Today I shucked corn with a Pearl Harbor survivor

American_Flag_waving(Reprinted on Veteran’s & Memorial Day)

By Kent Rhodes

While choosing a few ears of corn at the local supermarket the other day, I found myself standing next to a neatly dressed man whom I guessed to be in his 90’s. I was right, he was 92. I have the greatest respect for the elderly and struck up a conversation with him as we chose our ears of corn and pulled off the husks. He complained a little about the physical difficulties of old age and as we continued to talk, it came out that he was on board a Coast Guard cutter in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

I asked if he had written down his story and he told me that he had and that it was actually on a CD available at his retirement community.

After bidding each other good day, it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be long before there would not be anyone around who was at Pearl Harbor on that day. In fact, it won’t be long before there is no one left who will remember the whole WWII experience!

This was our last great “defensive” war and it united the country like nothing before or since. Sacrifices were made, the lives of husbands, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers were lost and many were left behind to grieve. There are still those among us who remember. But not for long.

We can always read about it in books, but the personal witnesses will not be here, just like my new friend at the grocery store.

Where will we gain our perspective of freedom when those who fought for it and lived through it are gone? Even now, there are many around us, and some in high positions of leadership, who seem to have lost this perspective.

My greatest concern about this country of ours, the good old USA, is that our young people will not remember the past. And when I say “young people” I include those between the ages of 1 and 50.

Our nation has a rich and historic past. Our country was bathed in blood during the revolutionary war, lost many of her sons and daughters during the civil war, many more in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and now in various places in the Middle East. All of this has taken place to preserve our freedom and the freedom of others so that we and our friends can continue living the American dream of making our own decisions and living with the consequences.

But will we be strong enough to continue the battle for freedom? How will we remember the lessons of the past? It has become ever more challenging to put it into perspective because even though we currently have soldiers fighting overseas, we can’t see the enemy as clearly as our parents and grandparents did. They knew who they were fighting. Our current enemies are more insidious, they are cowardly terrorists both at home and abroad. They fly airplanes into buildings, kidnap, use innocent people as human shields, and set bombs to go off that kill and wound men, women and children.

Sadly, there are people in leadership positions in our own government who should have this perspective, but do not. They do not remember the past or they choose to forget it, thinking that we are a new generation, a new civilization that is free from the evils that haunted our past.

The world may have a different playing field and the nature of war may be different, but those who would destroy our liberty and way of life have not changed. They are out there. There are still those in this world who seek for power and will spill the blood of innocents to achieve it. The names and tactics have changed, but despotism lives on.

The bottom line? Read your history. Elect good men and women who know the past. And while you still have time, go shuck some corn with a vet.

Today I shucked corn with a Pearl Harbor survivor.

(Reprinted yearly at this time of year)



Beware the zucchini!

By Ed Zollinbach, Chamber President

Each summer we at the Goosebury Chamber of Commerce rerun this article in the hope that eventually, the message will get across. It never does, but we can’t give up.

Every gardener has an experience with zucchini at some time during his or her gardening endeavors. Some experiences are good, some are bad. Most are bad.  And it’s not that some people can grow good zukes and some cannot, because growing them is foolproof. Anyone can grow them.  And if you plant more than one plant, you are either a novice or sun-touched.

You see, the zucchini is something like the man-eating plant in the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Each plant produces its slender green appendages in prolific quantities. As soon as you pick one, two more will grow. Soon the novice gardener has more zucchini than he can possibly make into bread, soup, tea, pickle chips, or boats for the kids.  And not wanting to waste any vegetables (partly because there are starving people all over the world) the only thing you can do is . . . give them to friends, neighbors and complete strangers. There are boxes of zucchini left all over town, on doorsteps, city sidewalks, and city parks. It becomes a real cleanup problem.

But usually it starts this way…there is a knock on the door. You open it. Standing in the doorway is our novice gardener with a big smile on his face and a sack of zucchini. It’s a proud look, for his or her entrance into the field of gardening has seemed quite successful, and sharing the bounty is part of the payoff.  This “ceremony” is then repeated every other day at the homes and offices of numerous relatives and soon-to-be former friends. Then the boxes start appearing all over town.

No gardener has yet learned how to throw zucchini away or pull up a producing plant. The only salvation offered is to convince those we know to resist planting them in the first place and for the rest of us to avoid answering the doorbell from June through August. If you know someone who is a zucchini fanatic and hasn’t gotten the message yet, your best option is to refer him or her to Zucchini Anonymous. They’re in the phone book.

