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)



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!


Bathroom stories by Maude

By Simply Maude

One of life’s most unusual quirks is what I have come to call “The Bathroom Phenomenon.” I gave it that name many years ago after experiencing it for the first time. It all started innocently enough.
My husband Marvin bought me a new medicine cabinet for our bathroom. It was a simple cabinet and since the bathroom in our new home didn’t have one, I was delighted. Then it all started. In order to install the cabinet, Marvin had to take down the mirror which hung over the vanity. Upon doing so he discovered that when the builder installed the mirror he used a drill with a ¼ inch bit to find the studs behind the wallboard. He wasn’t very good at it and we discovered that he drilled 18 holes before he stuck wood. That meant we had to fill the holes and then paint or wallpaper. We chose wallpaper. When we tried to fasten the new cabinet on the wall we discovered that the light fixture was too low and wouldn’t allow the cabinet to be placed high enough for us to see in the cabinet’s mirror. We moved the fixture hole higher and decided to purchase a new light, since we really didn’t like the current one anyway.
With the new cabinet, light, and wallpaper in place we discovered that the shower curtain didn’t match and our towels and rugs clashed with everything. One little pine medicine cabinet cost about $50. The resulting amenities totaled over $400. Sound familiar?
This has happened a number of times since then, to us and people we know. We have some friends who bought a van a few months ago. After buying it they discovered that it wouldn’t fit in their garage. Not wanting to keep it outside, they decided that a new roll-up garage door would allow the van to fit inside. It didn’t. They then tried to lower the garage floor! Concrete floors don’t lower easily so they rented a concrete grinder and ground the concrete down a couple of inches. This allowed the van to barely get inside for which they were happy until they found out that the van interfered with the main unit of their automatic garage door opener. This meant cutting through a beam, changing the position of the opener, and then reinforcing the beam with steel plates. All of this was not solving the problem satisfactorily so they hired a contractor to reshape the front of their garage, a process which later advisers cautioned may cause the collapse of their second story bedroom. In the middle of all this,
Marvin made a deal with our friends to acquire their old garage door (which was much better than ours) and put it up on our garage. The only trouble here was that the door was too big for our garage. So it took a Saturday afternoon to cut it down to fit and install it. Now that our new door is up, the color of the door and the color of our house clash and since we never liked the color of our house we are getting ready to paint it.
Somewhere in all of this there is a lesson, but Marvin and I have yet to learn it. Maybe if we paint with our eyes closed we won’t notice the holes in the roof.