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.

 Sept. 15, 2003

Things like this keep me going

I like being a columnist and here's why:

I heard via the Internet from a reader in England with Waverly connections who had found my column on the Internet. I asked her how on earth she ended up in England, and this is what she wrote:

"I've been in England for over a year. I married a local boy. We met over the Internet. We had been writing to each other for over a year.

"I came here for a vacation and the day before I was to leave, he proposed! And I said yes! The next day I left England as planned and flew back to the USA.

"When I arrived late at night I was so very tired and glad I had the forethought to prepare a set of work clothes so all I had to do was wake up and get dressed and run for the bus.

"Well, that morning I was still very tired and not really 'with it.' I could tell things weren't quite right by the way people were on the bus, just a different mood I could sense.

"When I arrived at work, one of my colleagues ran up to me and hugged me and said thank God I was home. I asked her what had happened.

"She then told me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, and another into the Pentagon, and yet another in Pennsylvania. It was Sept. 11, 2001. My office was in complete chaos.

"After two hours and we were able to sort everything out (I worked for the government), my phone rang and it was my beloved Arthur, worried sick and praying that nothing had happened to me (I was on the West Coast.)

"I reassured him that I was fine, in shock, but fine. I told him that I loved him very much and would call him as soon as I got home. All federal buildings were to be closed immediately.

"After speaking on the phone every day at length after that, we decided that we didn't want to wait to spend our lives together. As soon as he could, Arthur arrived in the United States in December and we were married in Las Vegas 25 Dec., 2001.

"As I write this I have a picture of him in front of me on my monitor. He's my Prince Charming. Arthur is, my knight in shining armor and my very best friend. As soon as I received my visa I jumped on a plane and arrived here in England.

"Not your ordinary courtship. I'm sure my grandma would have loved to meet Arthur and I know my grandpa would have teased him unmercifully."

Things like this keep me going. It turns out that I knew her grandparents, the "Rip" Rasmussens, and I loved them. I wish they were still alive to enjoy this.

She had never lived in Waverly herself, but her grandparents, whom she often visited in the summertime, taught her to love Waverly and everything about it, including their farm.

Also keeping me going, in more ways than one, is a great e-mail pen pal up on Lake Kimball (Small world: He was originally from the town of Kimball).

He is the multi-talented Marlowe Kingstedt of the famous Wright County Kingstedts. He is a WW II veteran and a friend of my brother John's who has been his doctor at the VA clinic in Brainerd.

I have gotten some incredibly great wood carvings he has done (Just the photos of them. The real things are for sale, but the photos will do me for now.)

I am not doing justice to Marlowe by this sample of his latest, but he said I could use it:

"We are about to take off for the county fair in Brainerd and see whatever. We want to make sure to see the cow and the pig and the horse.

"Mills Motor has a pen with a large hog in it, and you are invited to guess his weight and if you win, you get the hog. I woke up in the middle of the night hoping I didn't win it because I couldn't figure out how to get it home.

"Also, we hope to see the guy that went broke when we visit Machinery Hill. He had devised a manure spreader and lost the whole business. Why? Because he wouldn't stand behind his product.

"Well, maybe we'll have a little breakfast at the Lutheran booth at the fair, or maybe even the Knights of Columbus. In any case I am embarking on one of my silly, raise-hell days. Here goes!"

Being a columnist makes me humble when I think what Marlowe could do with this space.

It also makes me humble to read over again Gene Amole's book "Last Chapter." I have all I can do to get out a column a week but Amole wrote a column three times a week for the "Rocky Mountain News."

When he was dying of cancer, he wrote a column every day about what it was like to be dying. It is a year now since his death, and of course he hasn't been replaced. There was only one Gene Amole, the most beloved man in Denver.

People bought the paper every day just to read his column. Here is one thing that sticks with me about his experience as a columnist when he knew he was dying:

"I got a chuckle from a letter I wasn't supposed to receive. It was somehow mixed in with hundreds of letters addressed to me. This one was addressed to John Temple, editor, publisher, and president of the 'Rocky Mountains News.'

"It was from Miller Hudson, a former Colorado legislator, lobbyist and all-around public policy gadfly. Miller wasn't extending his condolences, though. He wants my job.

Yes. He writes, 'I realize it is a little macabre to be discussing Gene Amole's slot in the paper while he is still writing, but I've had a longstanding interest in applying for his position when or if it were to open. In the meantime, let me wish you and yours a happy holiday season.'"

Gene Amole ended this column with: "Ho! Ho!" (They never did hire Miller Hudson.)

It's impossible to read Amole's last column, "Goodbye Denver" without becoming weepy. It was a column he wrote to be read after his death. You will have to look it up for yourself.

Meanwhile, I would like to will my job to Marlowe Kingstedt.

Hell hath frozen over

Wright County's most eligible bachelor, Mr. Brad Smith, was united in marriage to Pam on Aug. 23, and they now live on their five acres north of Howard Lake.

Brad had publicly declared his permanent bachelorhood more than once by stating categorically that he would never marry until hell froze over. There was a banner in Waverly announcing that hell had frozen over on the day Brad was married, happily married.

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