Family & Friends
By Suzan Rash, F219015
The theme for the South Central Area’s 32nd Annual Six-State Rally, September 27 through 30, 2005, at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas, was “Return to the Yellow Brick Road.” The title was selected to carry on the “Wizard of Oz” theme that was used the last time the Six-State Area Association presented the event in Hutchinson in 1999.
The staff and cadre “” led by South Central Area vice president Tony Innocenti, F56315; senior vice president Ben Loganbill, F164247; North Regional vice president Dale Johnson, F157253; South Regional vice president Dave Davies, F230525; secretary Irene Renfro, F138913; and treasurer Tom Drennon, F18175 “” arrived early to prepare the fairgrounds and set up directional signs, made by sign maker Shelby Rash, F219015, in time for the volunteers’ arrival. The volunteers were from the host chapters: GMC Flatlanders, Heart of America Coachmen, Hi Plains, Midwest Prairie Schooners, National RV Central States, and Ozarks Prairie Sooners.
As the 337 family coaches, 42 display coaches, and 72 vendors began arriving, the parking crew, under the direction of parking captain Ted Snell, F242374, made parking the coaches a simple task. The parkers directed the coaches to a holding area from which the family members and the commercial members were sent to registration. Family registration was under the direction of Thelma Hebert, F93234, while the commercial registration was overseen by Pat Landes, F184821. The staff knew that rally attendance would be small, since many members from the South Central Area live in Louisiana and Texas, states that were hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We keep those members who were affected by these disasters in our thoughts. The only weather we had to worry about during the rally was the wind. Those of you who are familiar with Kansas know the wind blows most of the time.
Fred and Lou Kennedy, F44281, did a great job organizing and distributing radios and golf carts to rally workers. Fred worked with the company that provided the golf carts to develop a trailer that could be pulled behind a golf cart to accommodate four to six passengers. This “tram” is a terrific idea for smaller rallies. What a great idea. Thanks, Fred.
The indoor exhibits, under the direction of Larry Claunch, F203139, included a variety of booths that offered cookware, jewelry, clothing, items for the coach, mechanical items, and places to visit and stay. We were glad to see that many of the exhibitors were familiar faces from previous years. Everyone seemed to enjoy looking at and buying the items that were on display. Syble Hall, F250509, who was in charge of collecting door prizes, thanked many of the vendors for their donations. The coach display area, under the direction of Larry Landes, F184821, was just outside the vendor building and allowed easy access for rally-goers to walk through and look at all the new motorhomes.
On Tuesday afternoon the annual pet parade, sponsored by Austin Lone Stone RV Resort, C7480, was held in the Farm Bureau Arena, an outdoor stage area. Thirty-eight dogs and one cat walked, ran, or were escorted across the stage by their owners. Dave Renfro, F138913, performed the master of ceremonies duties again this year. The judges decided that all the pets were winners, so each one won a toy. Dave had a second and perhaps more important job at the rally. He, along with Gene Miller, F182646, rode in the “water wagon,” passing out refreshing drinks to the volunteers on duty during the rally.
Beginning Wednesday morning and continuing through Friday, rally-goers were welcome to begin the day with complimentary breakfast. Coffee and doughnuts were offered on Wednesday, but on the final two days attendees were treated to pancakes and sausage prepared by “pancake caterer” Chris Cakes. George Hebert, F93234, and his rally services crew did an outstanding job getting the mornings off to a good start. Also helping out in this regard were the Frustrated Maestros, who performed each day during breakfast.
On Wednesday women donned their purple outfits and red hats for the annual Red Hat Tea. Peggy Weygandt, F327207, planned the event, but was unable to attend. However, Nanci Schrader, F332793, took over the on-site duties and did a fine job. The efforts of the gentlemen who served and cleaned up were well appreciated. Everyone enjoyed the entertainment after lunch, the Salt Miners Barbershop Chorus, a local group from Hutchinson.
On Thursday everyone enjoyed the ice cream social, sponsored by Adventure RV and Truck Center, C5395. During the ice cream social, the Frustrated Maestros provided entertainment.
Thursday was theme day, so people in Wizard of Oz costumes were seen throughout the rally grounds. First place in the costume contest went to Danean Mitchell, F179420, Gateway Getaways, as the wicked witch; second place, Dorothy Randall, F54254, Sooner Coaches, as Dorothy; third place, Dorothy Lutkemeier, F265996 Tip-O-Tex, as the scarecrow; honorable mention, Myra Gray, F317425, Midwest Prairie Schooners, as Dorothy.
