My office is small. If it were larger, I’d just fill it up with stuff. The late George Carlin once did a bit called, “Stuff”. I can truly relate to this, as can my wife. I think that all of us save, or collect, items that we probably will never use again. At one time, I had a nice set of metric wrenches. I’m not a mechanic, or even closely mechanically inclined, but I had these metric tools, because every guy should have them. I finally gave them away to another “guy”.
I have a set of two-way radios, the kind you might use at an amusement park, when you want to locate other members of your family. I haven’t used them for about twenty years, but I don’t want to get rid of them, because the moment I do, I’ll all of a sudden need them for something.
I have one of those camcorders that uses a full-size cassette. When I first purchased it, I found plenty of uses for it, and it was a lot of fun taping events and then reliving them later. I can’t get it to work, and I wouldn’t know where to take it to get it fixed. They’d probably laugh at me for even taking it in. I was advised to hold onto it, because someday, a museum might be interested in it.
It has been said that we should all move every ten years, because that would provide an opportunity to get rid of many things that we don’t use anymore. It has also been said that, if you haven’t used something for ten years, you really don’t need it anymore. I don’t hang out, or play with my 67-year-old teddy bear anymore, but I have no plans of getting rid of Boo. He’s quite comfortable in our display case, even though he has only one eye.
It was heartwarming to see such a great turnout for Bruce Snook’s memorial service this past Thursday. A special thanks to Pastor Paul Booko and everyone at Riverside Church for making their facility available. Kudos also to the many Lions in attendance, especially the Honor Guard. As Lion President Barb Stutesman said, “Bruce was a Lion before he ever joined a Lions club.” Bruce would have been proud and humbled by the many kind words spoken on his behalf.
It won’t be long before volunteers will be out collecting the litter along our major highways. Thank you for giving of your time, so that our highways remain litter-free. If you happen to see these folks along the shoulders, please slow down and give them a thumbs up for putting forth the effort. If you see someone throwing their garbage out their car window, make note of their license plate and report them to the authorities. If proper action is taken, perhaps they will be picking up litter in their orange jumpsuits.
September has always been “Back to School Month” in my mind. Summer vacation is over and it’s time to continue enriching our minds. The next time you’re near the Three Rivers Public Library, stop in and ask about their youth programs that started this month. They have interesting things for children from Kindergarten through the teenage years. The adults haven’t been forgotten, either. Remember, all library programs are FREE.
The yard and garage sale days are winding down, but you’ll be happy to know that the First United Methodist Church, 215 North Main Street, in Three Rivers, will host a rummage sale this Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14. I don’t know the difference between a rummage sale and a yard sale, except maybe a rummage sale is held indoors. Anyway, the sale will run from 9 AM until 5 PM. It might be a good idea to plan your visit around noon, because lunch will be available. Sounds to me like a good reason to get Out and About.
Once again, I’d like to wrap up this week’s column with, what some might consider, good advice:
When giving a “Thank You” speech, short and sweet is best.
Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.
Don’t be the talker in the movie theater.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
I’m afraid this past weekend didn’t start out very well. Once again, I must reflect on the passing of a friend. Lion Bruce Snook passed away this last Thursday after a short illness. I’ve known Bruce for a little over thirteen years, and I can’t think of a gentler, more soft-spoken, and trustworthy individual. He was a man of integrity and he had no vices. I will miss him terribly.
I’m about three weeks late in expressing kudos to Kellogg Community Credit Union. Located on West Michigan Avenue, here in Three Rivers, they recently hosted a community picnic. It was held in their parking lot and featured hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, potato salad, plus beverages and much more. Tom Toole and his staff from Belle Epoque catered the event, and it turned out to be something right out of Mayberry. The credit union staff was on hand, in case someone had questions, but there wasn’t any pressure whatsoever to open an account, or to discuss any other financial matters. Phil Britain, from WLKM-FM, was there providing some great music, via a live remote. In my opinion, this was a great gesture that other merchants might think of doing.
