I’m starting this week’s column midway through the 57th Annual Water Festival here in Three Rivers. I’ve been involved with the Water Festival for at least five or six years now, so I feel that I know at least a little bit about what I’m talking about.
I’ve been co-chairing the parade for several years now, working with Pam Hughes. I think we make a pretty good team, which means that we don’t bother arguing about anything. It’s our responsibility to arrange the parade entries, making sure that the politicians don’t follow the St. Joe County Mounted Patrol, and that a senior citizen group doesn’t precede a marching band or anything else that might be overwhelming with noise. We also assist with the volunteers who assist with the parade lineup. We never have too many volunteers for anything involved with the Water Festival. If you’d like to be a volunteer for next year’s Water Festival, all you need to do is complain about this year’s.
The other side of the festival that I’m involved in is the Lions Club Ox Roast. Every year there are plenty of food vendors to choose from when it comes to satisfying your taste buds and hunger cravings. The Lions Club Ox Roast has been a huge part of the Water Festival for just about as long as the Water Festival has been in existence. This year was the 57th Annual Festival, so that amounts to plenty of ox roast sandwiches. The Ox Roast is the biggest fundraiser for the Lions, and it is from the money taken in that they are able to provide glasses and other services needed by the Three Rivers area and over 200 countries throughout the world.
Because of my involvement with Lions Club, I cannot really give much of a report on the Classic Car Show, KidZone, and the many other activities that make up Water Festival, but from what I’ve heard, there were plenty of things to do for everyone who decided that Three Rivers was the place to be for this last Fathers’ Day Weekend. It’s such a joy to see everyone enjoying and celebrating Three Rivers and all that it has to offer.
The Water Festival always wraps up with the Saturday evening main stage entertainment, followed by the fireworks. Mother Nature threw her monkey wrench into the Festival Machine and blessed us with some heavy rainfall starting around noon. The fireworks people and the Saturday evening entertainment decided to cancel the evening’s activities because of the threat of more rain. Fear not, because rumor has it that there will be fireworks and entertainment later this summer or early fall. Please look for information in this newspaper and other forms of media.
Kudos to the Three Rivers Police and Fire Departments for keeping us safe and law abiding. Thanks to the Department of Public Works for keeping the community clean. To the St. Joe County Sheriff’s Department, we applaud you for also keeping us safe and protected over the weekend. Very special thanks to Deb Herring, from the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce, and all of her volunteers. Without each and every one of you, this festival would not exist. The Three Rivers community is very fortunate to have a group of people who give up so much of their time so that the rest of us can have some fun.
To wrap up the Fathers’ Day weekend, Dawn Patrol returned to the Three Rivers Airport. It was great to go out there and enjoy some pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee. After breakfast, there were airplanes to look at, rides for the kids, and prizes to win. I was surprised to find out that the airport operations have changed. If you want to go for a ride in an airplane, Dawn Patrol is just about the only chance you have. As a kid, my Dad would take me out to the airport and pay $15 for someone to take me up for a twenty-minute ride. Pat Daugherty and I would ride our bikes out to the airport and sit in the flight operations office and read Flying magazines. Whenever an airplane would land or take off, we’d bound outside to witness the magic. Due to modern technology, there isn’t a flight operations office to visit. So much for progress, and thank God for the memories.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
If you had placed a wager as to whether or not I’d mention the Water Festival this week, and said that I wouldn’t even mention the parade, you would have lost the bet. Water Festival is probably the biggest event of the year for those living in Wildcat country. It used to be called “Water Carnival”, but because of all the food and other events taking place during the three-day period, it has become more of a festival than just a carnival. From the food of the Ox Roast, the downtown classic car show, activities for the kids, main stage entertainment and of course, the fireworks finale, there’s something for everyone. We have it all, and most of the activities are FREE.
