One woman's view
By JANE VAJNAR
I spent the Father's Day (or Flag Day) weekend in Cheyenne, Wyo., competing (or attempting to compete) in the AARP national senior citizens' spelling bee. Let us simply draw a discreet veil over the competition. Suffice it to say that a Kansas star is definitely not "what I are."
However, I thoroughly enjoyed to trip with Bonnie Haslouer of Abilene as a delightful traveling companion. Although I am of good friend of her daughter, Jeanne Rziha, I had not known Bonnie real well before this adventure, but she turned out to be a lot of fun.
The first person to cross our path in Wyoming was Jonathan, who came to the airport to drive us to the hotel. He was very thoughtful and considerate, and our brief encounter was very pleasant. When we checked in, another staff member named Matt took down some information and gave us a paper to sign. At the bottom of the page was a notice, "No Pets." I said, "You mean we can't take Bonnie's boa constrictor to our room." A horrified look crossed the young man's face until he realized it was a joke. I mentioned this when we got back into the van to be delivered to our lodge. Jonathan said, "Oh, Matt doesn't have a sense of humor."
I enjoyed visiting with other spellers including one who had been a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and a couple with the name of Vajda. That looked like a Czech name to this Vajnar, but they told me it was Hungarian. The contestants who stood up the longest seemed to be absolutely obsessed with spelling to the point of reading the dictionary and memorizing words they will probably never see again.
Perhaps our most unusual encounter occurred Friday afternoon. The hotel was somewhat isolated from everything we might like to see. While Jonathan told us somebody could take us down to the state museum and the Capitol, after his shift was over nobody wanted to take us. They did agree to call us a taxi, and the fare to what we wanted to see was $11. The driver gave us her card so we could call her when we got ready to return.
Bonnie and I tend to be frugal (or stingy, depending on whether you want to compliment or insult us). We decided to try to find less expensive transportation back to the hotel. Nobody we asked seemed to know whether a street bus would take us close to the hotel. Somebody told us what corner the buses stopped at, and we set out to walk there and find out about buses. Even this effort seemed like a long, tiring walk. As we passed the police station Bonnie said, "Let's go in here. They will surely know whether we can take a bus."
Inside the police station were three men, two in uniform and one wearing a suit and tie. They said they did not know anything about the buses. However, the man in the suit pulled out his cell phone and called a friend he thought might be able to take us to the hotel, but he was unsuccessful. We decided to keep walking to the corner where the buses stopped.
As we got nearly to the door, the gentleman stood up and said, "I have to go with these guys now; I'm in a little bit of trouble." Then he pulled out his wallet and said, "Here is $12. Get a taxi." We tried not to take the money but he insisted. I don't know why the man was being arrested. We may have paid our taxi fare with tainted money. At any rate he was kind-hearted and a lot more helpful than the police officers.
That experience alone was worth the trip and proved the truth of a bit of verse my father like to quote:
"There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us, to speak ill of the rest of us."
I'm sure Bonnie and I will never forget our jailbird benefactor.