Out and About – Week of October 28th

October 29, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

In last week’s column, I told about a trip that we made up north to the West Branch area, and I mentioned specifically about visiting the small town of Fairview, which was where many of my aunts, uncles, grandmother, and cousins lived during my childhood years. This trip back affected me in a way that I’ve never been affected before. I wanted everything to be the way it was the last time I was there with my family, and as we all know, that is impossible, because we are mortal, and things happen, sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the not so good. I guess that’s progress.

I have many memories about those visits, but I would like to share one specific event that occurred every time we made the trip to Fairview. When we visited Fairview, our family would sleep in the homes of various aunts and uncles. I usually stayed with Uncle Omer and Aunt Arla, as did my parents. I really liked Uncle Boney, a nickname that didn’t really suit him, because he wasn’t boney at all. Anyway, the two of us got along great. Upon our late-night arrival, Uncle Boney would promise me that the next day, he’d take me to the local cafe and buy me a hamburger. It would be just the two of us, which made the trip even more special. We’d arrive at the Fairview Cafe, and we’d always sit on stools at the lunch counter. He’d always brag to the other patrons about how I came all the way to Fairview for that special hamburger, and that he was paying for that hamburger and his cup of coffee. That burger was the best. Some ketchup, a pickle, a little mustard, and of course a nice slice of sweet onion made it very tasty. I’d wash it down with a cold glass of milk. Uncle Omer loved to laugh, and I loved to watch him laugh after I burped, after eating that burger. I think it was the onion. I can’t remember what I enjoyed more. Was it the burger, or was it just spending time with my Uncle Boney? I’m pretty sure it was the latter.

Meanwhile, back in Three Rivers, and reality, life goes on, and memories continue to be made, to be treasured later. I keep a journal so that reflecting on these years will be easier as I age.

Next Saturday, November 3, from 10 AM until 5 PM, there will be a mattress sale at Three Rivers High School, on Sixth Avenue, in Three Rivers. You will probably read that sentence over again, but believe me, it’s true. It’s the Third Annual TRHS DECA/BPA Mattress Sale. I’d better explain a little further about DECA and BPA. DECA is the Future Young Entrepreneurs of America, and BPA stands for Business Professionals of America. Anyway, there will be a large selection of mattresses in many different sizes on hand, from which to make a selection. Free layaway and delivery is also available, and you may pay for your purchase with cash, check, or credit card. This sounds like a perfect deal, and the money goes for a great cause. All profits go directly to DECA and BPA to assist in their competition expenses. Any questions may be directed to Mr. Scott Muffley, Marketing Teacher at Three Rivers High School. The phone number for the high school is 269-279-1120.

Next Sunday, November 3, is the time to set our clocks back one hour. Remember, spring ahead and fall behind? The actual time to set your clocks back is Sunday at 2 AM, but usually everyone sets their clocks before going to bed Saturday night. Another thing to remember, is to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and other battery-operated devices. It’s inexpensive insurance and just plain common sense.

You still have time to check your snow blower before we receive any real snow accumulation. With a foot of snow to remove, you don’t want to find out that your spark plug needs replacing, or your wheels are not securely attached to your machine. If you don’t own a snow blower, all you need to do is remember where you put the snow shovel.

You’re probably finished with the lawn mower. I usually run it out of gas, sharpen the blade, and thoroughly clean under the deck. A nice coating of WD-40 under the deck might prevent rust from forming. I usually place a plastic cover over the mower to keep the dust away, but that’s just me.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of October 21st

October 22, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

We missed the Annual Color Tour again this year. We spent the weekend of October 13 up north near West Branch and Gaylord. We would have enjoyed the Color Tour, but the colors up north were quite spectacular, plus, we were expected to attend an Appreciation Dinner for one of the governors on my council. We had fun visiting, and it was good to get away for a day or two.

While in the West Branch area, we decided to take a side trip to Fairview, which is located near Mio and Lewiston. I hadn’t been in Fairview for over sixty years, and I’ve wanted to go back for a visit for quite some time. I had several aunts, uncles, grandmother, and cousins living there back in the day, so I had many fond memories of the area.

