Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

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

 Jan. 20, 2003

I have the best job in the world

I have the best job in the world.

The holiday greetings I have received from you and the compliments you pay me every week by reading my columns over the last two years have made it so.

I can now say, along with W.B. Yeats:

"Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends."

Meanwhile, "Horseman, pass by!"

Dr. Martin Luther King

"Has anybody here seen our old friend, Martin? Can't you tell me where he's gone?

"He freed a lot of people, but they say the good die young . . .

"Abraham, Martin, Bobby, and John."

Today we celebrate his birthday. There are so many quotations of his that have shaped our thinking over the past 34 years that it is hard to choose only one.

I think my favorite is: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."


The Seattle Times ran a forum for its readers this month to answer the question what they thought the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. was on their community and how would they characterize race relations today.

Here are some of the answers:

"I am a 22-year-old student who grew up in South Carolina in a small town where there is still a separate prom for whites and blacks.

"At the time I was in high school, I never realized that I was living in a racist society. It was all I knew and thus never felt compelled to do anything to change it.

"Sure, we studied Martin Luther King, but more in terms of something that happened before we were born. I was never encouraged to relate the events of the civil rights movement to my own life in South Carolina.

"It wasn't until I left the south for college that I fully comprehended that there was still a real problem in my home town.

"I think we should all let the passion of Martin Luther King inspire us to stand up and make a difference, whether it be trying to integrate the high school prom in your home town or accomplish anything else that you feel strongly about . . . That way we can share his dream."

­ Clark. Edgefield, SC/University of Chicago


"I'm ashamed that I didn't see more clearly the things that were going on around me while I grew up in the '60s and '70s.

"I was one of those white people who would say, 'Blacks haven't been subjected to slavery for a long time now, so what's the problem?'

"I ignored the fact that just a little while before my birth, African Americans were not deemed worthy of mingling with white folks as they ate and shopped. Or that blacks were expected to give up their seats on a bus, rather than make a white person stand.

"Rosa Parks was right for not getting up, but she got arrested for it!

"Shame on anyone who ever made any black person, especially a black woman (who no doubt worked long, hard hours for little pay before she went home to care for her family) give up her seat."

­ Laura, San Antonio, Texas


There were many, many more letters such as these in The Seattle Times the other day, almost all of them positive. It is hard to believe there was so much ignorance and discrimination just 30 years ago, but there it was.

James Earl Ray thought he would become a great hero to white southerners by assassinating Dr. King. How wrong he was.

Back then, "We Shall Overcome" seemed poignant and pathetic when sung by blacks and their sympathizers.

Who ever could have guessed that the dream of Martin Luther King would ever come true. But it did.

Who can ever forget the drama of a southern president, Lyndon Johnson, paying tribute to Martin Luther King and saying "We shall overcome" in a national speech on television as he was announcing his Civil Rights Act and his Voting Rights Act.

He looked the nation in the eye and said, "We shall overcome."

And we haven't been the same since, thank God.

Let's hear it for the Lutherans!

I called Becky Bollig, administrator of the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Nursing Home, to follow up on the story of the award they won for being the best nursing home in Minnesota.

Lynda Jensen's otherwise great coverage, complete with her usual excellent photography, failed to mention that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America runs the home as part of its mission. To their credit, their motto seems to be "It isn't how we care, it's why."

The Lutherans run the largest nursing home conglomerate in the United States and have Good Samaritan Centers in 25 states.

(I know this because Stacie O'Leary, who lives in St. Paul with my nephew Pat O'Leary and their three boys, Jack, Connor, and Dillon, is the national parish nurse consultant for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Pat is Dr. John O'Leary's son. Pat and Stacie and their boys are regulars at Waverly's Memorial Day.)

Among other things Becky Bollig told me was that I should stop in to visit the next time I come to Waverly. I most certainly will.

A few years back, I enjoyed the nursing home rounds I made with my brother, Dr. John O'Leary, in the Lamberton, Minn. area. And there weren't even any people from Waverly there.

Our former mayor, Alice Smith, is a resident there, and her son, Dr. Jim Smith from St. Cloud, is a regular visitor.

The last time I visited a nursing home was here in Corpus Christi when I accompanied a friend who was doing "dog therapy."

She brought her chihuahuas to go from room to room and entertain the patients. Only one lady in a wheel chair demurred. She said "Get that damned thing off of me!"

The chihuahuas ran up and down the corridors as if they owned the place, and seemed to delight in hopping up on beds and licking faces. (Remember the T-shirt that said, "My dog can lick anybody?" They must have been talking about chihuahuas.)

No, Becky, I won't bring the chihuahuas when I come to visit.


I just heard from Barbara Warren, a granddaughter of Waverly's famous Charlie Flannigan, who was a world class rifle shot and brought home to Waverly a world's championship.

He and George Berkner together brought Waverly fame and glory in the shooting world for years. Buffalo Bill Cody couldn't hold a candle to them.

Barbara would appreciate anything you might find having to do with her grandfather. She tells me he was also a great friend of John Yo-Houti, a person whom I now believe really did exist.

I identify with John Yo-Houti, because he kept writing about Waverly long after he ceased to live there. Barbara's sisters are Julie Sailer and Donna Raen. They are hoping to collect stories and history dealing with their grandfather.

Barbara's e-mail address is: warblers1@hotmail.com, and Julie's is: jsailer @seanet.com.

They think John Yo-Houti might have been a pen name.

Ecumenism where it counts

My friend Father Robert Wagner tells us that his parish welcomes all denominations to their church, and they particularly like 10s and 20s.

Bumper stickers

"My son and my money go to (fill in the blank) college."

In the light of that bumper sticker, here is a classic message I ran across from the 19th century, the same kind that parents still receive these days by e-mail, telephone, fax machine, and postcard.

"My dear parents: I am very sorry to say I am obliged to take advantage of your kind offer of money . . . "

Yikes! Start saving now.

A jazzed up version of this sort of correspondence goes like this:

"Dear Dad. No mon. No fun. Your son."

But, in this case, the answer was:

"Dear Son. Too bad. So sad. Your dad."

An Irish lament

I drink to your health in the taverns.

I drink to your health at home.

I drink to your health so often,

I'm beginning to ruin my own.

The rattle snake round-up

In our daily newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller Times, there appeared this ad last week: "Desnaking clinics ongoing. To make an appointment to have Luther Young desnake your dog, call (361) 296-3331. To make an appointment to have Hugo Ford desnake your dog, call 949-2040."

Desnaking is the answer to how do you get your valuable hunting dog to back away from the charming sight of a rattle snake all coiled up and buzzing? Curiosity killed many a good hunter.

Does Chris Schultz know about this?

Quote for the week

"A conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his father, but borrowed from his children."

­ John James Audubon


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