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Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton, Mackenzie, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:09 pm


Here’s my neighborhood baseball captain, Jack Gillam.  I was always on Jack’s baseball team when we were in grade school.  We’ve been friends since that time.  Jack, his wife Betty and their boys, Jack, Jeff and Jay have been our family friends for….ever.  Our kids grew up together.

Jack graduated from K-State with a degree in architecture and I graduated with a degree in architecture from KU.  He learned a lot more than I did and he was instrumental in getting our house put together in Ellsworth that I sold only after moving here. He and his son Jeff, also an architect, are responsible for hundreds of school buildings, hospitals, nursing home, houses and other outstanding buildings across Kansas and elsewhere. They have done outstanding work and made significant contributions in their field.  Jack and Betty’s oldest son, Jack, is my dentist and keeps me smiling.

Jack lives here at the Palace and his wife, Betty, is here too in health care.  I went to the Ginormous Instrument Concert today and Jack was there too…so we sat together. His son, Jack, was there as well.  The room was packed with what I think is the largest audience since I’ve lived here. Many people came especially to watch Nathan Zimmerman, young son of Carolyn Hofer and Mark Zimmerman, who was one of nine stand-up bass players. Mark and Carolyn and family join John Zimmerman  here for Sunday dinner so the residents  have gotten to know their children and enjoy following their activities.

I didn’t know John Zimmerman when I was young, but his wife, Patsy Davis, and I were playmates…then friends for years.  Now, John takes the Wall Street Journal and delivers it to me when he’s finished with it.  That paper gets a good workout from the two of us.

It’s especially nice living here at the Palace since so many of my friends from the days of my youth living in Salina are here too.  They include:  Jack and Betty, Margie and Loren Walter, Marsha Stewart, John and Katie Weckel, Margie Eberhardt Wilson, Ivy Marsh, Shirley Drawbaugh, Mary Beth Engleman, Ginny Frederick, Pete Peterson, Amy Hoffman, Leo Lake and Louie Reynolds. I imagine I’ve failed to mention someone.

After my granddaughter, Mackenzie Britton, was born at Asbury Hospital on January 27th, 1983, a huge blizzard occurred on the day she was to leave.  Traffic was at a stand-still and Dane, Julie and Mackenzie were stranded at the hospital…with no place to go and no hope of getting home to Ellsworth.  Jack Gillam found a friend with heavy equipment….the only thing moving in Salina… came to the hospital and took the three of them to Jack’s house where they spent the next several days.  Here’s what Julie had to say about it:

“What a great friend Jack was on Mackenzie’s first night out of the hospital. We were trapped in a huge snowfall and Jack rescued us and took us into his home and kept the fires burning. His sweet wife made a crib from a study Mead paper box and lined it with Betty approved flannel sheets and mattress.”

Jack and Betty really were life savers.  We’ve talked about that Mead paper box and how happy Mackenzie was in for the first few days of her life.  They have been good friends in many ways for many years. It’s nice to still be close after all these years even if it’s not in a way any of us envisioned back in our youth.
Thanks for tuning in…



My grandson, Tyler, does a lot of traveling and, from time to time, he asks me to tell him where I’ve been, or about one of my favorite destinations. That’s hard as every trip had it special highlights.

There are many places in the US I haven’t seen, but I’ve also had the opportunity to see and visit many places, some many times.  The only two states I haven’t visited are Rhode Island and Delaware.

I thought it might be convenient for Tyler, and interesting for me if I could list the places outside the US where Brit and I, Ally and I, Dane, Mackenzie and I or I alone, have visited…not just passed through on the way to some place else.  The journey brought me back many memories.

Brit and I went to Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Taxco and Aculpulco on our honeymoon.  We also drove to Mexico randomly just because we loved it so much.  One trip was to Tampico to meet Vera and Reuben Sparks. We went to Aculpulco again with Karma and Paul Aylward and stayed at Tres Vidas, which may have been dissolved by the salty ocean water.  It was a magnificent place.

We also made four trips to Hawaii which were wonderful, but they don’t count in this list.

