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Freedom-What a Beautiful Word…
…and what a terrible, great cost to be able to enjoy our freedom in America.
Our heartfelt thanks to the Brownstown VFW Post No. 9770 for helping us to realize and remember those men and women, all heroes, who have made it possible, and are still fighting to keep us free of tyranny, terrorism and oppression.
This was the 16th year VFW Post No. 9770 has brought the Memorial Day service to Brownstown, and it seems it just gets better every year (although there have been some really memorable moments in past years, such as Brownstown’s own “Sonny” Tinker doing fly-over, and the indescribable, emotional feeling one felt).
This year, Mother Nature added to the uplifting feeling as the wind continually caused the many beautiful flags (American, POW, etc.) to billow, furling and unfurling, each individually as if celebrating freedom itself, but yet touching and blending in with one another in unity, symbolic of our freedom as individuals and yet united as a country.
The program, again accented by the sound and feel of the wind, was inspirational, dedicated to our veterans, and touching as the speakers remembered those who have gone on, and saluting both those and the ones who are serving today. This day is set aside for remembering, but we should keep those who have served in the past and those who are serving our country today every day in our hearts and prayers…thankfully.
Opening the program, the First Baptist Church choir of Brownstown sang patriotic songs, with readings by Greg Strobel, Parker Carruthers, Cassi Payne and Matthew Deal.
A solo was sung by Joylynn Strobel. Other choir member are Nick Carruthers, Angela Strobel, Tammy Barker, Melissa Deal, Jessica Behrends, Mary Schilling, Sara Evans, Deanna Kestner and Suzanne Stinebring.
Village President B.J. Deal, as master of ceremonies, gave the welcome, and excerpts from his brief talk follow: “Memorial Day is a day when all Americans, regardless of color, religion or political persuasion, join together to remember the sacrifices of those who answered their nation’s call.
“We are bound by the honor of these individuals that have fought valiantly to preserve our freedom, to keep the legacy of these men and women on the minds of the future generations. They fought and died to preserve this land of hopes and dreams. And it is the price for the freedoms so many of us take for granted. They did not come cheap.
“We cannot place a price on the tears from family members, or the blood of our friends….we should all be determined to give those who return a proper reception, and compensation to them for their wounds, and to the families who lost their loved ones to wounds they were unable to heal from.
“It has been said that, “To properly honor our dead, we must honor our living.”
All veterans of all wars present were asked to stand and were saluted by the military and applauded by all present.
Following the presentation of the colors, the Rev. Olen Evans gave the invocation.
Cub Scout Troop No. 118 led the pledge to the flag. Post Commander Dan Frutiger gave the commander’s address, followed by reading of the deceased members of Post No. 9770 by Don Smail.
Brittany Kistler, winner of the Voice of Democracy, read her essay.
The guest speaker, J.D. “Butch” Spindler, a past state VFW commander, gave a very sincere and touching talk on fellow U.S. Marines he served with and fought side by side with, including those of his friends who died in combat beside him.
Evans gave the benediction, followed by the solemn, impressive and touching retiring of colors, the firing of volleys by the VFW Post No. 9770 and the sound of the trumpet in the distance as Kammie Kilzer played “Taps,” concluding the program, but not the feelings and renewed meaning and appreciation of this special day.
Thanks to our men and women in the VFW Post No. 9770 and all who participated in the program.
“All This Beauty.…Just Given To Us”…
…are words “set in stone” at Griffith’s Cemetery on Mayme Griffith’s stone.
Following the Memorial Day program, we came by and picked up Josie, the 11-year-old puppy and went to Griffith’s Cemetery to visit Cora’s place.
We were so appreciative of the beauty, both of the surrounding nature and of the many beautiful flowers and other decorations left on loved one’s resting places.
As we absorbed the beauty, we thought of Gene Watson and Hubert Griffith and their love for the grounds.
We would see Gene often, setting out flowers or laying stones, creating a new area of beauty. He often said he was just “enhancing” the beauty that was already there.
And we also thought of those following (Joe Kelly and Gene Cannon come to mind), and the others who have followed through with the upkeep and improvement.
Mayme Griffith recognized the beauty long ago. David Miller told me that when they would take her for a car ride, she would say those words, so they had them put on her stone.
We saw a new bridge has been built over Sandy Run, but in a little different location. It is a very nice, sturdy bridge, one which Gene and Hubert would be proud of. It is located near the bench where Hubert used to sit and read his newspaper among the nature he so appreciated. We walked over to the bridge, taking Josie with us, and took pictures.
The old bridge was especially precious, because that was Cora’s favorite place. She chose Griffith for her burial place, and chose and decorated her own stone, because she “wanted everyone to know that Jesus took care of her in life, just as He would when she died.”
She said that if she did get to marry, she wanted to be married on the bridge. We would take little picnics and eat them on the bridge.
One day, we took a beloved friend, Jessie Donaldson, with us. We were picnicking and Cora saw Gene Cannon working there. She invited him over to share our lunch and dusted off a spot for him to sit on the bridge. He didn’t refuse her, and I appreciated his thoughtfulness for a little girl. The old bridge is also gone now, but the new one will serve others for years to come, as it should be.
Thank you to all who work to make Griffith Cemetery so lovely.
Blood Drive at Golden Years Club Building…
…Red Cross Blood Drive. Monday, June 13, from 2-6 p.m. at the Golden Years Building.
TV Comedienne “Nadine, the Church Lady” is Coming to Town!
The Friends of the Brownstown Library is sponsoring a country music and comedy show at the Brownstown High School Gym at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 25.
The show features “Nadine,” a Nashville TV comedienne who stars on the RFD-TV show, “Larry’s Country Diner,” as well as with a local band, “Thunder Road.”
Nadine brings her popular style of family humor to the stage. Limited reserve seating is available for $15 per ticket or two for $25, while general admission is $12 each or $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased from Friends of the Brownstown Library members or at the Brownstown Branch Library.
Library hours when tickets can be purchased are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1-5 p.m., and on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Payment can be made by check, money order or cash. For more information, call Connie Bingaman at 427-3174 or 292-9579.
Coming & Going
Tornado hits Wanda’s Mother’s Home
Ken and Wanda Puleo and Debbie went to Dix on Thursday, May 25, to visit her mother, Ethhel Pitmann.
A tornado had passed through the area about 6:45 the evening before and almost all the trees surrounding her house were either uprooted or many limbs broken out of them and thrown around the yard, and blocking the highway in front.
A row of 30-year-old pine trees near the pond were uprooted. Ethel was sitting on the top of the basement stairs during the storm and she felt violent blasts of wind shaking the house. She expected the roof to come off at any minute.
Several power lines near her house and outbuildings were broken by falling trees and branches. Her power was off until Saturday. A few shingles at the corner of the roof directly over her bedroom were torn loose. She was very shaken up by the experience, but insisted on going ahead and staying in her own home.
Luckily, her son, Phillip, who lives about a quarter of a mile away, didn’t lose his power and had moved his Jeep from its normal parking space before a large tree behind his garage fell where the Jeep had been parked.
Memorial Day with the Puleos and Debbie
The Puleos and Debbie enjoyed a potluck dinner at the home of Matt and Kathy McConkey in Vandalia.
They were joined by Katy and Debbie’s sister, Connie Meslil of Sandoval. Honora, a 14-month-old baby girl, seems to have changed everytime she sees her grandparents and is learning a new set of tricks constantly.
Golden Years Meeting
Sixteen members signed the register at the Golden Years Club meeting and potluck on Tuesday, May 24.
Club President Charlie Reece gave the welcome and asked the blessing for the meal.
Following the meal and Donnie Smail’s K.P. crew clean-up completion, Reece called the meeting to order.
Treasurer Smail gave the financial report. Smail gave a reading about messages written in autograph books.
Reece said the club had been offered an organ, but as no one in the club could play it, the offer was declined, with the thought that it might be received by someone who could really put it to good use.
It was also announced that a Red Cross blood drive would be held at the club on June 13, from 2-6 p.m.
A reminder was given of the Memorial Day program at the Memorial Wall in Brownstown. Reece asked all to remember those of the club who were here and are now gone.
An enjoyable room-wide conversation followed, remembering past members, past club meetings and the games the members used to enjoy playing, such as Dominoes and Skip-Bo. One member remembered a member, the late Gwen Sapp, even had a special table made which would accommodate six people to play Skip-Bo. The table remains in the clubroom.
Berniece Bosomworth presented one of her mind-stumping riddles.
A five-generation photo was shared in which Lenore Parkison was holding her great-great-granddaughter, Raygan Marie, and also included great-grandma, Carolyn Grames, also a member of the Golden Years Club.
The next Golden Years potluck meeting will be held on June 14 at noon at the Golden Years building at First and Division Street in Brownstown, with an open invitation to any seniors in Fayette County to come share in the fellowship and food.
Director Hollingshead Visits HCE Board Meeting
The Fayette County Home and Community Education Board met Monday, May 23, at the Vandalia Extension Office with nine members present.
President Flo Allen called the meeting to order and led the pledge of allegiance to the American flag. The roll call by the secretary, Mary Smith of Wrights Corner Unit, was answered by the following: Dorothy Harpster-St. Peter unit; Karen Hyde-Wheatland Unit; Anna Jean Rhodes-St. Elmo Unit; Flo Allen, Shirley Klitzing, Phyllis Pryor, Panzi Blackwell-Sefton Unit; and Anita Smith-Vandalia day Unit. Also present was Rachelle Hollingshead, county Extension director.
Smith brought a loaf of her homemade Irish soda bread to share with all present. She was kind enough to send some extra pieces home with Panzi Blackwell, who had developed a real liking of the bread after successfully making the highest bid on (and received) a loaf of (member) Lucille Fisher’s Irish soda bread at the HCE Get-Acquainted-Day fundraiser auction in April.
•Smith read the minutes of the April meeting.
•Treasurer Dorothy Harpster gave the financial report and gave each one present an itemized copy.
•Allen announced the need to choose two Fayette County HCE members to be on the HCE Executive Board of the four counties (Jasper, Clay, Fayette, Effingham), which will meet twice a year.
The first scheduled meeting is Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m., at the Effingham Library. Flo Allen and Anna Jean Rhodes agreed to represent Fayette County.
•Allen also announced the budget agreement needed to be signed.
•Rhodes announced that member certificates are needed.
•Harpster announced that a check submitted in the year 2000 for the amount of $15 to Alice Grooms has never been cashed. It was decided to re-write a check for the amount and send it with a note to Grooms.
Karen Hyde told about the “Strong Women, Healthy Heart” program going well. Seventeen women are in her group, which meets twice a week at the U of I Extension office. Since beginning over a month ago, no one has dropped out.
Rachelle Hollingshead informed the group about possible changes based on staffing plans. Beginning July 1, office staff members Debbie Boley and Jo Stine will have their hours cut and the Vandalia Extension Office will possibly be closed two days a week.
Harpster commented that their 4-H Club in St. Peter is disturbed about the situation.
Hollingshead urged the HCE members to contact our legislators and ask them to ”support the House’s version of the Department of agriculture’s budget, House Bill 124 House Amendment #1, and to support Senate Bill 744 with House Amendment #1, or now any casino bill that would provide additional funding for Extension.
For those willing to make the calls, do it immediately, and focus on the House members first, and then the Senate members.”
She also emailed information to Blackwell and Rhodes for sharing with other units/members.
Hollingshead also commented that the Ramsey Cooking School went very well, with good and enthusiastic participation.
Following the meeting, Flo Allen, Shirley Klitzing, Phyllis Pryor, Anna Jean Rhodes, Karen Hyde, Anita Smith and Dorothy Harpster went to lunch at the Capitol View Restaurant.