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Out and About – Week of June 16th

June 17, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday that I had been dreading for about twenty years. I’ve never had a problem with birthdays, but this one really bothered me. To let the cat out of the bag, I finally reached my seventieth birthday. To some of you, I’m just a young kid, because you might be a few years older. It’s much the same feeling I get when I hear someone complain about being forty-five and really getting old. Age is just a number, and I don’t feel my age; I thank those of you who tell me that I don’t look that old.

I’m pretty sure that the reason that I dreaded this birthday is that my father never reached my current age, so I feel that I’m living on borrowed time. My mother lived well into her eighties, so there might be a good chance that I have many good years ahead of me. I hope I do, because there are still a few things I have left to do. I apologize to those older than I. I don’t mean to sound like an old man.

This last year has been a little rough on me physically. I’m dealing with a bad knee and the thought that I might never walk again without the use of a cane does bother me. It’s difficult for me to imagine walking at a faster gait without falling. I’m praying and hoping that my scheduled surgery will correct this.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was waiting for my wife to finish shopping. I was sitting comfortably on a bench doing one of my favorite things: people watching. I must admit that I was feeling a bit depressed, which might have been the result of some new pain medication I’ve been taking. Anyway, as I was sitting there having my own little “pity party”, a younger gentleman passed by me in a wheelchair. He had a happy smile on his face, but he didn’t have any legs. I felt very ashamed of myself for feeling sorry for my condition. I have an 80% chance of a very good recovery. The man in the wheelchair will never have his legs back. I have absolutely no right to feel sorry for myself. Another life-lesson learned.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about meeting a new neighbor named Gloria. After I had sent this column to the paper, I thought of something that I should have added to that column. We are very fortunate to live in one of the many good neighborhoods in Three Rivers. We can, if we wish, take an evening stroll around the block and feel very safe in doing so. We know most of our neighbors and get along with them. We always wave or honk at them as we pass by, and they wave back with a smile. I don’t know how many of them read this column, but if they do, I’d like to thank them for being good neighbors and say that we appreciate their friendliness. Our neighborhood is a good one in which to get Out and About.

I’d like to apologize for something else, while I’m on the topic of apologizing. As often as I can, I really enjoy getting Out and About in my John Deere Gator. I’ve previously stated that the vehicle is completely “Street-Legal”. It is fun to drive, and I love to tick off the oil barons, because it is very fuel-economical. Anyway, as I’m driving around Three Rivers, I might not always see or hear someone wave or yell “Hi” to me. Believe me when I say that I’m not ignoring you, but I sometimes can’t hear you, or I’m concentrating so much on my driving that I don’t see you in time to acknowledge your greeting. The Gator doesn’t have power steering and the suspension is a bit tight, so driving it does require some much needed attention. If I see you first, I’ll usually honk or wave. If you don’t wave back, I’ll figure you’re just ignoring me.

Jeff Foxworthy is one of my favorite comedians. I’d like to share a couple of his comments that deal with living in Michigan:

If you have worn shorts and a coat at the same time, you might live in Michigan.

If you go out to a fish fry every Friday, you might live in Michigan.

If your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new pole barn, you might live in Michigan.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Three Rivers Water Festival a success

June 16, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Organizers of the 58th Three Rivers Water Festival are calling the 2014 edition a success.

The three-day community celebration concluded Saturday with an enhanced fireworks show, thanks to an extra financial contribution from Omni Community Credit Union.

Thursday’s parade was capped at the maximum 80 participants, and live music Friday and Saturday nights was enjoyed by hundreds of people.

The Water Festival marks the start of festival season in St. Joseph County; Centreville’s Covered Bridge Days is on deck, as the two-day event begins Friday.

Bobbie Jo

June 12, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Bobbie JoHi there. They call me Bobbie Jo and I am a female black lab mix, about 1 year old. I am very friendly and love attention and to play fetch. I walk nicely on a leash and know how to sit. When I was found my tail was injured and they had to amputate part of it. I am doing fine but need a family who will give me some TLC until it heals completely. I really like to be with people and hope you will come out and take a look at me. Please come and make me part of your family. My docket number is 12080, at the St. Joseph County Animal Control Shelter located at 652 E. Main St., Centreville, MI. Animal Control is open Monday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The first Saturday of each month AC is open for adoptions from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Their phone number is 269-467-6475. Please visit the Animal Rescue Fund website at www.arfund.org to see more adoptable pets. NOTE: ARF will pay for the spay/neuter of ANY adopted pet from animal control. This is done at the Humane Society in Kalamazoo. If the owner wants to go to a local vet, the same amount will be given to that vet. This is for a limited number of adoptions, so come in and take advantage of this helping hand from ARF. Up-Cycled Pets needs reliable foster homes so some pets can learn more about living in a safe home before adoption. Go to www.upcycledpets.com for more information about how to help this group. Also, a rabies shot is available free of charge through the Kalamazoo Humane Society by contacting Animal Rescue Fund (269-718-3775). There are 10 shots available on a first come, first served basis. No substitutions are available. The Kalamazoo Humane Society is the only location for the offer.

