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Palo Alto Ponderings

By Staff | Aug 1, 2013

I fear that I am encouraging a bunch of sugar addicts. Not only do the orioles eat the grape jelly, but now it is ALL the sparrows, the robin, the red house finches, and even Mangey, the squirrel. And earlier I saw a hummingbird sipping on the edge of the jelly. Usually the hummingbird is sipping from the Clematis or the Fuschia plant.

The cardinals, too, are putting on a show. It appears that the brilliant male and the more subdued in color female are either kissing or feeding each other. Someone suggested that it is youngsters that are being fed, but they don’t act at all like baby birds. They are fun to watch.

And my surprise for the evening last night was a very raucous sounding bird on Madison Street as I took my evening walk. I crossed the street to be under the tree from which the sounds were emanating. First I saw a huge cat at the foot of the tree-the reason for the loud scolding. Then the noisy flapping of wings heralded the flight from the tree of a large hawk. What a sight!

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With the county fair just over I do want to say that is was very worthwhile going to see. Grandson Trenton had brought his boys and said that he actually enjoyed our Palo Alto County Fair more than the Iowa State Fair, as it was less noisy and chaotic. We’re always so impressed with the 4-H exhibits. Their creativity is unbelievable. And the animal barns were where the action was as far as eight-year-old Eli and 10-year-old Solomon were concerned. Once Eli found the goats and was feeding them hay, we weren’t sure we were ever going to get him away from there. Being a family that loves books, the county libraries’ display of books that were “free” for a donation was a place they enjoyed spending time and choosing reading material. And the pictures-both the 4-H and those sponsored by the Conservation organization-were fun to see and vote on. We were sorry to be too late to go to the country school, which I think Solomon and Eli would have loved. Of course you can’t forget the cotton candy and snow cones when there are youngsters with you.

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Speaking of the Country School, Trudy Huskamp Peterson has been helping Arlet Johnson in the preservation of the historical items of the old country schools. We are so fortunate to have Trudy who worked at the National Archives and is so knowledgeable. She now is a consultant out of Washington, DC.

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The Palo Alto County Genealogical Society had the privilege to host Trudy Huskamp Peterson in a presentation on the National Archives. It was fascinating and we learned so much that we didn’t know. Even the Presidential Libraries (starting with Herbert Hoover’s in Iowa) are part of the National Archives.

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The Fort Dodge’s The Messenger’s “Hometown Pride” section had great articles on both Deb Hite, Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce executive, and West Bend’s Mary Straub Lavelle who is the new Executive Director of the Grotto. Deb is such a wonderful representative of our area. Her enthusiasm is catching and it’s easy to realize the truth in her statement that she always “felt she was on this earth to serve.” And it will be a service to the country and to the world (as well as West Bend) for Mary Straub Lavelle to help maintain and preserve the aging Grotto. Some of its cement is almost 100 years old. Any time we are there it’s amazing to talk with people from so many other states and countries.

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We have to brag about how well our county’s West Bend-Mallard baseball team did in the post season. They did well even up against their “bug-a-boo” #1 Mason City Neuman. They can be so proud.

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Where to begin in remarking our heavy losses of special people this past month is a problem. Beautiful Muriel Thorpe lived such a valiant life in her fight with that old Big C. Classmate Jack Gappa was known for his farming, but how many knew what a good musician he was, I wonder. And then both Richard Fread and Gerald Nelson who, though no longer living in our area, had graduated from Emmetsburg High School. They are remembered and sorrowed for. Monte Thompson was part of our Cylinder lives and who will ever forget his singing his delightful rendition of “Cross Over the Bridge” at Cylinder’s Quasqui-Centennial? And imagine living to the amazing age of 109 as Doc Frevert’s mom did. Such a marvelous lady. Paul Bates was one that waved each time I passed his door at the nursing home. And Larry Egland was a light in my life. He could always cheer you up in spite of the fact that he had all kinds of health issues. He and Husband Dick both sang together in the Cornbelt Chorus and it was impressive to me that three generations of Larry’s family has sung in that organization. Iona Dunklau was our church buddy and we sat together there. She was an especially sweet person. And when I come to Wyatt Sinning in this long list of special people, I am almost speechless in sorrow. I have a very special cup, which sits on my kitchen table, which says at the top “Mrs. Tunnicliff’s Glass” followed by “Thank You” and signed by the students in Darca Saxton’s class when I volunteered with them as second graders. Each time I see Wyatt’s name there I see his cute smile and his beautiful hair. What good memories of all these marvelous people.

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And there are good memories of the old Cylinder School as I drive past. It’s sad to see the building gone, but how neat to see the start of the new Cylinder Fire Station in its place.

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PARTING POINT TO PONDER:

Watching the news reminds me of Will Rogers’ statement, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”