03-14-2019 Tri-City History Page

Glimpses From The Past Five Watervliet Fire Department men sitting behind firefighting equipment; shown as Red Leverton, Chief Elliot Spreen, Chas. McKees, Wm. Smith, & Doug Warman. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to info@northberrienhistory.org. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma


The Paw Paw River Journal


Different strokes When I retired from teaching, it was for us back to the small town of our beginning. And the chance to work on our family home which we had kept all the years we were moving around. Marion and I had been refinishing antique furniture, and that’s how we wanted to furnish it. We also wanted to do some traveling… one of our favorite places being out to Pennsylvania to visit Aunt Hope. She had to go into assisted living, but we went out to visit her anyway. I was taking care of her business with a Power of Attorney (I had the title, but Marion did most of the work!). We also visited all of the friends she had made, who had now become ours also. One was a lady named Dolly. She lived in a neighboring town and worked as manager of the local motel. While visiting her we stayed at the motel, which was nicely furnished. So we sat in the reception area and talked when she was not busy checking people in. It was afternoon and a very stylish lady came roaring in and parked. Nice car, well-dressed, and seemed to know the routine for checking in. After she left with the key card and parked her car in front of one of the units, Dolly said, “Everybody who works here calls her ‘The afternoon delight!’ Pretty soon she’ll be joined by a truck driver.” A big rig soon turned into Mickey D’s across the street and parked out in back. The driver, a youngish man, strolled across the street right by the office and disappeared into the unit rented by The Afternoon Delight. Again, all was quiet and serene. Dolly looked up from her bookkeeping and said, “They do that about once a month. They’ll stay three hours and then she will check out. I’ll go in and change the sheets and pillow cases, and then I can rent the room again!” Later that afternoon I talked with a long-distance trucker who checked in because he finally just had to have a good night’s sleep. I enjoyed him immensely. I’ve always had an affinity for truck drivers ever since back in the day when we were all using CB radios. Over the years they have given us so much valuable information. On the interstate they will know where the traffic backups are. I had to learn to talk their ‘lingo.’ Usually they don’t like to converse with four wheelers. That’s what they call the rest of us car drivers. If we’re driving a really small car, they may refer to it as a ‘roller skate.’ They have nothing but contempt for the stupidity so many drivers exhibit out on the ‘Big Road.’ So, I found if you learn their lingo, and don’t act like a nerd, they will be friendly… and they have a wealth of information. I can remember one night we were driving from Ann Arbor to Hartford on I-94. The weather was horrible… a snowstorm much like we’ve been having. Driving that night was chancy at best. It was late and I was following a big rig. We talked on the CB, and I asked him if he was making it OK. He said so far, so far. I said, “Don’t pay this weather no mind! I just got the autopilot on, my feet up on the instrument panel, and I’m not even looking out through the windshield… Too scary!” He laughed and said he was too. Thus we passed the time until we left him at the Hartford exit. We were both being extra careful, and we knew it! So that afternoon in the motel the long-distance trucker and I sat and talked. I asked him what was his story. He said, “I’ve got to see a doctor. My life is going nowhere. My health is bad, and I got a lot of broken bones. I was working on an oil rig just off the coast of South America. We had an accident and I fell 50 feet into the water!” And so we talked… I tried to give him what advice I could. “With all the bones you’ve had broken, you shouldn’t be in a business where you get shaken up all the time!” “Yeah, I know.” And thus it went on. What do you do when the only business you know, perhaps the only one you like is bad for your health? I’ll bet many people are in that situation. I commiserated with him. At least he had someone to listen. And I wonder in a larger sense… how many people in this life are trapped in jobs they hate, or dislike, or are bad for their health? I guess in this old world, as it spins around, if you are doing something that you don’t mind getting up and going to work… that’s money in the bank. Lesson there for us? You bet! For many it’s not too late to change! I know the Buddhists and Hindus say we will go through many existences before we achieve Nirvana, or Oneness with God. But I have trouble with that theory. As I look back on my own checkered past, I try to think, was I happy in what I was doing? Usually, yes! Oh, I’ll admit to longing sometimes for Friday to come. But I think that sort of pain I remember more from the early days when I really didn’t know what I was doing. After I amassed a body of knowledge and experience, I mostly enjoyed weaving educational threads into the Golden Tapestry of Life. That’s worthwhile in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Coloma Library News Book Sale The library will have a book sale from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. Don’t miss this HUGE sale of gently used books, audiobooks, DVDs, puzzles, magazines and more! The library will remain open during the sale. 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. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, craft and songtime. Story Hour is a free weekly program for toddlers and preschool-aged children, it does not require sign-up. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is alw