Out and About – Week of June 9th

June 10, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

In case you haven’t heard, Water Festival is happening this week. Thursday through Saturday, June 12 through 14. All the details have been published in this newspaper, so I won’t take the time to bore you with all the details. From the parade Thursday evening to the final firework lighting up the sky Saturday night, Three Rivers will be alive with fun for the entire family.

When I’m not getting Out and About, I enjoy spending time in my own neighborhood. We live right here in town and have some of the best neighbors. If we’re gone for a day or so, they watch the house. If I need some helpful advice, there’s always someone ready to come to my aid. We’re very fortunate. We are not a group of coffee-klatschers, but if I’m out in the yard watering the plants, it sometimes takes me a little longer to accomplish the task, because someone might stop by, and that’s when a pleasant conversation occurs.

I met a new neighbor about a week ago. Gloria was out working on starting a flower/vegetable area. I stopped for a moment to introduce myself. I mentioned that she was making me tired just watching her work. I’ve had my share of gardens in my life, so I’m aware that if you want fresh vegetables or beautiful flowers in your yard, there’s a certain amount of sweat equity that must be invested. From my observation, Gloria will indeed have a bountiful crop, and her yard might even make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Our yard, on the other hand, might be lucky to grace the back page of Field and Stream. Anyway, Gloria comes from Amish ancestry, so I’m sure she won’t have a problem with her project. I’m sure she’ll be successful, because she loves working in the yard. I’ll keep my lawn mowed and be happy with that. Becoming acquainted with your neighbors is a good thing. We all have some knowledge worth sharing, and who better to share it with than a neighbor?

As most of you know, I’ve been having a few health issues. I’ve shared my knee problem with you on more than one occasion. The good news is that the pain I’m experiencing will soon end. I’m scheduled for surgery in July. It will be out-patient, so I won’t need to stay overnight at the hospital. I’ve been working with the staff at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. I have never been shown such caring attention as what I have received in the past couple of months. I have never had to wait to be seen and the staff has been very accommodating. I’ve been poked with needles and shocked by electrodes. All this has been done by a nurse or doctor with a smile and kind words.

I have no fear of the upcoming back surgery. I know that I will be taken care of by a staff of dedicated professionals, whose only concern is me. If I do have a concern, it would be that I might hear someone say, “Oooops!” But I’ll be unconscious and won’t care anyway.

I can’t remember where I was, but out of the corner of my eye, I actually saw some clothes hanging out to dry on a clothesline several days ago. This is a common sight if you’re Out and About near Centreville, or anywhere in northern Indiana where the Amish population is dominant. Usually, Monday is laundry day for the Amish. Seeing the wet clothes hanging out, brought back some great childhood memories. My mom would do laundry on Saturday, and she’d hang everything out to dry. One of the highlights for me was that, after my Saturday night bath, my mom would start making my bed with the freshly washed sheets. After the bottom sheet was in place, I’d climb into bed and she’d finish making the bed around me. There’s nothing quite like the smell of sheets that have been dried outside by Mother Nature.

Some advice that we all might take to heart:

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES; it takes away tomorrow’s PEACE.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Feel good stories.

June 8, 2014 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

All too often the thrill of victory takes precedence over all else. Everyone wants to be known as the winner. Isn’t that why we participate in sports: to destroy the competition and win? Playing for the love of the game doesn’t matter as much as winning. If you don’t win, what is the point of even playing?

Winning is everything!

I know, I know! Winning is important. I get that. But there are times when winning just isn’t as important and should take a back seat to something more important.

Respect.

Humanity.

This past week, two stories caught my eye and restored my faith in an attitude that not only debunks the “winning is everything” motto but also shows that today’s young athletes understand the difference between winning and showing class and professionalism in the face of hardship and tragedy.

The Grandville High School hockey team faced a huge challenge on the ice this past week, but it was not their opponent that had them concerned. Rather, it was the unexpected and shocking death of their captain, 17-year old Ryan Fisher. Fisher, who was recently accepted into West Point, passed away in his sleep from an enlarged heart.

Fisher died last Friday morning, and the team was to play in the state semi-final game against Detroit Catholic Central that night. The team, after talking with Fisher’s parents and at their urging, decided to play that night.

Before the game, Fisher’s father talked to the team in the locker room.

“He just said you came in as a team, you started the season as a team, so many of you grew up together. The best thing to do is move forward and honor him,” said Grandville coach Joel Braezeale.

But it was what the “other” team did that warmed my heart. The Catholic Central fans made posters in support of the Grandville players and, instead of wearing their own school colors, many opted to wear the colors of Grandville.

After the final buzzer sounded and the Grandville Bulldogs were defeated by a score of 3-0, the team gathered together to hug and then knelt in prayer. Seconds later, the entire Catholic Central team surrounded the Bulldogs and prayed with them in a breathtaking show of support.

Pure class.

It should be noted that the students at Catholic Central had gone through a similar situation as a standout football player passed in his sleep last year.

The other story involved two North Dakota wrestlers, Malik Stewart and Mitchell McKee. The two were wrestling against each other in the state title match. McKee won the match and the title, but it was Stewart who gave the crowd a lesson in humanity.

Stewart lost the state championship to McKee, but rather than walk away with a chip on his shoulder and void in his heart, he amazed the crowd with his actions. Stewart walked over the Steve McKee, the father of Mitchell, and embraced him. The elder McKee is battling terminal cancer.

“He won,” said Stewart. “He was pretty proud, and his dad was pretty proud. So I went over there and I shook his hand, embraced him a little bit, and told him to stay strong and everybody loves him.”

Stewart, who lost his own father at the age of seven to a heart attack, shook hands with all of McKee’s coaches as well.

“It was a big match for him, and to be able to hug my dad like that and not be mad and storm off like a lot of kids do,” said McKee. “Really respectful.” Stewart put the feelings of his opponent, the one who just beat him, over his own.

Stewart said that his actions came straight from the heart and that he felt that it was the right thing to do.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The right thing to do? Imagine if the “right thing to do” was always the easiest thing to do. It is easy to get caught up in ourselves and our feelings. It is too easy to WIN and forget that the losers have feelings or to lose and become angry.

While it is sad that these stories came about from illness and tragedy, the life lessons we can take from them ….priceless.

The times are changing.

June 8, 2014 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

Once upon a time families used to sit down and eat dinner together. Not just sit down, but sit at the table. Talk about their day and enjoy the companionship that is family.

People went to each other’s house to visit, or write letters by hand, and send greeting cards via the United States Postal Service.

And yes, children used to play outside for hours on end, neglecting that thing called the television

Heck, some of us used to leave our doors unlocked and windows open, and not just when were home, but when we ran to the store or to run other errands and even as we slept.

People used to write checks or even paid in cash!

Telephones were objects that were used solely for talking, and that was it. And remember when your phone would just ring? Like with an actual “Brrrrrrriiiinnnnggg”?

Boy, have the times changed.

Families are too busy to sit down and eat together as a family anymore. For some, it is a success when they can come together at least ONCE a week or for others, if they can eat somewhere other than in front of the TV. Lives are busy, children are in sports, band or other activities and parents are working day and night to help provide for the family. These are the times we are living in!

It is nearly impossible to leave doors or windows open anymore, unless you are home, but even then, that can pose a risk at times. Emailing or texting has taken the place of sending a personal, handwritten note or greeting card, which is kind of sad. But at the same time, it is easier and quicker and we just do not have the time anymore to do the things we used too.

Technology, for all of its benefits, has many drawbacks as well. Children would rather have their face in an i-pad or playing video games than go outside in the fresh air and create new and exciting adventures using their imaginations.

Why talk to someone face to face or even voice to voice when you can send a short, abbreviated message to them over your phone?

Some stores have stopped accepting checks as payment and require cash or credit card only. We are still check people as my wife is VERY leery of paying online. After the recent information stealing that occurred this past holiday season, I see her point.

I am sure people WAY back when had these same conversations when the automobile, television and microwave over were invented.

Our way of life changes on a daily basis as we try to stay safe and keep our lives in order. That will be a constant.

And while I am a big supporter of technology (I use computers; I have a cell phone, an ATM card, etc.), for me, my life does not revolve around it.

I totally understand the convenience and thrill of using technology, but it is pretty easy to see, in my opinion anyway, that not all of the innovations regarding technology are necessarily advancements. Yes, everything that comes out is advancement. But I am referring to society and how we act and talk to each other and what we expect from others.

Technology is a great tool and resource, but for me, I guess I am slow to accept it as a new way of life and communication. That may take me some time. A long time at that.

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