The Decorah Nespapers
December 18, 2018
  • "Don’t ever sell your saddle.”

    It was short, but sweet advice I saw recently on my favorite Facebook group, Old Cowgirls Never Die – We Keep On Riding, directed at a woman who had been away from horseback riding for several decades and had recently purchased a horse of her own.

    The photo accompanying the post showed a woman in her 60s with a smile the size of Texas plastered on her face. At the end of the reins she was holding, stood a beautiful overo paint horse (like Hidalgo). She looked like she might burst from the excitement.

    Her post received about a zillion comments, most of them conveying something like “Good for you” at the heart of them.

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  • Birds freak me out ... Guess I’m just a big chicken

        A late friend of mine used to describe how the past affects each of us in terms of a mosaic. 

    We humans – all of us -- are complicated masterpieces, made up of many disparate pieces that have been shaped together into one human mess, an accumulation of our many journeys around the sun. 

    A complex network, our brain has certain triggers – good or bad – which are able to transport our subconscious selves back to a time and place we can barely remember consciously. 

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  • Thanks for the thought, Fleetwood

     I don’t think I’m alone when I say I can remember an English or creative writing teacher who forever altered my opinion of a popular song in one way or another.

    For me, it was my eighth-grade reading teacher and Dubuque Mayor James Brady, a radical, leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle enthusiast, who asked us to analyze the Eagles’ Hotel California upside down, inside out and sideways. To this day, I can’t hear that song without the extra-musical associated baggage of our class’s pubescent interpretations.

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  • Oscar Wilde: Follow your heart? Seriously?

         October 16 was Oscar Wilde’s birthday. He was born in 1854 and died Nov. 30, 1900. His works always seemed to me, with the exception of The Picture of Dorian Gray, like champagne: light and scintillating, with occasional dips into profundity. 

    Some critics feel that he never grew up. Whatever his problems or issues, I admire him for the qualities mentioned in this statement by a biographer: “Wilde always had a measure of innocence[;]…cruelty was not in his own nature.”

    Here are some of my favorite Oscar Wilde lines:

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  • Sex, morphing and delectable languages

       Have you ever read a news-story about parents who are nasty pieces of work and said to yourself, “Huh. Some people should never have kids”?

    Here is what I think is the problem: The process involved in conceiving children is altogether too pleasant. Mother Nature made it that way to ensure the perpetuation of the species, but frankly, we have too many people and could probably cut back a bit.

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  • EVIL: Are we capable of evolving beyond it?

        I have, on occasion, tried to puzzle out the nature of evil and whether we’re stuck with it or capable of evolving beyond it.

    St. Augustine said something along these lines: “Evil is nothing but the corrupted seed of good.” Aquinas said that “a thing essentially evil cannot exist,” because when you get to the heart of evil, there’s nothing there.

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  • Concerts: You can’t always get what you want

       They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. 

    And as I happened by a yard sale the other day to peruse the no-longer-needed books, music and miscellany being offered by the inhabitants of said yard, I struck up a conversation with the owners of the merchandise being dispersed. 

    “Nice selection,” I said, as I eyed their wares, thinking many of the items in their collection would make excellent additions to my own treasure trove. 

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    Most of us live in Paradise at one point or another in our lives; Eden is not a place, it is a time.


                The Great Harvest Bread Company's challah:  It looks good, tastes good, smells good, and feels good to tear off a piece in your hands (soft and squishy); the only thing it doesn't do is sing. Four out of five senses satisfied and gratified. What more could a sensate being want?

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  • This Requiem very much alive

       This is my way of urging all of you – or as many of you as will fit in the Decorah High School Auditorium – to attend the Decorah Chorale and Oneota Community Orchestra’s May 7, 3 p.m. performance of Mozart’s Requiem: the last piece of music he ever wrote, and one he did not even live to finish.

    Why, you may ask, should we do that?

    They’re not the Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields, after all, and it’s not like they’re being conducted by Neville Marriner or anything.

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  • A runner-up for Darwin Awards
         Were you aware that many people end up in the ER every year because they slice open their hand while trying to slice open a bagel? They’ve got nothing on me.
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  • By Liang Wee, Ph.D.

    President, NICC College

    There is a Chinese saying which is equivalent to “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I am still a student of America and her people, and I straddle two cultures every day.

    My parents showed their love for me by sending me away. I arrived in this country in 1983 -- on Independence Day. I did not know what my future would bring, just that I was working toward a better tomorrow.

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  • We already have choice in education in Iowa
     I don’t know how many of our readers are up for the early morning news, but I’m a faithful viewer of KWWL virtually every weekday morning beginning about 5:30. It’s been interesting during this current legislative session to see the various advertisements/commercials that attempt to attract attention for one political aim or another. 
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  • Candlelight can be so peaceful
       I often write letters, pay bills, read books, hand-write articles and copy quotes by candlelight. I have four of the kind of candle holders that you can carry from room to room; one was a gift from dear, dear Esther Bronson, God rest her soul, rosemaled by her own hand; two I bought at the Fort Atkinson Rendezvous (two different years), and one at a garage sale. 
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  • Sad to see Girl Scout Camp Tahigwa shutting down

         It was a super sad day for me, when I recently learned the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) are, in no uncertain terms, selling Camp Tahigwa. 

    Granted, I’m glad the camp is being entrusted to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources rather than some frac-sand mining operation. It’s also wonderful the property will, in some capacity, still be available to the public to enjoy. 

    While preserving the awesome beauty of the land is commendable, what will not be preserved, I’m afraid, is the magical essence which equals Girl Scout camping. 

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  • Primer on small towns for big-city folk ... continued

         I have ave lived in Decorah for over 20 years and I am, therefore, in a unique position: I have been here long enough to understand somewhat the ways and the lingo, but not so long as to have completely forgotten my big-city concepts and habits. 

    So here is Part II of a primer for any of you readers who have recently moved here from Chicago, or New York, or some other big city: (Part I appeared Jan. 26)

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