Upon arriving in Fairview, it took me a few minutes to get my bearings. There is a Marathon gas station located where a Shell station used to be. The creamery was gone, as was the cafe, where my Uncle Omer would take me and buy me a hamburger. More on the hamburger adventure next week. The small general store has been replaced by a full-size supermarket. We looked around for my uncle’s house, plus other homes that, at one time, were filled with the laughter of aunts, uncles, and cousins. The houses are probably still there, but the homes are gone, due to the passing of those relatives. This was quite a traumatic experience for me, to say the least. I longed for those days of innocence, when I had no real worries. I wanted the opportunity to visit once again with my Aunt Arla and enjoy the aroma of bacon and eggs cooking in her kitchen, or being with family, as we enjoyed a fish dinner with my Uncle Harry and Aunt Pearl. My Uncle Milt owned a saw mill and was also a trapper. He took pride in showing me his collection of beaver pelts drying in the basement of their home. I miss those days of family gatherings. My aunts and uncles are all gone, but I still have a few cousins living, although it’s been years since we’ve gotten together. My two sisters, brother, and I see each other more often, and correspond on a regular basis. I never really appreciated the 1950s and the memories that we made then. I appreciate the relatives I have now, because I’m the youngest of my cousins and siblings, and they are really getting old. I still have time to make new memories, and I’ll never stop reliving the older ones. Time spent with family is priceless, and should be treated as such.

In traveling around Michigan, we’ve discovered how much there is to see and do for very little money. There are still places we’d like to visit. I don’t know how many states publicize the attractions located within their state. I know that the Michigan Bureau of Tourism does a great job of advertising, and it makes me proud to live in “Pure Michigan”. We have all four seasons to get Out and About. The rumor that we only have winter and road construction is only partially true. I’ll probably never travel to Europe. I’ve traveled internationally, and it’s always great to get back home.

Meanwhile, back in Three Rivers, and reality, we have plenty of memory-making activities of our own. This Saturday, October 26, from 7 to 10 PM, the Three Rivers Woman’s Club will host “Dollars for Scholars”, which will include a silent auction with entertainment. The venue is the Carnegie Center for the Arts, 107 North Main Street, in historic downtown Three Rivers. Tickets are now on sale for $10, and may be purchased at the Carnegie Center, or from any member of the Woman’s Club.

All proceeds will go to benefit the Woman’s Club’s Scholarship Fund, which will support five local high school graduates through college.

Everyone is invited to visit the club’s website at Look under “Dollars for Scholars” for the continually updating list of auction items.

A few things to keep in mind:

When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

Never lie to your doctor.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of October 14th

October 15, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

My father used to ask for my help from time to time. I really became needed during my high school years, when I was usually busy working a part-time job or hanging out with my buddies. I generally made it to the end of the driveway, before I’d hear, “Norman, come here. I need your help.” He really didn’t need my help, but he wanted me to help him a little, so that I’d learn something that would benefit me later on in my life. I learned to change my own oil in the car, change spark plugs, how to use and care for a paint brush, and how to sharpen the blade on a lawn mower. I remember hearing him say more than once, “The more you can do on your own, the less money you’ll have to pay someone else to do the job for you.” I didn’t think so at the time, but my dad was pretty smart. I wonder how many moms and dads take the time to show their children how to handle the simpler tasks. Nowadays, if there is a problem with the computer, it’s the parents who seek help from their children.

One thing my dad never taught me was how to use a power sprayer. I don’t know if they even had them back in the fifties. I’ve used one briefly to clean the siding of a building, but recently I’ve used one to handle a major task.

We have a back and front deck on our house. The decks were there before I came on the scene, so I never paid that much attention to them. They are nice to have, especially during that time of the year when you can sit outside. Anyway, I noticed that the decks were starting to show a lot of weathering, and upon consulting with one of our neighbors, I was made aware that if I didn’t take some action, the decks would crumble and have to be replaced. That would involve spending a lot of money. For a few dollars less, I could power spray the decks and put some new sealer on them. This would be a nice project that could be accomplished in no more than two or three afternoons. As of this writing, I am now into my fourth afternoon and I’m still power spraying. I borrowed a power sprayer from my buddy Jim, and he assured me that there was no rush in getting the sprayer back to him. I enjoy using the power sprayer, and I’m pretty sure I’ll see the purchase of one on a credit card statement someday.

Autumn is probably the most colorful and festive season. The change of colors and the noticeable change of temperatures make fall a season to appreciate. We don’t need to shovel show yet, and the lawn has seen its last mowing. The raking of leaves can be fun for the kids, because after the leaves are raked, they make great piles to jump into. I miss those days when we could burn the leaves. The aroma was pure Autumn. This past weekend we were able to enjoy the Annual Fall Color Tour. It’s another reason to get Out and About and enjoy the colors and smells of fall.

