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.

August 11, 2001

Elm Avenue

Pictured above is a portion of Waverly's past, Elm Avenue.

At right is a photo taken prior to 1928 of the old saloon turned dry goods store after prohibition and its owner, Tom Fuller, right. The Fuller family lived above the saloon/dry goods store.

Photos courtesy of Barb Tuckenhagen Reeves.

Store front

As most of you know, Dr. Jim Smith is a Waverly man who is a surgeon now in St. Cloud.

His mother, Alice Smith, had been mayor of Waverly in the '70s. She is now comfortably residing at Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center after raising two wonderful children and presiding as mayor for two terms.

It is my wife Jeanne's pride and joy that she had taught Dr. Smith science when he was in high school at St. Mary's.

Dr. Smith and I share a common history, even though I am much older. I graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1949, and Jim graduated in 1967.

Such is the nature of Waverly and of St. Mary's, that it bridges generations and makes us proud of each other.

I had heard that Dr. Smith had volunteered to make trips to help out as a surgeon in the highlands of Guatemala, so I asked him if he would contribute something for The Waverly Star.

Here is what Dr. Smith sent to us:

"I started going down to Guatemala as a one-time deal in 1992 with one of my original partners, Dr. Paul Heath, but I have ended up going every other year since then.

"My son has been down with me twice and this coming January 2002, my daughter, who will be a junior in high school, will make her first trip.

"It's a great experience for them (me too!) to see how the rest of the world lives and survives.

"We travel anywhere from six to 12 hours outside Guatemala City to the local hospitals where the surgery is performed. We mostly do tons of cleft lips/palates and burn reconstruction, but also see things that you don't see here in the US very often anymore.

"Some things we can handle; others not. All personnel (nurses, anesthetists, cooks, mechanics, etc.) and most supplies have to be shipped into the areas for the week surgery stints.

"It's very impressive to see all these folks not only pay their own expenses, but usually give up their vacation time to go on these trips.

"I wish I could speak their native languages (most don't speak Spanish where we go, but local Indian dialects). But all of the people seem to be very appreciative and friendly.

"The civil war down there has taken a great toll on the people and the land. A lot of the men were killed or just disappeared, so many of the women have to raise the children on their own.

"It is very rewarding, and I feel guilty when people back home remark how great a 'sacrifice' it is to go there. I have always thought that I have gotten more from the Guatemalan people than I have given on these relatively short trips (usually 12 days).

"We are just a little anxious this year with a new president. The previous president was supportive, but this one is more unpredictable. The Peace Accord of 1997 has helped, along with the papal visit in 1996.

"There have been noticeable improvements from these two events.

"During the early years of my going there, gunfire and electric power cuts were not uncommon. On one trip back out of the mountains in 1994, the rebels blew up the only bridge out of the area where we were. The officials took us back to Guatemala City via an abandoned railroad bridge. None of us wants to go back to those 'exciting' days!"

Dr. James M. Smith, Midsota Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, 3701 Twelfth Street North, Suite 100, St. Cloud, MN 56303. (320) 253-7257. www.midsota.com

Dr. Smith referred me to a web site for the Guatemala trips: www.helpsintl.org

It is a very interesting and thorough web site, complete with photos.

British wit and other oxymorons

Nobody except me likes "The Weakest Link" starring Anne Robinson of the United Kingdom, who is on loan to America to show us how to insult people.

Like a disgruntled English school marm, she tells off the guests on her television show regularly, impressing upon them how utterly stupid they are. Here are a few of her zingers:

"A few clowns short of a circus."

"The wheel's spinning, but the hamster's dead."

"Too much yardage between the goal posts."

"One Froot Loop shy of a full bowl."

"A few feathers short of a whole duck."

"All foam, no beer."

"The cheese fell off the cracker."

Besides Anne Robinson, the English have given us Shakespeare and countless colorful sayings.

Ms. Robinson, though, scorns our ignorance of the origins of these sayings, which one can hear to this very day in "The Rose and Crown" or other British pubs:

"Mind your Ps and Qs."

This means that when you ran up a tab in the old days, the pub-keeper would chalk your intake on a board marked P for pint and Q for quart, so that you could always know how much alcohol was going down of an evening.

"Sleep tight"

In the upstairs, crowded rooms above the pubs, there were beds available. They were so close together, in fact, that one would often be lashed to the bed, so as to not fall from an upper bunk.

Hence, "sleep tight." Ms. Robinson tartly advises us that it did not refer to the hammocks of the British Navy, where sailors were often tied to their beds in heavy seas.

Leaving the pubs for a moment, a "windfall" meant just that. It was lucky for us peasants when a big storm knocked down trees.

The limbs would supply us with fuel for cooking and warming our huts. All forests were owned by the nobility, except those owned by the king, the royal forests, and people were hired to patrol them (Cf. Robin Hood). They were the early game wardens.

If we peasants, especially the Irish ones, were caught poaching either game or trees, we could be shipped to Australia. (Cf. "The Wild Colonial Boy.")

One more

Before there was running water in the homes of England, the once-a-week tub was filled to the brim with heated water and then had to be shared by the entire household, beginning with the oldest down to the youngest, last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it ­ hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

This is good advice for all reformers.

I had better stop here or Ms. Robinson will get me for boring you.

An intelligence quotient test

If you are not sick to death by now of "The Weakest Link," then you might be willing to try this test, which asks the sort of questions of which Anne Robinson seems inordinately fond.

1. Is there a Fourth of July in England?

2. How many birthdays does the average man have?

3. Some months have 31 days. How many have 28?

4. How many outs are there in an inning?

5. Is it legal in California for a man to marry his widow's sister?

6. Divide 30 by half and add 10. What is the answer?

7. If there are three apples and you take away two, how many do you have?

8. A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half hour. How many minutes would the pills last?

9. A farmer has 17 sheep and all but nine die. How many are left?

10. How many animals of each sex did Moses take on the ark?

11. How many two-cent stamps are there in a dozen?


1. Yes. It comes after the third of July.

2. Just one.

3. All of them.

4. Six. Three per side.

5. No. Because he is dead.

6. 70. (30 divided by 1/2 equals 60.)

7. Two. You took them, remember?

8. 60. Start with the first pill and 30 minutes later, take the second and then 30 minutes later for the third.

9. Nine.

10. None. Moses didn't have an ark. Noah did.

11. 12. There are 12 two-cent stamps in a dozen.

Laura Claessens is home

Good news from my old friend and neighbor.

She had a scare with a blood clot, which got her into the hospital in Glencoe, and from there on to St. Mary's Center, Winsted. Now she is back home recovering.

I think as Postmistress Emeritus in Waverly, who saw to the delivery of thousands of messages, Laura is entitled to a few herself.

She is now living at 800 Sixth Ave., Howard Lake, MN 55349. Her telephone number is (320) 543-1036.

Quotes for the week

"If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs . . . that is your success."

- Thoreau

"Oh help me, Lord, to take the time, to set all else aside, that in the secret place of prayer, I may with you abide."

- Author unknown

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