Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Rushing to a Wedding in Pittsburg!

Monday, April 15, 2013

OLA: Rushing to a Wedding in Pittsburg!

glistening trees, laden with frozen rain, amid the greens of early spring
Suzanne with her Dad amid spring snow!

This post was supposed to be entitled ‘Braving the Spring Snow” since we knew that snowy days were coming during the last two days of our stay with the Happy Harpers in Westminster, Colorado.  However, since we were not prepared for the wintry blasts,  Bill and I dropped  our plans of going northeast on I-80 to Scottsbluff, Nebraska  to see the famed Chimney Rock and to Kearney, Nebraska  to catch the migration of 80% of sand hill cranes in the world.  Instead we opted to proceed to the wedding in Pittsburg, Kansas on a more southern, warmer, more direct route, along I-70.

the Eisenhower boyhood home in Abilene, Kansas
deployment at Normandy Beach, including artificial harbors
The boyhood home of Dwight Eisenhower, one of 7 sons of Pennsylvania Dutch parents with strong work ethic and religious background, is in Abilene, Kansas. He was America’s beloved leader in war and in peace. The Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, he orchestrated the defeat of the Nazis through the largest military deployment (156,000 soldiers, 4,000 planes, and 4,000 ships) on D-Day (June 6, 1944) at Normandy Beach in France. Almost a year later, the Nazis surrendered on May 8, 1945. This became known as V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.

Eisenhower towers over the grounds of his Library and Museum
He earned the respect of the leaders in the international arena and the love of the American people. He was ushered into a 2-term presidency that oversaw the peace time prosperity period of America, the brisk  reconstruction of Europe, and the deft handling of the Cold War after WWII.  The Dwight D Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum stands in his home town.  Of course, Bill is very proud that he hails from Kansas! His is the 29th Presidential Library and museum we have been to!

On the way to Wichita, Kansas we passed through so many scrub oaks that glistened from the freezing rain that covered their leafless blackened branches. I could not stop taking photos which just could not seem to capture the sparkle of the trees.

Bill in front of the Original Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas
In Wichita we had planned on having a big dinner at the Original Pizza Hut. Brothers Frank and Dan Carney, students of the University of Wichita, opened the first Pizza Hut restaurant on June 15, 1958. Approached by the owner of a small building who wanted a nice neighborhood business to locate there and who had read a 1957 Saturday Evening Post article about the pizza craze, the brothers wanted "Pizza" in the name. But the sign could only accommodate 9 characters. Pizza Hut was born. 

Gene Bicknell, a graduate of the same university as Bill, Pittsburg State University (PSU), is most well-known as founder of NPC International Inc., the world's largest Pizza Hut franchisee. NPC has 794 restaurants and 18,000 employees in 27 states make up 12 percent of the domestic Pizza Hut system (more than five times the size of the next-largest franchisee).

the Wichita State University caterpillar
Because of this, the bypass that goes around Pittsburg has been named the Bicknell Highway.  The O. Gene Bicknell Center for Entrepreneurship at the PSU campus is also named in his honor. But we found out that the little building where Pizza Hut started stands there just as a monument, on the campus of Wichita State University along with many interesting sculptures on site. That night, for memory’s sake, we still had our dinner at an operating Pizza Hut store nearby.

Tommy and Becky, a story made in heaven
the locked-in wine ceremony toast
We arrived at the Docks’ (Rosemary, Bill’s sister, and Jack her husband) home in Pittsburg in the mid afternoon of a Friday. The following day, April 13, was the festive wedding reception for about 150 guests of Becky (Rosemary’s youngest child and only daughter) and Tommy.  Becky and Tommy are both members of the Pittsburg police force. They actually had been married on April 10 at Beaver Lake, a beautiful lakeside cottage near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. 

The theme of the wedding was unique…‘camouflage’! The tablecloths and room d├ęcor used both traditional and pink camouflage designs; the wedding favors, and even the wedding gifts and cards all blended well. The bride and groom, wearing tennis shoes, was such a perfect match despite the more than a foot difference in height. 
a romantic first dance!
Dinner was absolutely delicious ricotta from the famous Pallucca grocer and deli in Frontenac and famous Pittsburg fried chicken and lots of sides.  As a matter of fact, even the appetizers were all my favorites: pork cracklings, cheese puffs, cashew nuts, colorful candy mints, and trail mixes. After the wine toast, the cake cutting, and the first dance, lots of us danced the night away. The festivities lasted until 11 pm when the couple was herded on to their pick-up.  Almost 100 of the pink and black balloons that had added to the festive atmosphere in the hall had been tied to the back of the pickup to give them a push towards their ‘honeymoon’. It was a fun, and nice, Kansas wedding!
at the back of their get-away pick-up truck with lots of balloons!