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Home for the holidays at Cedar Crest

TOPEKA – Budget cuts, revenue short falls and political maneuvering aside, there are some bonuses to being governor – such as the holiday season.

Before Mark Parkinson took over the state's top executive seat eight months ago, then Gov. Kathleen Sebelius told him that being governor during the holidays was a wonderful experience.

"She was right," Parkinson said Thursday during an interview.

Parkinson and his family are spending their first Christmas in the governor's mansion and adapting their traditions to the new setting.

"Cedar Crest is of course beautiful and it is beautiful all the time but at Christmas it is especially nice," he said. "It is basically decorated for you but we brought over all of our Christmas decorations and it feels like home."

They also had family visit during Thanksgiving.

As Parkinson and his brother were doing some last minute grocery shopping for the turkey dinner his brother teased the governor that no one seemed to recognize him.

Two little girls disproved that.

As the two were standing in line, Parkinson said he felt a tugging on the back of his coat and turned around to find two small girls – about 5 and 6 years old – behind him.

They looked up at him and said "Happy Thanksgiving Mr. Governor."

"It was very touching," Parkinson said.