Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Grandchild

Erin Christin Atchison was born the 21st of May at 9:48PM, weighing in at 6 lbs. 9 oz. and was 18 1/2 inches long. I am a PROUD Great Grandpa!
Erin's parents are Nathan and Megan Atchison, Fred Jr.'s middle son.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Glasses- March 13, 2009

Mrs. Rosemary Carroll, from the Meadowlark Hills Retirement Center, writes a column for a local newspaper. After I shared my writing with her, she allowed me to read one of her columns. I was so impressed, I asked her if I might use it on my blog. She graciously agreed, so enjoy:

The phone rang and I lunged out of my easy chair to answer it. A staff member was calling from first floor, "There's a gentleman here to deliver some groceries to you." "Send him on up," was my instruction although I couldn't figure out who was bringing me some groceries. Soon enough my doorbell rang. There stood the Dillons delivery man holding a bouquet of flowers and greenery in one hand and a basket containing a box of Quakers Oatmeal and some very green sugar cookies in the other.

The card read: Happy St. Patrick's Day Mom—remembering Leo. Love Yvonne. Yes, my daughter in Houston remembers things like that. My Irish husband Leo Patrick Carroll had a birthday on March 16, the day before St. Patrick's. He had worked several decades as a research chemist in Chicago for the Quaker Oats Company. What a coincidence, I had been scanning my journal beginning July 2006 when we began to get acquainted. On March 16 in 2007 we celebrated his 81 st birthday at his home near Lillis, KS. We married September 1, 2007 and had five wonderful months together, despite the cancer that interfered and took him away so quickly.

I decided to share my good fortune with my neighbors on the fourth floor. So I rang doorbells, showed them my bouquet and shared one of the sugar cookies with folks that were home at the time. That delivery brought so many good memories to mind, so I thought of calling Leo's brother Gerald who comes several times a month to Lillis. He and his wife live in Kansas City but I figured they probably were at the farm near Lillis for the St. Patrick's parade Saturday. I finally found their cell phone number and got Gerald on the phone. Their sister, Sister Sheila, had also come down from Atchison for the event. There were only three in attendance from the Leo P. Carroll family and none of them rode in the Lillis parade this year.

On Sunday morning I decided that some of my friends at College Avenue United Methodist Church would like to see the gift that was delivered to my door. I took the Quaker Oat box in its decorative cellophane basket along to church-I'd already shared all the cookies with my Meadowlark friends. Apparently none of them had ever received a similar product as a St. Patrick's Day greeting. I confess the only green garment I could find to wear was a white turtleneck top with little green ducks on it, and I added a gold Celtic pin one of Leo's daughters had given me.

One Sunday School class member wondered outloud which it is easiest to be~a pessimist or an optimist. I thought it was particularly appropriate that the daily devotional (Upper Room) I read most mornings concluded today's lesson with, "Every loving act changes the world for the better." Would you be most apt to choose the preceding statement or, "Every unloving act changes the world for the worst." As for me and my house, give me the optimist. Yvonne, your thoughtful remembrance rippled out to a lot of folks and brought to mind so many pleasant thoughts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


In 1895 Langdon Smith, a member of the staff of the Sunday New York Herald, wrote the first few stanzas of his poem, "Evolution", and they were published in the Herald. Some four years later he came across the verses and was struck with their incompleteness, whereupon he composed additional stanzas, increasing the poem to his present length. At that time he was with the New York Journal. He submitted the poem to his editor, but when it was published it was found buried in a page of want ads. But the poem was destined for a bit of fame, and found its way into many other newspapers and magazines. It was widely quoted for a time, but was not seen lately. It follows in complete form:

By Langdon Smith (1858-1908)
When you were a tadpole and I was a fish In the Paleozoic time,And side by side on the ebbing tide We sprawled through the ooze and slime,Or skittered with many a caudal flip Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,My heart was rife with the joy of life, For I loved you even then.
Mindless we lived and mindless we loved And mindless at last we died;And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift We slumbered side by side.The world turned on in the lathe of time, The hot lands heaved amain,Till we caught our breath from the womb of death And crept into life again.
We were amphibians, scaled and tailed, And drab as a dead man's hand;We coiled at ease 'neath the dripping trees Or trailed through the mud and sand.Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet Writing a language dumb,With never a spark in the empty dark To hint at a life to come.
Yet happy we lived and happy we loved, And happy we died once more;Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold Of a Neocomian shore.The eons came and the eons fled And the sleep that wrapped us fastWas riven away in a newer day And the night of death was passed.
Then light and swift through the jungle trees We swung in our airy flights,Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms In the hush of the moonless nights;And oh! what beautiful years were there When our hearts clung each to each;When life was filled and our senses thrilled In the first faint dawn of speech.
Thus life by life and love by love We passed through the cycles strange,And breath by breath and death by death We followed the chain of change.Till there came a time in the law of life When over the nursing sodThe shadows broke and the soul awoke In a strange, dim dream of God.
I was thewed like an Auroch bull And tusked like the great cave bear;And you, my sweet, from head to feet Were gowned in your glorious hair.Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave, When the night fell o'er the plainAnd the moon hung red o'er the river bed We mumbled the bones of the slain.
I flaked a flint to a cutting edge And shaped it with brutish craft;I broke a shank from the woodland lank And fitted it, head and haft;Than I hid me close to the reedy tarn, Where the mammoth came to drink;Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone And slew him upon the brink.
Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes, Loud answered our kith and kin;From west to east to the crimson feast The clan came tramping in.O'er joint and gristle and padded hoof We fought and clawed and tore,And cheek by jowl with many a growl We talked the marvel o'er.
I carved that fight on a reindeer bone With rude and hairy hand;I pictured his fall on the cavern wall That men might understand.For we lived by blood and the right of might Ere human laws were drawn,And the age of sin did not begin Til our brutal tusks were gone.
And that was a million years ago In a time that no man knows;Yet here tonight in the mellow light We sit at Delmonico's.Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs, Your hair is dark as jet,Your years are few, your life is new, Your soul untried, and yet --
Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay And the scarp of the Purbeck flags;We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones And deep in the Coralline crags;Our love is old, our lives are old, And death shall come amain;Should it come today, what man may say We shall not live again?
God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds And furnish’d them wings to fly;He sowed our spawn in the world's dim dawn, And I know that it shall not die,Though cities have sprung above the graves Where the crook-bone men made warAnd the ox-wain creaks o'er the buried caves Where the mummied mammoths are.
Then as we linger at luncheon here O'er many a dainty dish,Let us drink anew to the time when you Were a tadpole and I was a fish.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Joy to Hold & A Joy to Behold