Three years ago, we invested in a John Deere Gator. To closely quote Marlon Brando, in The Godfather, it was a deal that I couldn’t refuse: three years of payments with no interest, plus my wife was in favor of purchasing it. I would have been a fool to let that deal slip away. Anyway, after jumping through a few hoops, the Gator is “street legal”. I’m sorry; the Gator is no longer a Gator. One of the hoops I had to jump through, was to have a new Vin number assigned to the machine. Because of all the alterations and additions made to the machine, it was now regarded to as “assembled”. It was sort of like turning a VW Beetle into a dune buggy. I really enjoy using my assembled. It’s fun to drive, and the money saved on fuel is remarkable. The top speed is around 30 or 35 miles per hour. It depends on whether you’re going down a hill. Even though it has four-wheel drive, with a flip of a switch, I’ll put it away for the winter. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to get it dirty too soon.
For several years, we’ve enjoyed going out for brunch at Belle Epoque on Sunday mornings. For a while, the brunch was available every Sunday, but eventually they changed their brunches to just the last Sunday of the month. Because of low attendance, they have had to do away with the brunches altogether. If you never had the opportunity to visit Belle Epoque fro brunch, you really missed out on a wonderful dining experience: fantastic food, plus linen napkins, coffee cups with saucers, real glass water goblets, and an attentive wait staff. Hopefully, the brunches may someday return. Until then, Belle Epoque is still the best venue for banquets, and Tom’s catering business is doing well. The next time you’re at the Three Rivers Health TRAC, stop by Tom Toole’s snack bar for a healthy snack.
Just about everyone has joined the 21st century and has at least one computer. I have a computer in my office, and an iPad and laptop at home. My cell phone is capable of doing more than I care to use it for. I make and receive phone calls, and I do use it for e-mail duties. I probably use my laptop more than anything else. I use it for only one thing, and that is for Free Cell. I have a spiral notebook next to my laptop, and I keep track of my progress with Free Cell. I’ve kept a record of my games, and so far, I’ve played over 26,700 games. If I have difficulty with one game, I come back to it later. I probably should talk to a professional about this, because I don’t think this is normal. You’ll never see me texting at a restaurant, or in my car. I feel this is quite rude, and besides, my thumbs are too big.
Some serious words of advice:
Under no circumstances, should you ask a woman if she’s pregnant.
Make time for your mom on your birthday. It’s her special day, too.
If you’ve made your point, stop talking.
Look people in the eye when you thank them.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
Next Monday, September 2, is Labor Day. Some of you may travel up to the Mackinac Bridge for the annual bridge walk. Others, like me, will prefer to stay home and off the dangerous highways. Be assured that you don’t need to head north to walk a bridge. The Three Rivers Woman’s Club will host their Third Annual Historic Three Rivers Labor Day Bridge Walk right here in Three Rivers. The starting site is Scidmore Park, and the walk will cover many of the bridges located within the city.. The festivities will run from 9 AM until noon. Take the family, meet your friends at the park, and enjoy baked goods and hot dog treats from the Weenie King. This event is FREE, but donations will be gratefully accepted. All donations will be given to the TR Trail System. You may register for the walk that day at the park or online at www.threeriverswomansclub.wordpress.com.
If travel plans are on your schedule, please be safe and drive defensively. There are a lot of drivers who love to multi-task. Not only are they busy driving, but they must use their cell phone to keep from getting bored. They couldn’t care less about you and your family.
Every neighborhood has an extra set of eyes, and this person probably doesn’t reside there. Six days a week they are on patrol, and they notice things and probably know more about your neighborhood than you. Your local postal carrier knows when you are away on vacation, and s/he can usually tell when something just isn’t right. If someone were to ask her/him where someone lives, they would be able to tell them, but with extreme caution, because your privacy is very important. If you are planning to travel for an extended period of time, let your postal carrier know. Your mail can be held, and the carrier would probably keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around your home. Your carrier is someone you should always keep in mind. A cool glass of lemonade would be quite tasty during the dog-days of August, and a card or a cookie would be appreciated over the Christmas holiday.
