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Opinions

The yearly rush-hour

Food For Thought

Along about the end of October, Midwesterners seem to suddenly realize winter is on its way and there are a lot of things we intended to do during the past summer and fall that have yet to be accomplished. Between mulching the rose bushes and storing away the lawn furniture, we find ourselves scrambling to get to that family reunion put off almost too late again this year. And, didn’t we promise that favorite aunt we wouldn’t miss her 80th birthday party this month, but the visit is going to have to be shortened to two days, rather than the week she invited us for.

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Little feet

walkin'

Over the years, I’ve documented several times that my father in his prime kept in near perpetual motion doing part-time jobs to go along with his full-time job of deliveryman for Marshall Fields.
He distributed newspapers in the early morning, pumped gas on his lunch hour, drove taxi in the evening, painted houses, fixed cars on weekends and delivered Easter lilies while taking a week’s vacation from the iconic Chicago department store.
On a recent trip home, I learned of a couple more.

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Disappearing women

Food For Thought

Several times a year, I drive to my hometown for lunch with some classmates who still live there, or who live close enough to make the trip occasionally. Sometimes, we are lucky to coincide with classmates who are vacationing and want to include a brief reunion as part of their trip. This monthly opportunity, along with our annual newsletter, keeps us in touch with each other, a habit that has become increasingly important to most of us over the years.

She ate her, sea otter

Walkin'

“What’s the name of the place again?” Sabra requested as she looked up from her plate of ratatouille. I pronounced her dish as “ratatatatouille,” something I tend to do when I find the original word funny.
Other words I like to butcher include quesadilla (quasidillios), hors d’oeuvre (horse dervies) and the Nebraskan town of Ogallala (ooogalalala).
We were at the Blue Bird Diner in downtown Iowa City; eating and talking about the play we were about to see at the Riverside Theatre.

Hawkeye fans – It’s so much more than a wave

A new tradition was born this year in Iowa City. The Stead Family Children’s Hospital was completed before this year’s Hawkeye football season opened. It is a beautiful silver building towering over Kinnick Stadium.
According to the website:

Halloween party

Food For Thought

Agatha Christie wrote a murder mystery titled “Halloween Party” in which a young girl is drowned in a tub of water used for the game of bobbing for apples. The challenge is to catch an apple floating in water without using your hands. I found it nearly impossible to sink my teeth into a floating apple, as it requires a bit of pressure to bite into the apple’s skin, and the apple tends to skitter away unless you can manage to corral it against the side of the tub. The game tends to be a rather soggy affair for all participants and is death on crepe paper costumes and face-painting.

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.