Archive for October, 2015

October 25, 2015

Roberta Returns


by Ed Chasteen

Roberta hadn’t planned to return. But, then she hadn’t planned to leave in the first place. She had just remodeled the place, providing an even more enticing ambiance for Lowman’s Cafe, even changing the name to Warrior Cafe to honor Smithville High School’s mascot. Roberta is a Smithville High alum.

Within a month of remodeling an out-of-town buyer came with an offer Roberta could not refuse. Twenty years of running this good place gave this unsolicited out-of-the-blue offer an irresistible appeal. I’ll have time to relax. To volunteer. Roberta said. Thus did the newly minted Warrior Cafe undergo another remodeling and emerge as Dotson’s Cafe.. Two months in this incarnation and Dotson’s closed. A closed sign appeared on the door. A For Sale sign stabbed into the ground out front.

And I got an email from Roberta. She was back. Her staff needed a place to work. Her regulars, a place to eat. Hometown Cafe now it was called. Roberta wanted our Saturday breakfast riders to know. Over the past 15 years we had ridden from Liberty for breakfast at Lowman’s about a hundred times, conferring on us the status of regulars.

This October 24, 2015 Saturday morning 16 of us have rendezvoused at Hometown. Twelve left the bike shop together at 8 o’clock. I lingered a few minutes in my car. Another rider appeared. “Follow me. I’ll lead you to them.” We catch up to them out on South Liberty Parkway. Charles joins the pack. I drive on.

Darrell rode from his home in Kearney; Graham from his home in Kansas City here north of the river. We pull several tables together in the back corner. Garret is our waiter. Krishna from Nepal is our spirit rider today, as he has been since Jnne 20 when we began our virtual ride to Nepal to get acquainted with the folks whose lives were upended by the April earthquakes.

We have now ridden more than the 7,711.82 miles from Liberty to Bharatpur, Nepal, Krishna’s hometown. Our Saturday rides to small town cafes for the foreseeable future will also add to our virtual miles in Nepal as we bike around to the villages damaged by the earthquake. So as we pedal up and over Missouri hills, we pedal also in our minds up and over Mount Everest foothills. When we stop as we do today at Hometown Cafe, we stop also in those places in Nepal where Krishna goes with his friends.

Riders today: Darrell Baker, Delfina Ortiz, Godfrey Duru, Bernd Abele, Terry Sharp, Mike Lacy, Terry Clark, Jay Smith, Adrian Munoz, Graham Houston, Bill Hessel, Steve Hanson, Mary Bulman Griggs, Charles Bradfield, Tom Raines, Ed Chasteen


October 16, 2015

Pedalin’ Prof

from William Jewell College

Riding in and for Greater Liberty

bike phone 816-803-8371

I came for a year. Two at most. I’ve now been here 50: same job, same house, same wife. This bare bones life summary seems boring. But so to the unaided eye does the earth seem flat. Emily Dickinson seldom left her room in the house where she was born but wrote enduring poetry. Dr. Hester spent his entire career at Jewell and was now retired. As an undergrad in another state, I had been awed by two of his books years earlier. I had been here at Jewell just a few days when he invited me to his house. During the evening, Dr. Hester said to me, “You need to put down roots. You don’t have to move to make your mark.” His advice took hold of me.

October 13, 2015

A Tale of Two Colleges

By Ed Chasteen

William Jewell College

A college campus is a mythical and magical place where live ancient Greeks, English poets, black holes, string theory, Don Quixote, Adam Smith, Mark Twain, Beethoven, idealism, imagination and ideas and much more. Right from grad school I came years ago to a hilltop campus called William Jewell. What a privilege to be called colleague by some of the finest teachers I ever would know.

More than 50 years now at Jewell, I never for a day have considered it a job. “I just do what I love. And they pay me for it” So I have said more times than I can count. I became and remain The Pedalin’ Prof from William Jewell College.

So good for me has been my time at Jewell that I have dreamed another college and given myself another name. Phillip is my name and Sapphire is the college. A jewel of a place.

For years at Jewell, I taught my students the Thomas theorem: “A thing defined as real is real in its consequences.” So lives Sapphire College in my mind. And from my mind to the world. Phillip of Sapphire College is the name of my book available to anyone free of charge on line. William Jewell College—My Camelot is also available. I wrote both as my gifts to my colleges. I want to give a copy to everyone who endorses our Human Family Reunion, our coming together for a meal, where who’s right is the wrong question, our sole (soul) intent being to learn to like each other. Please take a look. Learn of these good places. Be inspired and encouraged.

To get your online copy of Phillip of Sapphire College and/or William Jewell College: My Camelot go to and request a copy.

Sapphire College

Enrollment at Sapphire College occurs at no certain time and folks do not enroll at any typical age. The turn of mind required as the only admission to Sapphire may occur at anytime and is prompted by circumstances and events too varied to describe. Physicist Joseph Chilton Pierce came close to catching the Sapphire spirit in the title of his book, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg.

Sapphire College occupies no piece of real estate. In Camelot, Brigadoon, La Mancha, Oz and the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy it may be found. Those who study here have caught sight of the world as it should be and set their hearts, minds and souls on a fixed course that takes them and the many who follow to higher ground.

Never before and perhaps never again has Sapphire actually appeared in a form seen by the physical eye. On this night of the Human Family Reunion when folks of all colors, cultures and creeds are come together at William Jewell College, Sapphire College is drawn through that crack in the cosmic egg. Sapphire seizes this moment in time to confer on those it has enrolled without their knowing the only degree it awards—DOCTOR OF HUMANE LIVING.

