The Paw Paw River Journal
Learning to meditate Once in this column I mentioned that old people just can’t refrain from giving advice! Well, I’ve tried to practice what I preach… but now I’ve gotten on to something I think might be helpful. That is the practice of meditating. And I will give you an example of how I do it. In our new apartment we live farther from the dining room. Some time ago I decided in order to build my strength I would walk to meals always. This worked very well where we used to live. I noticed after a few days here that I was feeling very different. I asked one of the girls to take my blood pressure. Yup, it was up! So I started meditating, and I brought it back down again. That simple! How does it work? I started back when we were living in Ann Arbor and I went to the dentist to have a tooth repaired. In my journal from that time I wrote the following: “I’m sitting in the waiting room at my dentist. He has put in a temporary crown on a tooth I broke off. Now I’m waiting for The Beauty Queen (hygienist) to check and clean my teeth. “I have found that I can go into a state of meditation while I am waiting in uncomfortable circumstances. Don’t know how to explain it, but I sort of quiet my body down, relax each part of it; then I become a giant ear listening to all of my body processes going on. Then I say, ‘All right breathing, become regular. OK, pulse, slow down a little and become more regular.’ “Then I relax each part of my body, monitoring everything so the clockwork becomes a little slower. It all fits in together and meshes in a certain harmony. I am observing my processes from the inside. Then I almost seem to move outside and be surrounded by a gray softness. It enfolds me, I am floating free, sort of suspended… in overdrive. I am in harmony with the universe and all the clocks are ticking internally along with the earth outside and the solar system. Extraneous sounds become detached and I am not aware of the passage of time. “Thus I went into the chair about 2:15 to get prepped. I came out at 3:30, not having any idea of what time it was. Now I sit here relaxed, my body even feels rested, as though I have been sleeping… and I can tell you it was uncomfortable while they were working in my mouth. After the drilling stopped the meditation was more effective. Isn’t the whole thing strange? Does it sound crazy? But it works! I have used it before, and it really works.” I don’t often mention the above which I wrote in my journal. Oh, I talked with Marion about it, and she believes me on the meditation part. And I have used the technique when I had to wait in line for something. But lately I find that it has not been necessary as often. I make sure not to get in waiting lines… unless I absolutely have to. Guess I got my fill of that when I was in WWII. Everywhere we went we had to wait. Stood in line to eat at the mess hall… stood in line to get into the movie theater… stood in line everywhere we went. And I made up my mind (along with several million other guys like me) that if I ever got out of that situation… I’d never stand in line again. Well, I’ve had to eat those words since. The above practice of meditating got me through some of them. And I find now that waiting is not so bad. When in an unavoidable situation I take along a book. Or my journal. In crowded places the journal can be embarrassing… people ask me what I am doing. I tell them I’m a writer and I’m writing in a journal. Sometimes they seem impressed. And I now have another ploy while waiting. My chief Accountant (who is also an expert seamstress) has obligingly sewn on my jacket the insignia of my Air Force outfit in the China, Burma, India Theater. And fairly often, some old geezer (my age) will slide up to me and say, “I was over there too!” Then we have a mini reunion. Just recently a younger man stopped me and said, “I saw your Air Force patch… just wanted to thank you for all you guys did for us!” That almost brought tears to my eyes. One time we were vacationing out in the mountains of East Central Pennsylvania as we have done so many times. In a little restaurant called The Brass pelican we were having lunch. I noticed across the room an older man looking at me. When he and his wife left, they stopped by our table. He said, “So, you were in the China Burma India Theater?” Turns out he was there too as a tech rep for Curtis Electric Propellers, which we used on our ships. Through him we got to know his younger brother who published an online newspaper. I have appeared in that publication and I have used some of his material in my column. David Kline has since retired. He and his wife are vacationing in Florida where they are trying all sorts of exotic eating places. I still miss reading his paper! There is a whole world out there. We can never know all of it, but it is interesting to meet new people. You don’t meet many of them if you meditate while waiting out a line. So I have fun doing it both ways. You know, a writer is always looking for a story. And I have found some waiting in the most unlikely places. Life is still an adventure as we weave more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River!
Watervliet Library News Kids out on Holiday Break are encouraged to visit the library – they have table top board games, puzzles and of course books. Teen Table Projects: December Book-parts ornaments – yeah they’re messy! Do-it-yourself projects at the library for teens; all supplies provided. Story Hours Picture books, crafts and fun designed to inspire the love of reading! Wednesdays 10:30–11:30 a.m., Thursdays 1:30–2:30 p.m., for ages 3 – 5. Sensory Bin Blast Jan. 8, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Here is the perfect time for a perfect mess! Water table, painting, rice bins, play-dough, reading and toddler toys for 0-5 year olds and their families. Make-it Monday Jan. 14, 4 – 5 p.m. Monthly craft, project & game time for K-6th graders & families. This month: cardboard rocket launcher. 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., Chair Yoga Wednesdays 6–6:30 p.m. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.
Free pre-diabetes class in St. Joseph Spectrum Health Lakeland is offering a free program designed to help anyone with higher-than normal blood sugar levels learn about lifestyle changes which may help them avoid or delay the onset of diabetes. The class will take place on Thursday, January 3, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Pharmacy Conference Room at the Center for Outpatient Services, located at 3900 Hollywood Rd. During the first hour of the program, a registered nurse will guide attendees through the disease process of diabetes and introduce healthy lifestyle changes. The final hour will be spent with a registered dietitian who will suggest meal selections that can help you maintain health and manage weight. This program does not require a physician referral. Pre-registration for this free class is required, and class size is limited. For more information or to register, call (269) 556-2868.
