Kansas City is the town where Jim and I grew up, went to high school, met, and were married. We still have family and friends in the area so we enjoy checking in with them when we visit the area. We happened to be there the weekend the Royals baseball team won their league championship game. The bubbly excitement of the city was contagious. Everyone seemed to be Royals fans. Blue shirts were proudly evident, and banners waved sharing the delight. Even the fountains at the Plaza turned blue. This is also the fountain where Jim proposed to me over forty-five years ago.
I found it interesting that as we drove around the Plaza I had a whole new appreciation for the architecture of the buildings in the city where we once spent many years. The Spanish style curves of the building’s trim, and the bright colored tiles on the walls have been maintained and continue to reveal their beauty.
Part of the reason we were in Kansas City was for Jim’s fiftieth class reunion. A tour of Southeast High School was part of the activities. The building is no longer a public school but is used for technical and career training. As we walked up the front sidewalk I noticed the entrance steps were planked by two large Art Deco light fixtures. Could they be original? Sure enough the date carved on a stone in the wall said 1937.
I’m so glad the city has saved the building and even spruced it up with paint that accents the trim and lines of what could have gotten rundown and lost. The seventy-seven year old granite floors were as beautiful as a fine theater would have.
We sure didn’t recognize the grandeur of the schools when we were young. I didn’t pay any attention then. My school just seemed like an old building to me.
As we left I felt as if I’d just visited a museum of fine craftsmanship and art.
Jim enjoyed the challenge of recognizing and connecting with past classmates. His thoughts filled with memories of the school years he had share with a bunch of great people.
In the evening they had a nice banquet with more connecting, more memories awakened, and fellowship. As we were leaving Jim stopped in the grand hall of the hotel to talk with a fellow student he had missed. As they shared names and tried to remember if they had known each other, Mike said, “Jim Davenport. I had a Sunday School teacher at Blenheim Church with that name.”
We responded that he was Jim’s dad.
Mike became rather emotional as he went of to say that he was from the wrong side of the tracks, and the church bus picked a bunch of kids up and brought them to church. James was his very kind teacher. The story continued as he said one of the boys was disrespectful to his teacher. He was also mean to a boy with a disability so after Sunday School Mike met the little rascal in the hall and … He paused not wanting to say exactly what happened, only that the other child didn’t disrupt the class after that. James was able to teach them about Jesus and this man’s life had been changed.
We shared with him the wonderful tribute Kansas City had given James when he died. The funeral home thought the service would be small because he was elderly and only a carpenter. But when the flowers lined the walls of the largest room they had they started asking, ‘Who is this man.” The halls had standing room only.
Tears filled Mike’s eyes as he said, “I’m so glad we got to talk.”
We were too. In those few moments we were privileged to hear another story of how Jim’s dad’s life touched another person. At his funeral they played a song that said, “Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord. I’m so glad you gave.” We met one more who agreed with those words.
Traveling Blessed USA