Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun in Warrensburg

I arrived in Warrensburg about 2 PM yesterday and was able to do an early check-in for a hotel room. Thus I was more than ready when I was picked up by Amy, the professor from Central Missouri University (CMU) who had brought students from this university to Poland this summer -- and then we all became teammates.

Amy took me first to the CMU campus. We went first to the library which also holds a small museum. In display cases along the hallway I could a peek at the huge collection of objects from Saudi Arabia held here. The museum director explained a couple associated with the university had lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and so collected many things, but most particularly from the Bedouin culture. This couple gave their collection to CMU, taking things out of the country with the permission of the Saudi government/royal family.

The picture above shows some coffee pots. I learned that a genuine coffee pot from this culture must have a spout that has the shape of a falcon's beak.

The museum is presently displaying a magnificent shell collection also donated to it.

Above is a small sample of what can be seen. This collection has been given to the museum by Mrs. A. P. Rohmiller of Forsyth, Missouri. An accompanying newspaper article says she lived her early years in Florida where she began collecting shells, but then obviously went on to collecting shells from around the world. Each is labeled in very small handwriting explaining the origin of the shell. I saw things from St. Croix, Australia, and even places I couldn't identify, such as P.I.

Next Amy took me to the English Language Center where she teaches and then on to the International Center. I was graciously introduced to many of her colleagues.

We then wandered through the Student Union.

This lovely atrium is in the center. The Union has so many things for students, from a cinema to a bowling alley.

Next we looked at outdoor spaces such as the golf courses.

Amy also took me to small city park honoring Blind Boone. This little city park has a sculpture of this famous musician and many other features for persons who have vision problems. A large sculpture of a harp is designed to play music when the wind blows above 15 mph. Another area has flowers with lovely aromas. When we spoke about this visit later in the evening one of the students said her 80 year old neighbor told her this formerly was the park for African-Americans in the days of segregation. It is wonderful that this space has a new legacy.

A visit to Warrenburg is not complete without also learning about "man's best friend."
Both the present day courthouse and the historic courthouse have a sculpture of a dog. That is because of a court case heard in Warrensburg in 1870. The court heard a dispute when a man's dog, Old Drum, was shot and killed by his neighbor. In a famous argument associated with this case, George Graham Vest said,"Gentlemen of the jury:The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son and daughter that he has reared with love and care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust  with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money a man has he may lose. It flies away from him perhaps when he needs it the most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success  is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog." And so from this speech came the saying, "Man's best friend is his dog."

Soon it was time to go to the restaurant, Heroes, for our get together. All of the students could come on a Thursday night. So glad everything worked out.

I asked the waitress to take the photo so we could all be in the picture. She did a great job of getting seven in the same photo. We had such a wonderful time recalling our two weeks together. The CMU folks spent some time planning too for the two presentations they will make within the community about their experience.

We had arrived at 5:30 and the wait staff rather politely hinted that we should leave around 8:00! We walked down the street a little bit and then into a bar and upstairs to an outdoors patio. By this time the temperatures had cooled to just "balmy." We enjoyed another hour of conversation and I enjoyed a taste of Kansas City beer. A wonderful afternoon and evening in Warrensburg -- all because I went to Poland!

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