My mom wanted to attend the holiday luncheon of her high school classmates down in Kansas City, and asked if Millie and I would like to come along for the ride. What better town to get into the holiday spirit?!! So, of course, I said “yes.”
Normally, I would have packed up the View & toad, but since this would only be a short trip (and it’s winter in the Midwest!), we decided to just take my mom’s car and stay in a dog-friendly hotel.
We only had one full “non-travel” day in KC, but we made the most of it. After dropping Mom off to her reunion luncheon in Independence, I decided to check out the town’s Harry S. Truman tourist attractions. But first, I wanted to find one of my grandfather’s old churches that he preached at in the 1970’s.
Happy to see that the First Christian Church is still looking good and apparently thriving!
Next, I saw a massive church steeple that I had to go check out. This church was not around during my grandfather’s day. It turned out to be the main temple & world headquarters for the Community of Christ denomination (the “reorganized” branch-off from the Mormon church). Quite an impressive-looking place!
Finally, I made my way over to the Truman attractions. I had wanted to visit his home (an NPS Historic Site), but there didn’t appear to be anyone home! The gates looked locked and parking looked difficult, so I had to settle for a quick drive-by pic. Sure looked like a pretty house, though!
Next, it was on to the Truman Presidential Library and Museum. It sits impressively on a hilltop overlooking a large lawn:
The museum was on the small side but extremely interesting. Besides FDR’s tenure, I think Truman might have presided over the second-most eventful period of the 20th century—the end of WWII, post-war rebuilding, and start of the Korean War.
It’s amazing to think of the impact the year 1945 had on Truman’s life. Previously, he had just been a modest senator from Missouri until being sworn in as Roosevelt’s VP at the start of 1945. Within 100 days, he would assume the presidency after FDR’s death in April.
If that wasn’t hard enough to be thrown into the presidency that quickly, consider that he also had World War 2 raging on multiple continents, and massive shortages and sacrifice occurring domestically.
Within his first 4 months in office, Truman presided over the end of WW2 in Europe, and had to make the difficult decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan (which led to Japan’s surrender a few days later in August).
In the next few years, he focused on things like the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, addressing housing shortages and inflation at home in the booming post-war economy, and navigating the tumultuous early days of the “Cold War” with Russia.
The lobby of the museum is dominated by a massive floor-to-ceiling mural from Kansas City’s other famous son, painter Thomas Hart Benton.
My photo does not do justice to how vivid the colors are in this very lively depiction of the early pioneers (who’s journeys on the famous trails across the Plains such as the Oregon Trail and the Sante Fe Trail all began in the Independence area). The mural is absolutely stunning!
After picking mom up and a quick rest back at the hotel, we headed down to Country Club Plaza to enjoy the lights and grab some dinner.
My mom, brother and I were all born in Kansas City and there is no prettier place to get into the Christmas spirit than visiting Country Club Plaza during the holidays. While the biggest hoopla (and biggest crowds) happen on Thanksgiving night when all of the plaza lights are first turned on in unison, truly any evening during December will provide a visit full of Christmas magic.
After realizing that trailer camping in her T@B was becoming too difficult for her to do on her own, she reluctantly announced this past summer that her camping days were likely over for good and that she’d no longer be able to attend our annual rallies.
She used to have VW camper vans in the 1970s and would often fantasize about getting another van someday. Perhaps even using it as her “daily driver”. But any used van she might happen to see would either be too expensive, too old, too “un-stealth”, or too run down to seriously consider. That is, until this very-pampered, very-stealthy Dodge Sportsmobile van came along! So thrilled that Judi will be able to camp again!!! What a great Christmas gift!