Brit was the People-to-People leader for a group of Kansas bankers we took to China for an extended visit.  We took numerous tours with other groups…and by ourselves. Many were trips that Dane arranged.

Ally and I drove 7,000 miles during our trip to visit Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.  We ate only at locally owned restaurants and slept in locally owned motels/B & B’s. Ally played golf with a group of guys we met over a sack of garlic we happened to have and that they desperately needed.  No fast food/franchise patronizing. We stayed in Baddeck for a week or so and loved Lunenburg where she took the helm of a large sailing vessel and was invited by the captain to stay and sail for him.  She’s that good. I love Nova Scotia.

Ally and I also took a 17 day trip through the Panama Canal on the Norwegian Wind and racked up some wonderful memories.  Another time we spent 10 days in Cancun where she spend her time cave diving and I luxuriated at the Grand Mayan Resort.

Another memorable trip was one that Mackenzie and I took to visit Dane in Hungary when he was there working for the Eisenhower Foundation assisting Hungary to return to a democratic government.  That was a wonderful trip and holds special memories not only of Hungary, but other countries as well. .  Mackenzie lost a tooth while we were there so we launched it in to the Danube and figured some day it would  be inside a big fish in the Black Sea.

I didn’t list a family cruise we took in the Caribbean or the bucket trip the family took with Brit before he died.  Of course, we didn’t venture out of the US for that.

Brit and I had three trips to London/England and I went another time to visit my friends, Ann Harrison, and John and Geoff Spearman (Ally and I met them on the Panama Canal trip). I remember one flight to from New York to London where we were served 7 full meals before we landed in London and we didn’t go to bed until our return flight home two days later.  We were young then.

I don’t have my passports with me which would give me a better idea of what I may have missed, but for all practical purposes, this list will cover most of my travel destinations.  I’ve always had an itch to travel…Dane, Todd, Mackenzie, Tyler, Drew and Ally all have the same gene.  Before he’s finished, Tyler will put my list to shame.  He’s already way ahead of most 26 year old travelers who have to do it on their own.

My Travel To Non-US Destinations (more than just passing through):

Bahamas, Nassau
Costa Rica
Cartagena, Colombia
Panama City
San Blas Islands
Panama Canal
Australia, Sydney
Australia, Canberra
Australia, Melbourne
New Zealand, Rotorua
New Zealand, Queenstown
New Zealand, Christ Church
Indonesia, Jakarta, Jawa Barat
Indonesia, Bali
Philippines, Manila
French Polynesia, BoraBora
Japan, Kyoto
Japan, Tokyo x2
Malaysia, Jahore Bahru
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Thailand, Bangkok
Hong Kong
China, Shanghai
China, Beijing
China, Guangzhou
Canada, Victoria
Canada, Vancouver
Canada, Banff
Canada, Jasper
Canada, Lake Louise
Canada, Medicine Hat
Canada, Calgary
Canada, Edmonton
Canada, Quebec City x2
Canada Montreal
Canada, Nova Scotia, Kentville
Canada, Nova Scotia, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island
Canada, Lunenburg
Canada, Digby
Canada, New Brunswick
Canada, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Mexico, Cancun
Mexico, Monterrey
Mexico, Puerto Vallarta
Mexico, Mexico City
Mexico, Taxco
Mexico, Aculpulco
Mexico, Tres Vidas (where is it?)
Mexico, Cuernavaca
Mexico, Guadalajara
Mexico, San Angel ?
Mexico, Tampico
England, London x3
England, Southern England Petworth and Pulborough
England , Stanley, County Durham
Scotland, Edinburgh
Scotland, Tighnabruaich
Hungary, Budapest
Czechoslovakia, Prague
Austria, Vienna

The end.  My traveling days are over.
Thanks for tuning in…






Family:  Ally, Karen, Christy, Drew, me, Todd


Family:  Ally, Karen, Mackenzie, Drew, me, Todd

It was a wonderful weekend with family….



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Mackenzie — Peg Britton @ 7:14 am


Dane would have been 62 today…he was on this earth for only 56 years, but he made an enormous difference in the lives of many.