It’s hard to believe that football season starts in just a week or so. This also means that the Three Rivers High School Marching Band will delight fans during half-time performances at Armstrong Field. Just as the football players have been practicing, so has the marching band. “Band Camp” is somewhat like “Football Camp”, but instead of running plays, the band is learning to perform various formations, while marching in unison. This means that everyone takes a step forward at the same time. Drill, drill, drill, and, once you think you’ve perfected it, you drill some more. Band Camp is not easy. You start early in the morning and practice until late in the afternoon. One might ask why these students put themselves through this exercise. The answer is simple. They do this for the love of music, and for the Wildcat spirit. Their only pay is the applause they receive after performing at a football game.
Whenever I attend a home game at Armstrong Field, I anxiously await the first sighting of the band entering the track on the east side of the field. At first, you might only hear the drum beating as they march north on the track. The beating of the drum keeps the band members in step. As the band makes the final turn on the track and heads south past the home team’s bleachers, the members start playing the Wildcat Fight Song. The crowd welcomes the band with a tremendous round of applause and a standing ovation. The band director is nowhere to be seen. There is no need for a director at this time, because the band has been drilled to perfection, and they know how to bring forth the Wildcat Spirit. If you doubt my word, you might want to check out the trophy cases in the hallway of Three Rivers High School. As I’ve mentioned many times, there’s a lot of talent and spirit right here in the Three Rivers area. It’s only right that we get Out and About and support that spirit.
Don’t forget HarmonyFest. Next Sunday, September 1, beginning at 1 PM, downtown Main Street will be alive with the sound of music. All you need to do is take a lawn chair or two and make yourself comfortable in the street. There will be plenty of refreshment vendors for your taste buds and plenty of music for your listening pleasure. Fireworks will bedazzle the sky later. Enjoy the weekend!
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
I remember going to school with a boy who was diabetic. I really felt sorry for him, because he had to have insulin shots every day. Like most children, I dreaded the times in grade school when we had to be immunized. I’m pretty sure that back then they didn’t use disposable syringes, so it was to one’s advantage to be one of the first in line for “THE SHOT”. I had the utmost respect for Gerald, because he had to have a shot every day. By the time I was discharged from the Army, getting a shot was no longer a big deal.
Back then, polio was the big disease. Diabetes was there, but not in the spotlight. I’m sure many people died from diabetes, the same way that people passed from the effects of sleep apnea. I have sleep apnea, and I’m diabetic, but I’m taking the necessary precautions to protect myself from passing earlier than I’d like. I’ve found it interesting to discover how many friends are in the same boat as I am. We take care of ourselves, but don’t make it the topic of conversation.
It was discovered recently that, because my blood sugars are too high, I must now give myself a shot every morning. I’m fortunate, because if I take better care of myself, I’ll be able to go back to just taking the pills. If you’re out there, Gerald, I still have a lot of respect for you, and for all you diabetics out there. Let’s continue to fight this disease, one shot at a time.
We usually end our TV viewing with the Channel Three News at Eleven. Someday, I’ll learn to turn the TV off before the news, because I always end up depressed. The weather report is probably the most depressing. They will mention the fact that we have been experiencing some great weather, but the bad weather is just around the corner. If the temperatures have been fantastic, we’re reminded that in three days we’ll have hot and humid weather. I think we’ve had some great weather-days, perfect for getting Out and About. We probably won’t appreciate these great days, until we have three days of rain. Am I losing my mind, or what? I’ve just devoted a whole paragraph to the weather. I must change my train of thought, because I’m really getting depressed, and that’s not a good thing.
