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Greetings from Kansas

Jeff Hall

Posted on December 10, 2021 19:30

3 users

I'm in Wichita right now. Much about the Midwest is, well, very nice.

I'm in Wichita right now, helping my daughter with babysitting.  Her husband is in Madagascar for a while, so I'm here to help juggle two little boys, 4 and 2.  They are a handful.

Flags here are at half-mast, in honor of the passing of Bob Dole. He is an icon here. He is being praised as a paragon of bipartisanship, and by today's standards, he surely is that.

But back in his day, he had a bit of a partisan bite. During the 1976 presidential race, Dole was on the GOP ticket as vice-presidential candidate. During a debate, he ripped Democrats for starting wars, including World War II.

That didn't go over so well, but he was quick with one-liners and they were often quite funny -- and at his own expense.

When assessing his role in the losing campaign -- Dole was running as Gerald Ford's VP -- he said he was supposed to go for the jugular. "I did," he said. "My own." 

Bob Dole was a war hero, shot to hell in Italy during WWII.  He had to undergo years of surgery and rehabilitation.  One arm never recovered full use.  He was a leading member of "The Greatest Generation."

My two children -- grown now -- were born in Kansas and, after growing up in California, returned to live in Kansas. One lives in Wichita, the other in Shawnee, a suburb of Kansas City.  I used to work at the Kansas City Star years ago. I live in LA now.

The other night, my daughter and her two boys and I got locked out of her Wichita house. It was starting to get dark and cold, and we didn't have jackets. A guy from the rental management company arrived a half-hour later and let us into the house. He was a real life-saver.

We had some lock-and-key issues in need of fixing, and he came back the next day to work on that.  After an hour, he was done, and I asked if I could offer him a tip. He said no, no thanks, not necessary. 

By way of contrast, in California two weeks ago, a driver who was to drop off something called to say this particular delivery wasn't on his normal route, and he wanted to know, in advance, how much extra I would pay him if he made the delivery.

Yesterday, I simply had to find some barbeque for lunch. They just don't make barbecue in California the way they do in Kansas.  I didn't have to look far; there's a BBQ place on just about every street corner.

In addition to a great sandwich, I got lots of great babysitting tips from the waitress. "You need to set limits," she said. "Little boys especially like to test you."

People here like to chat.

At the local hardware store, someone opened and held the door for me.

Nice.

Let's hope Midwest niceness never goes out of style.

 

Jeff Hall

Posted on December 10, 2021 19:30

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Source: CNN
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• Bob Dole celebrated by Biden and national leaders at Washington funeral • Opinion: The wit and grit of Bob Dole...

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