The Thursday evening parade starts the festival off in a grand way. Step-off time is 7 PM from the intersection of West Michigan Avenue and Douglas Avenue. It moves east on Michigan Avenue, turning left at Michigan Avenue and Main Street, where it will move north and end at North Main and Armitage Street. I strongly advise parents to monitor their children and make sure they stay on the curb and out of the street. The parade participants will come to them when it comes to passing out candy and other treats. Having a child hurt by getting too close to a fire truck or float can put a big damper on the fun that goes along with a parade. One final thing from my soapbox would be to mention how patriotic it is to stand and recognize the flag of the United States of America when it passes by. It’s just the right thing to do.
There isn’t too much we can do about the weather, but we can plan ahead just in case. When it comes to the parade, if we have light sprinkles or heavy dew, the parade will happen on Thursday. If there is the threat of thunderstorms and heavy rain, the parade will be postponed to Friday evening at 7PM. As of this writing, it looks as though Mother Nature will cooperate.
A lot of people have put in countless hours to make Water Festival happen. If you happen to see these volunteers, thank them for helping to put this annual event together. They do it out of love for the Three Rivers community.
In years past, we have been privileged to have the Kalamazoo Concert Band entertain us with a FREE concert in the park. This year, the concert will be a part of our Water Festival activities. The concert will take place at Scidmore Park on Saturday, June 15, beginning at 4 PM. Donations will be accepted to cover band travel expenses. This is another one of those times when, if you’ve never been entertained by the Kalamazoo Concert Band, this is the perfect opportunity.
I enjoy stopping by the Carnegie Center for the Arts from time to time. Most of the time, it’s to speak with Center Director Donna Grubbs, but before I leave, I always try to check out the art gallery to see what’s new as far as exhibits are concerned. There’s always something that catches my eye, and I wish that I had a least some artistic talent, but it was not meant to be. Did I mention that there is no admission fee at the Carnegie?
There also is no admission fee at the Three Rivers Community Center. If you don’t have a chance to visit the Carnegie Center, you might want to visit the TR Community Center, where they are currently displaying the works of art of Don and Deb Eiswald. The Eiswalds are both award-winning artists with their studios and gallery located in Constantine.
I must admit that I enjoy watching television. I can’t say much about the quality of what’s available anymore, but if I look hard enough, I can still find reruns of M*A*S*H. If you’re like me and are also concerned about saving a buck or two on the electric bill, you might be interested in knowing that you can save money by adjusting the brightness on your new HDTV. Many are shipped set at “retail mode” for optimum picture clarity in a showroom. Check your TV’s setup menu and look for “home mode” or some other way to tune down the brightness. If money is no object, don’t bother.
See you Out and About at the 57th Annual Water Festival.
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
With the passing of Memorial Day, we are officially into summer. Although summer doesn’t officially begin until June 22, the gentlemen may now wear their white shoes and the ladies may wear whatever they usually wear, without fear of embarrassment. Please don’t accuse me of slamming the ladies, but I really am not aware of what the style is for summer. I know that I am most comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt. I’m at the age where dressing in style doesn’t bother me that much.
Anyway, summer is here, and it’s the time of the year when families gather for a reunion. I’m not sure how many families still do reunions anymore. Everyone seems to have interests outside the family unit. I mean, how many families have dinner or supper together anymore? With fast-food available, it’s too easy just to grab something out. Back in the day, there was no such thing as fast-food. McDonald’s and Burger King hadn’t been invented yet, so families spent more time at the evening dinner table. There aren’t too many children anymore who say, “May I be excused from the dinner table?” I’m afraid I’ve slipped off my original train of thought. I’m curious to know how many families get together at least once a year for an old fashioned family reunion. Better yet, how many family members stay in touch with other family members?