I don’t know where the time has gone, but summertime is almost over. The summer, as a season, still has plenty of time left, but school starts two weeks from today. This was first brought to my attention, when I started seeing these ads on TV talking about purchasing school supplies for the returning students. In watching these ads, I sometimes have flashbacks of those times, when my mom would get me a new box of Crayolas. I always ended up with the smaller selection of colors. Red still is my favorite color. I finally received the jumbo box for my high school graduation gift.
The American Red Cross will sponsor a blood drive Wednesday, August 21, from 11:30 AM until 5:15 PM. The site is JoCo Hall, 805 Wood Street in Three Rivers. Kudos to those who take the time to donate blood. There’s always a need for blood donors, and I’ll continue to try and keep you informed whenever a blood drive is coming up.
I occasionally remind everyone about the abundance of talent that is right here in the Three Rivers area. Whether it’s a play at the Community Players’ Theatre, a band concert at the Three Rivers High School Performing Arts Center, or a special exhibit at the Carnegie Center for the Arts, we don’t need to travel to Kalamazoo for culture. It’s right here in our own neighborhood.
“Five Fabulous Females and Their Art” is a perfect example of local talent. Through Friday, September 27, their paintings will be on display at the Three Rivers Community Center, 103 South Douglas Avenue in Three Rivers. The Five Fabulous Females include, Roxanne Barry, Christine Hartzell, Karen Hay, Joan Hector, and Christi Misner. These ladies invite you to share their passion for the community, with over forty paintings, including local landscapes, lakes, flora, and fauna, from realistic to abstract. There will be an open house Saturday, September 21, and I’ll mention that in a week or so.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
Some words that have changed over the years. The word “drugs” used to be a good thing. It was a cure for many ailments. Today, if someone has drugs in their possession, it is considered a bad thing. To attend a “concert” sixty years ago, was a different experience than attending a concert today.
I’m devoting most of the column this week to Senior Citizens. It seems that, the older we get, the more attention we think should be given to our older citizens. As one, I find myself reliving those days when life was much simpler and everyone walked at a slower pace. Due to modern technology and advances in the world of medicine, we are living longer, and as a result, the number of senior citizens has grown tremendously. I love my age, and wouldn’t want to be twenty years old, for any price. Please read on.
Last Tuesday, we attended a concert that could have taken place seventy years ago. The Glenn Miller Orchestra appeared at the historic Riviera Theatre for the third time. It was a “Sold Out” concert that passed much too quickly. I love the “Big Band” sound, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra is one of my favorite sounds. The orchestra travels forty-six weeks a year, and I’m sure that every musical number, of every concert, is delivered with the same enthusiasm as it was over seventy years ago. Thank you, Danielle, and your staff, for providing us with top-notch entertainment. Bring them back again and we’ll pack the house.
I doubt that too many young people read this column. With the popularity of the internet, most young people rely on that to get their fill of current events. I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading this, you’re over the age of forty, and I appreciate you taking the time to do so. What I’m leading into is that we have a lot of people in St. Joe County who are in their “Golden Years”, and I feel confident in saying that St. Joe County provides the necessary services that we so deserve.
One of the agencies providing service is the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging (COA). There are three Senior Center locations in the county, which include Sturgis, Constantine, and Three Rivers. The Three Rivers location is located at 103 South Douglas Avenue. It shares the building with the Commission on Aging and the Three Rivers Public Library. The Center is open from 8 AM until 4 PM, and the manager is Betty Persons. The Center provides a variety of activities, including a daily lunch. The Senior Action News is published bi-monthly, and is filled with all sorts of information, which can be quite valuable to those who are fans of the Senior Center and the Commission on Aging. The mission of the COA is to provide services to senior citizens, and enhance the seniors’ quality of life, at each stage of aging. It doesn’t matter how old you are; if you take care of yourself, you’ll be a senior citizen someday. Hopefully, you’ll realize the importance of having services available for our senior citizens before you need them for yourself.
