Archive for the ‘Hatebusters 2005’ Category

New Year’s Eve at Sarah’s Table

May 19, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Terry Anderson saw our Saturday morning rides listed on the Kansas City Bike Club website and emailed me to find out when and where to meet. No one has come when I arrive in front of Biscari Brothers. My computer screen said 30 degrees and cloudy as I pedaled from home. Hardly any cars on the road early on New Year’s Eve. I get to the bike shop faster than I’d expected. I’m 30 minutes early. Then a red pickup pulls in with two bikes in the back. All the way from Grandview, Terry has brought his friend, Glenn Dutcher. By our appointed 8 AM departure time, we are joined by David Eaton, Seth McMenemy, Nan and Rick Lueckert, Steve Hanson and Petra Toye.

These eight have been at Sarah’s Table for 10 minutes or more when I arrive. I was here yesterday in my car to bring MS calendars to Sarah, her mother, Norma, her sister, Tammy, and waitresses, Betty and Janis. Sarah’s Table is a $1000.00 sponsor of our Greater Liberty Bike Ride for MS. This is my third time here this week. Not an unusual week. Betty and Janis often wait on me. Betty comes this morning to gently chide the other riders for leaving me last. She knows I ride last by choice, to be sure no one is left behind. She also knows I’m naturally slow and might have a problem. Then who’s riding sweep for me? I’m not concerned. But I find it comforting that Betty is.

Biscuits and gravy, pancakes, both blueberry and plain, omelets, bacon, coffee and lots of water fuel us to step back into the cold and mount our bikes to return by a different route back to Liberty. Some of us and others of the more than 200 who have ridden on Saturdays with us will come on New Year’s Day in the morning to Steve’s house. Out to Paradise we will ride, then circle back by another way to his house, where his wife, Sharon, a regular rider but this morning our chef, will have breakfast waiting for us.

Some might think of a better way to begin a new year than to pedal a bicycle in a Missouri winter up and down Missouri hills and then to come in from the cold to a warm house still decorated for Christmas, appetite honed razor sharp and teased by mouth-watering aromas rising from the kitchen, in the company of riding companions who fully comprehend the addiction of winter riding. Then to have that raging hunger fully tamed, replaced by a contentment of mind, body and soul beyond any state accessible to the sedentary. I myself might with much thought think of a better way to celebrate the new year. But I prefer not to try.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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The Last of My Three Js Leaves Liberty

May 19, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Every hello is also a goodbye. The joy of meeting is prelude to the sorrow of parting. All true stories end in death. These thoughts come unbidden to mind as I read Graham’s email on my computer screen early this morning. On this first official day of winter, snow covers the ground outside my window. I will go later this cold morning to ring bells for the Salvation Army. It’s not on the route I would have taken, but today I will drive past First Presbyterian Church and think back to that fall day in 1965 when I went there to meet Reverend Julian Houston, pastor of the church.

The Civil Rights Movement had seized our national attention. Julian had called us to his church so we could lay plans to ensure fair housing for all our people. We were to meet often over the next few months, inspired by Julian’s passion for justice and dignity. I was new in town, having just arrived with my new PhD to teach race relations at William Jewell College. I had met a few folks at the college. But Julian was to be the first townsperson I would know. I could not imagine that day in 1965 how central to my life Julian Houston was to become. I was never to be a member of his church. We seldom saw each other except when danger arose in our town and response was needed. Then without fail word would come that Julian wanted us to come and do something.

Of the many good people who always answered Julian’s call, two others became beacons in my emerging understanding of how I should live and conduct myself. Joe Wally and John Pritchard became, with Julian, my three Js. Because I knew them, I could not act on my original plan to live and work in Liberty for only a year or two before going home to Texas.

So now on this 21st day of December 2005, I come to my computer and see scrolled across the screen a message I’ve been expecting and dreading. Joe died a few years back. John died just four months ago. Julian has not been well. This morning comes this.

“Ed, while I would much prefer to be sharing this news with you by phone I did not want to wait for an appropriate time to call you. Somehow I sense you are at your keyboard or soon will be.

“Dad passed away last night about 10:50 p.m. at Ashton Court. Mary Jane, Kate, Henry, Kathy, Jennifer and Jason were able to be with him before he died. Kate arrived around 5:45 and Henry about 8:45 p.m. I was fortunate to be with him all day. Though he was not able to speak much at all Dad and I connected on many levels and shared our sense of peace, comfort and readiness for what we knew was to come. God was with us all day and to the end. The three J’s are united once again. What fun they must be having right now.

“Dad wanted his body donated to KU Medical Center. After he is done educating medical and allied health students (only Dad would figure out a way to keep teaching after his death!) his ashes will be returned to us in about a year.

“A memorial service will be held the middle of next week, probably Wednesday at Linwood United Church.”

God Bless You,
Graham

This was my email reply to Graham.

Graham, I am at my keyboard. I’m so fortunate to have met your dad when I first came to town. He has been important to me for all these years. He made me a better person. I will be forever grateful to him. One day I will go where he and Joe and John have gone. I wonder what it will be like. With them there, it’s a place I want to be. And then there will be no goodbyes. Forever together! And it all started right here in our town where our hearts were set at Liberty.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Liberty Becomes Our Town

May 19, 2008


A Christmas Message from Ed and Bobbie Chasteen

The year was 1964. I had a fellowship from the University of Missouri-Columbia that required my presence in Kansas City. I would do Civil Rights research there for a year. Get my PhD. And return to live and teach somewhere in Texas, where Bobbie and I had been born and raised. Where our first two children, Debbie and David, had been born. Brian was born during our two-year sojourn in Oklahoma, where my first college teaching revealed my life’s calling. But to have a future in higher education, I had to get a PhD. MU had a program I liked. Thus the five of us came to Columbia, Missouri: 2-E University Terrace became our home for a year. But now Kansas City beaconed. Where to live?

Liberty sounded nice. We came to look. No rental house available! So we took a place at 10920 Ewing in Hickman Mills. Nine months later I had finished my research and written it up. I was through. But the paperwork at MU had not run its course and my degree was not actually in hand. Bobbie and I were hesitant to leave the area. But my fellowship was coming to an end. Debbie, David and Brian had grown accustomed to eating on a regular basis. I needed a job that would keep me in the area for a while.

William Jewell College had a faculty position open in my field. I applied. And got the job. This time we found a rental, and 639 Morse became our home. “Daddy is at school,” Bobbie would tell Debbie during our year in Hickman Mills and Debbie asked why I was gone so much. “Daddy is through with school,” Bobbie told Debbie when she asked why we were moving to Liberty. Then came my first day of teaching at William Jewell. As I dressed to leave home, Debbie asked, “Where you going, Daddy?” “I’m going to school,” I said. She began to cry. “Mommy said you were through with school.”

That 1965 school year was heaven on earth to me. I discovered I was colleague to some of the finest teachers I had ever known. When spring came, I signed on for another year. And Bobbie and I went house hunting. We had never owned a house. We were ready. We discovered our tastes were not identical. Wayne Brodbeck persuaded us that the house at 1702 Magnolia could be modified to our satisfaction. Nineteen thousand dollars sounded like the national debt. But with 25 years to pay it off, we thought we could swing it. We became homeowners. Signed the papers in April 1966, just a few days from our ninth wedding anniversary. Moved in in June.

Dot and Gene Allen and their five children had bought the house next door the year before. The north end of our house faces the south end of theirs. Our driveways flow into each other across Natchez Street that dead ends just past our driveways, with a creek and a farm field beyond. The Allen kids and the Chasteen kids become friends as Dot and Gene, Bobbie and I go camping and canoeing and visit back and forth.

Gene is an engineer. I’m a social scientist. He put up the basketball goal in the corner of our yard, beside the driveway. Facing the street, which morphs into the court. I pay for replacement nets and once a new backboard. We bought a lawnmower together. He repairs it. I pay for the parts. Bobbie and Dot borrow sugar and cornmeal and eggs and milk and assorted other edibles back and forth. Each house becomes a convenience store for the other. We travel to Costa Rica and Australia together. Dot and Gene grew up in Independence and have extended family nearby. They invite us on family picnics and to graduations and weddings and baby showers and funerals.

The year now is 2005, soon to be 2006. I am retired from William Jewell. Debbie, David (now Dave) and Brian are Jewell grads. Debbie is a member of the faculty. And Bobbie and I still live at 1702 Magnolia. Dot and Gene are still our neighbors. Winter snows on our north driveway take days to melt. The Allen’s south driveway gets the afternoon sun and soon clears.

With Debbie, Dave and Brian grown and gone, Bobbie a retired elementary teacher and me, a retired college professor, we could move to another house, another town. We’ve discussed it. We love to travel. Other places have appeal. But this house long ago became our home. This town became our town. Thirty-nine of our 48 years as a couple have been spent here. Bobbie’s now deceased parents have slept in these beds, sat in these chairs, walked through these doors, driven our street, walked in our yard. My mother will visit this house again this Christmas. Friends long gone have come here for parties and to discuss community issues. Moving from this house would be to divorce ourselves from a pleasing past and separate ourselves voluntarily from precious memories.

Every Halloween our basement became a haunted house for the neighborhood. At Easter we hid eggs. Inside in bad weather. Outside in good. The Christmas tree went up on the day after Thanksgiving, standing in the living room, visible through the three big windows to our neighbors passing by. Magnolia Avenue ends one long block down the street where South Liberty Baptist Church sits. So we could all walk to church was a prime reason Bobbie and I bought this house. And for years with Casper, our dog, we all did just that. Then home after church, the kids and I would play games in the front yard while Bobbie got dinner ready. (Where we grew up in Texas, the noon meal was called dinner. The evening meal was supper.)