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:51 am


Some of the neighborhood kids…Ally Britton, Jim and Peder Larsen, Dane Britton.  It must have been taken on a Sunday morning.  Maybe 1959.  I don’t know where Todd was when this picture was taken, but I was usually missing one of my kids…who wandered off.  The group also included Richie Irwin, on a regular basis.



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 8:22 am

I had the most magnificent view of private and city fireworks last night from my 4th floor windows.  I couldn’t see 180 degrees but nearly so.  And, it was unobstructed.  The sky was full of displays from horizon to horizon for an hour before the city started their display. I sat in my comfortable office chair and enjoyed the private extravaganza.

The city display was right across the street from where I live, so I couldn’t have been closer or had a better seat.  The city display was very similar to the ones we have in Ellsworth…the same length and with the same number of displays.   I think the same company might be involved in the pyrotechnic displays.  Ellsworth has been on top of the heap for city displays since the early 80s.

I saw one emergency vehicle pass the Palace just as the display was ending. I hope it was a safe night for all, particularly the little children.  I’m sure the long standing police from 841 Highland meant that those kids only had a few lady fingers and snakes.  It was not a day of celebrating with fireworks at our house.  Unfortunately, it was the same with my kids when they were young….a few sparklers here and there was all.  They changed all of that as adults.

The last time we experienced Salina fireworks was a number of years ago when we sat on Dane’s deck and watched both the Salina fireworks and the Salina Country Club fireworks.  We had whip lash from looking left then right, but it was a lot of fun.  As I recall, Dane fixed some of his famous lemon pepper chicken filets on the grill for dinner that night. Good memories.

Last night the sky was on fire and full of the most brilliant colors one can imagine.  I won’t have this vantage point after I move but next year I can go to the lounge on any of the floors and watch.  And, I’ll look forward to it.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Ally Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 7:10 pm

I had my first dinner party tonight. Even though it was simple from start to finish, it met the requirements of a party.

I had an assortment of food that pleased my two guests…rotisserie chicken, homemade ham salad (Meredith’s specialty)  spread on fancy bread for finger sandwiches, good red ripe tomatoes, pickled beets, shoepeg corn salad, chips, dips and spreads, honeydew melon and zucchini cake (Claudia’s specialty) …wine and other libations.  Something for everyone.

Ally and her friend stopped by this afternoon to arrange my table and find my placemats and napkins.

I experimented with my long-time friends who live here….Ivy Marsh and Ginny Frederick.   I am no longer able to  stand in the kitchen and cook all day.  It’s something I can’t do just now.  Maybe in time I’ll have the strength to do more on my own.   In the meantime, I know how to make a  simple but good meal.   We had a nice visit and it was a special treat for each of us to spend the evening together.  It’s what you do when you get old and live  in independent living, as we all do.  Any meal outside the dining room is a treat.

I got the idea how to do this from Mabelle who had Ginny and me for dinner the other night.  It was simple but delicious and a bunch of fun.  We laughed our socks off.  Mabelle will be my next door neighbor when I move.  She’s a nice lady in her 90s, but you ‘d never know it.

The Star Spangled Spectacular Fireworks Extravaganza is tonight in Ellsworth. Ally is going to attend for Dane and me.  I remember so well when Dane returned to Ellsworth from Houston, in 1980 I believe, and learned there were no public fireworks for children.  He arranged the first really wonderful display soon after and it has continued since then. Those loud boomers are for you, Dane.

Thanks for tuning in….



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:42 am

Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

Honoring The Life Of Dane Britton

Volume 154 , Number 70
Pages E775
Extensions of Remarks
Wed, April 30, 2008

Sen. Jerry Moran

Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of a man who positively influenced the future of central Kansas and in the process touched the lives of thousands of his fellow citizens.

It is a privilege for me to pay tribute to the life of Mr. Dane Britton of Ellsworth, Kansas.

As Kansans, we are dutifully aware of our State motto, Ad Astra Per Aspera, which translates, “To the Stars Through Difficulties.'’ Dane lived this theme with passion.