About two or three years ago, my siblings and I started a “weekly update”. Every weekend, we e-mail each other and bring everyone up-to-date on what’s going on in our lives. We all live in Michigan and I even have a sister who lives right here in town. I’m guilty of not seeing my sister as often as I should. She lives within walking distance, but my walking over to her house requires a lot of effort on my part. I do stop in occasionally, but she has a busy life, so at times it is difficult for us to connect. I’ll try to improve on this, because once I’m there, it’s difficult to leave, because we have so much to talk about. This same sister had a significant birthday back in February. The four of us siblings were planning to get together someplace for lunch so that we could celebrate this milestone in my sister’s life. We have finally decided that something has to be done this month. When we do get together, we’ll spend at least a few minutes discussing why we waited so long. My Mom would be very unhappy with us for not spending more time together. We would all receive a well-deserved scolding. Sorry, Mom.
It’s hard to imagine that Water Festival is next week. Please make sure that you set aside some time from Thursday, June 13, through Saturday, June 15, for Water Festival. The Water Festival Committee has already put in for an order of sunny days and temperatures in the seventies.
It’s rumored that Dawn Patrol will be back on Sunday, June 16. This is also Fathers’ Day, so make sure that your father is not forgotten. I might suggest that you treat your father to breakfast out at the airport, and maybe even an airplane ride. There’s usually a few vintage aircraft on display, so you’ll want to take along your camera.
If you’re wondering where the list of coming attractions are in the column, I’ve changed my mind a bit. Oh, I’ll still mention some of the big events coming down the pike, such as Water Festival, but I really plan to get Out and About, and I’d rather share some of those experiences with you.
You don’t find too many hotels or motels that provide free shower caps for their patrons anymore. If you happen upon one, please feel free to take that shower cap home with you. These shower caps can be used for other things than just keeping your hair dry. One way to use these tokens of appreciation is to place them over your shoes when traveling. It keeps your other clothing clean, should you pack your shoes in the suitcase. They also make wonderful food storage covers, or use them to cover dishes that you take to a potluck dinner. They can be rinsed and reused more than once.
A final hint to close out this week’s column. If you’re a tea drinker and heat your water in a tea kettle, just put in enough water for the cups of tea you plan to drink at one time. If you put in more water, you’re just wasting water and precious energy.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
About a month ago, I made a couple of changes in my column. I decided to make the column a bit more personal. I did this by sharing some of my experiences, with hopes that some readers might have experienced some of the same. Every so often, I throw in a few trivial things that might be helpful hints or something that would cause a few readers to chuckle or say, “Hmmmm”. I moved away from using the column as a free form of publicity for yard sales and spaghetti dinner fundraisers.
Recently I’ve talked with some readers and have found out that they have missed some community events because they didn’t know anything about them until they were historical. I had no idea that people depended on this column to make them aware of upcoming events. What should I do? Beginning June 4, the first Tuesday of the month, I’d like to devote part of the column to those special events that might interest the entire community of Three Rivers. The Water Festival is such an event. Everyone knows about it, even those who don’t read the paper. That same weekend, which is also Father’s Day weekend, we used to have Dawn Patrol out at the Three Rivers Airport. I haven’t heard anything about that happening this year, but if someone would let me know, I’d be happy to mention it here. It’s up to the local Pilots Association as to whether or not Dawn Patrol will happen this year. Anyway, I’d like to try this the first Tuesday of every month and see how it goes.
The current topic of many a conversation is the disaster in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado that hit that area showed no mercy and came without much warning. People here in Michigan are wondering what they can do to help. A fellow Lion Governor has informed me that a group of Lions in her district is gathering needed supplies and will take them to Oklahoma and then stay and help out in any way needed. The area needs many supplies, and they also need money. Within a day of the disaster, Lions Clubs International made sure that the people of Moore had $100,000 to help with getting everyone back on their feet. You didn’t hear about it through the media, though, because Lions Clubs International doesn’t do things that way. Lions Clubs International doesn’t have to send people into the area, because we’re already living and working there.
