Opinions

Sat
23
Dec

Big or small, Christmas tree a sign of the season

To put up the big tree, or opt for a smaller one? That was the question I pondered a few weeks back. To tell the truth, my tree has gotten smaller over the years, and I no longer put up a real one. Plus my artificial tree is already pre-lit, so no need to fuss; however, it seems like a big job to bring the thing upstairs, plus all the boxes of decorations, only to take it down again in a couple weeks.

I mentioned my quandary, and a granddaughter overheard me. So she will come and drag the stuff upstairs. My question has been answered, for this year at least.

I never thought I would live long enough to ask that question. I always loved the Christmas trees I have had over the years. As a child, it was something my parents put up, and I helped decorate. The lights were bigger then, and more of the decorations were homemade. Cut-out cookies, nut shells and candy canes, to name a few.

Sat
23
Dec

Magnificent things in life

A number of years ago we took an RV trip to Branson, Missouri with members of my extended family. While it wasn’t all roses it got us away from the cows. It was a most memorable experience and for sure, something I’d like to try again one day.

While it was fun, there were definitely points of major discomfort, such as driving through St. Louis. In the rain. In the dead of night. During the World Series! We took turns driving and never before in my life had I manned a recreational vehicle. When it was my turn, I made sure my guide sat right beside me because, truth be told, I’d get lost finding my way out of a paper bag.

Sat
16
Dec

Have fun decorating the tree, but don’t forget the pickle

Christmas trees have a long history. It is said the evergreen fir tree had been used by pagans and Christians for thousands of years. Pagans first used the branches to decorate their homes during winter solstice to keep evil away and as a reminder spring would still come. The Romans used fir trees to decorate their temples. Christians believe they symbolize everlasting life with God.

A picture from Germany in 1521 shows a tree being pulled through the streets by a man dressed as a bishop. He was riding behind on a horse, possibly representing St. Nicholas. There is also a picture dated 1570. It is of a small tree in Bremen Germany. It is decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers.

Sat
16
Dec

Remember Mother and that final Christmas meal

Living in the past is not something that I choose to do all the time, but I will admit that I relish reminiscing now and then. As I was digging through some of my older writings, I came across something I wrote about my mother, and our last Christmas together.

It was Dec. 24, 1986, and I was hustling and bustling to get last minute things done. Since Ma had fallen around Thanksgiving and broken her hip, she was not coming to my house to spend the day here as in years past. So I went to visit her at the rest home she had lived in for the past seven years, due to a stroke.

Now, instead of using her walker as before, she was confined to a wheelchair. It was hard for me to see this independent woman confined in this way, and I am sure she felt much the same.

“I don’t feel like myself,” she confided. “I don’t think I will ever walk again. The therapy isn’t working, my arms get too sore.”

Sat
16
Dec

Rethink office layouts to improve workers’ health

Americans are gung-ho on getting in shape. Seventy percent say they want to take steps to improve their health, according to a new study from UnitedHealthcare.

Those steps usually stop at the gym door. More than six in 10 workers don’t take advantage of subsidized gym memberships and other wellness benefits, even though nearly three-quarters of employers offer them. This lack of physical activity takes a toll on worker well-being — and drives up health costs.

Employers may think they can’t force their workers to exercise. Indeed they can — by subtly integrating more physical activity into the nine-to-five routines. Office spaces that “nudge” employees to move around are proving that they can provide a hefty boost to workers’ health and productivity.

Most Americans are sedentary. The typical person sits 13 hours a day. Only one in five exercises enough, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thu
14
Dec

The vastness of violet

Provocative and thoughtful. Imaginative and inventive. Those are some of the words color experts at Pantone use to describe their selection for home and garden Color of the Year, ultra violet.

“Complex and contemplative, ultra violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own,” the group said.

For gardeners, the implications are as infinite as they come — with many of our favorite blooms available in rich, colorful shades of purple that brighten our landscapes and memories for years to come. Annuals, perennials, even fruits, berries and vegetables celebrate 2018’s color of the year winner.

Thu
14
Dec

Family keeping the Christmas spirit


Photo by Carol Wagner Alvin and Marilynn Suehring hold gifts that their family brought to their annual Christmas party this year. All the gifts will be donated to Toys for Tots.

The family of Alvin and Marilynn Suehring has a long association with the United States Marine Corps. Alvin Suehring enlisted when he was 20 years old; their only son also served, and now a grandson has enlisted as well.

So it made sense for their family – which includes seven children, 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren – to collect Toys for Tots at their annual Christmas celebration. The idea was suggested by one of the Suehrings’ daughters, Debbie Sanders, and everyone agreed.

“We’ve always donated to Toys for Tots,” Marilynn Suehring added.

The family’s Christmas gathering has traditionally been held the second Saturday of December at the Pella Town Hall. This year, 59 people attended.

The Toys for Tots program was founded by a U.S. Marine Core major in the late 1940s – just a few years before Alvin Suehring enlisted.

Sat
09
Dec

There wasn’t always money for presents

During this time of year, I find myself reminiscing about past Christmases. I enjoy the memories, even the painful ones.

I love Christmas trees, and I can still picture several of them from my childhood. Dad was responsible for getting the tree. To him, a tree was just a tree; he didn’t pay attention to the size or shape. I remember one year he went down to our swamp. He brought back an awful tree; actually, it resembled a Charlie Brown tree. My mother was not at all satisfied with it, and after that they went to a tree lot and bought one.

Mother took such pride in our tree. She spent hours and hours decorating it. The tinsel (we called them icicles) had to hang down perfectly straight. We didn’t have cookie cutters, but Dad made some wonderful cutouts. He asked what animals we wanted and he cut out wonderful cows, deer, horses, camels, elephants, etc. Mother tied the cookies onto the tree with brightly colored ribbon.

Sat
09
Dec

Mr. Moneybags doesn’t need a tax break

To the editor:

I probably shouldn’t be surprised that they are at it again. I’m not talking about the small business class. I’m talking about the business class that is already flushed with money and can expect a lot more with the largest big-business friendly tax overhaul ever.

The story goes this way: Mr. Moneybags pays less in taxes, so he can start a new factory where Joe Sixpack can apply for a job, but we are at a time of the lowest unemployment in the past 20 years. Will they be high-wage jobs?

It’s called trickle-down economics, and it has never worked in the past 100 years. Why doesn’t it work? Because it makes no sense.

Mr. Moneybags doesn’t need his tax return to buy Nike shoes, dinner at Olive Garden or Ford cars. Give the average person of modest means $100, and they will return the favor, and it will be in their very own community. Everybody wins, even Mr. Moneybags because he owns the factories or owns shares in the public companies.

Sat
09
Dec

Thanksgiving dinner was a success

To the editor:

Hi, folks. For the last 15 years, there are very clear choices that we Knights and Lady Knights make when we decide to put community and families first.

We would like to thank all those businesses and people for your generous donations toward the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Council 12185 Elmo Novelli and Alvin J. Rathsack Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner, Knights and Lady Knights and all those community members who have donated their time with preparations of food, delivering dinners, cooking, serving and cleaning to make this special occasion a reality.

Our 15th Thanksgiving dinner served 311 sit-down meals, and we delivered 396 meals to Shawano, Keshena, West Branch, Neopit, Zoar, South Branch and Cecil.

Paul A. Marroquin,

Grand Knight,

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Council Knights of Columbus

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