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Letters from Our Chairman


“The Seven Wonders of the World, The Independent Magazine, and the world through a child’s eyes.”

Dear Bank of Prairie Village Community~

I recently was flipping through the June 1st issue of The Independent Magazine. As many of you know, The Independent is a 125-year-old Kansas City institution faithfully covering Kansas City society and fashion since 1899.

This particular issue, being the June edition, focused on bridal dresses and weddings. Interspersed between featuring the most recent weddings and bridal styles, to archive pictures of wedding announcements and brides dating back 100 years.

I noticed the dresses from 1924 – i.e ~100 years ago, were very elegant and included elaborate veils and hats.

I also noticed looking at the camera in their elegant dresses and elaborate hats, not a single bride was smiling. I am not sure if they were told to frown, if their girdles or dresses were too tight, or if the newly married brides of 1924 were having second thoughts about the course on which they had just embarked.

I felt more assured as the more recent bridal wedding pictures showed smiling and apparently very happy brides ~ sans the elaborate hats. I mentally noted some time over the course of modern progress, girdles and hats have been discarded, perhaps adding to the recent brides’ newfound smiles (or perhaps the recent brides are more confident in their choices).

Having given the June bride Independent issue what I thought was more than ample pursual, I was about to toss it ~ when I came upon the back page.

The entire page was a black and white photo of the back of a very dressed up little flower girl, with a big, tied bow on her white dress peeking out the window from behind a pulled curtain into what appeared the bridal reception.

Because the photo was in black and white, I gazed at the picture trying to decide if this was an archive picture from 1924 or a recent 2024 picture.

Still unable to tell, I read the inscription next to the picture.

It turns out it was a recent picture from a recent wedding ~ which I thought was interesting. However, even more interesting was a quote beside the picture.

Specifically, the quote said, “There are no seven wonders in the world in the eyes of children; there are seven million.” ~ Walt Steightiff.

Below the quote, the magazine named the little girl and commented:

“She is a reminder to all of us to keep our eyes open and our inquiring minds sharp…take time to peek through the curtains.”

I found myself staring at the picture and the quote for longer than I expected.

As you can well imagine, I am not the guy who usually finds and remembers philosophical quotes and wisdom from Society and Fashion magazines.

Driving on the Highway during one of my many recent Salina trips to check on my folks, the picture and the quote kept playing in my mind. I vaguely remember discussing the Seven Wonders of the World, but other than something about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Great Wall of China, and the Taj Mahal, I could not come up with all seven.

As it turns out, naming the Seven World Wonders is a trick question. There are actually two sets of the Seven World Wonders.

The first list of the Seven World Wonders ~ also known as the “Ancient List” was compiled in 324 BC included 1) The Great Pyramid of Giza, 2) The Colossus of Rhodes, 3) The Lighthouse of Alexandria, 4) The Mausoleum, 5) The Temple of Artemis, 6) The Temple of Zeus, and 7) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Given that virtually all the original Ancient Seven Wonders did not survive 2,300 years of civilization (or lack thereof), a New Seven World Wonders list was created.

I was on more familiar territory with the “New Seven World Wonders List.” Specifically, 1) The Colosseum, Rome, Italy, 2) The Great Wall of China, 3) The Taj Mahal, India, 4) Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 5) Machu Picchu, Peru, 6) Chichen Itza Temple, Yucatan, Mexico 7) the ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

Having cleared up my Seven World Wonders confusion, I then set to thinking about the second line of the quote ~ why adults view the World as having only Seven Wonders when children find millions of wonders almost daily.

I went way back to the recesses of my mind where childhood memories are stored. Driving and thinking I tried to go as far back as I could remember. Being summer, I struck on a memory of my mother waling my Irish Twin little Brother (11 months younger) to Sunset Park in Salina for picnic. I must have been around four years old. I was so excited to walk to the park, I could hardly stand it. Once in the park, my mother let us run wild, through the flower gardens and the clear meandering little stream.

Once there I remember being fascinated watching the bees buzzing in all the flowers, the interesting way a grasshopper would jump, the huge pinchers of a crawdad, as it walked on the clear stream floor, tadpoles still having tails and legs, and the way a bullfrog could swim with just its feet. Everything was so new, strange and interesting. Are these moments part of the millions of wonders seen through a child’s eyes?

One must ask how I remember all this from one simple park day at age four. The answer is easy, following our nature trail walk, Mom walked Ed and me to the nearby Tasty Freeze, where for the first time I remember the server taking my big soft serve vanilla ice cream cone, and then dipping it in a hot bowl of chocolate sauce. I was enthralled how the hot chocolate sauce immediately cooled and froze to the cone.

I then had the chance to have my first taste of a chocolate dipped ice cream cone. Talk about the Great Wonders of the World. It was at that moment, yes at age four, I developed my first love and subsequent addiction to chocolate in any and all its glorious forms.

Suddenly The Independent quote made perfect sense. When I was a child, every day was a new adventure with new sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and visions.

Each new adventure was my own “child wonder.” I can understand how a child sees seven million wonders ~ where an adult only sees seven.

Today, when speeding by Sunset Park in Salina, I only briefly looked over to see who is playing tennis ~ or now pickleball. I forget this park was once the location of my child’s mind magic kingdom.

With nightly news chaos, geopolitical instability, and nasty elections coming this Fall, it is easy to see how we can close our minds and become cynical if ~ not apathetic.

However, it is the full of the Summer Season. Let’s put the cynicism aside for this wonderful season and make a conscious attempt to dig into our mental recesses, and try remembering, if not seeing our daily adventures through our child’s mind’s eyes. Perhaps, we will see several “new personal World Wonders” ~ without even having to leave our homes for world vacations.

Our best for this remarkable Summer Season~

Backpage, The Independent June 1, 2024, Bridal Issue

Backpage, The Independent June 1, 2024, Bridal Issue



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Dan Bolen ~ Chairman

Bank of Prairie Village

913~707~3369 Cell

“The Bank of Prairie Village ~ Home of Blue Lion Banking” ~ cited March 2020, April 2021, April 2022, April 2023 and April 2024 by the by the Kansas City Business Journal as one of the “Safest Banks in Kansas City for Your Money.”

Small Batch Banking ~ Once Client at a Time.


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