I’m sure many of you wonder what you might do to help. If you’d really like to help, you might consider writing a check. Whether it would be for $10 or $100, every penny adds up and will help in a very significant way. Make the check payable to: Lions District 3H of LCI. In the memo section of the check, write “Disaster Relief”. Mail the check to Lion Michael D. Banks, Treasurer, District 3H, 215 West McElroy Road, Suite 4, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74075. You may also send a check made payable to Lions Clubs International Foundation. Again, in the memo section write “Disaster Relief”. Mail the check to Lions Clubs International, 300 22nd Street, Oak Brook, Illinois 60521-8842. This is a very easy way to help those in need.
I didn’t mean to devote two paragraphs to the tornado disaster, but I, too, wondered what I could do to help. One of the first things that came to my mind was to use this column to inform others what we could all do. Americans are always the first to come to the aid of others, whether they are in the United States or not. It’s unfortunate, but true, that we will probably not receive any help from anyone but ourselves.
The month of May is drawing to a close, and next Saturday is the first of June. Light and Life Wesleyan Church, 15765 Hoffman Road, directly across from the UAW Hall, will welcome the month of June by holding its annual Yard and Bake Sale. From 9 AM to 3 PM, you’ll have the opportunity to find that special item you’ve been seeking while, at the same time, purchasing some delicious home-cooked and baked items for your dining pleasure. Leave your plastic at home, because they’ll only accept cash.
Give this some thought over this week: Nine out of every ten living things live in the ocean.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
Backyard BBQ chefs will be happy to hear about a new attraction to this year’s Water Festival. It’s a Backyard BBQ Competition. All backyard chefs are invited to compete in this event on Friday, June 14, from 2 until 9 PM. Century Bank and Trust has agreed to sponsor this first-time ever competition. The entry fee is $55, which covers fees, awards, prize money, and three racks of ribs used for the competition. The entry deadline is 5 PM on June 1. The first twenty contestants to contact and secure their deposit will be accepted into the competition. To register, contact Jay Vazquez at 269-615-7781.
Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. Many of you will be traveling, so please do so defensively and be safe. Those staying home in Three Rivers should make sure to take in the Memorial Day parade. The parade normally isn’t very long, but it is memorable and is great to watch. The fire trucks and ambulances will have their lights flashing, but they will not blast their sirens, because the parade is a silent and solemn tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Thanksgiving is a day when we pause to give thanks for the things we have. Memorial Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have.
If you stand along the parade route to watch the parade, please do two things: stand when the colors pass by and then follow the parade to the cemetery for the ceremony. You’ll still have time to feast on the hamburgers and hot dogs from your charcoal grill, and to enjoy the company of your family and friends. Too many have given their lives so that you can enjoy yours. They deserve an hour of your time to be remembered.
Congratulations again to Carol Boulette, who was chosen as this year’s Citizen of the Year by the Three Rivers Lions Club. A banquet was held in her honor last Tuesday evening at Belle Epoque in Three Rivers. About seventy guests were present to hear Lion George Cole and Mary Kay Todd pay tribute to Carol, who has served the community of Three Rivers. At age 96, she has no plans to retire, because there are still a lot of things that need to be done for those in need. Carol’s next task is to be a part of this year’s Water Festival Parade. When she was told about riding in a Corvette during the parade, she was curious to know if she would be able to keep the car. After all, she still does drive herself around town. Congratulations, Carol! The Three Rivers Lions thank you for all you have done.
Hopefully you will read this early enough so that you can participate in the blood drive being held today, Tuesday, May 21, at Three Rivers Health, 701 South Health Parkway, Three Rivers. The hours for donating blood are from 2 till 6:45 PM. The donation of much needed blood is an act that will definitely give you that warm, fuzzy feeling.
If you have a few minutes, stop by the Three Rivers Commission on Aging, 103 South Douglas Avenue. While there, take in the art exhibit created by the home-schooled students of St. Joseph County. It’s another example of the talent that abounds right here in your neighborhood.
