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Happy New Year! So far, ….

Happy New Year! So far, so good as the date on the front page says this is the first issue in January, 2020. Which also means 52 issues still to come. That’s right, you are the lucky one and get an extra issue this year.

Beyond that I get a bit confused. What day is it? Yesterday seemed like Saturday, but we just had Sunday. Tomorrow, being Christmas, will make it seem like Sunday again, then looming ahead is something called “early copy deadline”. Should I wait a few days and take a chance, or should I get with it and not have to rush? Life gets so confusing.


If life gets so confusing trying to figure out what day it is, try figuring out what is going on in Washington, D. C. The House of Representatives has voted to impeach the president. The Senate says until you deliver the papers, never mind what the news media says, there is no impeachment. It has sure been a confusing three years as it is next to impossible to figure out which frying pan the president is in and where he’ll jump next.

Going back a few years to 2016, when the real campaigning got going full tilt, to be honest, I’d never really ever heard of Donald J. I didn’t watch his television show, but did hear reference to his liking to say, “You’re fired”. Which didn’t make much sense if I never watched the program.

I do recall, as all the candidates gathered around, there was the usual name calling and the “I’m better than you” mentality that always seems to prevail.

Then some strange things began to happen. Mr. Trump mocked a handicapped reporter. All the man was trying to do was his job, but Donald seemed to enjoy mocking him.

As a parent of a handicapped child, that act kind of stood out. Our little angel will be 55 next February, on her birthday on Valentine’s Day. Over the years she has filled our lives with joy and sadness.

An example of the sadness side came a couple of months ago. When I got up to see her on one of my almost weekly visits she was ready for me. Trinity Lutheran Church had sent out their November newsletter, Trinity Tidings. Along with it was a time and talent sheet calling for members to volunteer for various things going on in the church. Shelly had hers all filled out when I came. I don’t remember all the things she had checked, but I remember that she wanted to sing in the choir and help with the quilting.

How many times have we talked about what a busy and caring person she would be if she wasn’t handicapped. It is those kind of days when it really hurts. Why would anyone, especially someone who wants to be president, make fun of her?


A few months later he had to pick on a Gold Star family, claiming they hadn’t sacrificed any more than he had. Remember, he enjoyed the luxury of five deferments while men his age were serving in Vietnam, some giving their lives for it.

I was only thirteen in 1943, when my brother Ernest was killed at Christmastime. Let me tell you the toll his death had on my parents, especially my Mother, for years to come. I can tell you a little about sacrifice that Mr. Trump never heard of.

The story continued even after his election. He made all the right decisions. No one before him ever had. If anyone questioned him, he had a name for them and so it went.

Then some members of the House of Representative decided he had violated his duties as president and should be impeached. The vote was divided and the majority won.

But something was missing. It was not democracy at work, but something called totalitarianism. Some news commentators are calling it the Trump Cult, where our representatives are failing to represent the public, but rather their political leader.


Then, this past week, a new twist developed when a magazine called “Christianity Today”, in an editorial, called for the president to be removed because of his un-Christian-like beliefs. You can imagine the uproar as the president had the support of something called the “White Evangelists”.

That’s where my confusion began again. Looking up the words in the dictionary broke some light to the question. An evangelist, as my dictionary described, is someone who is a preacher holding large public meetings.

Under Christian I found what I would consider the correct answer. It describes the person who believes in love, kindness, humility, etc. I don’t recall that it ever mentioned mockery, lying, cheating and stealing.


I did spend one evening driving around looking at Christmas lights. After some 50 miles of traffic, I still consider the tree by the Purple Park as the most unique and I admired the Rustic Occasions for the beautiful barn.

If I were to judge, I would pick a home on Pelsdorf Avenue, just north of Highway 98. It is impressive to say the least and I would say someone with very long arms would have had to build that display.


While on the subject of Christmas, I might just as well give a plug to the Loyal Lions Club. They have been giving fruit baskets for more than 50 years, I believe. The club had just organized in the fall of 1968, and at Christmastime we gathered in the Bill Rellis IGA store to fill boxes of fruit for those living alone in the city. I think I took a picture of Elmer Sterr from the Loyal Canning Company who had helped with the first batch.

There is an old story that if you get a bag of lemons you should make lemonade. With all the local grocery stores now closed, the Lions joined up with the Loyal FFA, who had the fruit to make baskets to hand out. Best of all, they brought me one.


Sure glad I got a head start. It is the day after Christmas and I’m tired. Well, some tired but I can share with you my good fortune and tell about all the good leftovers yet to eat.

The presents were well beyond my dreams. When Shelly asked what I wanted, I told her just a nice day.

Well, I had that, but including Christmas and a couple of other gatherings, I collected some real grand gifts. A couple of shirts with sharks on them, which I assume I’m to wear in Florida. Then some, thinking how I like history, gave me pictures. I got a bunch of pictures of President U.S. Grant, enough for each pocket, plus a real winner, Benjamin Franklin.

It was a grand day, a bit foggy to begin, but that cleared up at Blair. And then something I don’t ever remember happening. A cloud opened up, enough to see blue sky through the hole and the sunshine behind.

I was on my way to Holmen to spend the day with Sue and her husband Mark. I had to take the time to drive through town. It started out as a little village of 500 or so in 1946, but now has grown to over 10,000.

Just out of Holmen a few miles is the tiny hamlet of New Amsterdam, which is really in the town of Holland. According to their history file on the Internet it all began when a group of 86 people from Holland settled along the banks of the Black River in 1850. It grew into quite a little hamlet, but with the village of Holmen beginning it has kind of disappeared. All except the Presbysterian Church built in 1873. It still stands as does a number of homes that kind of fit the right kind of description and some buildings or homes that had once been businesses.

Just north of there is an area known as the Seven Bridges where a highway was once started to replace a ferry in 1891. In 1940, the construction stopped and the area is now an historic site and part of an 8,000-acre wildlife area, adjacent to the Black and Mississippi Rivers.


Just how the village of Holmen got started is a mystery to me, as it seems to have a Norwegian theme. Their school is the home of the Vikings and I even found a street named Viking Avenue. As I told Florence’s nephew this morning, I drove on it for awhile but it didn’t seem to be going anywhere, so I turned off.

As I tell the family, if I ever move it is either going to be Spencer or Holmen. Both towns have a Roberts Street so why not move where it seems I have my own street.

The day with Sue and Mark was really a treat, especially with the leftovers I was able to bring along home. They were so good I’m even looking forward to gong back next week when my grandson John and his friend Breanna plan to be there.

One would think spring is here as there is very little snow left and their backyard was full of robins hopping about. Mark said they just haven’t left as there seems to be enough food to keep them healthy.