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Opinions

Years ago

Walkin

My first column appeared in the Aug. 12, 1992, edition of the Solon Economist.
It was called “For What It’s Worth.”
I explained the origin of the name with the following:
The title is an old one. I first used it when I was a journalist in the Army. It stems from one of the truths I’ve tried to live my life by: “It’s not important to be right if right is done.”

Why Halloween?

Food For Thought

Throughout most of the month of October, we see pumpkins on porches, witches on broomsticks and ghosts in the shrubbery. We dress in frightening costumes, hide our faces with masks, and beg for treats from neighbors and total strangers. Why do we do it?

Losing the way

Walkin'

I’m a reluctant navigator.
For one thing, it’s a position that rarely has an upside. Navigate correctly, and you never get a pat on the back, but miss a turn and you don’t hear the end of it. While I don’t consider myself bad at directions I’m not at the head of the class, either.
That’s why I was happy to turn over the chore to Alan and July on our recent trip along the Danube River in Austria. They proved to be good leaders.

Readin’, writin’ and Sesame Street

Food For Thought

Before I get into this subject any further, I want to say I’m not denying Sesame Street is a wonderful program. It helps kids learn, not just one, two, three and A, B, C, but a lot of other important stuff, as well; things like tolerance, diversity, acceptance, cooperation, patriotism, honesty, and a few dozen other valuable things. I’m simply wondering if there shouldn’t also be room for silliness, fantasy and just plain fun.

Roll-ups for breakfast

Walkin'

Watching Mom make roll-ups was a study in motion and efficiency. With two pans on a medium-hot fire, she’d ladle the batter, swirl it in the pan, flip it in a wink and serve them to the nearby kitchen table.
In a half hour, she could turn out dozens of the breakfast treats. She had to, I could eat a half-dozen myself, and Dad and my siblings weren’t far behind. Plus there could be extended family and/or friends bellied up to the kitchen table.

News deja vu

Food For Thought

With all the things going on in this world of ours, I can’t believe that our news-gatherers find it necessary to report the same events several times in a day– sometimes even several times during one half-hour newscast. I turn on the evening news which reports a half-hour of local, national and world news, followed by a half-hour of national and world news from one of the big networks, and then another half-hour from the local station. During those 90 minutes, I am told about the “biggest” stories a minimum of three times, but often, eight or nine times.

A sense of secret

Children seem to have an inborn sense of secretiveness that leads to all sorts of misunderstandings and misbegotten adventures. I’m not sure where it comes from, perhaps it is the “self” attempting to define itself, to draw the lines between itself and the rest of the world. There are simply things children keep to themselves and protect jealously from their parents, siblings and best friends. It’s that little knob of reality known as “me” as opposed to everything and everybody else that is “not me.”

Tradeoffs

Walkin'

Before starting our bicycling trip alongthe Danube, we took a side trip from Vienna to Salzburg.
Tim, a classmate of Sabra’s from junior high school, settled there with his partner and husband, Heiner.

New stewards for the newspaper

We aren’t just owners of your newspaper.
We’re stewards.
And I’m incredibly excited for a new team– including me and the people you know– taking over that caretaker role.
As you read in a news story this week, Woodward Communications has purchased your local newspaper. My business partner, Stuart Clark, and I have sold West Branch Communications, which includes the West Branch Times, West Liberty Index, Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Marion Times, Solon Economist, North Liberty Leader and Linn News-Letter.

The girls of September

Food For Thought

I’ve always found it odd my three closest friends when I was growing up had birthdays within a few days of each other. Not only that, but two of them shared the same birthday, and the other had her birthday on the same day as my mother’s. This had to be more than mere coincidence and made me half believe in astrology which, logic tells me, is unreliable at best and superstitious nonsense at worst. I am ambivalent, after 80-some years, and may never be sure just what I believe about it.

Bicycling Austria

Walkin'

“Did they show you the devil’s hole?” the young man across the picnic table asked me.
It was the third day of our ride.
It was a bicycling trip we made in August. Sabra’s sister, Lisa, and her husband Allen proposed it and we gladly joined. Who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of weeks visiting Austria and cycling along the Danube River to Vienna? Two friends of Lisa’s, Karen and Julie, also joined to make our group six.

Thinking literally

While I was writing last week’s column about my early days in school, I remembered a little neighbor boy we had while we lived in Iowa City. The youngest of three children, he missed his older siblings when school started each September. As happens with younger children, he had heard a lot about that somewhat mysterious and definitely wondrous place called school, and couldn’t wait for his turn. He had been told repeatedly that he could go to school when he was 5.