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1918 Lieut. Harold Grant writes a letter from France. “After much marching, we have now landed in Nantes. The country is very beautiful. Little old villages and chateaus are every few kilometers. The people are very hospitable. There is no doubt that the armistice is final. Hoping to arrive home soon. With love to all, Harold” The heavy fall of snow added to the Christmas cheer. Merchants report a liberal Christmas patronage. The young lads remark, “Ain’t it [the snow], a grand and glorious feeling?” 60 years ago – 1958 John Steele and Ted Rakstis were chosen to positions with the Twin Cities Community Chest for 1959. Steele has been involved since its inception in 1942. Rakstis will be involved with public relations. On New Year’s Day, Mrs. Harriet Leedy will observe her 99th birthday. She has been an avid quilter. Currently, she enjoys the Coloma Courier, always reading “Rolling Back the Years” column. The Coloma police department will offer rides home this New Year’s Eve. If you find yourself making too merry, give the police a call. Chief Harold Nitz doesn’t want to risk the safety of the motorists. 30 years ago – 1988 We Asked You… What was the Best and Worst of 1988? Lori Romeo of Piwacki says, “The worst were the ups and downs of the paper mill and the fire at Old World Gardens. The best is my brother is coming home for Christmas this year.” Local ladies Allene Stark and Dorothy Stark Cannell share their Coloma history. Both were born here and live in the family home on Paw Paw Street. Dorothy was in the last class to graduate the 8th grade from the basement school in the Coloma State Bank. The ladies have many, many fond memories. 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 – 1918 All records in the volume of Christmas mail were broken at the Hartford Post Office this year. During the month of December a total of 200 sacks of mail were dispatched as compared with 166 in 1917, while 565 sacks of mail were received as compared with 195 last year. Dr. Fred Van Riper arrived home Monday from Camp Shelby, MS, with an honorable discharge from the army. He enlisted in the dental corps and was called into service in the fall, but upon the signing of the armistice he made application for discharge. 75 years ago – 1943 The Hartford Mothers of World War II met Jan. 3, for the annual election of officers. Those chosen for the ensuing year are Mrs. Guy Congdon, president; Mrs. Robert Brandt, first vice-president; Mrs. John Birmele, second vice-president; Mrs. Stanley brown, treasurer; Mrs. Roy Swinford, secretary; Mrs. Edward Hickey, sergeant-at-arms and Mrs. Eldon Long, chaplain. The organization expressed their appreciation for the gift of a quilt top presented them by the Southwest Hartford Club. Attorney Earl Burhans of Paw Paw addressed members of the Hartford Women’s Club on “The University, Its Beginning and History,” sketching the history of the University of Michigan, where he acted as regent for several years. Scrap paper of every description, that for years has been a nuisance to Hartford’s tidy housekeepers, is now in the army, or should be. Boy Scouts from the Hartford troop are going to check up on all waste paper that has so far avoided the draft by canvassing the village, house to house, Saturday of this week. 50 years ago – 1968 The Jaycees will collect Christmas trees that are left at the curb during the afternoon on Saturday. They will burn them in a bonfire at 7:30 p.m. at the Todd Efting home, north of town. Biggest headlines in the area in 1968 were made at Hartford, where a February fire wiped out a section of the business block and where purchase of Cherry Growers, Inc. by Duffy-Mott Corp. launched a multi-million dollar industrial expansion. 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 – 1928 In the list of patents granted by the United States patent office for Dec. 1928, is Clarence O. Thorne from Watervliet. His patent is in a paper cutter. The Watervliet Co-Operative Creamery Association did the largest business in the history of the institution during 1928, with gross sales of $83,666.15. Secretary John Warman gives much credit to butter maker Aage Larsen for the continued growth in patronage and business of the creamery. Mr. Larsen received a silver medal awarded by the National Dairy Show for the second highest scoring butter for the state of Michigan. 60 years ago – 1958 Murl Haney was presented a watch, commemorative of his 40 years of service with the Watervliet Paper Company. He came here first as a helper on the old brush coaters, later ran a coater and still later was made a tour foreman in the Coating Department. Subsequently he was transferred to what is now called Quality Control and has been in the Coating Mill Test Station for the past 25 years or more. Mr. and Mrs. William Roberts are the proud parents of their baby girl, Karen Lea, born Dec. 13, 1958 and weighed 7 pound and 10-1/2 ounces. Sonie Rogers Sloan, 21, was crowned the 1958 alumni homecoming queen on Nov. 7, 1958, during the halftime ceremonies of the Watervliet-Hartford football game. 30 years ago – 1988 Jodie Britenfeld was chosen ‘Student of the Week’ from the freshman class. She participates in Junior Varsity sports, playing basketball and volleyball. Her best class is algebra and she also plays the saxophone in band. Richard Schanze, President of Peoples State Bank, presents Watervliet City Mayor Robert Flaherty with a check for $7,041. The local banking institution generously offered to supplement the City’s budget for the next two months by picking up salaries for laid-off police officers providing 24-hour coverage for the City. The One-Stop Workers Center, set up to serve dislocated workers affected by the closing of the Watervliet paper mill, will officially open its doors on Jan. 5, 1989. Area agencies have been busy cleaning the old Watervliet Library building and setting up office equipment. 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