To the point week of 6-5-08

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THE SEVERE WEATHER EARLY THIS week brought several thoughts and observations to mind:

First, as strange as it sounds, bad weather is one of those things that makes me glad I live in Switzerland County. Having one of very few basements in our neighborhood, when severe weather is threatened, our basement often becomes a spot where our neighbors – and sometimes others – gather to wait out the storm.

Now waiting on a storm to hit may not sound like cause for a party, but the point is that we live in a neighborhood, a town, and a county where people know the need to take care of each other, and residents make available what they have in order to help others.

I can’t do a lot, but I can make my basement available to my neighbors who don’t have one.

On Tuesday afternoon, friends Greg and Becky Curlin and their boys were caught downtown with the storm brewing, so they came by, too.

Along with “people” neighbors, also invited are the pets of our neighbors, because we aren’t going to leave them outside to face bad weather.

I don’t mind at all. In fact, we usually leave the front door open during times that we’re in the basement just in case someone else needs shelter, too.

That’s what’s so special about this county – it’s not just the Lanman basement on Pike Street in Vevay. Those types of things happen all over our community with all sorts of neighbors and friends and family members.

By the way – should you be caught in town at some point in the future and severe weather hits, feel free to run in the front door and down the basement steps at my house. You’ll find friends and neighbors there.

Tuesday’s weather also gave me pause for reflection when trackers were highlighting the communities of Fairview and Bear Branch as being in line with potentially very severe weather.

I have a special place for those communities; and for the people who live in them.

Those families have battled tornadoes before, and they have survived and defeated it.

I’m sure as those folks heard those warnings on Tuesday, their minds raced back to a day decades ago, but thankfully most of the weather was heavy rainfall.

I know I sound like your grandfather, but during this time of the year, when severe storms tend to “spring up” without much notice, everyone really needs to take a few minutes and prepare a bag or backpack with emergency items in it. A battery-powered radio, maybe some extra clothing, candles, matches, some non-perishable food items, and other things may seem like an overreaction when you’re getting them all together – but if something ever does happen, those are things that might just help you survive.

No one like to think about those things, but take a minute and do it, anyway.

*

You by now have found Vevay Newspapers’ “Childrens Summer Activity Guide” that was inserted in last week’s newspaper. Not only were they included in the paper, but each elementary school child in the county got a copy to take home with them on last Thursday’s final day of school.

The response of the community has been wonderful.

I’ve had all sorts of people stop me and tell me how much they liked the guide; and how much their children like to play with it, too.

Not only does it have all sorts of games for kids, but there is also a lot of important information in it for parents, too. Tips covering all sorts of summer activities and precautions are included, and many of the games and puzzles can also be turned into the sponsoring business or organization once it is completed for a prize.

It was all made possible through the sponsorships of the businesses, units of government, and civic organizations that you see throughout the guide.

Each one saw the value in giving children some fun and educational ways to spend some of their summer break, and I want to thank them for their willingness to participate in this new venture.

I also need to thank Erin Williams and Ginny Leap of the Vevay Newspapers office for all of the extra time that they took in working with the guide in order to get it together, printed, and distributed.

With just three people in the office, most of the time it’s a fight to get the weekly newspaper out on Wednesday afternoon, let alone doing that and producing another entirely different information piece.

I want to thank them for all of the extra work.

Please remember that extra copies of the guide will be in various locations around the county beginning this week, so feel free to pick up an extra copy or two.

Take them with you in the car so your kids can use them while traveling; or just keep them around the house.

In fact, Maxine Erickson brought her copy to church with her on Sunday morning in case there were some children who wanted to work the puzzles or color the pictures.

Thanks again for all of the positive feedback and support that the childrens guide has received.

*

I know what you’re thinking – and, yes, I walked to work on Wednesday morning. It was a little stormy just before I left home, but I took my umbrella and had a nice and dry walk down Main Street to the newspaper office.

Many of you read my column last week, apparently, because I got several beeps and honks as people drove along; and Jean Little gave me a “thumbs up” from in front of her business as I went by there.

It’s only one day a week, but it’s one day of gasoline that I don’t have to buy. Why not find a way to join in with me on “Walking Wednesdays”?