Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"We're celebrating life"

Awhile back I was with First Generation Video filming one segment of a DVD about Exploring Kansas. I had a point to make and a good place to make it was in the Idle Hour bar at 125 E. Main in Anthony.

Much to our surprise, at 4 p.m. the bar was full -- and loud! The whole scene was captured on film. Some parts may be seen in outtakes, but maybe I can explain with just a few photos.

Ray had his tripod up on the sidewalk filming the front when a man in a bright blue shirt walks out, throws open his arms, and with a big grin on his face welcomes us to the Idle Hour. It was one of those feelings you get as an Explorer -- we knew we were in for a special experience.

So we go inside and the place is full. I asked the first table I came to what was going on and they said they were "celebrating life." Indeed, it looked like they were. Pumped a little more they admitted they had all just come from a funeral and "Chief" would want them to celebrate his life with this kind of fun.

They were friendly as can be and said they didn't mind a bit if we were there to do some filming. But what were we so interested in?

Here's a close up picture of the intended target. Any ideas yet?

Someone from behind the bar is acting out the scene. Pretend her flyswatter is really a hatchet and now imagine this scene taking place in early 1900 and the person with the hatchet is none other than Carry Nation, the temperance crusader.

Indeed, the counter dates back to those days and still carries the evidence of Carry's crusade to rid Kansas of bars and drink.

Three points.
1) The Explorer point I was trying to make is that "explorery" things to see and do are everywhere. You just have to ask questions of the locals and eventually you'll find small, but very interesting, things like these hatchet marks.

2) Because of following the hatchet-mark lead, we stumbled into the unexpected, which I call Explorer moments. The bar was full of people celebrating Chief's life yet they were willing to absorb our little filming episode into their experience. They were friendly, very fun (for more stories, buy me a beer), very mindful of Chief, and before long we all felt like we were sharing a "Cheers" episode. It will always be a warm and fun memory for me.

3) Harper County will have a booth at the Kansas Sampler Festival and they'll tell you about more Explorer things going on in Anthony, Harper and other county towns. Rural communities have so many things to see and do!

The Kansas Sampler Festival is May 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and May 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in Concordia's city park at 11th and Washington. $5 for adults; $3 kids 7-14. For more information go to

Looking for evidence of historic hatchet marks and ending up in a celebration of life is what happens when you have the explorer mindset -- and the resulting experience helps you "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner


Get Rooks County said...

I can see why you get so energized when things like this happen. I get energized just thinking about it. We kind of had that experience at Hank Is Wiser microbrewery in Cheney. It is Just Plain Fun.

Unknown said...

Very neat story! Both th Idle Hour & Hank Is Wiser are now on my list of places to check out.