In 1975, at only 23 years of age, Dane was named Police Officer of the Year for Houston, Texas. Five years later, Dane returned home to Ellsworth to serve as president and chief executive officer of Citizens State Bank–representing the third generation of his family’s leadership at the bank. At the same time, Dane stepped forward as a civic leader in his hometown. He was instrumental in securing construction and expansion of the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. His efforts helped bring Cashco, a manufacturing firm, to the community and helped prevent closure of the Independent Salt Company in Kanopolis, Kansas. Dane also provided leadership for construction of the local Performing Arts Center and the Ellsworth Fire Station. As a member of the Ellsworth City Council, Dane led an effort to establish 911 emergency services to the community. He also served as chairman of the board for Smoky Hills Public Television.

In 1988, Dane was appointed Director of Security and Drug Enforcement for the U.S. Department of the Interior. In that role, he oversaw law enforcement responsibilities for all interior department lands–including two presidential emergency centers. In 1992, Dane was selected as one of two Eisenhower Fellows and in so doing became the first Kansan ever chosen for this honor.

Later, Dane moved to Salina, Kansas, where he worked as a stock broker and again established a leadership presence in the community. Dane was elected chairman of the Salina Planning Commission and served on the Salina Community Theater Board of Directors.

Dane touched the lives of many people. His civic leadership was marked by strategic thinking, passion and a willingness to work to make certain that good things happen.

“What he did for Ellsworth was incredible,'’ said Nick Slechta, director of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce and a longtime friend of Dane’s. “He was very proficient in everything he did. He put so much gusto into every part of his work.'’ I can think of no finer tribute.

Dane’s dedication to his community, the State of Kansas and our country was exceptional. I join Dane’s many friends and admirers in extending my deepest sympathies to his family during their time of loss.



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:01 am

Ally and I are spending the day together with Dane and Mackenzie in mind…


ROY PORTER BRITTON NOV. 23, 1925 - NOV. 30, 2008

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Roy P. Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:52 am

Today is my main squeeze’s birthday.  Turkey Day.  Turkey was about his least favorite dinner item in the world, but he loved all the trimmings.

I wonder what he would have thought about having a turkey that Ally raised from a small poult on her farm? I know he would be very proud of her success in  taking on this challenge. My guess is that he would have liked her free-range turkey better than the usual since those who have reported back after cooking one of Ally’s Heritage birds is that “it was the best turkey we ever had!”  But….turkey is turkey and he wasn’t fond of fowl in any form.

Happy Birthday, Brit… we miss you and Dane enormously.  Ally, Mackenzie, Ty and I will enjoy our last Thanksgiving dinner in my home today. We’re “shuttin’er” down on Wednesday as that’s moving day for me.  The rest of the family is absent ….Drew had dinner with my niece Andrea and her family in Denver; Tyler was invited to a friend’s house in Cincinnati, Todd and Karen basked in the Hawaiian sun over the holidays.

This is our beautiful Thanksgiving Day… bring on the turkey.



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Roy P. Britton, Todd Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:07 am

Especially to Todd and Karen who are celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary this day…

To Brit and me who celebrated 57 wedding anniversaries together on this day…

And, we’re thinking of Dane who, sadly,  died on this date at age 56…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:40 pm



And then…a dozen long-stems arrived via Mugs for our 60th anniversary….from the family.   As long as we remember, no one is ever really gone.

We all have our separate activities to celebrate the “occasions”….Ally and Shannon are going to the Kansas Equality rally in Hutch  with the hope it sends a message to Democratic Representative Jan Pauls.  Todd, Karen and I are going to the Steak House for our celebratory dinner tonight.  Tomorrow night I’m making corned beef and cabbage, and all the usual trimmings,  for the family.  Saturday my good friend from WaKeeney is coming for the day.  It’s all very good.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 10:49 am


There is a very good exhibit at the gallery.  It’s composed of photos by Jeff Cooper, Doug Donely’s collection of spurs, paintings by Charles Rogers, sculpture, etc.  Stop in and take a look.  The next exhibit will be a wonderful collection of Ansel Adams prints.  You won’t want to miss it.


