150th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soldier, Mike Boss

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we start by commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soldier in the US Army. Next meet Mike Boss, a talented Kansan whose paintings are in galleries and homes of private collectors around the world. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with Kansas windmills, where they are still working right here in the center of America’s wind tunnel.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) It’s Wednesday. Good Morning, I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) This is Around Kansas. Thanks for tuning in this morning; hopefully, we have some good stories for you today. (Deb) Having lots of fun visiting the Kansas Statehouse. We’ve, for all our joking, it really has been fun. We appreciate their letting us set up here. (Frank) It’s hot in here too, all this hot air. (Deb) You just can’t let it go, can you Frank? Just can’t let it go. (Frank) No. A lot of hot air. (Deb) Speaking of hot air, we’ve got Smoke In The Spring, Osage City, Jones Park on South First Street coming up April 7th and 8th. Again, a reminder that April 8th is my birthday, so that’s the second most important thing about April 8th this spring. The Taste of Osage City on April 7th, 5:00 PM until the food runs out and that’s what you were asking about earlier. (Frank) Barbeque. (Deb) That barbeque. (Frank) You know there was a song [laughs] and everybody thought it was about barbeque. (Deb) You’re not going to sing again, are you? (Frank) No. (Deb) Okay. (Frank) Yes, I am. Bar, bar, bar- [laughs] (Deb) Barbara ran. (Frank) -but it was Barbara Sue- (Deb) Oh, Barbara Sue. (Frank) -it was but everybody thought it was Barbeque and it’s like, “What?” [Laughter] and then it’s one of those like– (Deb) A boy’s real love, barbeque not Barbara Sue. (Frank) You grow up thinking you have the lyrics to a song and then you’re finally reading, you go, “Really? I had no idea.” (Deb) [Laughs] No idea, like Louie Louie. (Frank) Yes. Or Be-bop-a-Lula. You don’t know that song? It was a long a time ago, like 1958. (Deb) She’s my baby, Be-bop-a-Lula. (Frank) She knows it. (Deb) All right, Be-bop-a-Lula. We got barbeque bags going on sale, April 3rd at Edward Jones, which is 516 Market Street in Osage City, and at the Osage Hall. The barbeque bags also on sale April 7th, so that’ll be the day of, at the Osage City Community Building. Live music from Just Passin’ Thru and that will be at the community building and they are characterized as high-energy country honky-tonk band from eastern Kansas. I love high-energy country honky-tonk, don’t you Frank? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) I’m not joking, I really do. (Frank) No, I like all music. I really do. (Deb) I do too. (Frank) Except for rap. (Deb) Except for Rap. Now, country has gone rap. I can’t stand it. (Frank) I know, it’s not country anymore. (Deb) It’s not country anymore. I can’t stand it. I try. If I turn on the radio and– (Frank) Oh boy, we are going to get letters now. (Deb) I don’t care. You know you just got to draw the line somewhere. (Frank) Hello Capitol Records we are sorry about that. [Laughs] (Deb) I’m sorry; sometimes you just got to take a stand and country music has just gone to the dogs. [Laughter] (Deb) That’s why Michael Martin Murphy talks about how he quit doing country music when it quit being country music, so now he does country, western and bluegrass, I guess is what you characterize it, cowboy, western stuff. He says the same thing and I am in agreement. They got all kinds of stuff. Go to their Facebook page which is Smoke in the Spring on Facebook and you can keep up with all the events. Make sure you get down that way and tell them Around Kansas sent you down. Tell them Frank and Deb said to come down for the barbeque. (Frank) Wish her a Happy Birthday. (Deb) Or the Be-bop-a-Lula or the Barbara Sue. Walk in and say, “I’m looking for Barbra Sue.” (Frank) [Laughs] “Where’s Barbra Sue?” Oh my, I’m going to take a nap; I don’t know what she’s going to do. (Deb) We’ll be right back.

