11-14-2019 Letters and Commentary

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE… “The Veterans Day Snow of 2019” brought winter to most of the U.S. A weather forecaster Tuesday morning showed the weather map for the continental U.S. and noted there was a wind chill for every state.

Locally we all got a wake up to put our winter wear on and to drive carefully as stopping distances were increased and vision was decreased. With a few more days of this we should all be used to the cold and lake effect snow. Then we might forget anything we’ve learned when the sun comes back out and the thermometer creeps back to a balmy 40 degrees.

It is really stupid for anyone to drive in a snowstorm without having their headlights on. Enough said.

SORRY NO PICTURE… Please don’t be dismayed if you were expecting a picture of the Watervliet VFW Veterans Day Service in this week’s Record. Due to operator error (me) there are no pictures of the indoor service. When my trusty Canon misfired I reached for my cell phone (which takes good pictures), it was resting comfortably on my desk.

My apologies to the members of the VFW Post and the members of the North Berrien Military Rites Team, they deserve the recognition for their sacrifices. My apologies as well to the members’ families and to the visitors, I don’t think I’ve missed a service since coming to the Record in 1984 – Veterans Day or Memorial Day.

VFW Commander Corky Openneer opened the service and introduced Pete Petruk who offered a prayer seeking divine assistance on behalf of the veterans and their families.

Pastor Ed Richcreek was the speaker. Having served himself he offered insight that his service was not the same as most veterans present. He was in the Navy six years, during peacetime, and for many years he did not belong to a veterans organization. But now he understands the brotherhood of the veterans, and as he’s proud of his service is now a proud veteran.

Pete Petruk offered a closing prayer, and the Military Rite Team gave a six-gun salute and closed with the playing of taps.

VETERANS ALL… I found Ed Richcreek’s comment of “being not worthy” interesting because later Monday evening I was reading an exchange on Facebook. A six-year member of the Army Reserve didn’t feel he was entitled to be a veteran because he wasn’t in the service as a full member. There was a plethora of comments of support for the writer’s right to be a veteran.

Many shared my comment, that members of the military reserves who served honorably are veterans. Typically, I opened my mouth before opening my eyes and looking up whether reservists are considered veterans. Somewhere in a tangle of legalese and exceptions, I concluded reservists who are honorably discharged are veterans. But they are not eligible for most of the veteran’s benefits unless for the times when they might have been called to active duty.

PHOTO SHOOT… Following the fiasco of the misfiring camera (and brain) this Veterans Day, brought to mind a photography opportunity years ago.

As a neophyte assistant editor assigned to the Capac Journal, Publisher Tom Sadler told me the DNR would be dynamiting a large beaver dam north of town. Directions in hand, I headed out for the assignment with my camera.

Said camera was a state-of-the-art Polaroid bellows model. With a fixed focus lens, one would point it (at) the photo subject and shoot (the picture).

The magic of instant photography was well served by Polaroid. Once the picture was taken, the photographer would pull out the exposed film with a negative image on one sheet of paper and the positive image on the other. The papers were attached and would be pulled simultaneously through rollers, squeezing the developing chemicals evenly across the print. In sixty seconds, the papers could be pulled apart and voila, a black and white picture appeared right before your eyes.

I took a lot of pictures with that camera and most were good enough to print. I had taken fire pictures, sports pictures, class reunions, snows, floods and just about anything that would hold still for the cameraman. In cold weather, I would pull the exposed film out of the camera and in one swoop would drop it under my shirt to keep the chemical transfer working because it wouldn’t if it was too cold.

Some of my best shots were football sideline shots. I soon learned the only chance of a fast action picture was if it was coming right at me. I’d click the shutter, pull the film out, and fall back to avoid getting run over by a football player. Basketball was trickier, I would point the camera where I hoped the player would shoot the bas