Take a look at the detail on this rose.


In case you haven’t seen one, as I hadn’t before I was forced in the direction of buying one, here’s what the tankless hot water system looks like.  It frees up a lot of floor space and is easier to maintain than the tank type.


Here’s a brick that Mackenzie had made for her father for the new sidewalks in down town Ellsworth.


And another….I think they are still available if you want to buy a brick for someone.  This lists a few of the Brittons who worked at CSB and T…and there are Todd, Karen, Drew and Tyler Britton as well.


As we were taking in all the sights on our trip through of the Gyp Hills, we came across the largest field of bales I can ever remember encountering.  It went on forever and ever…and I could only think of what it would have been like long ago, had they been 80 pound square bales,  when every high school boy in this part of the world spent summers  loading them on the back of a trailer.  Boys then didn’t need athletic training equipment to keep or get in shape.

They are washing the high windows on my house.  They are ones no window washer would attempt to reach.  They haven’t been touched by anything except natural forces in years.  Ralph said he even had to use a razor blade on a couple of them to remove the years of accumulated grime.   The sun will shine inside in new and exciting ways.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Ellsworth, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 2:17 pm

KU plays Texas A&M tonight at 6:00,  so my grandson who is in Afghanistan called on Skype to tell me.  What a small world, indeed. He’s at a new location now and will probably be there until mid-summer when his tour ends.  Now that he has internet, we’ll hear from him more often.  His new base has a lot more amenities than the previous post including a real bed, rather than a bunk, in a room for six.  The food, he says, is good, but not as good at the British food at the previous post.  Everything is closer to his circle of activity so he’s not walking 10 miles a day.  He is working out in their gym almost every day.

It is cold and blustery again today.  The wind is capable of whipping a skinny person off her feet.  That would not be my problem, but I’ve seen it happen.

Alas Shrugged is very good.  I was reading last night, enjoying every word until I got to the bottom of page 568 and glanced up at the next page and the sentence made no sense at all. I went back to the bottom of page 568 and re-read the sentence and and found the jump still was quirky. I looked down at the bottom of the new page and it said 633.  Ooops.  The pages had not been removed, they just weren’t there.   I told Tyler he’d have to read those pages to me out of his book.  He can do that now that he has Hong Kong internet.  The book has 1069 pages…and each one is a treasure of words.

Ally brought lunch for us….some of her homemade asparagus soup.  That gal certainly knows how to please a refined palate.

Tomorrow would have been Dane’s 58th birthday.  He died two years ago on the 17th. March is a memory filled month for us with many family birthdays, anniversaries and deaths.

The testing of the tornado siren the other day reminded me of the days when we first moved here.  Back then, and for years that followed, the only siren for fire and tornado was on the top of the City Hall building and didn’t have very good range, depending how the wind was blowing. Pete and Kay Larsen lived across the street from us and Pete was mayor. When there was a sighting of a tornado, someone would call Pete and he would get in his car and rush hell-bent to sound the alarm.  I never knew which was more dangerous…  Pete driving the way he did or the potential of a tornado.

After Dane moved here and was on the city council, he instigated and gathered information together to get both an adequate alarm system that could be heard over the entire town and the 911 emergency call system. The City Council passed both measures and we have far more effective systems than previously.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 3:48 pm

From Dawnae Bunch:

Next, I don’t know if you remember or not, but some time ago, I told you that I had a picture of some of us at my bachelorette party at Paden’s with Dane. You said you’d like to see it if I ever found it. Guess what?

I found it last night while looking through photo albums! It’s marked 11.17.89 on the back and those in the photo are Jennifer (Armstrong) Gaston, Dane, myself (Dawnae Urbanek), and Ellen Kozisek. They were two of my bridesmaids.

Deneen took the picture. We all had a great time that night!



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:38 am



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton, Roy P. Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:26 pm


A rare event:  Ally’s three dogs all in one place.  Usually Haley, the black lab, has nothing to do with Maggie, the new Aussie pup, except that she likes to be chased by her.  Maggie and Sam are big buddies and play together all the time.  One of their favorite games is for Sam to put Mollie’s head in his mouth and grin.  Sam and Haley are good watch dogs.