I dug huge holes in the back yard in the 1960s so a big truck could come with already giant Pin Oak trees and drop them in the ground. For all these years those trees have held their leaves long into the winter and offered shade against the afternoon sun as we move about in the kitchen and sit to eat.

Bobbie’s parents moved from their hometown before her last year of high school. Bobbie left the only people she had ever known. My parents moved from my hometown the year after I finished high school. So when Bobbie and I have gone to visit our parents over all these years, we have gone to towns where we did not grow up, where we know few people and have no history. Our parents had no choice but to leave their homes. Jobs demanded it. But there was a price to pay. Their children would not be coming to a place they knew when coming to visit their parents.

Bobbie and I had a choice. We could move to another town. To another house in the same town. Or we could stay. In the same house in the same town. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” captures in its inelegance a truth I think too few heed and hardly anyone widely applies. But I think applies here. Life in our home and our town has been good beyond our fondest hopes. Simply because we can is far from reason enough to pull up stakes and roll the dice to see if we hit the jackpot. When we already have, we need to know it.

Thank God, we do. We are not moving. Debbie, Dave and Brian all live just a few miles away. Son-in-law, Ed, and granddaughter, Laura, are here. Our house is a magnet, drawing us all together on all holidays, to watch ball games, play games*, dine on gourmet meals from Bobbie’s kitchen. Now and then for no reason at all one or more of the kids will pop over for a visit. Sometimes the Allen kids will have come to see their folks and everyone will stand around in the yard for a few minutes, reliving shared moments from years gone by.

Such serendipitous moments most likely come at Christmas time when everyone’s home draws its people back and everyone basks in memory’s warm glow.

*Of the many games we play, two deserve special mention. Marathon games of 42 we play. A domino game for four people, two each playing as partners, this is a Texas game long played by Bobbie’s family and mine and carefully taught to our children. Ed, Debbie’s husband, is a Yankee. Had never played the game. Resisted learning. Now plays cutthroat. For years we have sat at a card table in the living room to play. Neighbors have often asked, “What are you folks doing sitting at that table for hours on end?” Croquet is the other game. Played in our front yard. Lots of yelling and laughter and kidding and chasing balls down the street.

As the boys grew up, after school football and softball games kept our yard and the Allen’s with broken trees and worn grass.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Snow Angel

May 19, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Kitty Kallen never made it big as a popular singer. “Little Things Mean A lot” is the only thing she did that I remember. That was in the 1950s. In Texas. For some reason that song stuck with me. I have reason to remember it most every day. Take last Thursday for example. Almost a foot of snow had fallen overnight. I didn’t have time or energy to shovel my driveway. So I drove over it.

I came home about two hours later. Someone had removed every bit of snow from my driveway and my sidewalk. There was no note in the door to explain. I made phone calls and sent emails to the most likely snow angels. They all professed innocence. Now it’s Saturday afternoon. And I’m still feeling good, knowing that someone out there is looking out for me. The anonymity of the deed makes it possible to suspect that everyone I see in and about our town may have been the author of this little thing that means a lot. An early Christmas present. And likely the most memorable. Too bad these little things don’t get bigger notice. Such good deeds daily and randomly done here and there and everywhere cushion and buffer our lives against the evil and indifference that might otherwise overwhelm us.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Not Yet Winter

May 19, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

We’re almost three weeks short of official winter. You wouldn’t know it, though, from what we’re wearing. Heavy sweaters, caps, facemasks, gloves, mittens, thermal socks, shoe covers, goggles. As little skin exposed as possible. The thermometer says 28. That biting east wind will blow right in our faces as we pedal out old 210 toward Orrick and breakfast at Fubbler’s Cove. And a cove it indeed will be this morning, as stiff and hungry bikers come in from the cold.

Eleven of us show up this morning for our 7:30 start from Biscari Brothers Bicycles. None of us expected to see so many on this first below freezing ride. Many others there will be before spring zephyrs bring welcome warmth back to us. But any day without ice is a good day to ride.

Muscles are not as reliable in the cold. And energy is required simply to warm the body. Cold weather riding is a different kind of pleasure. At 65-70 degrees, the body operates at maximum efficiency and the mind is free to roam the world. Riding in April requires little thought and little effort, as heart, mind and soul soar to places seldom visited at other times and differently engaged.

But December riding is a totally different escape from the mundane. Careful preparation is essential. Failure to plan ahead. Forgetting a piece of clothing. Bicycle breakdown. Any problem morphs in cold weather into a major problem.

Arriving at Fubbler’s in the cold after 22 freezing miles with toes and fingers numb brings the exaltation of traveling from Fairbanks to Miami. Steaming cups of hot chocolate and coffee. Biscuits and gravy. Blueberry pancakes. Bacon and eggs! A hour ensconced in this homey place, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, sharing stories, making plans for next week’s ride. Ambivalent about our immediate future when we must voluntarily step from this warm place back into the cold and mount our bikes. We want to go. We want to be back home. But it is so pleasant here in this cocoon. But the wind will be now at our backs. It’s sting gone. Our friend now. Helping us back to our homes.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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