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Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Authors, Presbyterian Manor, Rod and Genn Helus — Peg Britton @ 6:23 pm

It is hard for me to believe I’ve lived at the Palace for over a year.  I moved in the end of November 2012 and now find we’re in the repeating throes of holiday cheer; tables are laden with decorations galore to be placed here and there in the lobbies, dining room and general gathering places.

Every lobby has a decorated Christmas tree with a stack of presents underneath. All of us on the second floor took whatever nibbles we had and gathered in our floor lobby and chatted while a handful of inmates added ornaments to a tree that earlier Pete Peterson had assembled and adorned with twinkly lights.  We always say that we should do it for no reason at all, but so far that hasn’t happened.  Gather together, that is.

The second floor has more residents than any of the other floors because, unlike the other 5 regular floors, we have the addition of 2 west, the “hood” where I live.

Doors to inmate apartments are reflecting the anticipated festivities of the season.  The deliveries are more frequent and the mailman has a fuller pack than usual. The obvious thing that is missing from this picture is the joy and expectation that come from the presence of little ones.  I miss my children enormously, but also miss having children tumbling about, in general, as they are few in number here on any occasion.  Well there was an exception at the Halloween party for the employee’s children.  It was delightful to have them.

The other day I heard someone yelling at children, or so I thought.  She was saying things like, “I told you to stay right there!”,  “Why did you move when I told you not to?”, “If you don’t stand up straight, I’m going to punch you in the stomach.”  It took me a while to focus in on what was being said because  this place is so quiet you don’t generally hear conversations. This was a very one-sided conversation. It was coming from the patio below me so I actually got up to see who was making all the racket.  It was one of the aides who was trying to get huge inflatable snowmen and Santas to stand upright and not blow over.  She was cute and laughing at her assigned task and it was funny when I finally realized what was transpiring and no real children were being berated.  I have quite a Christmas scene below my windows…lights galore and “inflatables” that better stay in place.

Holidays aren’t like they once were for me or for anyone who lives here. Not being surrounded by family makes all the difference in the world in how you look at your surroundings.  You adjust and relax and appreciate what you have and recall the beautiful memories of Christmases past.

It’s amazing to me that I seem so busy.  I just don’t seem to have any idle time.  I have a new book that Amy thought I’d like, Charles Frazer’s Nightwoods.  I’m also waiting for the Salina Public Library to let me know when Leon Unruh’s book, Dog of the Afterworld arrives.  I love to read and wish I had more time for it.  There are so many books I want to read.

I also love it when people come to visit.  I’m fortunate to have friends and family who take the time to stop by.  Claudia and Mark were here Sunday and we had a good visit.  They have so little time for such things.  The last time they came to Salina…months ago…they also came to see me.

Ryon and James came last Friday to take me out to dinner.  We had a good time laughing as we share the same kind of warped humor.  It was good to see them again.  I got a good report on Rich’s and Charlie’s wedding last week in D.C.  I’m so happy for them. Finally, attitudes and laws are changing, something that I didn’t hope to see in my lifetime.  It has been a real struggle for the gay community.

Last week I went downtown to the Ultra Lounge with my friend and trivia whiz, Lynn.  We had a lot of fun trying to figure out the answers, but she ended up winning one of the three games and came in second on the other two without any help from me.  She’s got a remarkable memory.  The only answer I knew with certainty was Crockodile Dundee’s first real name.  Mick.

I went to “Art Discovery” today which is one of the many activities they offer to keep idle hands busy.  It was fun, in a weird sort of way.  I made a necklace that I’ll pawn off to someone and a little tree ornament that soon turned into a door handle ornament. I like being with the other people who live here.  They have very distinct personality traits when you get to be up in your 90’s and 100’s and plus. Nice people.

We have a new addition in the Hood….Carolyn.  Originally from Hoxie but more recently from Cuchara CO.  She’s a  lot of fun to be around and I enjoy her company.  There isn’t a lot of turnover on 2 west…the hood…as there are only 7 apartments the size of the one I’m in.  The rooms are large and that appeals to people.  There really isn’t a lot of difference in the cost of any of the apartments in the tower.

I have a young friend who is in India for her work with Hospira for  two or three weeks.  If you want to read about her experiences, which are very interesting, you can find it here.

I promised some pictures of my apartment a long time ago and I still don’t have them posted.  Tyler found my camera battery charger when he was here and I’d almost given it up for lost.  I knew it was here….someplace.  Now that I can take pictures, I’ll try to include some.

One of the really important things in my life is that I now am a great-grandmother.  Emma Grace was born to Rodney and Gennifer Helus and, of course, is one beautiful little baby.  Grandmother Karen is on her way right now to assist the new parents however she can.  She’s the lucky one.  I hope to get a daily report on the Emma’s progress.

I have posted about the International dinners they have at the Korean Restaurant.  They have been a lot of fun for me, gets me out from here and in a position to talk to complete strangers who share food as a common interest.  I like helping entrepreneurs who  are trying new and different things to expand their businesses and this is one of them. That comes from all my PEP training…Prairie Enterprise Project.   We won’t be having another dinner until next month.  I’ll see what it is and make plans to attend.  In this case, the number of places is limited and it’s first to pay, first to get on the list.  I like the idea.

I’ve rambled way too long, but I needed to add something about life in the Palace to my blog.  It’s a great place to be…I’d most likely be turning in to a vegetable if I were still home.  I have challenges here, interesting people to talk with on a daily basis, friends that I love to be with, things to do, places to go…life is very good here and I don’t wish to be anywhere else.  And, it’s a very safe place to live.  You can’t find that just anywhere in the world.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Drew Britton, Ally Britton, Rod and Genn Helus — Peg Britton @ 7:48 am


My good friends from Ellsworth arrived as a birthday surprise bearing balloons, beer, dips and spreads and fresh veggies from the garden and canned green tomatoes. Now, how perfect is that?  From left behind me:  Cindy McAtee, Claudia Hochman and Meredith Vargo. They unpacked all my boxes from my move and put everything away. The best of friends.


Shannon and Lindsay…loving the house they’re in…it makes me happy knowing they love it so.


My cousin, John Drees, and Ally….on a trip to Orozco’s for lunch.


Bernadette Drees Rogers with Ally and me (and her brother John) at Orozco’s Mother’s Day weekend.


Bloody Mary in a quart jar for the birthday boy…27 big ones.  He looks very much like his grandpa…

Drew was in the wedding party of hosts of friends this summer….he was more often than not found in formal attire.


Grandson Rod and wife Genn ….Roman Coliseum…
Thanks for tuning in …


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