Darrell Gilliland, F153488, assembled a great lineup of daytime and evening entertainment. On Tuesday night we were treated to The Les Gilliam Trio. With powerful three-part harmony and outstanding instrumental skills, this trio thrilled the audience with its music, stories, and laughs. Les Gilliam is the official “Oklahoma Balladeer,” so designated by the Oklahoma State Legislature in 1998.
On Wednesday evening the Salt City Big Band, sponsored by Olathe Ford, C2222, was the featured entertainment. This band is made up of professional musicians and music educators, many of whom are college professors from the Hutchinson and Wichita area. This group is co-directed by Bryce Luty and Daryl Batchelor, who formed it several years ago to perform various functions in the area.
Thursday at noon the Buhler High School Singers, a group of enthusiastic high school students, put on a great show. That evening rally-goers were treated to the Dave and Daphne Show. Dave is an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, and humorist. Daphne is a sizzling female vocalist and impressionist. Dave and Daphne are a down-to-earth duo with one goal: to provide clean, quality, exhilarating entertainment for the audience to enjoy.
Friday at noon Tex and Mary Schutz performed one-of-a-kind songs, unusual harmonies, and silly stories, which are the hallmark of the energetic duo. The final entertainment on Friday evening was the Rose City Quartet. This group is committed to presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ through Southern gospel music.
A big thank you goes out to Shep Howson, F62627, who put together a terrific lineup of seminars. Health and wellness seminars along with wardrobe tips and cooking helped filled the ladies’ time, while classes on technical matters interested the men. There were also seminars about RVing in Mexico, Alaska, and the Northwest. Donna Howson presented several craft seminars that were enjoyed by the ladies. The decorative hatbands looked great. Rally-goers also had the opportunity to attend one or more FMCA-sponsored education classes. They included the Motorhome Safe Driving Course; the Coach Weight and Tire Safety Program; and Fire & Life Safety on the Road. These are always well-attended programs. Another seminar “” or entertainment, depending on your view “” was “Line Dancin,” taught by Ben and Mary Kay DePuew, F305057.
At the Six-State Rally Association meeting on Friday afternoon, the officers for the next year were elected. We welcomed Charlie Adcock, F311374, as the new North Regional vice president, replacing Dale Johnson, F157253. We are sad to see Dale and his wife, Millie, leave the offices they had held for several years. Millie had been the timekeeper for five years. The other officers remained the same.
Quilts, quilts, and more quilts! During the 2004 South Central Area Rally in Gonzales, Louisiana, the challenge was issued to double the 233 quilts that were made and donated to the Children’s Miracle Network at that event. To help reach this new goal, quilters worked very hard during the past year. Incredibly, the final total donated in Hutchinson was 770 quilts. Betty Galloway and Donna Zimmerman accepted for the Heart of Kansas Quilters Guild and Sondra Frank for the McPherson Senior Center. The quilts will be distributed to needy clients in the Hutchinson and Wichita area. We want to thank everyone who did such great work. The project will continue for the next area rally, but we will not be trying to double the total from this year’s event.
Putting on an area rally requires the effort of many volunteers, and we are most grateful to members of the host chapters for the many hours spent planning, preparing, and working at this event. We also would like to thank all who attended the rally.
On Saturday morning, as attendees were saying their good-byes and heading either back home or on to new adventures, the officers and cadre began planning the 33rd Annual Six-State Rally, which is scheduled to be held September 26 through 29, 2006, at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas. Until then, have a safe journey, and may the wind be forever at your back.
Jim And Janis Phares Continue RVing Tradition
By Pamela Selbert
We met motorhomers Jim and Jan Phares (pronounced “Farris”), F22264, just after a nightmarish incident with our pet squirrel had ended. While parked at an Indiana campground, my husband, Guy, had taken “Squill” outside for a breath of fresh air, when the critter jumped off his shoulder and dashed away. We proceeded to chase him for three nerve-wracking hours until we were able to corner him inside the campground’s huge recreation building.
Hearing our tale, the Phareses, who were camped near the building but somehow had not seen a couple of goofballs chasing a squirrel, were sympathetic and seemed genuinely pleased that our little furry friend had been caught. Also nature lovers, the couple, whose home base is Yucaipa, California, said they greatly enjoy the critters that venture into their yard from the nearby woods and often feed them.
Jim said that every spring he plants an extensive garden of carrots, beets, tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables, hoping some of them will wind up in serving bowls on the couple’s dining room table. But it’s rare that the squirrels, rabbits, and deer don’t get most of it, he said, laughing.
