In April, 2006, this column appeared for the first time in this newspaper. This means that I’ve written this column for seven years. That amounts to around 364 columns.
I’ve done my best to keep the column simple. I don’t write about politics or express my religious beliefs. I’ll leave that to those who spend eight hours a day on Facebook. Oh, now and then I do get on my little soapbox. My blood pressure goes up when I hear about the mistreatment of animals, when I see ignorant people littering, or when I notice that the price of gasoline just shot up twenty cents. I’m pretty sure I have a right to my opinion, but I’d rather not shove it down anyone’s throat. Enough said about that.
This column has changed a bit. I’m no longer a source of FREE publicity for someone’s event. I will gladly mention something now and then, especially if I’m planning to be there. I’m very fortunate to be able to get Out and About quite often, so that’s what I enjoy writing about in this column.
I love humor, and if I can make you laugh or smile, then I’ve done my job. The newspapers are filled with quite a bit of gloom and doom. This newspaper goes the extra mile to include “good news” as much as possible, so I’m honored to be able to contribute my share of smile-makers.
At the bottom of this column is some information about me. My mailing address is the same as it has always been, but right now, we have only one cat. I must try to remember to let the newspaper know this, but my memory fails me sometimes. Anyway, our cat’s name is Dixie, and we adopted her from Animal Control in Centreville. We’re sure she was abused, but after several years of living with us and receiving unconditional love, she’s finally coming around. Animal control is definitely the place to go when you are seeking an animal addition to your family.
The Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) deserves a standing ovation for all that they do with Animal Control. Speaking of which, ARF will host their Annual Dinner/Auction this Saturday, April 13, at Belle Epoque (formerly A Place in Time), in Three Rivers. Doors open at 5PM, with dinner beginning at 5:30. The auction of donated items will start at 6:30. Tickets are now available at Beam Sound and Video, on West Michigan Avenue, Three Rivers. Adult tickets are $10, and children 12 and under may purchase their tickets for $6. This is a fun event and it’s all for a great cause, because it helps provide food and care for the unwanted dogs and cats in St. Joseph County. My wife and I have helped out with this event in the past, and we’re looking forward to being there again this year. The Dinner/Auction has always been held in the Three Rivers High School cafeteria, so make note of the change in venue.
We’re coming up on that time of the year when the aroma of steaks on the grill fills the air. It’s one of my favorite smells, and it’s quite contagious. It doesn’t take long before the “guys” are putting on their chef’s apron and manning their own kitchen on the back deck. The burgers always seem to taste just a little better when cooked over charcoal. A helpful hint when buying beef: You can save plenty by buying beef wholesale in quantity, but be aware of what you’re getting. Advertised weights of beef carcasses or sides include bone and untrimmed fat. Look for the USDA “yield grade” stamped on the meat to learn what percentage is edible cuts.
This column would not be possible without the editing expertise of my wife. She makes this column readable. Kudos to the staff of the Commercial-News. I appreciate the space on page four that they have allowed me every Tuesday. Most of all, I want to thank you readers. Your contributions add to the content of the column, and your kind words are priceless.
Because the tax-man cometh next week, I’m reminded of this fact. “A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.”
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
My name is Oliver and I am a 10 month old male kitty. I am almost all white with a little bit of butterscotch added for color. What makes me fascinating is that I have two different colored eyes. Both are very pretty. I am good with children, litter trained and like to play. I am available to adopt right now so please come and see me. I can be found in Pen 3, Docket # 11256, 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. Their phone number is 269-467-6475. Up-Cycled Pets needs reliable foster homes so some pets can leave the shelter and learn more about living in a safe home before adoption. Go to www.upcycledpets.com for more information about how to help this group. Please visit the Animal Rescue Fund website at www.arfund.org to see more adoptable pets. My friend Twilight, who has been at AC for a long time is still waiting for a loving home. He is very affectionate, please come and see him.
The Squeeze In, Falvey’s, Vaughn’s, Lee’s, Frosty Bowling Lanes, Wittenberg’s News Agency, The Rose Room, and Templin Feeds. These are all names of businesses from the past. These are places that were alive and doing a fantastic business back in the day. US-131 went right through downtown Three Rivers, because there wasn’t the by-pass west of town. If you wanted to go to Kalamazoo, Wilbur Road was the main highway. The Redwood Motel stood where KFC is now located. It’s difficult to recall where a lot of these places were located, because of all the change. It’s difficult to picture West Michigan Avenue as a two-lane street.
There are a couple of businesses in town that display large photographs taken 50 or 100 years ago. These photos fascinate me, because I remember what it was like when some of those pictures were taken. I remember parking downtown when there wasn’t any parallel parking, and there were parking meters. I remember going to watch a movie at the Rialto Theater. Sherwin Williams is there now, and you’d think they’d at least show movies in color.
I still enjoy visiting the Dairy Bar. They went through a renovation about a year ago, so it isn’t the same as it used to be, but you can still sit down at the counter and order a soda. I used to go there with my parents for a Friday night dinner. Chocolate milk tasted great, and it was a real treat. They still make a great hamburger.
