Spending New Year?s Eve in Kan?sas City with our friends Dave and Can?dace Ranney and John and Judy Johnson was the perfect way to bring in the new year.
We were out of town for a mere 30 hours but it seemed much longer than that. We went to hear jazz musician David Basse at the Joe Cartwright Trio at the downtown Marriott. He was terrific, just like the time he appeared in the Hillsboro High School auditorium around 1990.
The music didn?t start until 10 p.m., so we had an early dinner in the Power and Light District, then found a little time to rest up so we?d make it all the way to the new year.
Our travel package included a gift certificate for the Power and Light District, so we found a very good place to eat. Our waiter?s name was Jonah, and he was a whale of a good one. If anyone is aspiring to be a waiter, I would suggest observing this guy for a while.
Valet parking looked like a great idea when we arrived because I didn?t notice any public parking in the vicinity. We handed over the keys and checked in.
Our rooms were in the famous Muehlebach Towers, which are now part of the Marriott and accessed by a walkway over Wyandotte and 12th. It?s where presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan stayed, plus Babe Ruth, The Beatles and Elvis Presley stayed.
When we checked out Satur?day, valet parking didn?t seem like such a good idea. Everyone seemed to be leaving at the same time with the late checkout.
The way it was supposed to work was that you call the valet number and in 30 minutes they would have your car waiting.
I waited outside in the cold for about an hour just to get my key so I could walk two blocks to a parking garage and get the car myself. One of the valet runners told me they had three guys trying to bring back 300 cars, which explained the problem.
When I finally was able to get the car key and get to the garage, I didn?t know how to get out of the garage. The exit I found was asking for payment.
After a while, I learned from someone else that the valet exit was on a different level. So I turned around and drove through the maze to find it.
Last week a gentleman who grew up in Mountain Lake, Minn., stopped by to see me. I was out at the time but he left his phone number. Not knowing who he was, I gave him a call.
Turns out he graduated in 1955 and wanted to know if my dad was his principal, and I confirmed that he was. Then he said no one ever wanted to go to the principal?s office because it was a very strict operation. I said I knew all about how that worked.
I asked if he had any relatives in Hillsboro. He said no, even though he had 72 first cousins.
I am glad to say that our story submission links on the Free Press Web site are working correctly. In the past, many have been frustrated by problems they encountered.
It?s easy to say the infamous ?salute? caused K-State?s loss in the Pinstripe Bowl. Right call or wrong, many other things happened during the game that could have changed the outcome. And as one scribe wrote: ?It would have been better to just give the ball to the ref and get ready for the point after.?