Korean Superstar

Jee Hoon joined us his junior year of high school. He’s’ been a blessing ever since.

Although we didn’t know them, we could tell he was from a strong family in South Korea. He had a strong faith. He was kind and hard working and had a compassionate spirit.

We had a lot of fun together – highlights include our trip to LA, trips to the lake to see Grandma and Grandpa, and just hanging around the house figuring out life together.

Jee had a ton of talent. He would give back to his community by playing piano at the local old folks home once a week. He was a great singer, and the churches of the area enjoyed listening to him as part of Sanctified. After the group had been together a couple of years, and he was preparing to go back to his home in Korea, he pulls out a flute and adds background to a song. I said, “If only we had known this earlier…”

Jee’s a funny guy.  One of my favorites was in the Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.  We had just received our Sanctified CD’s with a few cool pictures of the kids.  They were admiring themselves on the CD cover.  Meanwhile, the hour we normally had to practice before services was passing fast.  I mentioned to the kids, “Hello – if we’re going to perform today we should probably get after it…”  Without hesitating, Jee quickly said, “Patience!  We are admiring Korean Superstar!”  How do you answer that?

Jee does a terrific job of keeping in touch, whether it was during his lonely military days, or in medical school, he always makes a point to keep us current on what’s going on.

His recent marriage to a terrific young girl, Jane, and the news of a little one on the way make it even better. We are blessed to be part of his family and can’t wait to meet the new ones to come.

Bobo Cakes

Our grandchildren are a terrific reflection of their parents.  Each is different, each is unique, all are absolutely wonderful.  As I tell Alex and Tori, I feel fortunate just to know you guys.  To think that you enjoy hanging with us is even better.  To think that Mom and I had a hand in these wonderful creations tops the cake.

We have some terrific traditions.  The kids love dancing to “Shirts and socks and underwear…”.  I enjoy singing them to sleep at night, as I did frequently with Tori and Alex.  And Bobo cakes are a requirement if we’re all together.

It’s going to be a blast watching these kids grow up.  As Jayme told Thalia, “I’m staying in shape so I can see you get married and meet your kids.”  Alex and Tori and Lindsey and Jake are wonderful parents, and the kids are wonderful people.

I’m hoping that they enjoy my Porch Swing book and Storysite, and that it helps them realize to a certain extent, where they come from.  I love you guys…

Your Loving Bobo II


Politics and Me

)We were the “next to the richest” people in Griswold, IA (a town of about 900 people). Just to clarify that, our next door neighbors, the Rudins, were the richest people in our town and we lived next door, they had a pool and they hired me to be the pool boy, and our family could swim there almost daily.
Mr Rudin was very active in the Republican party and I got involved in my first political race in 1964 when I was 15 working for Barry (In Your Heart You Know He’s Right) Goldwater. He didn’t win nationally but he did win in my town. I got hooked and have been involved ever since.
When we moved to Spencer I jumped right into county GOP politics and started learning the campaign ropes from the seasoned veterans in our area.
Because Iowa hosts the first in the nation caucus, all of the hopefuls travel the state. In December of 1979 The county chair called and asked if I could meet with one of the candidates for dinner to advise him on how we thought he could get supporters from our area. We said yes, and when we got there we met George H. W. Bush.  He was VERY impressive, and probably the smartest person I had ever met.  He really listened to the us and we instantly joined his team, unfortunately he didn’t win Iowa, but He did in 1988.  O how I wish we would have had cellphone back then so I could have had a picture of that meeting.

When he was Vice-president, we went to hear him speak at the Spencer YMCA and sat in the front row. Erin and Joel each got to ask him a question and their questions and his answers were replayed on radio and mentioned in the newspaper. Erin asked what his favorite part of his job was – answer: “All the people!” Joel asked how many Secret Service men he traveled with – answer: “I’ll ask,” and he turned around and asked a Secret Service, and then said, “about 10!”

George W. Bush – we met him at the airport when he was running for President the first time – such a man of humility. He patiently posed for pictures with us, which we still treasure today.  I remember wanting to post the picture explaining that knowing me was the reason that he won, however that year it took more than a month to certify the victory so I had to wait patiently.

