Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kansas!















"O Give Me a Home
Where the Buffalo Roam,
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play...

Where Seldom is Heard
A Discouraging Word,

And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day."















Today my beloved Kansas celebrates her 145th birthday. In 1861 she was the 34th state to take up residence in this great nation.

As a child, Kansas Day was celebrated by making booklets about our state's symbols: the Cottonwood, Meadowlark, Sunflower and Buffalo. My favorite was the Kansas flag: a navy blue background housing the state seal where a farmer plows his field, covered wagons blaze across green, prairie grasses and a beautiful sunset introduces 34 bright stars. A banner at the top reads, "Ad Astra Per Aspera" - To the Stars Through Difficulties. I would painstakingly color the intricate lines and shapes and feel proud that I came from the rural heritage of this land.

When my own children were small we would make sugar cookies shaped like Sunflowers and talk about the beginnings of the state we call home. January 29th is a date that is embedded in our minds like any other important birthday in our lives, and I suspect it will always stay that way.

"The Sunflower State", "Jayhawkers", "The Bread Basket of the World", "The Air Capital". We have many names and wear many hats, but our best and truest asset is our people. We are the scarecrow who learned to think, the tin man who found his heart among friends, the lion who gained courage along the way.... all wrapped up in ordinary folks who know what it means to reach for the stars through difficult times. And though Dorothy Gale was a fictional character who took an infamous trip to Oz, she certainly had it right when she said, "There's no place like home".

11 comments:

srp said...

What a wonderful piece about Kansas. I lived for some time just under Kansas in Oklahoma City. The midwest is home to wonderful friendly people.

martie said...

Makes me "almost" want to move there!

Networkchic said...

Wow, I learned something new today. That's pretty good for a Monday.

Macromoments said...

Lori, what a sparkling tribute to Kansas. LOVE your pictures. The branches against a bright blue sky make me long for sunshine here today.

I love your photography as much as your writing. What a great combo.

Michael said...

nice history lesson. Geez all I know about my state ( minnesota) is that its friggin cold and we have too many mosquitos in the summer. Spoken like a true Californian!

Spider Girl said...

Sunflowers are my favourite flower. No question.

Happy Birthday Kansas! :)

naive-no-more said...

I have a close friend who was transplanted from Kansas City. She calls everyone "sis" and "honey". I thought it was just her, but after visiting her home state, I realized it was a Kansas thing.

I felt so welcome there.

clew said...

Very nice! My old college roommate is from Kansas, and returned after graduation. She's one of the most beautiful, pure, and lovely souls I've ever know. As Naive said, must be a Kansas thing!

alan said...

Beautiful post from a beautiful Kansan; thank you!!!

alan

Neil said...

I've always wanted to go to Kansas. There is a mystique about this special state in the middle of the country -- seen in countless movies, and even home to Dorothy. Nice photos.

Pete Mitchell said...

Any state that produced someone like you stands head and shoulders above the rest.