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Dispatches from Kansas Paperback – November 9, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (November 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419613685
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419613685
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,150,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Laurel Johnson on May 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Tom Parker is not a native but believes Kansas is one of America's best-kept secrets. He and his wife moved to Kansas when they had wearied of sprawling cities and corporate ladders going nowhere. He's been waxing eloquent about tall grass prairies, Kansas towns and people in his newspaper columns

ever since. One excerpt from one column states Parker's sentiments clearly:

"What's wrong with Kansas? I leave work as the sun becomes airborne. Mist chokes the valleys, shadowed yet by dense woods. The road slips into a slight depression and then rises and the Blue River Valley spreads before me as far as the

eye can see, a verdant channel winding southward between grassy bluffs. The road descends and leaps the river and curves into town.

I stand on my front porch, the song of dickcissels calling the sun up. A cuckoo cries behind me. Warily eyeing me, a cottontail sucks down a long dandelion stem."

Life in the prairies has been peaceful and Parker shares through beautiful prose the divine he sees in everything around him. Birdsong is surreal and ghostly in early morning

fogs along the rivers and streams. Thunderstorms are awesome, electric, transforming. Winter winds roar from the north to rattle windows, freshen air, and freeze nose hairs. Amidst nature's bounty, the Parkers discovered mysteries of daily life in rural Kansas: the art of waving at everyone you meet; the odd case of the clairvoyant cashier; the joy and adventure to be found in following grain elevators home; anti-terrorist plans, rural Kansas style.

Parker shares his Kansas experiences with subtle exaggeration, gentle irony, and incredible poignance. In his world, Nature is a blessing and a balm. And because he shares his vision generously with an honest spirit, readers will enjoy his

stories whether they live in Kansas or not.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my dad for his birthday. He grew up on a farm in Kansas and I thought he might enjoy these stories on small town life. I think in all my years of buying gifts for my dad this might be his favorite. He keeps reading the stories to anyone that will listen. In fact over the Christmas holiday the family made a rule that he was only allowed to read them three stories, otherwise he was interrupting constanly with a new anecdote. I live overseas and when my family called me on Christmas, my dad spent his time on the phone with me (despite the high rate per minute) reading me a story from the book about squirrels. He loves it! He is planning to buy a copy for his brother as well. If you know someone who grew up in small-town Kansas, this is a great gift!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not only is Tom Parker a gifted photographer, he is also a wonderful writer. The book gives you a glimpse into Tom's life and the small Kansas community of Blue Rapids and Marshall County. The book can be read from start to finish or a chapter here and there. The chapters are two to three pages long and cover a wide subject matter. Part of the reason I wanted to learn more about Marshall County, Kansas and the people that live there was Tom's photography and his book. I have spent several weekends up there in the past two years, what a hidden gem this area is. Have you ever seen Black Squirrels?
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Format: Paperback
Author Tom Parker and his wife left a big city and big jobs (that also were moving away) and moved to a town in Kansas with 1100 people.

There Park becomes a local newspaper columnist, albeit a very low paid one--along with a few other part-time jobs to help pay the bills.

Dispatches from Kansas is a collection of these stories--many of them about the difference between large cities and small towns, the people who inhabit them, and the unwritten rules you must learn to survive. This could be a small town in most any state.

As a farm girl who moved to the big city (home of the Mall of America) many years ago, we now have a lakeplace near a small town. So we know from what he speaks about small towns.

I liked this guy right away when early on he said that he read the comics/funnies first in the newspaper. His stories are well written, full of minute details, and are about the bread and butter people and issues of small towns.

He asks: What constitutes important news in rural areas? Their local weekly newspapers publish as he calls it, "who was naughty or nice"--the police reports. The newspaper publishes every little incidence: vehicle stops for illegal left turns; dogs on the loose; accidents; runaways, etc.

If you still live in a small town, you will love knowing your town isn't unique. If you are from one, you will love to reminisce with his help. If you have almost been envious of small-town life, read Dispatches from Kansas to live vicariously.

His descriptions of sights and sounds in the daytime were special, but his nighttime details were powerful. "We were the least of the creatures of the dark," he wrote, "in nature's night, I was inconsequential.
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Format: Paperback
Eloquent descriptions by a lover of nature, birds, butterflies and all living things. Honest relating of his recurring depression.
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