The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
As passengers on U.S. Airways prayed, I believe there was divine intervention. "There was also unity and preparedness," Pilot C.B. "Sully" Sullenberg said, after the plane splash landed into the Hudson River with all on board safely rescued.
Are we, as a nation, recognized as one in unity and prepared for the unexpected?
I am very thankful that under President Bush's leadership we have not been attacked again by terrorists who boast that they plan to do so and cause our demise.
As Cal Thomas said, "Jehadists will settle for nothing less than total victory and dominion over all who prefer freedom to bondage".
"They want to use our country as a training ground, with their ultimate goal to dominate America", he said. (Journal Star, 2/2/09)
It is imperative that President Obama and congress continue seeking to stabilize our economy. Coequal, must be a concerted preparedness by this administration to maintain our national security.
If terrorists gain control of the U.S. the economy would be the least of our concerns.
I believe within our nation there is a "secondary" leadership with some of the media and relentless groups, with a herd like mentality of followers, who seek to promote their agendas.
They are divisive and divert from our great need to protect our people. We must not allow this.
As citizens, we need to know what is happening and be actively (and sanely) involved. We cannot be prepared, unless we are unified for the good of all.
John Mellencamp sings eloquently about the joys of being raised in a small town.
Those of us fortunate enough to have been raised in a Midwestern small town are supported, encouraged and looked after by a community of grounded and loving people.
As members of communities, both small and large, it is our responsibility to be sure that we share accurate information regarding our friends and neighbors.
I learned recently, that this network of information is sometimes flawed.
I am writing this letter to the editor to assure our friends that I am indeed alive and well, not murdered by my husband as reported to me by many well-meaning folks.
As this National Enquirer-esque story unraveled, we initially howled with laughter.
We believed that this began as a terrible misidentification, possibly internet connected.
The magnitude of this story grew; however, and it became less humorous and is very disturbing to our parents and siblings.
Gossip about failed marriages, loss of jobs, wayward children and other such stories are unfortunate but common to all of us.
The story about my husband; however, is slanderous.
Twenty-four years ago, we moved from our hometown area and have happily raised our family and built careers.
Our sons, both, are teachers and coaches like their dad and their wives are both teachers.
I am the secretary to the superintendent of schools. Our district includes 67,000 student and 10,000 employees.
NO ONE who knows us here in this large community would ever believe such a story.
It is regrettable that there are some in Henderson and Hancock Counties who would.
"Home" is a very special place to us.
Thank you for your consideration of our feelings and those of our families.
Jan (Walker) Schmitz
A VALENTINE FOR STELLA
By Elaine Slater Reese
Her mind was fine - her lungs weren't. To even answer "yes" or "no" was so difficult and painful. But she still had the twinkle in her eye and the smile on her face.
Her children had moved her to the big city where they lived and she knew no one else. And though verbal communication on her part was limited, she was soon loved by all the employees of the facility which was now her last home on this earth.
February 14th was approaching, and the employees decided that they would all chip in to purchase the most lovely valentine that could be found. They wanted Stella to know that she was loved.
When the big day came, they all crowded into her room and with expressions of love on their faces, said "HAPPY VALENTINES' DAY, STELLA!"
As she read the beautiful words on the pink, lacey heart- shaped card, tears streamed down her cheeks. And in her usual manner of graciousness, she swept her hands from the card towards all of them. They knew she loved them also.
What they didn't know were the memories that had once again come to mind - a man walking across a room at a business meeting - a whirlwind courtship - talks of why it couldn't work. The age difference was too much.
His children were grown. Hers were young. They had both just come from very painful broken relationships.
But two things outweighed all the logic. They both loved the Lord. And when they touched, logic made no sense at all.
The wedding was easy to plan. The children would be part of it. When Dan, a young friend of theirs, heard the news, he quickly wrote a love song for their ceremony.
And they both immediately agreed what they wanted after the pastor pronounced them man and wife. This song had to be AMAZING GRACE.
It was literally the hottest day of the year - the sun was shining brightly on their future. They asked the guests to stand and sing with them.
And as Stella looked now at the valentine in her hand, she remembered, once again, how much the words had meant - "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun."
They had both been so filled with hope and joy and love.
They sang that song together through the years, in the car, on the beach, in each other's arms. IT WAS THEIR SONG.
Fifteen years later, the sun was buried behind the clouds. The wind was howling. Snowflakes chipped at faces. People huddled together in snow almost up to their knees.
After the pastor had released her husband to God, he asked that they all sing AMAZING GRACE.
People's teeth were chattering as they joined together. And though the day, for Stella, was sad beyond description, she found herself able to sing those words again. She was filled with hope and joy in her Lord's promises.
She looked again at the beautiful valentine in hands and wished that she had the strength to share with the others in the room about the most beautiful valentine in her life - the one who really loved her.
Elaine Reese is a freelance writer in Spring Green, WI who grew up in Hancock County.