Courtney Joins the Tree

Topeka Capital-Journal
Feb. 10, 1988

A week ago last Monday, our daughter Amy left her home in Arlington, Texas, early. It was her first day off from work on what promise to be a lengthy vacation, if you can call it that, since she was expecting to deliver a baby the following Thursday.

She made her first stop at the mortgage company, where she made a house payment, but then she started feeling some contractions, or whatever it is that expectant mothers feel. So, she drove to her doctor’s office, and was there when he arrived at 9.

He checked her immediately, and told her to get to the hospital. She was there by 9:30, checked in, and called us in Topeka and said things were happening fast. She delivered at 10:40, and her husband, Duff Nelson, got there just in time to welcome a new daughter, their second.

We saw her briefly Tuesday night, and then on Wednesday morning we went to the hospital and picked them up. Barely 48 hours after the big event, she and the baby were home. That’s the way they do these things in this day and age.

This is the modern version of the old tale of Indian women who had to drop off the trail just long enough to have their papoose, then catch up or be left behind. Continue reading

Leona Frances Shively Snider

Topeka Capital-Journal
December 6, 1985

We buried my mother, Leona Frances Shively Snider, last week in Oklahoma City. Her grave is on a wind-swept hill near the chapel in Resurrection Cemetery, beside my dad, her husband of more than 50 years, Daniel William Snider.

He was buried there in 1968. He died at 88, she at 96.

Their children were there, and a lot of their grandchildren, and even a couple of their great-grandchildren. They all came, from coast to coast, to say goodbye.

The priest who said the funeral mass is the chaplain at St. Anne’s, where my mother lived her last 13 years. He said she showed great courage, faith and patience in the last few months of her life.

I disagreed. Courage and faith, yes, patience, no. She was impatient with death. She prayed she could die and join my dad. I have the feeling that at least three times a day she looked God squarely in the proverbial eye and said, “what are you waiting for?” Continue reading

Growing Up in Britton, Okla.

Postcard from Britton

Topeka Capital-Journal

In these times of economic turmoil, stock market calamities and energy crises, I enjoy calling a time-out to remember the simple life in Britton, Okla., where I grew up.  Sometimes I think the only person in Britton who ever worried was my mother, who always was worrying about something.

Maybe she had a right to worry.  We moved to Britton in the late 1920s when my dad bought a drug store there.  His timing wasn’t exactly ideal.  Before he could get established in the town of about 2,000, there was the “Crash of ’29,” when the market collapsed, followed by the Great Depression.

Britton survived both.  There were some unemployed men in town, but pretty soon President Roosevelt’s WPA “made work” programs came along, and everyone who wanted to work could, and had a little money to spend. Continue reading