Were it not for the wildlife thievery, Jim’s crops might die on the vine, he said, as he and his bride of 45 years are often on the road in their motorhome when everything is ripe. Their four-legged traveling companion is a 16-year-old orange tabby cat named Beau, who, despite being afflicted with diabetes and requiring daily insulin injections, does well.
The Phareses had just come from a mission of their own in Glen Carbon, Illinois, where they spent several weeks helping settle Jim’s 96-year old mother, Lucille Phares, into a retirement home. She and her husband, Floyd (F12073), who passed away a decade ago, were longtime members of FMCA, Jim said. They had traveled extensively and passed along their love of motorhoming to their son.
Jim and Jan began camping nearly 30 years ago. From the outset they preferred to travel by motorhome, unlike many motorhomers who work their way up from a tent. They’ve owned four coaches, beginning with a 1975 28-foot Pace Arrow they fell in love with at an RV show near their former Dayton, Ohio, home.
“It cost $16,000, which seemed terribly expensive at the time,” Jim said. “But we bought it anyway and never regretted it.”
Jim’s parents recommended that they join FMCA. Motorhoming friends Tony and Julia Bosse, L12557, suggested that they become members of the local FMCA chapter, the Tri-State Traveliers. The Phareses became members of both in 1975, and are proud of the relatively low number on their “goose egg.” They’re now considering joining an FMCA chapter near their West Coast home.
Jan fondly remembers one of their first motorhome odysseys. They took her parents, who had retired to Florida, to visit a brother who lived in California.
“Mom and Dad never forgot that trip,” she said with a grin. “Riding in the motorhome was quite thrilling for them.” Jan also remembers that she would often cook dinner in the oven while the coach rolled down the road.
“I recall that, at least once, sloppy joes and an apricot pie were cooking while we drove,” she said. “You’d never do that now “” it’s much too dangerous “” but incredibly, everything was okay with no mess.”
Not only have the Phareses traveled to various parts of the country; they’ve also lived in numerous locales, relocating for Jim’s job. Both grew up in small Illinois towns; Jim in Mt. Auburn, Jan in El Paso. Jan graduated from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and then moved to Springfield in 1957 when a teaching job was offered there.
Jim attended Western Illinois University. Like his wife, he moved to Springfield after college, and accepted a management and finance position with IBM in 1959. It so happened that the woman with whom Jan shared an apartment had been a classmate of Jim’s and they had remained friends.
“Jan and I met when I came to visit the other girl one day,” he said. “Not long after that I enlisted in the Army and was gone for six months. But when I returned, I went to visit my friend.” That time she was away, but as he had hoped, Jan was there “” and he summoned the courage to ask her for a date.
Smiling, Jim remembered a wonderful evening of dancing at a popular spot in Taylorville. The Phareses were married in 1960, and still enjoy dancing whenever the opportunity arises, he said.
Jan taught kindergarten through second grade in Springfield until Jim’s work with IBM took them to Chicago; Jefferson City, Missouri; Dayton, Ohio; and in 1978 to Glendora, California. They moved to the current home in Yucaipa in 2000. Their son, Jeff, was born in 1967, and now lives not far from them in LaVerne, California, which is close enough to give the Phareses plenty of time to spoil their three grandchildren.
Jan noted that FMCA and the Tri-State Traveliers, unlike many adult groups, offered fun times for youngsters as well. She said that Jeff enjoyed the frequent outings as much as his parents did, as many of the other chapter members also traveled with their children. But the move to California, and the fact that Jim’s work kept him on the road much of the time, put the Phareses’ motorhoming on hold for a while.
A trip with Jim’s parents in 1990 changed all that, and once again whetted their interest in RVing.
“We traveled with them in their coach to the East Coast to see the fall colors,” he said. “The trip convinced us we needed to get back into motorhoming.”
Jim and Jan bought his parents’ coach, a 1988 28-foot Georgie Boy, in 1993, a year before his father died. By that time Jim was retired and the open road was beckoning.
Since then they have owned two other coaches: a 1997 36-foot Gulf Stream Scenic Cruiser that they purchased at a Pomona, California, RV show in 1996, and their current coach, a 2003 36-foot Pace Arrow, which they bought in 2002. “The slideouts and other amenities of coaches today make you as comfortable on the road as you are at home,” Jim said.
The Phareses now spend four to five months on the road every year. When we met them, they were planning to continue to Michigan for a leisurely jaunt. The year before they had traveled to Utah to see Bryce and Zion national parks, Flaming Gorge, and Moab.