(Frank) Here we are again. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m still Deb. [Laughter] (Frank) You are not. This is Around Kansas, thanks for tuning in. (Deb) We’ve got so much to talk about today. We’re going to do…so the segment coming up is on the 150th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers. We’ve got so many 150th Anniversaries. We did Nebraska a week or two ago, and as you know, I’ve been talking about 150th Anniversaries forever. April 29th at Fort Larned they are going to do their annual Mess and Muster. The program this time is on the 150th Anniversary on the Hancock Expedition, go to the Fort Larned website for more information. Leo Oliver who is a former history professor at Fort Hays State University and author of several of the Kansas sports books is in charge of this. It’s going to phenomenal, get to go out to the actual village site where the Cheyenne village was. It’s going to be a phenomenal day’s worth of events and a dinner that evening. The old guard, which is the friend’s group for Fort Larned, just does a wonderful job with programming and this is one. If you care at all about history you will not want to miss. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Buffalo Soldier in the U.S. Army. These famed units of African American soldiers demonstrated qualities of valor and courage throughout their military history. In return, they sought equality, respect, self-sufficiency, education – and adventure. The public is invited to join Fort Larned National Historic Site in celebrating this proud 150-year history by attending programs and events throughout the year dedicated to honoring the Buffalo Soldiers’ significant legacy. In 1866 Congress restructured the Army after downsizing the huge forces raised to fight the Civil War. Recognizing the significant contribution African American men made to the war effort, they authorized the creation of six new regiments in the regular Army to be comprised solely of African American soldiers. Because black men often lacked social and economic opportunities after the war, many jumped at the chance for a career in the U.S. Army. The new units were reduced to four and included the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry. During the 19th century, these regiments served in the Indian Wars on the Great Plains and across the West. Some of these men even went on to become the first caretakers of our national parks. Many lived to see the day when the ranks were integrated in 1948. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the newly formed Company A of the 10th U.S. Cavalry to Fort Larned. The unit consisted of 98 enlisted men. Only one could read and write, but their commander, Capt. Nicholas Nolan, was impressed with their devotion to duty, hard work, and eagerness to prove themselves in the field. Their mission at Fort Larned was protecting the people and commerce traveling the Santa Fe Trail. The name “Buffalo Soldier” conveys a proud history. Many historians believe that the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapaho tribes chose the nickname because the soldiers’ hair reminded them of a buffalo’s hair. Others believe it was from bison-like tenacity in battle. The staff at Fort Larned National Historic Site commemorates the Buffalo Soldiers’ 150th anniversary so we can all embrace a symbol of human courage and appreciate a shared heritage. Stay tuned for announcements on upcoming events.

(Frank) Again, here we are so anyway. (Deb) Talking about another good friend of mine. There is just no end to the talented folks, is there? (Frank) Well, the thing is, I admire artists, well I like art but the thing is I have a hard time drawing a straight line so- (Deb) Me too. I got no artistic capabilities. (Frank) -for someone to sit down in front of a blank piece of paper or canvas and be able to create scenes and it comes to life; it’s just amazing to me. (Deb) Were you impressed with Mike Boss’ art? (Frank) Yes, very much so. (Deb) What an imagination he has. His art has such a sense of fun and energy. He is such an accomplished person, an accomplished musician, just another one of those amazing Kansans. (Frank) Yes. I think one of the lines in the story was, born with a paintbrush in his right hand [laughs] (Deb) You will see why when you see this segment. It’s just amazing. Mike was telling me one time he did an exhibit and he did some Chinese Emperor, Zheng He treasure ships, and they have red masts and that is an incredible painting. It’s like, “Wow, who knew?” When you got this guy from Hill City, Kansas painting these Chinese treasure ships, it’s like what an amazing world we live in, Frank. (Frank) Let’s take a look at the story about him. It is highly probable that native Kansan Mike Boss was born with a paintbrush in his right hand. Mike’s formative years were filled with highly unimaginative grade school, highly imaginative writings, plastic model kits, some television and movies, but most of all, many of the illustrators of the fifties and sixties. The brilliant men and women writing for Little Golden Books, Treasure Books, Whitman, and others brought visions of characters dreamed up from both fact and fiction. The gifted illustrators brought those characters to colorful life, inspiring Mike, along with millions of children. His earliest art reflects the same expression as today. Trains, planes, cars, trucks, ships, boats – all those images that triggered the imagination of the boy continue to inspire the man. After graduating from high school, Mike majored in music at Southern Illinois University. Then he dug out an article he had saved from Private Pilot magazine, and rereading it, decided to touch base with the artist/illustrator who would become his mentor – Jack Leynnwood. Leynnwood’s work is familiar to most Americans through his illustration of model kits. The friendship between the two lasted until Leynnwood’s death decades later. Following Leynnwood’s practice, Mike continues to paint a full spectrum of aviation, space, rail, marine, landscapes – never to be pigeonholed into just one or two genres. Mike could also be characterized an historian. Extensive research is obvious in his attention to detail, from period costumes and colors, right down to direction and time-of-day lighting. Each painting has a story of its own, as seen through the annals of history and through the eyes of the man who holds the brush. His work is in galleries and the homes of private collectors around the world. The only thing fonder to Michael’s heart than the canvas and his music was Buckwheat, his late and beloved toy poodle, who can still be found, if you look very carefully, hanging out somewhere in all of his paintings. Mike lives and works in Hill City.

