Out and About – Week of January 1st

A very Happy New Year to all! This is the time when most of us say, or at least think to ourselves, that we are going to do things better, starting today. Whether it’s losing a few pounds by eating more sensibly, or sticking to a budget better than we have in the past. These thoughts will stay with us for about a week, if that. At least trying to better ourselves entered our mind. As for me, I’m going to try to have a more positive attitude and have more patience with the cat.

The one sad thing about the Christmas season is that when a loved one passes away during this time, the season will never be the same. It’s unfortunate that death never takes a holiday. This past week or so, I lost several friends. Three of them lived here in the Three Rivers area, while the other resided in Coloma. They all affected my life in a special way.

Jim Bippus was a successful, dedicated businessman. I met him through the Lions Club. Jim was a true Lion who never stopped giving, whether it was keeping the club parking lot plowed during the winter or donating equipment to the Service Center. He gave back, because it was just the thing to do. Another thing I admired about Jim was that he spoke his mind. If he didn’t agree with you, he let you know that, but he also knew that there were times when you’d just have to agree to disagree. I’m pretty sure that he is in heaven setting up a wood shop that will be the envy of many.

Unless you are a member of the American Legion, Forty and Eight, or the St. Joseph County Marine Corps League, you probably didn’t know Bill Newman. Bill passed away two days before Christmas, which made the season a bit sadder. I met Bill about five years ago, when I started being more active with the American Legion. Bill was a quiet man, but when he spoke you listened, and if you were smart, you took notes. He was a mentor to me, and I always had something new to learn from him. A year or two ago, he told me that he thought I’d be a good commander for the post. At the time, that was the last thing I wanted to do, but Bill had a way of working with you so that as time went on, the idea of being the “Commander” didn’t seem too crazy. Bill’s life centered around the American Legion and it showed. He definitely left his mark and I guess I’d like to protect it. Semper Fi, Marine!

I never worked for Roger Rathburn, but I knew him through Lions and because he was the TR Community Schools Superintendent. He recognized me years ago during a teacher appreciation function. The event occurred on my birthday. He initiated a ritual that continued for several years. At this particular event, he presented me with several high-quality cigars. I returned the favor a month or two later. Roger passed away much too early in life. He was one of the owners of Sauganash Golf Course, and he died doing what he loved to do and that is making something just a little bit better for everyone.

As I mentioned earlier, when someone passes away around a special holiday, that holiday will never be the same. We all have an expiration date, and no one is immortal. I suppose the moral of this column is that we should live life to the fullest and do what we can so that we’ll never be forgotten. I would hope that we would all think of life as being a precious thing and let those we care about know just how we feel about them. This would make a very nice New Year’s resolution.

What is silent in the word “Scent”? The “S” or the “c”.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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