How to be in this world. How to be! That is what these who earned the Doctor of Humane Living have learned. A prize beyond treasure it is. To them we look for guidance.

Just an ordinary day

Suddenly you’re on your way

To a place that cannot be

Sapphire College

Home of the



Everybody is a Learner


Sapphire College

at home in

Greater Liberty

Neither Gallop nor Google shows Sapphire College or Greater Liberty on their maps. Like Brigadoon and Camelot, these are not so much places to be found as principles to bring us higher.

We all have Greater Liberty than we ever know to live above and beyond all the labels that other people apply to us. Each of us is more than our color, our culture, our creed, our age, our gender. Each of us is at our core a World Class Person, able to go anywhere at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe. To let loose the World Class Person in each of us is the sole and soul objective of Sapphire College.

As Custodian of Sapphire College, I have opportunity to witness the lives among us that lead us toward World Class Person hood, those magnetic persons who cause us to wish we could go anyplace at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe.

Phillip, Custodian

Sapphire College

Two by Two

October 12, 2015

Two by Two


by Ed Chasteen

For more than a hundred years, Mt. Gilead Church and School have stood side by side on Plattsburg Road. They no longer function as their names imply, serving now as a combined state historic site, reminding passersby that time has passed and things are different.

Eleven bicycle riders converge on this place this morning shortly before eight o’clock, our designated starting time, for our ride to Plattsburg and breakfast at James Kennedy Family Restaurant. The morning fog is lifting. By nine o’clock we all have mastered the rolling hills on C hwy, which Plattsburg Road becomes a few miles out, and we take our places at a table set up and waiting for us at James Kennedy.

Our attention is drawn to two pies cooling on a nearby table, the meringue on each standing tall, beautifully sculptured and perfectly colored, and prompting a question: “What kind of pies are those?” “Coconut meringue,” our young waitress says. “Made here?” We ask. “Grandma made them,” our other waitress answers. This is indeed a family restaurant.

I have two books with me for show and tell. One has 777 pages and seeks to integrate math, art and music into a coherent explanation of artificial intelligence, all in the spirit of Lewis Carol. The other is a knock knock joke book for children, with much smaller pages and only 121 of them. “The first book intrigues me, though I don’t understand it. The second, I get.

Knock knock                                                                         Knock knock

Who’s there?                                                                                 Who’s there?

Zoo                                                                                         Vera

Zoo who?                                                                                     Vera who?

Zoo think you can come out and play?                                 Is Vera way you could open the door?

“Hey everybody I have an announcement. On November 14 we ride to Excelsior Springs for breakfast at Mill Inn. Every November Mill Inn has my birthday party, this year my 80th. They make cake for everybody. So no matter the weather, come by bicycle, car, bus, on foot. By any means: come.

“Then the next day, Sunday, November 15, my children have arranged another birthday party for me to be held at William Jewell College, from 1:30-3:30 in the Gano Assembly Room. Do not bring gifts. But I will have a gift for all who come. Please come. I’ll miss you if you don’t.”

Ordinarily I would drive in my red PT Cruiser HateBuster Mobile (license # H8BSTR) back to Mt. Gilead to wait until all riders are back. Today, though, I don’t. Kelly, my daughter-in-law, is riding from her home in Lee’s Summit to the bike shop in Pleasant Hill to get clip-on pedals put on her bike. She has invited me to join her for lunch at Big Creek Cafe, next door since last November to New Town Bicycle Shop, and then go for a ride in and around Pleasant Hill.

Turns out that the pedals the shop installs can’t be made to work with the shoes Kelly has. So Alex, the shop owner, puts the old pedals back so we can ride. Alex will order the right pedals. Kelly will come again.

Carol Rowland was a senior at William Jewell when I came to teach in 1965 and a major in my department. I had her for only two classes, enough to know she was destined for great things. She married Lynn Hogue shortly after graduation. They had gone to high school together in North Kansas City and graduated William Jewell together. For years now they have lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Carol occupies an endowed chair at Emory University and is an international star in issues related to maternal and child health. Lynn is on the law faculty at Georgia State and now heads a program to help international lawyers develop the skills needed to pass the Georgia bar exam. Carol was recognized as a a William Jewell Achiever in 1994. Lynn in to be recognized next March.

Some weeks ago Carol emailed an invitation for Bobbie and me to join them tonight in Kansas City. Carol is President of the Board of Maison de Naissance, delivering healthy mothers and healthy babies their mission, their focus on Torbeck, Haiti. Kansas City doctors founded this program and is the site of their board meetings and tonight’s benefit.

On my cross country bike ride in 1987, I stayed two nights with Carol and Lynn. They arranged for me to visit the Martin Luther King home in Atlanta. When time came to leave Atlanta, Lynn drove me out to a safe place to resume my ride.

Carol has never seen me using a walker, as I am tonight. “I can’t walk far or fast or steady. But I’m still biking.” I tell her. “I tell people everywhere about you.” Carol says. “I know you do. That helps me keep going. Thanks.”

‘We want you both at our table in March when Lynn is honored at Jewell. And May 28 in Atlanta for our 50th wedding anniversary.” Carol says.

In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Emily asks, “Does anyone ever realize life as they live it, every single moment? Today! My answer is YES.

Riders  to Plattsburg today: Mike Nason, Bill Hessel, Delfina Ortiz, David Evans, Jason Swan, Jim Swan, Greg Snodgrass, Tom Raines, Steve Hanson, Paul Klawinski