To the point week of 9-15-11


A LITTLE THIS AND THAT as we hit the midway point of September.

I couldn’t have been more proud of this community last week with the observances of the 10 anniversary of the attacks on America.

The Switzerland County FFA chapter and school officials had an outstanding program on Friday afternoon in front of the high school (see today’s front page); and with the front lawn filled with high school students and members of the community; it was truly a wonderful sight.

In fact, at one point there was a semitruck coming down the highway, and apparently he saw what was going on, because the driver pulled over for a moment and then proceeded very slowly past the school as not to interfere with the ceremony.

Then, on Sunday night, the community of Patriot outdid itself; once again holding one of the most poignant and solemn 9/11 observances anywhere. A huge crowd turned out – considering it started at 8:30 p.m. on a Sunday night – but the hour nor the day seemed to bother anyone, as the big crowd walked slowly, candles glowing, to the Memorial Park.

In this profession I’ve been in the middle of some emotionally-charged moments. I’ve stood by while people’s houses burn; while people have been told that their loved ones were gone; while workers have seen their jobs go away.

You learn to suppress your feelings when you have to cover horrible events; but I have to tell you, on Sunday night, I couldn’t keep my emotions in at the conclusion of the Patriot ceremony.

As all of those people filed past that piece of steel from the Twin Towers, one by one they reached out and touched it, almost in a religious way. One man took his candle and made a cross over the steel; and others stood with their children and grandchildren and simply stared.

Those things don’t get to you much when you’re on the other end of a camera; but after most had gone by, I walked up to see the beam firsthand.

Like everyone else, I reached out my hand and touched it; and when I did, in some way I could ‘feel’ all of the loss that had been suffered that day. I felt for those who lost their lives; for those who lost friends and coworkers.

For those who lost their children.

Even in such a time of great loss, to be able to reach out and physically touch something that survived that day gives each of us hope that we as individuals and we as Americans will continue to survive.

You want to knock down buildings? We’ll build them back, bigger and taller and safer than before.

You want to attack our patriotism? We’ll hang more flags that you’ve ever seen. We’ll dress in red, white, and blue more than you care to see. We’ll sing our anthem louder than you care to hear.

You want to knock us down? We’ll get right back up.

It’s funny, but all day Sunday I thought about the (former, I guess) band “Dixie Chicks”. They may in fact be touring somewhere, but if you’ll remember the lead singer of the group was very outspoken about Toby Keith and his views on proudly being an American and what had happened to our country.

To many, when they spoke out against him, they also spoke out against American patriotism.

And 10 years later? Toby Keith is still rallying our nation and our troops; and the Dixie Chicks are playing the grand opening of a car wash somewhere.


With all of our children now either married or in college, everyone wants to ask Jacquita and me how it feels to be “empty nesters”.

Well, we aren’t. Never really have been.

Currently, a wonderful young woman named Sarah Newkirk resides with us. A recent college graduate, Sarah is the youth pastor at Olive Branch Baptist Church; and is also in charge of the “AfterShock” after school program for middle school students.

By the way – if you have a middle school child, “AfterShock” is a great place for them to get homework help from teachers after school, and also a great place for them to have some fun in a safe environment everyday, Monday to Thursday. If your child doesn’t go to “AfterShock”, they should. It’s free, just sign them up and send them over.

Oops, I strayed from my point.

Well, Sarah is living with us as she saves for her first apartment, and living in Switzerland County has taken a little getting used to for this “city girl”.

We welcomed her to the county on her first day living her when she hit a deer on highway 56 in front of the superintendent’s office heading to her first day of work. After all, you’re not truly a Switzerland Countian until you’ve hit your first deer, right?

Driving on the county roads has also been a learning experience for Sarah, as she’s a “flat lander” from Central Indiana, so she’s still a little intimidated by our curves and hills and hollars.

But she’s acclimating very well, and I had to laugh the other day when we were discussing someone having an infection, and someone making the comment that they should put some bacon fat on it in order to draw out the infection.

To Sarah, that was like some sort of ‘hocus pocus’ – and she couldn’t understand why anyone would strap bacon fat to themselves.

Suddenly there were all sorts of different “home remedies” that others offered.

Now I believe in modern medicine, but I also understand that many people fought off illness and injury with home cures long before we had emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

When I played tennis in high school, I used to get what is best described as large boils on the outside of my knees. They were very painful, and I remember that my parents would apply a mixture of egg yolk and salt, making a poultice, and putting in on my knee to draw out the gunk inside.

That said, here’s your assignment, beloved readers:

I want to know what home remedies you have relied on in the past and still rely on today. What types of things did your parents and grandparents use to treat things? What home remedies do you know and do you recommend?

If you have one to share, you can email it to me at; or you can write it down and drop it off at the office. Please remember to put your name and address on it, because I’d love to share them all in this column.

Out of towners who read us, you’re welcome to submit your notions on potions, too.

So get them in and let’s see if you’ve got something that will help someone else.