First of all let me start off by saying, "I love people from Kansas!" I haven't met a stadium full of people from Kansas but I've met enough to know that they are good, hard working people, very warm and friendly. But the best thing I can say about people from Kansas is the fact that out of all those wonderful people I've met, there hasn't been one of them that didn't keep their word.
My mom was from a small town in Kansas called Bison in Rush county that now can boast a population of 255. My dad lived in Hutchinson or "Hutch" as the natives called it, with a current population 40,623.
My mom was a school teacher and concert pianist, smarter then a whip and very talented. I don't think without my mom's help I would have passed from grade to grade. I possibly could have still been in the 7th grade trying to figure out why in the world they put letters into math equations with the sole purpose of trying to figure out what the number was. English and Science were completely baffling and the way they taught history (my nap time) could have put the most studious person to sleep.
All of that torture with the understanding that we had to also learn a foreign language (although my own language completely stymied me) which in this case was Spanish. To this day I only remember a small portion of dialog three which states, "I've been in this country for three years." That and "Bano" which means bathroom could possibly ingratiate me to the local Spanish people for less than ten minutes.
Where I excelled was in the "extra curricular" studies which were all things related drama, music, and sports. This trinity of art and sport connected me to the school in a way that could have never happened without the influence from my mom and dad.
Many times after a barbecue my parents and friends would retire to the living room. Then my dad would break out the cordial cart and intoxicate his friends further. Pretty soon they'd be pounding on the tables wanting my mom and dad to play music, yelling out requests, and pontificating about their favorite songs.
My mom played the piano and accompanied my dad (whom played the violin). They most certainly made beautiful music together. My dad would lower that violin and sway to the music while my mom (ever the consummate musician) would roll her elbows from chord to chord exacting a precise execution of phrasing and interpretation to perfectly perform the piece.
In some cases this would lead to a medley of an artist or genre with both my mom and dad playing by ear their favorite tunes as per the request from the audience. The audience in many cases were friends they'd known for a life time, most of them from Kansas. I would sit on the couch in awe hoping some day that I could have the same affect on others as my parents did in that very special moment.
I could go on about the impact my parents had on me (as I am a violinist) in so many different ways but I will leave you with this. My mom's name was Dorothy and she was from Kansas and my dad was a teacher as I mentioned, also from Kansas. My parents gave to others their whole lives instilling that it's always better to give than receive. Together, as a team, they epitomized the love, truth, and honor that made our house a home.
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