Family members and friends also play important roles in the Phareses’ travels. On another outing, they drove to Las Vegas to meet Jim’s brother, Dick, F348544, and his wife, Janice, who were taking delivery of their new coach. The four then traveled together through Utah before Dick and Janice had to return home. Jim and Jan continued on to Colorado and Ames, Iowa, where a nephew attends college. Also, the Phareses drive to Illinois each year to visit his mother.
Some of the Phareses’ favorite destinations include Memphis, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and “all of New Mexico.” They also like Branson, Missouri, which isn’t far from Bella Vista, Arkansas, the home of long-time friends, Jack and Julia Cavness.
“Her father once owned a hardware store in Bentonville, Arkansas,” Jim said. “Then, half a century ago when Sam Walton was just beginning to build his empire, he bought the hardware store.” Today it’s a Wal-Mart Museum. The story also has a traveling connection: Julia’s family often went on camping trips with the Waltons, Jim added.
One of the Phareses’ favorite outings, an annual event since 2000, takes place on New Year’s Eve. Between 16 and 30 coaches, “depending on who is available,” head to Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert, California, to celebrate the holiday.
“We play games, bridge, dominoes, crazy golf, baseball, talk, eat, and have a ball,” Jan said. “We love the company of other motorhomers “” think they’re the finest folks around.”
Jim said motorhoming appeals to him for a variety of reasons. “It’s relaxing, your responsibilities are few, and you’ve got your home right with you.”
Jan added, “But mostly what we love about motorhoming is that we meet so many wonderful people.”
Eagles Chapter Rallies Around A Good Cause
By Betty Land, F157660
Sixteen members of the Eagles chapter met for a rally September 12 through 14, 2005, at the Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area in Papillion, Nebraska, near Omaha. The rally was hosted by chapter Central vice president Bill Land, F157660, and his wife, Betty, and Dick and Debbie Bell, F351403. While there, attendees toured Girls and Boys Town, located in Boys Town, Nebraska.
Girls and Boys Town began in 1917 when Omaha businessman Henry Monsky gave Father Edward J. Flanagan, an Irish-born immigrant, $90 to rent a home for five boys assigned to him by the courts. Four years later he purchased Overlook Farm, just outside of Omaha, to build his growing Boys Home. Today the 900-acre complex is home to more than 500 troubled boys and girls.
In 1975 the Family Home Program was implemented, with 10 boys living in individual homes, nurtured and supported by married parents trained to help them recover from their problems. In 1979 it opened its doors to girls. Ages of the residents range from 10 to 18 years old, and they attend school at the facility. During the past 30 years, Girls and Boys Town’s approach of helping children within a healthy family environment has proven to be remarkably successful, for one simple reason: It creates a family environment where healthy parental and sibling relationships grow, helping to develop well-balanced and productive adults.
The success of Girls and Boys Town’s family approach has stood the test of time and has been adapted in other programs across the United States. Today thousands of children at 19 sites in 15 states and the District of Columbia are getting help with the family-style approach. One of the sites was in New Orleans, Louisiana. During the evacuation caused by Hurricane Katrina, 30 residents and 35 family members were relocated to Girls and Boys Town.
As Father Flanagan once said, “Every boy must learn to pray; how he prays is up to him.” When the children arrive at the facility, faith is usually not an important part of their lives. However, by the time residents reach the 12th grade, 59 percent (equaling the national average) report that religion is “very” or “pretty” important in their lives. One of the requirements is that they attend church every week, as officials at the home feel that spiritual growth has always been a key component in a child’s healing and growth process. Individuals choose whether to attend the Protestant services at the Chambers Chapel or the Catholic services at the Dowd Chapel, which is also the final resting place of Father Flanagan.
After touring the facility, we felt compelled to contribute to the continuing work that this organization does for today’s youth. Eagles chapter president Larry Sterling, F164788, along with Bill and Betty Land, presented a $2,000 check to John Melingagio, director of public relations for Girls and Boys Town, in front of the citizenship wall in the cafeteria. This wall is the background that’s used every Friday for the swearing-in ceremony of new residents who have arrived that week.
The purpose of the Eagles chapter is to promote social, recreational, and informational exchange activities, which provide for the enjoyment and pleasurable use of family member coaches. To be eligible for membership in the Eagles, a motorhomer must be a member of FMCA and own an operational Eagle bus conversion, or be in the process of converting one themselves or through someone else. At the time this story was going to press, the Eagles had 151 members. The chapter is always looking to add new faces. To learn more about becoming a member, contact chapter president Larry Sterling at (760) 244-7614 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.