Another fall tradition has been the Annual Harvest Dinner put on by the First United Methodist Church of Three Rivers. Located at 215 North Main Street, in Three Rivers, the dinner is scheduled for this Thursday, October 17, beginning at 5:30 PM. The menu consists of Swiss steak, baked potatoes, squash, and of course, their famous desserts. Delicious homemade pies will be available for purchase, while they last. We’ve attended this dinner in the past, so I strongly advise everyone to arrive early, because seating is limited, and the food will make you think that your mother is working in the kitchen. The cost for the dinner is $9 for adults, $5 for those twelve and under, and if you have children under the age of three, they may eat for FREE.

The travel season is coming to a close, but the eastern states have the real fall colors. If you are thinking of traveling out east for the colors, and are flying out, then renting a car, you might seriously consider reserving a cheaper compact car with better fuel efficiency. Compacts aren’t popular, and rental companies fill their lots with bigger cars: If they run out of compacts, you might get a free upgrade.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of October 7th

October 8, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Summer held on for quite a long time. We are well into October, yet, at times, the temperatures have made it feel like late August. Every time I mow the lawn, I keep wondering if this might be the last time the grass needs to be cut for the season. That’s okay; this nice weather can stick around for another six or eight months.

As I mentioned above, this is October, and that means the World Series and the Three Rivers Annual Fall Color Tour.

The Color Tour happens this coming Sunday, October 13. Fifteen participants will provide a variety of venues, guaranteed to make your Sunday afternoon a fun-time for the entire family. The venues will receive guests from 11 AM to 5 PM, depending on which ones you will want to stop by and visit. Color brochures for the Color Tour are available at the Chamber Office, 57 North Main Street, Three Rivers.

A special thank you to Waste Management, Three Rivers Commercial-News, Meijer, radio station WLKM-FM 95.9, Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce, and the parks of St. Joseph County, for sponsoring this annual celebration of color in Southwest Michigan.

If you’d like to explore some of the local waterways, I would suggest you check with Liquid Therapy Canoe and Kayak Rental, 221 South Main Street, here in Three Rivers. One of the ways that they are participating in the Color Tour is by offering special rates on their rentals. For up to four hours, you can rent a canoe for $30, or a kayak for $25. If cider and a campfire interests you, this will be available also. River trips range from two hours to a full day. For more information, call Liquid Therapy at 269-273-9000.

I mentioned some time ago, that the St. Joe County Transportation Authority would be handling the services afforded by the Commission on Aging (COA), when it comes to transporting members, who used to be transported by the COA vans. Since the first of October, the Authority has been transporting COA members in the same manner that the COA provided. The suggested donation for rides is $2 each way, with the cost of the program supported by grants from both Area Agency on Aging and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

I’ve been asked enough times about where to take used eyeglasses, that I feel I should, once again, mention the seven drop-off points, here in Three Rivers. Here they are:

Lowry’s Books and More

Fred’s Pharmacy at Harding’s

In the lobby of City Hall

The Senior Center at the south end of the Three Rivers Public Library.

The Specialty Clinic hallway next to TR Health

Sussex Vision

Three Rivers High School in the Principal’s office

These used glasses are gathered by the Three Rivers Lions Club and taken to Grand Rapids, where they are cleaned and repaired, then made available for shipment to third-world countries. You might ask, “Why don’t we make them available to those in need here in the United States?” The answer, unfortunately, is very simple. The U.S. Government states that it is illegal to do it.

Mr. Manners offers a few more suggestions:

Never cancel dinner plans by text message.

Don’t linger in the doorway. In or Out.

It’s never too late for an apology.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of September 30th

October 1, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

For the first time in I don’t know how many years, we missed the annual St. Joseph County Grange Fair. We always manage to make it over to the fair at least one or two times every fall. We were attending a Lions Leadership Forum, along with about 2500 of our best friends, in Overland Park, Kansas. We missed walking through the exhibit barns and partaking of funnel cakes and elephant ears, but, like the Chicago Cubs always say, “Wait until next year.”

From what I’ve heard, attendance at the fair surpassed 140,000. I also heard that the weather cooperated, which was a big plus. It seems that you can always count on having rain during fair week.

Our Kansas experience was quite memorable. The USA/Canada Leadership Forum is an annual event and takes place at a different location every year. Last year it was held in Tampa, and next year it will be in Puerto Rico. We’ll stay home next year and attend the fair. We traveled through Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri prior to entering Kansas. The scenery was great, but was pretty much the same in each state. We stayed overnight in Springfield, Illinois, on the way over, and, on our return trip, we stayed over near Bloomington, Illinois. The nice thing about taking time away from your hometown is that it’s always great to get back home and sleep in your own bed again.