Because Iowa has the first in the nation caucus we also had a chance to see Vice President Walter Mondale, President Ronald Reagan, and Senator Bob Dole.  When Bob Dole came he went to our church and Joel and his men’s quartet sang the national anthem for him.

Gambling   School Bond Issues  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture



Karson’s Injury

It’s amazing how your life can change in a moment. You hear people say “things happen for a reason”. Then things happen that make you question everything.

Karson had headed into his first wrestling tournament November 18, 2018 and managed to finish in 2nd place. I watched him beaming, so happy his first season was successful. He came home and called me later that night, saying he had a headache and worried he may have a concussion. I told him I wanted to come to pick him up, but he didn’t want to leave. He said he was fine, it was probably just a headache. He continued to say he just had a headache, but didn’t show any signs of a concussion. The following week, he said he had a headache. We had him checked out by the school’s trainer. He said he didn’t think he had a concussion, but would get him in to see their sports medicine doctor.

The sports medicine doctor diagnosed him with a concussion. That diagnosis dragged out, it seemed to worsen with time. Eventually at school, he was hit in the head with a cabinet door. After that, things continued to get worse quickly. We tried physical therapy, vestibular therapy and additional doctor visits. Nothing was making him better. His left eye started to cross. I called the doctors office, concerned about his eye. The doctor was out of town, but his assistant assured me that this was normal, she wasn’t concerned. The following week, I called and insisted that he needed an appointment. They worked him in a few days later.

His doctor took one look at Karson and asked how long his eye had been turned in. He was very concerned. He told us he needed an MRI right away. He left the room to schedule an appointment that day. He got us in to KU Med West. We had to wait 2 hours. Two hours felt like 4 or 5 hours. We got Karson to his appointment, he wasn’t walking well because he wasn’t feeling well. By this time, I was a bull in a China shop. I wanted answers and I was so afraid, anticipating what our answers may be, knowing that the medical team was concerned.

I walked Karson outside to the MRI, it was a brisk day, but we couldn’t even feel the cold. Our focus was on Karson and anticipation of what we were about to learn. The staff was friendly, asking Karson about his injury. I watched them load him into the tunnel, then I was walked back to sit in the waiting room with my mom. I sat there for what seemed 5 minutes when the nurse came to the waiting room to ask me to come back into the MRI booth. The Radiologist was on the phone waiting to talk to me. I spoke with the Radiologist. He was speaking very quickly about foreign subjects that would all become very familiar, very quickly. He explained that Karson had an Arachnoid cyst rupture. He had fluid surrounding his brain, which was putting pressure and stress on his brain. He told me he was working to see which hospital they could take Karson to.

The doctor asked to talk to the nurse. They wanted to know if I was stable to drive, they were recommending that they wanted to take Karson to the hospital in an ambulance. After phone calls with 2 hospitals, it was determined we would do a direct admittance into Children’s Mercy.

On our way to Children’s Mercy, Dr. Garcia (Karson’s Neuro Surgeon) called me to make sure we were on our way, and to give me directions to get into the hospital to have Karson admitted.

When we made it to Karson’s hospital room, we met Dr. Garcia and he reviewed Karson’s brain scans. Dr. Garcia explained the more about the ruptured Arachnoid Cyst. He showed us the fluid surrounding his brain. He said he was recommending surgery. I asked when he would need to have surgery. Dr. Garcia explained that he had booked the OR for the following morning as soon as he had seen his MRI results.

Karson had a Crainiotomy the next morning, Saturday, December 16th. They wheeled him off with a baseball in his hands. He went through surgery with flying colors. The staff at the hospital couldn’t have been any better to Karson. He even managed to meet Tyreek Hill, get a signed ball from him AND get introduced on the news, showing his photo with Tyreek.

We went back home and everything was getting better. Out of nowhere, Karson’s head began to swell. We brought him to the ER, but they let us go. Karson kept getting worse and seemed disoriented. I called Dr. Garcia’s office. They asked to have him come in immediately. Karson and I went to Children’s Mercy. We had a direct admittance into the hospital, had a CAT scan and found that he had a brain bleed. Karson needed to directly into surgery again, to have a Temporary Subdural Drain installed. He needed to lie flat on his back for the next 5 days to let the blood drain out of his head.