If you mail items such as books, film, printed music, CDs and DVDs, you might want to check with the postal clerk before you send these items parcel post. Media mail is available for these items at a lower cost. An example would be sending a one-pound item from Maryland to New Mexico which would cost $5.60 via parcel post. Sending the same item via media mail would cost only $2.47. Pennies add up.
Here are a few more items that might be related to items from Murphy’s Law:
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
When you go into court, you are putting yourself in the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things left by those who got there first.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman
We are all mortal, which means that we are all terminal and our days on earth are limited. I will, on occasion, mention the passing of friends in this column. I don’t do this to be morbid, but I do it because these individuals meant a lot to me, and I’m sure they meant a lot to many readers.
Dan White was killed in an accident a week or so ago. Dan owned Main Street Cafe in historic downtown Three Rivers, and you could usually see him working the grill, or even doing the dishes. His favorite thing was to mingle and talk with the patrons that frequented his establishment. He didn’t have much time to do this, because the restaurant was a popular place to go for good food, good service, or just meet with friends for that early morning cup of coffee. If he’d notice our arrival, he’d always call out “NORM!!” Dan, Darlene, Crystal, and the rest of the staff always made us feel welcome.
Dan was community minded. Whenever I’d stop in to see if he wanted to take out an ad in our Lions Christmas paper, or make a donation to Lions, he’d always oblige us. During HarmonyFest or the Water Festival Car Show, you could count on Dan to have his table out there, so he could make hot dogs available to the attendees.
If you read his obituary, you’d know that he was a teacher and wrestling coach in White Pigeon. He also worked with Santa Claus in Santa’s restaurant.
If there’s a heaven, and if I’m lucky enough to someday pass through those pearly gates, I’m pretty sure Dan will be there. I’ll know for sure, if I hear a voice call out, “NORM!!”. Thank you, Dan, for all that you did for me and the community of Three Rivers.
This past May 3 and 4, the Three Rivers Lions held their White Cane Days. This is an annual project that takes place in late April or early May, and it’s one of my favorite projects. The Lions station themselves outside of Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Harding’s. My wife and I usually pick Harding’s to seek donations, because it’s close to home, and it’s busy enough to keep us alert and awake. We enjoy doing this, because we enjoy people watching, and White Cane gives us the opportunity to do just that. I’ve had my attitude adjusted a bit as a result of dealing with the public. An example would be the young gentleman who pulled into the parking lot with his radio blasting, accompanied by the constant whoomp, whoomp from his speakers. My judgment of him changed when he dropped about five dollars in change into my White Cane bucket. First impressions can be wrong, and it seems that those individuals who least can afford it donate the most, and those who can afford to donate never make eye contact. On behalf of the Three Rivers Lions Club, I’d like to thank everyone who donated to White Cane. Because of you, others less fortunate will receive proper eye care.
I apologize for not mentioning this earlier, but when Mike the mailman mentioned it, it was too late for me to add it to the appropriate column. This last Saturday was the day when your mail carrier would accept non-perishable food items for the food bank. No need to worry, because you may take your donation to the Emergency Care Network location on Railroad Drive, south of Lowry’s Books. I’m pretty sure that every mail carrier left cards notifying everyone about this annual event. Kudos to the mail carriers for doing another good deed. Good thing we have Saturday mail delivery.
We shop for groceries once a week. My wife has a clipboard with items listed that we usually buy. We grocery shop at Hardings and Meijer, and she has the items listed by aisle, which works great for us. Food shoppers spend about 50% more than they planned because of impulse buys, according to researchers. Restricting yourself to one weekly trip instead of three could save you hundreds of dollars a year. She also has at least two of every item in our cupboard. When we use one, she adds it to her grocery list. That way, we never run out. We also try to eat before we go shopping. This also cuts down on impulse shopping. Someday I’d like to figure out where those hundreds of dollars we save by shopping this way have gone.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman