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The 1918 influenza pandemic begins

When I was growing up on my great-grandfather’s farm east of Lone Rock, numerous times during my youth my great-grandparents, Karl and Olga Ewoldt, talked about surviving the flu pandemic of 1918. At one point during that period, both of them, plus their daughters, Elva, my great-aunt; and Ella, my grandmother, all contracted the flu at the same time.

Running out of scissors, apologizing to St. Francis

 I had a wrestling match last week with something called Flextape. I lost. Furthermore, I also lost three pairs of scissors and my temper.
Flextape is the devil’s invention.
It all started with a leaky birdbath. Last year, I managed to repair the leaks with some kind of caulking. It held all summer, but alas, this year the birdbath leaked like the proverbial sieve.
Read the rest of Molly's Ink Spots in the May 21 Advance.
 

Remember those who gave all there was to give

Every crisis has new heroes. During the 9/11 attacks, they were the first responders running into burning and crumbling buildings as others ran out.  Now, during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the most visible heroes are the health care professionals, who are saving others and risking their own lives while doing so.

Kossuth County takes 10 percent population dip

150 Years Ago: Wisconsin House, On North side of the Public Square, has just been refitted and put in order for the accommodation of the traveling public. My motto is “live and let live,” and when travelers call at the Wisconsin House they can get good warm meals at any hour of the day. Plenty of barn room and good stabling for teams. J.W. Mayo.

You decide how to vote, we'll make it safe

Our national dialogue is consumed with discussion about health, safety, freedoms and liberties. There is no doubt Iowans are concerned about these important matters. It is vital to find a balancing act between protecting the public health and ensuring the continuation of civil society.

It’s a rainy day

Major League Baseball players wonder whether they have a beef with their pay.
A report last week showed the average annual salary for a big leaguer was about $4.4 million, and the increase in pay has averaged about 0.25 percent per year for the last four. That’s when the owners put a luxury tax in place to penalize higher-spending owners who were soaking up the talent. The tax is rolled back into other Major League Baseball team owners’ pockets.

Back in Belgium

After a fun day and a half in Marengo visiting with our friends and looking over that area, we loaded into our friends’ car, and we headed out on the four-hour drive to Chicago O’hare International Airport.
We unloaded our luggage in the pouring rain and bid our goodbyes. Inside, as we stood in line to check our luggage and get boarding passes, a lady behind us with one piece said, “It looks like you are moving to Europe.” Yes, we had a lot of luggage.

What to do when you find nature's babies

I love babies. Ducklings, goslings, bunnies and fawns are all cute as can be. But working at a nature center during nesting season can sometimes be hard. We get so many calls about folks finding baby animals “abandoned” by their mothers. While on occasion a mother may die, it’s much more likely she is out feeding or sleeping nearby and has hidden her babies as to not draw attention to them. Inevitably, a person will happen across them in this very circumstance.

The costs

The coming weeks, months and years will reveal the realities of the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on people’s health and wealth.
Decisions by our leaders to shut down all but the basics of our commercial enterprises has led to unthinkable unemployment and immeasurable dependence upon government assistance.

Bail out the Postal Service before cruise lines

It's quiz time.
What arm of the federal government has the most contact with ordinary Americans, people like you and me?
Is it the Internal Revenue Service? Social Security Administration? The Food and Drug Administration? Or the Department of Agriculture?
Nope. Not that one. Not that one either. None of those.
Read the complete column in the May 7 Kossuth County Advance.

Of homeschooling nightmares and such

I have nightmares of having to home-school our five children during this pandemic. In those dreams, they are, of course, considerably younger than they are now. And considerably wilder. And I am considerably crazier.
Of our five offspring, daughter number four, Amy, is the only one with little ones needing to be homeschooled while she and her husband, Dave, work at their full-time jobs from home.
Read Molly's Ink Spots in the May 7 Kossuth County Advance.
 

‘The Night Watchman’ moving and inspiring

Louise Erdrich’s “The Night Watchman” is a captivating novel based on her grandfather Patrick Gourneau’s successful fight to ward off efforts to “emancipate” the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa of North Dakota.
At the heart of the story is Thomas Wazhashk, humble night watchman in a jewel-bearing plant. Thomas unearths the real intent of federal legislation that would disenfranchise the Turtle Mountain Chippewa from their land and way of life.

COVID reactions

Over the past six weeks, I have written several columns about the COVID-19 coronavirus and the response by our national and state leaders. You haven’t seen them.
No matter what I pounded into the keyboard, the result failed to be compassionate enough for those afflicted, angry enough for those stomped upon, and understanding enough for those making the decisions. But, we are way past time for an airing of what needs to be said.

The gift of family

Right now, so many people are under great financial stress due to the current crisis we are going through. But, if people are healthy and can keep their families together, they should get on their knees and give thanks to God for how lucky they truly are.
Only a few generations ago, when financial times were bad, we did not have the social welfare programs we have now. People were often forced to make a very difficult choice.
Colleen Bilyeu, Algona

Easter and the virus

I was watching a program on CBS HDTV this morning, and I got a mental message from Jesus. The show was on the virus that has the world in its grip. There was a high-ranking Army officer on and a priest. The priest said something about fear that made sense to me. He mentioned fear, and you know, first we have to overcome our fear of something in order to work in its presence to conquer it. That made sense to me.

Dispatchers unsung heroes

Most of us have made “that” call. Something dreadful happens, and you run to the nearest phone to dial 911. Within seconds, you hear a calm, reassuring voice saying, “Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office. How can I help you?” Without hesitation, a dispatcher listens to the caller and determines the proper course of action, dispatching necessary emergency personnel to the scene or rendering life-saving assistance to someone in need.

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