He missed 80 days of school in his 7th grade year.

Karson is doing great. We have been told that it is a miracle he is alive. Some things really do happen for a reason, we are lucky he is here.

Off to Grandma’s House I Go

From December 1997 to July 2000 I was the police and court reporter for The Manhattan Mercury — the daily newspaper in Manhattan, Kansas (aka the Little Apple). Besides covering crime, I also had to submit a column for the paper’s “Off the Beat” section on a regular basis.

I captured some great memories about my grandmother Loy Cornelison (my dad’s mom) in one column. Grandma passed away on July 7, 2007 — I always say my Grandpa who passed away years earlier and was a big gambler won with lucky 7s when he was reunited with his sweetheart on 7-7-07. As my aunts, uncles, cousins and parents were going through Grandma’s belongings after her death we came across this column as well as several other articles I wrote over the years. Talk about a trip down memory lane. Below is the column as published in The Manhattan Mercury in December 1999:

Lately, I’ve been spending more time with my grandmother.

She lives about an hour north of Manhattan in a little country town in Marshall County called Vermillion. She lives in the same white two-story home that I used to go to when I visited her and my Grandpa as a child during the summer.

Growing up in the Kansas City area, I was always mesmerized with the small town atmosphere. While the town doesn’t have much in the way of business – mostly a cafe – I always thought, and still do, that it has much more to offer than big cities.

There’s the local cafe where Timmy Lee always had a cold soda waiting, and on up the street banker Harold McClary would give out gum shaped like a treasure coin.

There’s the old rusted-out wagon in which my cousins and I used to take turns pushing each other along the cracked sidewalks out in front Grandma and Grandpa’s home. Of course, no grandchild could forget the junk drawer in Grandma’s kitchen filled with everything imaginable – from Yo-Yo’s and coloring books to play soldiers and bouncy balls.

I still periodically look through the junk drawer when visiting Grandma just to see if anything has changed. It’s funny to look through old coloring books and find pages that I scribbled on as a child.

There were evenings Grandpa, Grandma and I would load up into the car to play bingo in a nearby town, or Grandma would teach me how to crochet or sew.

Sometimes we’d watch a parade stroll down Main Street. And other times Grandma would dig out a play tea set and dolls, and my cousin and I would have a tea party.

When there wasn’t anything else to do, I’d pull out Grandma’s stuffed monkey George. The stuffed monkey was a favorite among the grandchildren.

While some things have changed over the years in Vermillion, it’s pretty much the same town I visited as a child – although Grandpa is no longer there. He passed away several years ago.

Nowadays on my visit to Grandma’s house, Grandma tells me stories about when she was growing up, or about the early years of her and Grandpa’s marriage. We sometimes go to lunch together at a little country diner not too far away, or stay at home and nibble on homemade goodies.

We’ve searched through the family Bible where she keeps her important records, such as birth dates, marriages and deaths.

She’s dug through the filing cabinet sharing with me copies of letters my father and uncle sent while they served in Vietnam. Also in the files are poems that she wrote that depict her feelings about the war.

Grandma recently helped me sew a couple of baby blankets that I plan on giving a friend of ours who is expecting next month. She sure has a way with a needle and thread.

And she’s always eager to show me her new craft projects. Grandma has made everything from blankets, quilts and pillows to dolls, doll clothes and pot holders. The sky is the limit on crafting.

I’m especially proud of Grandma for starting a new hobby of painting. She began taking an art class this summer as a way to pass time. While Grandma has always been artistically inclines, she’s never really received any formal training.

But the art classes gave her the tools to learn the fundamentals of painting. And she has truly uncovered a special talent with her new hobby.

Grandma mostly paints wildlife scenes – they clearly show her appreciation for life and nature. Among my favorite of her works are that of a winding country stream, an old red barn, an elk and a depiction of a Native American camp.

Needless to say, I think my Grandma is pretty special and I cherish the moments we get to spend together.

While most of us will scurry off to the mall and area stores in upcoming days in search of the best gift this holiday season for friends and family members, we should stop and remember the greatest gift this holiday season isn’t sold at a store. The gift is family.