At one time, we had around twenty-one service stations. I refer to them as “Service Stations”, because that is what you received. They filled your vehicle with gasoline, checked your oil, checked the air in your tires, and cleaned your windshield. All of this for around 26 cents a gallon. If you were thirsty, you could reach into the cooler for an ice-cold pop. That usually cost a dime, or if you decided to take the pop with you, you left a two-cent deposit.
When the weather is right, I enjoy riding around town reliving those memories. In the third district, one of my favorite sites is where Bonfoey’s Dairy was once located. A couple of the old sheds are still there, where they used to park the milk trucks. I’ve tried to stop there, close my eyes, and see if I can still capture the aroma of fresh milk being placed in the old glass milk bottles. I’m afraid I’ve never been able to catch that aroma, but I can easily recall the sight of the milk trucks leaving the dairy to venture out on their routes. If you were nice to the milkman, he’d toss you a chunk of ice. It sure tasted great on a warm August morning.
I mention this now because I was fortunate to have had a happy childhood being raised here in Three Rivers. I wish now that I had appreciated the way things were back then. All I can do is appreciate every day as it comes around. I think I’ll go over to Binando’s in Second Ward and buy a pack of baseball cards. I’ll only chew half of the bubble gum and save the rest for later. I’m sure I have a nickel that I can spare.
Did you know that drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by sixty-one percent?
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
A 96-year-old woman, who has played a key role in two longstanding local traditions, has been selected as Three Rivers Citizen of the Year for 2013.
Carol Boulette was named the recipient, bestowed annually since 1965 by members of the Three Rivers Lions Club.
Boulette played a hand in the formation of the Three Rivers Water Festival as well as the Three Rivers Area Fall Color Tour. She also is known for her 30-year career with the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce, the balance of which she was director.
In addition, she has a long history of involvement with the American Red Cross and the Three Rivers Emergency Care Network Food Bank.
A public ceremony to honor Boulette will take place at 6 p.m. May 14 at Belle Époque. Tickets are $20 each and will go on sale in a few weeks at Southern Michigan Bank and Trust.
Tickets will not be available at the door the day of the gathering.
My name is Holly and I am a female black and brown Catahoula/Mountain Cur mix. I have already been spade and am about 3 years old. I know how to sit on command and love to play with toys. I am friendly and sweet, but because I am kind of big and really like to play, I would probably be best in a home without small children. I am available to adopt right now so please come and see me. I can be found in Pen 2, Docket # 11304, 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. Their phone number is 269-467-6475. Up-Cycled Pets needs reliable foster homes so some pets can leave the shelter and learn more about living in a safe home before adoption. Go to www.upcycledpets.com for more information about how to help this group. Please visit the Animal Rescue Fund website at www.arfund.org to see more adoptable pets.
The one thing I enjoy about the winter months is that there aren’t very many mosquitos around. The same can be said for flies. There is nothing more annoying than to be eating a sandwich, and at the same time, swatting the flies away from your food. I’ve often commented about the need for those flying pests. The only thing I can think of is that they are food for frogs. You might also question the need for frogs. It’s simple. We need the frogs to keep the fly and mosquito population under control. I’m sure this all has something to do with the food chain. I tried frog legs once. Tasted a lot like chicken. If it tastes like chicken, why not just eat chicken?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of frogs, but April has been declared “Save the Frogs! Month” by Mayor Tom Lowry. I like the mayor, so at least, for the month of April, I’ll like frogs, as long as I don’t have to pick one up and kiss it. I saw a movie starring Ray Milland in which he was attacked by frogs, and I’ve tried to avoid them ever since.
When I first heard about April being dedicated to frogs, I didn’t give it much thought. Then I found out that “Save The Frogs! Day” is part of an organized celebration that is expected to be observed in 300 communities in 40 countries this year. This is definitely something worth getting Out and About for here in Three Rivers. This special day will be celebrated at the Farmer’s Market pavilions in Scidmore Park, from 11AM to 2PM, on Saturday, April 27. I’m planning to be there, because there will be games, activities and information about frogs, drawings for the merchant’s prizes, and my favorite, FREE hot dogs from The Weenie King, for the first 200 customers.
One final thought about frogs and our local merchants. Twenty merchants in Three Rivers will participate in a “Find The Frog” promotion in their places of business during the month of April. Customers in each of the twenty stores can register for a gift from the merchants by finding a small cardboard frog hidden somewhere in each store.
With the arrival of spring comes the promise that there will be plenty of things to do here in Three Rivers. “Save the Frogs!” is just the first event to get involved with. There are plenty of activities all year long here in Three Rivers. All we need to do is seek them out and join in on the fun. We have Scidmore Park and the Petting Zoo, plus other parks and playgrounds that are here for you to enjoy.
Here’s my fashion statement for the year. The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. In the Renaissance era, it was fashionable to shave them off.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman