center, which is housed in a historic church in the Crossroads Arts District.
Tens of thousands of local kids go without enough food on weekends. The Star is partnering with Harvesters to raise money for the area’s hungriest children. All money goes to Harvesters’ BackSnack program, which provides low-income children weekend meals. Just $25 provides a child BackSnacks for a month; $250 provides BackSnacks for a year. Everyone who donates before Christmas Eve will be entered in a drawing for a football autographed by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
I desire no declarations of gratitude from my children, now in college. Nothing they could say or text on the spot — and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day put us all on the spot — could outshine the spontaneous quotes from our life together that are etched on my heart.
David Van Liewof owns Van Liew’s Home and Garden, 7347 Prospect Ave. His father, Clarence, and uncle Ernie started the company in 1927 at the same location it occupies today. Van Liew’s originally specialized in wooden garden trellises and archways and concrete urns and fountains shaped on a turning wheel. Today it is known mainly for concrete fountains, birdbaths and statuary made on-site.
Pat “Duke” Dujakovich, the president of Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, was raised on the city’s East Side. His grandfather came to Kansas City from Poland and worked in the Armco Steel plant. Dujakovich’s father was a sheet metal worker with Local 2. Dujakovich was in Chief Officers Local 3808 during his career with the Kansas City Fire Department.
There aren’t many places in the world where cowboys on horseback hand 200 people matches and tell them to light them and throw them into tall, dry grass. We burned off one pasture in the daylight, ate a steak dinner and listened to live bluegrass music before setting fire to a much larger area after sundown.
I use music like medicine, coffee or alcohol to induce good vibrations or calm the spinning wheel in my brain. I have always been sensitive to music’s mood-altering power. As a teen I sometimes left a party for no other reason than the music was interfering with my state of mind.
Visiting my friend Carole Brown is always a two-way surprise party: Carole lives without a phone or computer, so she never knows I’m coming, and I never know if she’s going to be home. That wouldn’t be a big deal if she were a neighbor in my adopted rural town of Matfield Green, Kan., in the Flint Hills. But Carole lives on remote rangeland several miles outside of town.
Since moving from the Country Club Plaza to a small town in the Flint Hills of Kansas, friends and strangers alike keep trying to label me courageous. I feel the need as a public service to set the record straight, lest people draw the wrong conclusions and apply them with tragic results to their own lives.
I have always found, in the city and the country, that mom-and-pop businesses are much more competitive in price than you might think, especially when you throw in the no-charge extras. Unlike in Kansas City, I know the UPS guy in my town by name.