Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the Herald Journal and on this web site.

  Jan. 12, 2004

Cheesh! I'm from Waverly, how elite is that?

I had mentioned that the amount of foreign aid paid out, contrary to the popular conservative myth that the United States is far too generous to other countries, was 1 percent of our Gross National Product.

Father Peter Hinde, O. Carm., who has spent most of his life in Latin America after serving as a combat pilot in WW II, corrected this figure. He said our U.S. foreign aid is even lower than 1 percent, more like 0.14 percent of the GNP, the lowest of all the first world countries.

I would like to scold about this since it's a mystery to me how we Americans can claim to be members of the human race, and yet be complacent, ignorant, indifferent and stingy to our brothers and sisters and, yes, our children, in other parts of the world.

This should be shouted from the rooftops, as well as from the pulpits.

However, scolding doesn't usually work. For one thing, as we all will soon find out, scolding loses elections. And so, of course, does honesty.

How does one call for conversion without scolding? I don't know the answer to that one.

Wang Yang Ming does, though. He says "The great gift of being a human being lies in our freedom to continually right our wrongs and make new persons of ourselves."

That's pretty good advice for the new year, don't you think?

Barbara Kingsolver comes down on the same side in her book "Animal Dreams," as quoted in the monthly magazine, "The Baptist Peacemaker." She says, "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof."

"What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed."

I saw some fine examples of this thinking over the holidays when I was in Fort Collins, Colorado. On Christmas Day, Rabbi Hanoch Fields of the Mar Shalom Synagogue in Fort Collins, brought 12 members of his congregation, along with some of their children, to work the whole day at the homeless shelter in Fort Collins.

There were over 70 homeless guests that day who had a warm, pleasant place to stay, with games to play and lots of food and drink.

The Jewish "substitutes" also made "lunch bag" meals for the homeless who were going to spend the night outside. Their intention was to give the mostly Christian staff, including volunteers, the day off.

This is an annual event for many Jewish congregations: to substitute for Christians in all kinds of workplaces on that day.

Turnabout should be fair play, but I have never heard of any Christians doing this for Jews on their high holy days, such as Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah.

Bulletin

Not only was Jesus Jewish, but so were his parents, all his relatives, and most likely the shepherds (Who knows about the angels but they all sound Jewish to me. Look at their names!).

Both Bethlehem and Nazareth were, and are, Jewish towns. So let's keep it in the family, the family of man.

"Mar Shalom" means "Mountain of Peace." I'll say.

I got to meet Rabbi Fields on Christmas Eve when he was setting up his visit to the shelter for the next day. As it turns out, he had been an Army chaplain stationed in Korea for a good long hitch.

Since he is still in the Army Reserve, he expects soon to be recalled to active duty and maybe even go to Iraq. He has a brother living in Minnesota, so he knows where Waverly is.

Another nice thing I witnessed Christmas Eve was at a motel where a woman driving an old pickup was reserving a room for a couple of nights over the holidays.

She and some of her co-workers from a Target store nearby had chipped in to treat an old homeless veteran to a couple of nights out of the wind and cold. They also had bought him some warm clothing.

They got to know this shy old man because he frequented the heat register on the sidewalk near the store.

The Hindu woman behind the counter at the motel didn't blanch at the idea at all. She later told me that every now and then some homeless people will chip in to rent a room on an especially cold night.

She said she looks the other way, even when she knows they will be packing as many as 20 people into a single room for the night, a room where there would be warmth, a hot shower, free coffee and cable television.

So there is room at the inn after all, but probably not at the Holiday Inn, the Marriott, the Hyatt or the Omni, all "American Owned" if you will.

I never stop at a motel that calls itself "American Owned." That's code. A detestable code which insults hardworking foreign workers who want nothing more than to become "Americans" themselves.

A correction came from a Yankee fan who didn't like what I said about Yogi Berra's sellout when he appeared in an AFLAC insurance commercial during the televising of the World Series. He told me to "get a life, you snob," which was refreshing after being called a member of the liberal elite by another equally fair minded critic.

Cheesh! I'm from Waverly. How elite is that? The Yankee fan sent in some more Yogi quotes in the form of "baseball wisdom," so here they are, Mr. Berra, and I apologize for what I said, if I said it:

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."

"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."

"The future ain't what it used to be."

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

"It ain't the heat; it's the humility."

"Always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise, they won't come to yours."

"I never said most of the things I said."

Warning

This was in Father Willette's parish bulletin in John XXIII Catholic community in Fort Collins:

"The Church Car Park is for members only. Trespassers will be baptized."

A delightful person

One of the most delightful persons ever to live in Waverly was Patty Klich Anderson.

Klich, went on to become a darling wife and mother after she married Howard Anderson. Patty is an indefatigable letter writer and is among those people, like myself, who never got over Waverly, even though she moved away as a young girl, along with her mother and seven sisters after her father Steve Klich, the depot agent, died tragically young.

On the fortieth anniversary of Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Morning News reprinted a letter from Patty under the heading The sun shone so beautifully at Love Field:

"I recall vividly what I was doing 40 years ago on Nov. 22. I was at Love Field looking out one of the windows, holding our two month old daughter, Annette.

"My husband and five year old son, Kevin were on a plane ready to take off for Minnesota, but had to wait until the president's plane landed.

"The sun came out so beautifully. I was so excited.

"I saw President Kennedy and Jackie step down from the plane. Jackie was presented with a beautiful bouquet of red roses. Both the president and Jackie were smiling and looking so happy.

"I left the terminal carrying Annette and feeling so overjoyed.

"I had driven just a short distance, when I heard over the radio that the president was shot. Tears started flowing and I started praying.

"Our son Kevin left this world 23 years later. Throughout the years, he would recall that day even though he was only five years old at the time. Feeling so happy and then such sadness."

Mrs. Patricia M. Anderson, Dallas

(Patty's address is 14512 Ablon Drive, Farmer's Branch, Texas 75234-2142. Her telephone number is (972) 620-2360.)

She still has Waverly friends, such as Jeanne Reardon Painschab. She loves hearing from people, especially Minnesota people.

The family was transferred from Bloomington to Dallas after Braniff Airlines moved its headquarters from Minneapolis to Dallas. Howard was working for Braniff at the time.

Jim O'Leary

Reporting live and warm from Corpus Christi, Texas


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