Fred was our firstborn and brought indescribable happiness into our lives. Everything centered around him. We lived in a very small Boy Scout cabin in Merriam, Kansas. Life was sweet -
we were proud parents.
As Fred grew, he was joined by five siblings -
a sister and four brothers. They, in turn, accepted his leadership, which was good.
Fred met his wife, Sue Nielson, at Fort Hays State University. They were married after graduation & now have three grown sons. They will become grandparents this fall.
Fred is Director of Manhattan Public Library. Sue retired as Riley County High School art teacher & and now teaches art at Kansas State University.
Thank you Fred & Sue. I am proud of how you have raised your family and your contributions to society.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Years ago at a time my wife Rita and I were visting my son, Bob and his wife Melissa in Mountain View, Arkansas, I heard Glenn Ohrlin, recite the following poem:

"What is reincarnation? a cowboy asked his friend.
"Well, it starts," his old pal tells him, "when your life comes to an end".
They wash your neck and comb your hair and clean your fingernails.
Then they stick you in a padded box, away from life's travails.
Now the box and you goes in the hole that's been dug in the ground,
And reincarnation starts, my friend, when they plant you neath that mound.
The clods melt down, as does the box, and you who are inside,
And that's when you're beginning your transformation ride.
And in a while, the grass will grow upon that rendered mound,
Until someday a upon that spot, a lonely flower is found.
And then a horse might wander by and graze upon that flower That once was you and's now become your vegetative bower,
Well, the flower that horse done ate, along with his other feed,
Makes bone, and fat, and muscle essential to this steed.
But there's a part that he can't use and so it passes through,
And there it lies upon the ground, this thing that once was you.
And if by chance I happened by and see this on the ground,
I'll stop a while and ponder on this object I have found.
And I'll think about reincarnation, and life and death and such, And I'll go away concludin', "Heck, you ain't changed that much!"

As told by Glenn Ohrlin

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This past Monday, I respresented the Storytelling group from Meadowlark. We visited Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School. I was accompanied by Pilar D'Asto and Marina Pecar from Kansas State University. My trip was to present a story that originated in Georgia. When I was a boy we had an old mule that we used on a small farm in central Georgia. The class fourth or fifth grade, and they were quite receptive to my story and the antics that accompanied it. The children gathered together around in front of me, and sat on the floor. They were very attentive and seemed to enjoy the story.

This coming Friday, at 7:00PM, in the Community Room at Meadowlark, our entire group will present their individual stories.
Stop by if you can!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Tribute to Wyeth - Future Hero

My grandson Wyeth, wrote a tribute to me, many years ago. I ran across his essay as I was going through my pile of memories.

My Hero - by Wyeth Lee Atchison, 1996

I believe my grandad, Fred Atchison Sr., meets the criterion
of a true American hero in several different areas.
First, he is a brave man. He was part of the invasion fleet on North Africa,
during World War II. He was the drive of a boat which emptied
troops onto the beach. Next, he is resourceful, because he has
learned how to make various instruments out of wood. He made a
xylophone, a harp, a dulcimer, and a drum out of different woods.
Last, he has a strong understanding of nature. His profession was
as a forester so he knows a lot about any kind of trees found in
this part of the country. I feel that Fred Atchison Sr. is brave,
resourceful, and has a strong understanding of nature, which are
all qualities I feel make him an American hero.

Even now, I am greatly humbled and very proud to be considered his hero. I am very proud of Wyeth's accomplishments and believe that he has all of the qualities necessary to become a hero in his own right.

KU Grad - Hero by Fred Atchison Sr., 2009
Truths come & truths go
but when it comes
from your grandson
you want to believe
it's SO!
always strive to promote peace,
and become the greatest hero
I am proud of you Wyeth!