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Opinions

Food for Thought

Wet soap

How many jokes or anecdotes have you heard about the difficulty of holding onto a wet bar of soap? I always supposed that was one of the reasons for the invention of soap-on-a-rope. All the new shower gels and body washes have nearly made that, and the soap dish itself, obsolete, but I think they have quite a long way to go before reaching perfection.

Walkin'

Aunt Izzy’s table

What I remember most about Aunt Izzy, my mother’s twin sister, is eating dinner at her table.
Our family, the city slickers from Chicago, would visit her family, the farm folk, at least twice a year. Izzy had seven children with husband Ray, and Mom and Dad added five to make an even dozen. Not that there’d be 12 kids at a meal. By the time the younger ones arrived, the older ones had moved out, but there might be eight or more sitting knee to knee, stomachs growling. Somehow she managed to fit us all in and make everyone feel welcome to eat to their heart’s content.

Food For Thought

Writing seasonal columns

Coming up with a column for a particular season or a specific holiday seems like a no-brainer to most people. “How simple,” they say, “you don’t have to thrash around looking for a topic to write about.” After close to 30 years of coming up with columns about New Year’s Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day, May Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and a few assorted other days, I can’t help repeating myself.

Walkin'

What about my gun rights?

I’ve been offered the sale of a handgun three times.
The first was in the early 1980s when I lived in North Twin View Heights, a housing development outside of Solon.
I was having breakfast at the nearby Vern’s Lakeside Cafe, a small restaurant run out of a converted mobile home. The sign out front boasted hot food and fresh bait. Inside, the décor gave new meaning to the expression “greasy spoon.” Vern lived in the trailer with his wife and half-dozen children who often ran about half-dressed or in diapers needing changing.

Food For Thought

Language changes

I marvel, almost daily, at the complexity and simplicity of our language. It seems to be a sort of magic that all the books, newspapers, movie scripts, poems, love letters and grocery lists are simply various combinations of those twenty-six little symbols that make up our alphabet. Even with the abuses and misuses, they seem to manage to communicate our thoughts amazingly well.

Food for Thought

The orphan trains

My friend and fellow writer Ethel Barker started out to write a novel, for young adult readers, about a piece of Iowa history that had fascinated her for years. Titled “For the Love of Pete,” the story is about three young children who were transported from New York City to the Midwest in an effort to give them a better chance in life. Commonly known as “orphan trains,” though a good many of the children were not technically orphans, the trains transported over 200,000 children from the slums of New York to 45 states, where they were fostered or adopted by families.