For Father’s Day—Why men are never depressed

An anonymous reader sent this to me and I thought it fitting for Father’s Day!

Men Are Just Happier People—and what do you expect from such simple creatures?
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be President.
You can never be pregnant.
You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
The world is your urinal.
You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Same work, more pay.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.
New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You almost never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
Everything on your face stays it’s original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life.
One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

Costco, how we love thee!

By Kent Rhodes, Editor—

My wife and I just finished our regular Saturday afternoon trip to the local Goosebury Costco. We are sometimes ashamed to admit that this is our favorite weekend activity.

We didn’t realize how addicted we were to this regular Saturday event until this morning. With the economy the way it is, and the budget stretched a little thin we decided that we needed to watch our money and only spend on the bare necessities. This would mean grocery shopping at Wal-Mart again.

After this visit to reality there was silence for few moments, then the comment was made, I won’t say by whom, “But this doesn’t mean we have to skip COSTCO today does it?” Heavens no, where would anyone get that notion? After all, we may be stretched to the limits, but who could deny oneself a trip to the “event center” of Goosebury.

I know that we are not alone in our feelings for the big “C”. We have been regular Saturday service attendees at COSTCO “worship services” in towns all over the U.S. and Mexico. Oh, yeah, during our trip to Cancun a few years ago we found that they also had a COSTCO. Amazing! But I digress.

Just sit at the food court of your local “C” and watch the people. You’ll see people from your place of work, church, Elks club and gym, You’ll meet people you haven’t seen for years, people that live in neighboring towns, or states. They all come to the COSTCO worship service, many on a Saturday, but apparently some do worship during the week.

When you visit COSTCO on your regular Saturday it seems almost sacrilegious to go again on another day, it’s like going to church in the middle of the week. My wife and I considered going to COSTCO anonymous (there must be just such and organization) after a strange Wednesday afternoon encounter. I had made a sly mid-week stop at the local “C” and had just finished up a vanilla yogurt and was slinking out the exit. What I didn’t know was that my wife and her friends were already in the store beginning to graze. We didn’t discover this until that evening when, through guilt, we both admitted to the breaking of our normal once a week tradition.

To those of you who have not been converted yet, you may not understand the use of the word “graze”. You see, one of the draws of COSTCO is their use of various “food carts” manned by nice men and women who bake, slice, grill, and serve various food products that are for sale in the store. It is a veritable “garden of eatin’!”

The idea, I’m sure, is to temp you into buying the demonstrated product. It sometimes works. But even if it doesn’t, it gets you in the door because you never know what you are going to be served. Salmon, cheesecake, pizza, yogurt, fruit drinks, cheese, fruit, meat balls…all are served in small portions that allow you to sample a dozen or more treats and still have room for a hot dog, pizza, or churro at the food court before you walk out the door.

Even if you go to COSTCO with no intention of buying something, by the time you have visited a bunch of these little carts of temptation, you fill guilty enough to buy something, anything!

And most people have their favorite things to purchase there, so the decision isn’t that difficult. I often feel that I really should not leave without a WHOLE ROASTED CHICKEN FOR $5! You can hardly buy an uncooked chicken for that much, let alone one that has been broiled and seasoned and cooked to the point that makes you want to stop the car on the way home and tear off a wing or two.

If you have read this far you may think that I am the COSTCO public relations director. Not true. I just admire business success. And though their food, whether from the carts, the food court, or from their shelves is one of their big draws, they do sell lots of other items from cookware to clothing to books, electronics, computers, and roasted chickens. There I go again.

Okay, as long as I’m on food again lets talk about the food court. $1.50 for a hotdog and a drink. $2 for a slice of pizza as big as your head. I mean really!  How about dipping a hot churro in a vanilla yogurt? And all this while watching people go by with their full shopping carts. It’s a people-watching paradise.

The Goosebury County Fair is being held today, but my wife and I chose COSTCO instead. We’re hooked and my hat is off to the folks at the big “C” for showing us what can happen in America when you give people what they want. I’m sure the fair was nice, but we have other reporters to cover that. As for me and my house, we’re eating chicken tonight, even if it somehow lost its wings on the way home today.

I welcome your COSTCO experiences, good or bad.  Let me know that I am not alone!