Three Rivers has always been my hometown. I was raised here, then ventured out into the real world soon after graduation from high school. For the next thirty-three years, I lived in the Chicago area, Denver, and Las Vegas. I always thought of Three Rivers as my hometown because of the people and the sense of tranquility that made up the small city just south of Kalamazoo.
The big difference between Three Rivers and the three other places I lived was the way people treated people. There’s just something about living in a smaller town that makes people treat others differently. For one thing, when someone passes away in a small town, the chances are you would know that person.
Although he lived just a block away, I never got to know Rick Butler as more than just a local businessman. He spent ninety percent of his time at the helm of Matt and Mike’s Eatery. If he wasn’t working the kitchen, he was out catering an event, or delivering Francie’s baked goods to other local merchants. He catered once a month at the Three Rivers Lions Club, and he always made sure that my wife had two or three pats of real butter next to her place setting.
The last time I spoke to Rick was when I stopped by to pick up his donation for this year’s Turtle Derby. I thanked him for his support and he replied something to the effect that he’s always glad to help out the Lions Club. Rick passed away June 23, and I will miss seeing him. I always tried to thank him for doing what he did so well. I only wish that I had told him how much I appreciated his friendship. Another lesson learned.
This year’s Relay for Life event is now in the history books. It was held at Armstrong Field on June 24, from 3 PM until midnight. I attended the event for an hour or so, and even walked a couple of laps. I made a small donation to a friend of mine, who talked the talk and walked the walk. I didn’t stay for the Survivors’ Lap, but have witnessed this emotion-filled walk before.
As far as I know, this is the first year that the Relay lasted only nine hours. I’ve heard that the reason for the shorter Relay is due to the lack of participation. People just didn’t have the interest to come out and participate for almost twenty-four hours. Hopefully, I’m terribly mistaken. Perhaps there are people who think that more of the donations should be spent on research and a cure, than on administrative costs. I wish I knew.
I have quite a few friends who have fought the fight. Some have won the battle and some have not been so fortunate. My father died from stomach cancer. By the time they found it, it was too late. That was fifty years ago. With further research, hopefully in the next fifty years, cancer will be a thing of the past.
As I’ve always said, appreciate those you love and make sure you share your feelings with them. If you want to live longer, it helps to sing daily for at least ten minutes. It reduces stress, clears sinuses, improves posture, and can help you live longer.
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman