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.

   May 26, 2003

Saying goodbye to an old friend of 50 years

Dear Readers,

I lost a friend I hadn't seen in 50 years:

Jerry J. Hoover (from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader):

Jerry J. Hoover, 73, of 502 South Euclid Avenue, died Saturday, April 26, 2003, at Avera McKennan Hospice in Sioux Falls.

Jerry J. Hoover, son of Ed and Clara (Custer) Hoover, was born March 6, 1930, at Minneapolis. In 1947, he moved to Sioux Falls, where he graduated from Washington High School in 1948.

Jerry was united in marriage with Viola Larson August 28, 1953, at Sioux Falls. He worked at John Morrell and Company for 30 years, retiring in 1985. He worked part-time at Sunshine on 12th and Kiwanis for six years.

He was a member of First Presbyterian Church.

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Viola, two daughters, Deb (Ron) Brozanic, Omaha, Neb., and Judy (John) Donahue, Sioux Falls, S.D.; six step-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren.

"He was preceded in death by his parents."


When the Hoover Gas Station in Waverly was held up at gun point and Jerry's father was pistol whipped and knocked to the floor, little Jerry Hoover walked over to his father lying on the floor right in front of the men with the guns.

He knelt down by his father, Ed Hoover, and said, "Daddy, did they hurt you?"

People my age remember Jerry and his friendly, outgoing personality and great sense of humor, along with his hearty laugh. Thanks to the Olligs, who read The Waverly Star, I got to visit with Jerry over the telephone a year ago, but I never kept my promise to go see him in Sioux Falls.

And I never called him again. I wish I had. He was already ailing, but he was his old cheerful self. He still had his laugh and he never forgot his many Waverly friends.

Waverly's own Ed Paul also settled in Sioux Falls. I got to spend quality time with him in two visits I made to see him at the Veteran's Hospital in Sioux Falls shortly before he died Nov. 20, 1995.

We laughed together and told each other secrets we had never told before ­ secrets of our high school days, of girls we had loved, and skeletons in Waverly closets.

I didn't know Jerry Hoover was living in Sioux Falls at that time or we could have seen each other. I was visiting my nephew, Mark O'Leary and his family back then. Mark lives in Sioux Falls and I am never done bragging about him and his family.

Back to the farm or what to call a field

You know the old joke about the farmer who was outstanding in his field?

You are out standing in your field. It is a wide stretch of open land.

If reasonably flat, it could also be called a plain (originally the same word as "plane").

If level or slightly rolling grassland, it can properly be called a prairie, and if the grass is used for grazing, it is a pasture, especially if the animals are fenced in.

But if the hay is mowed and then fed to animals, it is a meadow (the root of which is the word "to mow").

A poet might call it a lea (originally a clearing in the woods). If there are a few trees scattered about, it might be a savannah, but if the trees are just starting to come in because it is no longer mowed, it is an old field.

If it will only support heather or other scrub, it is a heath. If it is a bit soggy, it's a moor. If very soggy, it is a marsh or fen.

So now you know.

Kicking me off the internet

I often get requests that read "Please remove me from your list."

Usually, that's all, but this came last week from an old friend who suggested I was annoying him with unwanted e-mail. I would recommend to those of you who want to cancel your name from any e-mail address book, including mine, that you use his method. He certainly got my attention.

"Dear Mr. O'Leary:

"In curmudgeonly deference I lament that you must amend your distribution list to protect me from such abstruse esoteric flights of fancy as you send.

"I am sick of Pollyannas and/or superstitious nitwits, such as yourself, who periodically inundate me with such innocuous insipid claptrap, especially when then they vow that I will retroactively be afflicted with G. Herpes should I fail to read and forward such excrement.

"I want no more 'chicken soup,' because it makes me throw up. Should you continue to invade my privacy, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your underarm, and may your other arm be too short to scratch.

"Peace and love, George."


I also received a parody of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening," which I had quoted last issue.

It is an easy poem to memorize because it was written in what English teachers call iambic pentameter and it rhymes. It is also easy to parody like "T'was the Night Before Christmas."

Robert Frost wrote it for the birthday of a 12-year-old girl when he was a guest at her parents' home in Michigan.

To remind you of the beginning, it goes:

"Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though.

"He will not see me stopping by to watch his woods fill up with snow."

The parody I got was:

"Whose digs these are, I think I know. It is the house of Rush Limbaugh.

"He will not see me sneaking by to grab and smash his radio."

The end of prohibition in Waverly

(As reported by Marks McDonnell in The Waverly Star)

Waverlyites were out bright and early Friday morning to welcome the return of beer to the town after a long absence.

The boys went into action soon after Joe Decker tapped a half-barrel of draught beer, and started drawing the foamy liquid into schooners.

He announced there would be free beer as long as the keg lasted (which wasn't long). There wasn't elbow room at the bar.

Ogle's Cafe reported that they sold the first single bottle and delivered the first case in Waverly, beating Joe Decker to the draw (if you will pardon the pun).

Adam Berkner received his case by 5 a.m. August Martinson and the Henk Drug Store report that business is brisk and that old-time beer drinkers put their approval on the new beverages.

Brewery trucks were in town before the sun came up and there are now four different brands on sale here. Is everybody happy?

Quote of the week

"One of the wonderful things about knowing God is that there's always so much more to know, so much to discover. Just when we least expect it, He intrudes into our neat and tidy notions about who He is and how He works."

­ Joni Tada, as quoted by Paula Goldapp, editor of The South Texas Catholic

There really are lots of surprises, intrusions, and serendipitous encounters.

The human race has been searching for the God of the universe and for the God who gives meaning to our lives as far back as the anthropologists can dig.

Now with astrophysicists speculating that maybe the universe has no boundaries in space and no boundaries in time, this search for God becomes more difficult for some and easier for others.

For believers like me, the idea of an eternal, expanding infinite universe in infinite time makes the idea of God all the more exciting.

For someone raised with no religion, though, it looks as if creation, and therefore a Creator, are unnecessary concepts. Both of us think the truth is obvious, but if I have learned anything in my life, it's that the truth is never simple.

I also learned people can't be bullied into believing. I like St. Augustine's definition of theology as "faith seeking understanding."

In the words of a doctor at Lourdes, "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."

I have never been able to talk an atheist into believing in God.

I do wish, though, that the two of us could get together once in a while.

I also wish I could have been in Waverly for Memorial Day.

And I wish Dan Herbst would send me a copy of his speech.

Until next week then, with more news from outer space.


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