The Friday evening, prior to leaving for home, we had dinner at a popular restaurant in Overland Park, called Oklahoma Joe’s. It’s an unusual name for a restaurant located in Kansas, but it must work, because there are three of them in Overland Park. The restaurant is sort of like a cafeteria. You stand in a rather fast moving line, place your order at one window, pay for your order at another window, pick up your tray and help yourself to a fountain drink, then finally, find a place to sit. My wife and I both ordered “The Cowboy Dinner”, which consisted of three ribs, cut up sausage links, beef brisket, potato salad, cole slaw, Texas toast, and something to drink, which was re-fillable. All of this cost $13.99. Neither one of us could finish our meal, so we ended up taking the rest of it home with us. Given the chance, we’ll go back. I’m not sure if this place has ever been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, but it should definitely is a great place to dine.

I enjoy Gospel music, especially when it comes from a good old-fashioned pipe organ. So much music these days comes from electronic devices. The sound is there, but I feel that it’s not quite the same. The last time I attended a concert featuring a pipe organ, it took the organist about three or four minutes to set the buttons before he could start playing. Fear not, pipe organ fans, because the First Presbyterian Church, 320 North Main Street, here in Three Rivers, will host an organ recital, featuring Lucky Middaugh, this Sunday, October 6, at 4 PM. Mr. Middaugh is the music director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo, and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in organ performance at Western Michigan University. Becoming a concert musician and continuing his work in the Episcopal Church, are his long-term goals. If you’re a fan of pipe organ music, you won’t want to miss this concert. Admission is FREE, but a free-will offering will be available.

It’s that time again, when volunteers are out on the shoulders of our major highways picking up the litter. As you’re out traveling, slow down and give them room to do their thing. If you’ve never volunteered to pick up litter, you don’t know what you’re missing. Volunteers are always needed.

Some helpful ideas from my friend, Mr. Manners:

Don’t stare at people.

If you don’t understand, ask before it’s too late.

Never call someone before 9 AM, or after 9 PM.

Smile at strangers.

Know the words to your national anthem.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of September 23rd

September 24, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Here is a reminder to Commission on Aging (COA) riders that, effective Tuesday, October 1, the St. Joseph County Transportation Authority (CTA) will handle your van rides. The only noticeable change is in phone numbers. Instead of calling the COA for a ride, you’ll need to call the County Transportation Authority (CTA). The CTA’s number is 269-273-7808, or you may call the toll-free number, 1-800-964-5700. The days of service for COA passengers will remain Monday through Friday. The cost will remain a suggested monetary donation.

This Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, the First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers/Centreville, 320 North Main Street, Three Rivers, invites everyone to join them in their 175th Anniversary Celebration. The celebrating begins on Saturday with a church open house and a party in the park, from 11 AM until 2 PM. Tours of the church and displays of historic documents and artifacts will be available for viewing. Plenty of games and activities will also be available, and the Gratitude Steel Band will provide the music. For refreshments, you may have some tasty ice cream, and the Weenie King will be on site for you hot dog lovers. On Sunday, September 29, everyone is welcome to attend the 10 AM worship service. Reverend Brenda Deily, Reverend John Best, and Reverend Raafat L. Zaki will lead the worship service. Also in attendance will be former pastors of the church. There will be a Celebratory Lunch immediately following the worship service.

My wife and I spend a lot of time together, mostly in the evening. We each have our own daytime errands, so we aren’t together 24/7. I’ve never understood how couples could do that without getting on each other’s nerves. Giving each other space is very important. We attend a lot of meetings together, so the ride home gives us time to process the meeting’s topics. Anyway, there are times when one of us is out, while the other remains at home. I’m not sure what she does while I’m away. I do know that she enjoys the solitude, and when I do arrive home, she is always interested as to how things went at the meeting, or whatever the occasion.

When she spends an evening out, I usually take advantage of the opportunity to watch Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, or some movie, of which I know the entire dialogue. I usually end up doing this until I fall asleep in my recliner. This upsets me, because I’ve wasted valuable time that could have been used channel-surfing.

About every other month, my wife gathers with several of her high school friends for fun and conversation. She always takes a special treat to pass and says that she will try to bring back whatever is left over. I never realized the appetites women have when they get together. My biggest concern is that she has a good time. I do miss her while she’s out and I try to have my snacking done before I hear the sound of the garage door going up, signaling her return.

It’s great that classes get together for reunions. My class gathers about once a year for a birthday party. Oh, we still do reunions; as a matter of fact, we celebrated our fiftieth in 2012. This year we’ll gather for a fish fry, which will serve as a time to reflect on the good old days, when if you got in trouble in school, the punishment there was nothing compared to what you’d receive, upon returning home. I’d like to think that the graduates of today would look forward to gathering as a class every so often after graduation.

Did you know?

If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t cause smoke unless it’s heated above 450F.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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