When Maggie was younger, Sam could get her entire head in his huge mouth. Maggie seems to think it’s great fun.  Sam is the one who nudges Mollie back to the house if he thinks she is straying too far.

I was hoping for a good Christmas program on TV this evening.  Lawrence Welk isn’t what I had in mind. The other night the San Francisco ballet performed The Nutcracker, a traditional favorite for the Christmas season,  which was one of the best I’ve seen of that particular ballet. I love ballet.  Brit and I saw The Nutcracker performed live in AU in what was then their brand, spankin’ new fabulous Sydney Opera House and the performance was magnificent….but no better than that performed by the San Francisco troupe.  I was amazed at the strength and depth of San Francisco dancers.  I guess that’s what guys see on athletic teams…the strength of the bench.  Same thing.  Tomorrow there is a program…”Christmas in Yellowstone” that should be good.

It’s bitter cold outside.  I didn’t make it downtown for the Santa festivities, but I heard echoes of… “IT’S COLD!!!”…from friends who did.  It’s 9 degrees.  North winds are going to continue with extremely cold temperatures with wind chill factors reaching to minus 15 to minus 20 degrees below zero over parts of central Kansas tonight and tomorrow.

I’m getting used to the needle routine, but I’m still like a monkey in boxing gloves trying to do an injection.  Pushing the plunger is the problem…so I’ll try a place other than my arm tonight to see if I can get it to work better.  I have no shortage of adipose tissue.

Tomorrow I’ll finish some of my pressing work and move on to preparations for Christmas.  The tree is up and decorated, thanks to Todd, my “chair with a bird house” is in place and the stockings are hung.  It looks festive.  Mackenzie and Luke will be here Christmas Eve after spending a few days in Atwood with Julie.  I’ll figure out some kind of soup to serve Christmas Eve as people will be off to the Catholic Church and Presbyterian Church for services and will be eating at different times….no doubt.  Everyone will be here Christmas Day…except for Tyler who will be doing good work tending to the sick and ailing in the hospital in San Antonio.  Todd is fixing John Shull’s famous spaghetti sauce recipe…with his own touches…so we’ll have that Christmas Day. Our family is small enough as it is, so without Dane, Brit and Tyler…it will be a small, but loving gathering….Todd, Karen, Drew, Kaley, Rod, Genn, Luke, Mackenzie, Ally and moi….and I hope a couple of special friends.

Stay warm….and thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Mackenzie Britton @ 8:07 pm

Hey everyone, it’s Mackenzie.  I’m on here without grandma’s permission so hopefully I don’t get in trouble :)

I am doing a fundraising drive for the National Stroke Association, they are currently trying to raise $25,000 to increase knowledge and education about strokes for hospitals and the general public.  I decided to jump in and make a goal of $560 dollars.  That is $10 for each year of my dad’s life.  I have raised just over 25% of my goal and need your help getting there.  So if you would like to make a donation in memory of my dad, Dane Britton, it would be greatly appreciated.

I hate asking for money on here but I know many of you knew my dad and read this blog for several years to keep up with his health status so I felt it would be a good audience to ask.  If you’re offended by my asking then ignore this post and continue on reading grandma’s regularly scheduled posts :)

4 years ago this Nov. 29 dad had his initial stroke and it changed our family forever, March 9, 2008 he had a second stroke which contributed towards his death.  Strokes are dangerous life changing events that can be prevented and can be treated if the patient gets to the hospital quickly.

So let me leave you with this - if you would like to donate, visit  Either way please take a moment to remind yourselves of the warning signs of a stroke:

Act F.A.S.T.

F - Face… Ask the person to smile, Does one side droop?

A - Arms… Ask the person to raise their arms, Does one arm drift downwards?

S - Speech… Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, Are the words slurred? Can they repeat the sentence correctly?

T - Time… If the person shows these signs, time is important, call 911 or get to the hospital fast! Brain cells are dying.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:31 pm

Some people do very nice things without much planning. Some of those things come as a flash of light and then fade away, in the interest of time, effort, money or other such obstacles.  Other times, thoughts come to mind that inspire action despite the effort necessary to make them work.

Such was the case yesterday when my granddaughter was returning home from Houston with a friend and noticed a sign pointing to Splendora.  It was her friend’s car so she asked if it would be possible to swing through Splendora,  buy some flowers and place them on the grave of her dad’s first wife, Linda Yarbrough Britton.  Linda was someone she had only heard about from her dad and our family.  And she hoped to say hello to some of Linda’s family, if they could be found.

Mackenzie has, as do many young techie folks, a phone that does everything except the laundry and dusting.  A GPS system helped them locate their house, but they couldn’t get to it as it’s a family compound with gates, chains and padlocks…and BIG signs.  It’s down a long road and tucked way back in the “forest”.  It’s east Texas, Piney Woods country.

She looked up the family name on her phone…Thomas Yarbrough…and found a number, which she called.  The wife of Thomas 4 answered, not the one she was looking for, but she recognized the Britton name and gave Mackenzie Tommy 2 and Sylvia’s phone number.  They are the parents of her dad’s (Dane) first wife, Linda. She had met them once when they were here visiting.  But that was twenty years ago.

Wife of Thomas 4 on the left (mother of Thomas 5), girl friend of Thomas 3 on the right.

Their line was busy so Kenz and her friend went to Splendora, had something to eat, found a flower shop where Kenz bought roses for Linda’s grave.  Finding her grave site wasn’t easy, but after a long search, they did find it, placed the roses and thought good thoughts.  Then she called the wife of Thomas 4 again saying Tommy and Sylvia’s phone line was still busy.

Then they decided to return to the compound in the forest and try again to see if they could find anyone.  They found the gate open and hoped they had the right place.  As Kenz said, they were in her friend’s car that was loaded was Obama stickers and this was east Texas, not Obama country.

They drove down the narrow, private road “into the forest” and were met by Thomas 4 and his wife, whom she had visited with several times on the phone.  Then Thomas 3 and his wife came out and greeted them with huge smiles and hugs.  Thomas 3 was so fond of Dane and was very anxious to tell Mackenzie, whom he was meeting for the first time, about all the good times he had with Dane.  Then Tommy 2 and Sylvia appeared and all the stories were repeated again.

Thomas 3. Thomas 4 was camera shy.

They went to Tommy and Sylvia’s house where they pulled out pictures, made Mackenzie sit in Dane’s favorite chair where he always napped after one of their catfish dinners.  And during that time, she got all the Thomas Yarbrough’s in mind….Thomas 1 was Pah Pah, Linda’s grandfather who died several years ago; Thomas 2 is her father; Thomas 3 is Linda’s brother; Thomas 4 is  her brother’s son and Thomas 5 is Thomas 4’s infant son.  I’ve never met Thomas 4, his wife and son, Thomas 5.

Thomas 2 holding Thomas 5, Sylvia and Mackenzie

Tommy and Sylvia lost their daughter and Dane his wife under very tragic circumstances.  Linda was a graduate of Texas Woman’s college and an outstanding registered ER nurse at Hermann Hospital in Houston.  The ER doctor was Dr. Red Duke about whom TV programs and movies were based.  He initiated the first Life Flight program and Linda was on his first crew.  She died tragically of serum hepatitis after treating a patient on a life flight mission.

So, Mackenzie visited with Tommy and Sylvia and made the connection with the younger generations of the family that neither Linda nor Dane ever had a chance to know.  It made me feel really good, especially when Mackenzie initiated the contact on her own.  They easily could have passed by Splendora with no one the wiser, but it warmed a lot of empty hearts and was very meaningful for Mackenzie to bring something of her father and Linda back to their family and to kindle friendships with the new generations of Thomas Yarbroughs.

Thank you, Mackenzie.



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:09 pm

Area residents donated 85 pints of good blood today.  98 people showed up.  According to coordinator Ann Jones, it was a very successful day.  It was also very nice they did this with our son in mind. Thanks so much to everyone.

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