(Ron) So many families take these big family trips where the kids all pile into the car, Mom and Dad drive and they get out of the driveway before the kids say, “Are we there yet?” Well, there’s also the issue of coming home to the ranch. This poem I wrote based on a true story. It’s titled, “My Vocation Affects my Vacation.” or, “The Trip.” We’re all driving home from a nice family trip, dog tired but happy with smiles on our lips. We’d been driving for hours on the big highway, and we thankfully turned onto the ranch driveway. We were all looking forward to the end of the ride, when suddenly signs of concern that I spied. It’s not what I wanted for my welcome back, cause alongside the road, I could see some cow tracks. And by the road was manure as I looked about and I knew what it meant – the cows had got out. What a lousy welcome home to receive. While I was trying to get home, the cows were trying to leave. Instead of relaxing to unpack and unwind, we had all the cows to hurry and find. The horses were still in the corral at least, so we saddled up quickly to track down the beasts. It was easy to follow the tracks on their way to the neighbors where they got into his hay. They tromped through his garden, got into his shed and ate the alfalfa stored there to be fed. So we rounded them up and drove them back home and into a pen where they no longer roam. Then we rode around the perimeter fence and we found the spot where those maverick cows went. A tree had blown down on the wire while we’re gone, and let the cows loose, so that they could go on. So we gathered our tools and got the fence mended and went home thankful this long day had ended. I complained to my wife about this turn of events from vacation to having to chase cows and fix fence. I said, “It’s unfair the cows caused this extra work to do.” She just smiled and said, “I guess the cows wanted a trip too.” Happy Trails.

(Frank) We’re talking about wind in a previous show and a lot of wind in Kansas and if you’ve ever, well, if you live in Kansas you know about the wind in the Flint Hills and if you’re going to drive through Kansas, this is– if you’re going to be driving west you’re going to be doing this [laughs] as you go thru the foothills. (Deb) Yes. For sure, for sure. I don’t know that I had ever seen a windmill before I came to Kansas. It’s so funny now because I think about what I remember in the early, late ’70s early ’80s when alternative energy became very popular and people talked about it, now we had water wheels back home. Lots of people got their energy from dams, hydroelectric, even small water wheels but windmills were different and here that’s just, there’s not a more common feature, man-made feature in the landscape than windmills. (Frank) There are a lot of countries now, Scandinavian countries, that are gleaning 90-100% of their energy from wind. (Deb) Speaking of the hot air in the building, we got a lot of wind in Kansas. (Frank) We can really generate a lot. [Laughs] (Deb) We can harness this, exactly. Let’s take a look. Kansas farmers and ranchers found they could make do or do without many luxuries as they carved out a living on the prairies and plains. The one thing they had to have, however, was a windmill. In a land where the water often hides underground, windmills pumped the water up for farms, livestock, and towns. It was the essential piece of equipment. There were many manufacturers and the Kansas State Historical Society estimates that between 1880 and the mid-1950s, as many as 50 companies are thought to have made windmills in Kansas. Probably the best known of these was the Currie Windmill Company. Organized in the 1880s as the Currie Windmill and Pump Company, the company first moved to Manhattan and next to Topeka where it manufactured mills at 7th and Adams from around 1900 until the late 1940s. The Wyatt Manufacturing Company of Salina then took over the production of Currie windmills and continued to use the name into the 1950s. Currie windmills gained a reputation as sturdy, reliable machines. Distinctive features included hardwood bearings and the steel band encircling the vanes of the wheel. Currie wheels came in 6, 8, and 10-foot diameters. The windmills we see popping up today, on the Smoky Hills Wind Farm in Lincoln and Ellsworth Counties or the Elk River Wind Project in Butler County for example, are much, much larger. An industrial-scale wind turbine consists of 116-ft blades atop a 212-ft tower for a total height of 328 feet. Kansas is squarely placed in the center of America’s wind tunnel, a corridor stretching from North Dakota south into the Texas panhandle, making Kansas second only to the Lone Star state in wind potential.

(Frank) Well, we have to go again. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) We will see you somewhere… (Frank & Deb) …Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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