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Opinions

John Kevin Wallace

John Kevin Wallace, 53, of North Liberty, passed away Sunday, June 19, 2016, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City. A Graveside service at St. John’s Cemetery in Lisbon will take place at a later date.

Coming home again

Food For Thought

Feet are for dancing, for prowling ferny valleys, splashing shoeless in the rain, for scaling daunting heights, for traveling alien roads... and coming home again.

Suffering from the epizoodic

Food For Thought

When I was still a toddler nearing 3 years old, I frequently suffered from a mysterious malady my mother called “the epizoodic.” Dr. Ralston, who made house calls, left a tiny envelope of little pink pills for my mother to give me as needed. The symptoms varied; headache, blurry vision, congestion, slight fever, drowsiness, runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat, cough, sometimes I even had a rash. It felt like a common cold more than anything else, except it often disappeared after just a day or two, while colds tend to hang on for a couple weeks.

Define the word “play”

Food For Thought

There was a time when the boys of summer were really boys and what they did was play baseball– with the emphasis on the word “play.” Most of the time, their games were variations of the game because there were seldom enough players to make up two teams for a regulation game. The equipment consisted of whatever bats, balls and mitts the boys involved happened to own or borrow, and the playing field was a vacant lot if they were lucky, or the middle of the street if they were not.

Aunts

Food For Thought

Agnes came every summer on the train from Milwaukee, wearing silk blouses, costume jewelry and too much perfume. Married twice with no children of her own, she doted on her four nieces. Agnes brought us glamour; evening sweaters, cobwebby nylon stockings, after-bath lotion– things too sophisticated for young teenagers. I often thought her gifts odd, but looking back, I think she knew exactly what she was doing by nourishing our adolescent daydreams. Agnes was small-boned and dark-haired with beautiful violet eyes.

It’s for the birds

Food For Thought

About six weeks ago, I watched a robin building a nest on the top of an outdoor light fixture on my deck. Since we first extended the deck to connect an added back porch to the existing deck, there has been a robin’s nest there every summer. Before, we usually put our Christmas tree out on the deck after New Year’s Day as shelter for the birds that came to the bird feeders. Many springs found us forced to delay disposing of the dried-out tree because a robin nest was neatly built in its branches.

Spare the rod - please!

Food For Thought

It’s been a while since I heard anyone repeat what was once an often-used phrase, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” It was thought that an undisciplined child (as in a child who was not spanked regularly) was headed for a life of crime, or at least a life of self-indulgence and conflict with authority.

The demise of downtown

Food For Thought

It used to be every little town had a business area centered around a park, a courthouse, municipal offices, schools or churches. My hometown of Knoxville still has its castle-like county courthouse, but the business area is rapidly disappearing as the outlying shopping malls, motels and fast food businesses pop up at an amazingly rapid rate.

The class of ‘52

Food For Thought

“One out of every three people over 80 will fall this year,” my friend Russ wrote to me. Russ is the classmate who went rafting on the Amazon three years ago and the one who bungee-jumped off a bridge in Australia to celebrate his 80th birthday. I doubt if he worries much about falling but he did wonder why, as we grow older, we get shorter and our feet get bigger. I’m not sure I know the answer to that but I suspect it is Mother Nature looking out for us. After all, if we are shorter, we haven’t so far to fall, and with bigger feet, we have a broader base to help keep our balance.

Dear terrorist

Food For Thought

Dear terrorist,
I address you as “dear” because, unlike you, I believe all life is precious and worthy of my concern. It is because of that concern for life I write this letter to you. You will probably pay little heed to what I have to say, but I am a mother and am accustomed to having my advice ignored, at least at the moment it is offered. I have found, sometimes, the same advice that was once so nonchalantly tossed aside will be resurrected and considered more seriously at a later time. There is always hope.

Aah! Chocolate!

Food For Thought

For a good deal of my life, I trusted Walter Cronkite to tell me the truth. In fact, I seem to remember he was once called the most trusted man in America, so I guess I wasn’t alone in my faith in him. At present, I’m close to replacing him with David Muir, who seems to have the same sort of confident and reassuring manner, so when he tells us something on the ABC news at six o’clock, I tend to believe him.

The man in the trunk

Food For Thought

Melissa slammed shut the trunk of her car and got back behind the steering wheel. She was still trembling slightly. The man hadn’t been particularly threatening, nor had he been overly friendly; just business-like. With his neat beard and dark glasses he faintly resembled half a dozen men she’d seen recently. Salesmen, businessmen, faces on television– the generic nice-looking, average man, but she was pretty sure she’d never met him.