Before I reach the bottom of this column, and while I’m on the subject of senior citizens, I want to mention that on Friday, August 30, the COA will have their annual picnic at Meyer Broadway Park in Three Rivers. The picnic will run from 10 AM until 2:30 PM. Reservations are required, and the cost for attending is $4.00. Tickets are now on sale at the COA office and all senior centers in the county through August 22. For your $4, you’ll receive a box lunch, be entertained by Douglas James, enjoy a bake sale, plus much more. To make reservations, or to receive more information, please call the COA at 1-800-641-9899 or 269-279-8083. In case of bad weather, the picnic will be held at the Three Rivers Community Center, 103 South Douglas Avenue in Three Rivers.
A few interesting facts that you might not be aware of:
Nine out of every ten living things, live in the ocean.
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
I’m a Vietnam veteran, I get choked up when I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I vote regularly, I remove my hat when the colors pass by during a parade, and I really love America, despite its faults, and yet, there are times when I feel like I’m not a true American because I’m not a sports fanatic.
My wife and I were having breakfast out several days ago. One of the restaurant patrons was in a heavy discussion with a couple of employees over the results of a recent baseball game. I mean these guys really loved the game and were the equivalent of the typical “Monday Morning Quarterback”. These guys had all the answers, and I was wondering why they weren’t on the phone with the big decision makers at Comerica Park, in Detroit. These guys knew all of the statistics, and I’m sure they spend their evenings watching a lot of sports on television. They may not know who the Secretary of State is, but they do know Verlander’s ERA, and the next time he’s due to take the pitcher’s mound. I admire them for their enthusiasm and dedication to the game.
I’ve never spent much time reading the sports section of a newspaper. I played football and basketball when I was younger, but it was the “Backyard” variety. I was never good enough to do sports in high school. Does this mean that I’m not a true American? I’ve attended many baseball games, but I prefer watching minor league teams. I’ve been to Wrigley Field and watched Sammy Sosa hit three home runs in one game, but then I didn’t pay for the tickets. Perhaps I’d enjoy sports more, if the athletes were in the same pay-bracket as our teachers or nurses. No athlete is worth a million dollars a year, and that’s close to a rookie’s salary. Yes, I think I’m an okay American. I’m not sure when Verlander is due to pitch again, and I’m not planning to ever visit Comerica Park. You’ll probably see me next season in the TR High School gym, watching the girls’ basketball team take on an arch rival. That’s entertainment!
I admire Scott Hassinger’s writing. He covers just about every sporting event in the Three Rivers area, and his columns are large and filled with all the facts. You can read his column and come away thinking that you were actually there watching the game. I’m not sure if Scott played sports at all when he was younger. By his height, I figure he had something to do with basketball. In order to write a sports column, you must really love athletics. I think Scott and I are both true Americans.
We are now into the final month of summer. Where did the time go? Back-to-School ads are already on TV, so if you need backpacks, or other school supplies, you have a huge choice of where to shop. It won’t be long before Halloween items will be on the merchants’ shelves. Everyone is in such a hurry to beat the next person with deals. I haven’t started my Christmas list, because I still have to face those hot and humid days of August. I try my hardest to slow down, but it’s difficult with the rest of the world running in the passing lane. The roses are now in bloom. Let’s take time to stop and smell them.
This is Tuesday, which means that the Three Rivers Farmers’ Market is open today from 2 until 6PM in Scidmore Park. Please enter the park off West Michigan Avenue. The entrance is directly across the street from LA’s Coffee Cafe. Some of the items you’ll find at the Farmers’ Market include, fresh fruit and vegetables, lavender products, soaps and lotions, baked goods, jellies, granola products, local artist watercolors, calligraphy, and handmade flowerpot benches. If you are in favor of supporting the local economy, the Farmers’ Market is the place to begin.
Whether you travel long distances, or just get Out and About locally, you might remember that in warm weather, tires can lose air at a faster rate, thereby reducing gas mileage by up to four per cent. It’s best to keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Check your tire pressure on a regular basis. Your mechanic should do this whenever you have your oil changed.
Remember this, please. Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61%.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman