Crackers on my mind I noticed a sheen of frost on the grass this morning. It made me think of how, for many years, our thoughts would turn toward Florida. Then we would start making plans! A vacation starts, or should, when you turn the key in the lock and climb into your trusty vehicle for the trip. And part of the fun of being on the road is the things you see, the places you pass, and especially pit stops on the way to wherever you are going. If you follow my column you know how much we like eating out… food adventures! And we have always had some on our trips to Florida and back. Of all the eateries, some of our favorites are Cracker Barrels. Now there is a problem… those places are so doggone popular, if you stop at mealtime they are crowded, noisy and you feel like you’re wasting time. We have found a way to beat that. When we travel we are on Davis time. We like to get tucked in early, and thus we are ready to get up early. When Cracker Barrel opens at 6 a.m., no crowd! We get right in, and the staff is ready for business. One of our favorites is on the east side of Tallahassee, Florida. We stay in a nice motel right close. So we are up early, packed, and have our heads on straight. One time we parked in front of that restaurant. Frosty morning, and a young man was out sweeping the fallen leaves off the front entrance way. We were traveling in Marion’s car. When I shut the driver’s door, it didn’t catch all the way. So I bumped it with my hip, and all hell broke loose. The burglar alarm went off. The young man almost dropped his broom. I hastily relocked the door thus canceling the alarm. When we got to the front door, he had it open and said, “I almost stuck my head in and hollered for them to get the grits going… there are some awfully hungry people out here!” And I might mention here that I’ve never had a bad bowl of grits at a Cracker Barrel. Inside, warmth from the big fireplace and smells of food cooking. We did have grits, and pancakes, and bacon, and eggs! Cozy times like that… on the road again! The Chief Accountant and I, together. Doesn’t get much better than that! Another favorite pit stop on our Florida journeys was the Cracker Barrel at Cullman, Alabama. We stopped there so often we got acquainted with one of the managers named John Malone. He bought us coffee one day and we talked. He told us his wife for a birthday present bought him some Cracker Barrel stock. And he recommended that we get some… should have done that! Later on I wrote a column about that place and how we enjoyed stopping there. I sent a copy of it to John. Next trip, when we came in the door, I didn’t see our friend. I asked one of the girls, “Where is John today?” She replied, “Oh, some guy up north wrote a newspaper article about him. We had it up on the bulletin board, and finally somebody sent it to headquarters at Lebanon, Tennessee. They promoted John and gave him his own store in Mississippi!” Well, go figure! I wish we could have stopped to see him at his new place, but we never did. We have been in so many Cracker Barrels, and never had a bad meal in one. I love their breakfasts. Another favorite is the hash brown potato casserole. Another revelation is their biscuits and sausage gravy… daughter Deb’s Gary says actually you can get gravy on anything there. I’ve not tried it on a salad! When the waitress takes our order, she always asks, “Would you like corn muffins or biscuits?” Then I say, “Yes!” And she brings us some of both! One time for a Christmas present I made our kids a pad of new two dollar bills. I had them glued in with a cover like a book of coupons. They all got a kick out of that. When son Rob was driving home from Florida, he stopped at a Cracker Barrel for sausage gravy and biscuits. On the way out when he went to pay, he took out his pad of two dollar bills and gave some to the waitress. Alarm bells went off, and she didn’t know whether she wanted to take them or not! We’ve had many good meals at the Cracker Barrel right here at the Oshtemo exit. Now I heard that it has closed, and they have even taken down the sign. I’m curious about the reasoning. I know there was a terrible tragedy enacted right out in the parking lot. Horrible when a shooting like that takes place. Do you suppose they felt there was some bad karma lingering? So many restaurants and so little time! Many of our good eating experiences have been on our trips. In my mind all the Cracker Barrels where we have eaten are now part of the golden tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River!
Watervliet Library News Teen Table Projects: January CubeeCraft: Super heroes to make & take. In Stitches Knitting Group Jan. 11, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Bring a current project or interest; they’ll help anyone get started! Adult Reading Program Jan. 14 – Feb. 23 3 prize levels; 5 books per level. First place: Fuzzy Socks; 2nd: Mug & Cocoa; 3rd: Eye Mask; Grand Prize: $50 Gift Card, Oasis Hot Tubs Make-it-Monday Jan. 14, 4 – 5 p.m. Crafts, projects and games second Monday of every month for k-6th graders. This month: Cardboard rocket launcher. Third Monday Book Club Jan. 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month: Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance. Special event: Beginning Genealogy Jan. 24, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Ever wonder about ancestors’ lives or if family lore about Great Uncle George is really true? Here’s the place to get started! Join long-time genealogy & local history enthusiast Carole Kiernan, as she guides participants through the basics of family research. Refreshments will be served. Story Hours Wed. 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. & Thurs. 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Picture books, crafts and fun designed to inspire the love of reading for ages 3 – 5. Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga Mondays 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesdays 7 – 8 p.m.; Fridays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. (NEW); Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.
Coloma Library News Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club is always looking for new members. Stop into the library or call 468-3431 for more information.
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1919 Are your New Year’s resolutions made and in order? One quality which everyone will need is patience. We have just come to the end of a great war and anxious to see the conditions of peace restored. It will take time to bring our army home and for war prices to go down to normal level. Patience is our watchword for 1919. The marriage of George Kibler and Miss Clara White was solemnized. Mr. Kibler is well known; being employed at the paper mill in Watervliet. 60 years ago – 1959 The Chamber of Commerce election results are: David Faulkner of Faulkner’s 5 cents to $1.00 store, president; Louise Gersey of Coast-To-Coast store, vice president; Bryce Dunlop of the State Bank, treasurer. Board of Directors is Dale Antes of Standard Oil and Fred Zoschke of Fred’s Super Market. This is the first issue of The Coloma Courier by its new owner, Mr. and Mrs. McGuineas. John Steele of Coloma North Road has been named to the Twin Cities Community Chest. 30 years ago – 1989 A lengthy discussion took place with the School Board concerning funding. It was decided that the media centers will help finance field trips for the Accelerated Writing and Reasoning Environment program, (AWARE). Pat Santiago was the spokesman for the group. AWARE is part of the Magnet Schools program. The Pines and Needles Garden Club met at Marion Leedy’s home for a Christmas luncheon. A talk was given on recycling. Next month’s meeting will include Sarett Nature Center presenting a program on snow. Allison Fournier receives Athlete of the Year from WSJM and Cook Nuclear Plant. Phil McDonald presents the plaque. Accompanying Allison are her coaches, John Brigham and Todd Smith. Also, mom, Mrs. Larry Swisher is with her. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431
NEWS FROM THE HARTFORD DAY SPRING
100 years ago – 1919 Keeler has lost its monopoly on foxes. Hartford made a sudden leap to fame Monday by the discovery of a fox – or two of them in this township. One left his unmistakable tracks in a field back of the Azur Sweet home on east Main Street, while the same fox or another one was seen at the E.C. Strickney farm southeast of town. The Hartford Woman’s Club held its regular meeting on Tuesday. Mrs. Eva Lobdell read a paper on “Pompeii”; Mrs. Alice Bennett gave a piano solo; Mrs. Helen Zuver read of “Roman Remains”; and Mrs. Sara Morse read a paper, “Florentine Art”. 75 years ago – 1944 The Art Study class met with Mrs. Alice Hurry on Monday afternoon, when Mrs. J.H. Powers presented a lesson on the works of the Spanish artist, Mariano Fortuny, who from a beggarly boyhood rose to fame and gained the admiration of his people. The Southwest Hartford Club entertained husbands and families at the Gleaner Hall on Jan. 8, when the annual family night was observed. After supper, the group was entertained by Miss Jessie Morgan, who told several interesting stories. Children of the Brague school sang two groups of songs under the direction of their teacher, Miss Smith. Through the efforts of a determined group of Hartford men, young and old alike may now enjoy ice skating. A volunteer crew of workers prepared the pond in the north parking lot. 50 years ago – 1969 A special election on a proposal to merge the Hartford and Lawrence school districts is expected to be held on Monday, Feb. 24. Approval of the election was received Monday by local school officials from Ira Polley, state superintendent of public instruction. Gary Waterkamp, superintendent of Hartford schools had been advised by legal counsel that it would not be necessary for each present district to assume the indebtedness of the other in event of a merger. A committee of residents of the two school districts, after completing a study of the proposal, recommended that the matter be brought to a vote. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408
NEWS FROM THE WATERVLIET RECORD
90 years ago – 1929 Uriah Wood, one of Watervliet’s two surviving Civil War veterans, was the oldest past grand at the Oviatt Lodge of Odd Fellows. Mr. Wood gave a talk on “the good of the order”. He referred briefly to his service in the Union Army where he enlisted in 1862, was taken a prisoner in 1863 and held in Andersonville until the end of the war. Miss Irene Ray, Watervliet, who is a junior at Western State Teachers College, Kalamazoo, is a member of the Women’s Glee Club and the Teachers College Choir. C.O. Thorne, former superintendent of the Watervliet paper mill and for many years active in the paper making industry, is much interested in the apparently successful experiments that are being made in the manufacture of paper from cornstalks pulp. 60 years ago – 1959 Watervliet’s new Main Street is part of the M-140 Project, extending from the intersection of St. Joseph Street to the beginning of the new concrete. J. Yerrington Company had the contract for black-topping Main Street. Watervliet can boast of two champions, Grand Champion Cecelia Vucich and the reserve, her brother Nick. Mr. and Mrs. John Vucich of Napier Road are the parents of this well-known brother and sister who won their laurels at the Berrien County Youth Fair with their vegetable exhibit. Arthur Helweg will matriculate at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He will major in education. Arthur was awarded an N.R.O.T.C. Scholarship. 30 years ago – 1989 Forty-eight Southwestern Michigan College students have been named to the President’s List for the fall 1988 semester. Students awarded this honor must maintain a grade point average of 4.0. The only one from Watervliet is Carole Kiernan. The faculty and staff of the Watervliet Junior High would like to congratulate Terry Harris for being chosen ‘Student of the Week’. Terry has a positive, friendly attitude. His teachers appreciate this quality as well as his hard-working and conscientious approach to his class work. Kathy Bradley’s 7th – 8th grade art classes have their art work on display at the Watervliet District Library. This showing is a part of the ‘Partners in Education’ program with the Watervliet Junior High School and the Watervliet District Library. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382