I’ve been focusing the many things for which I’m thankful this month and, with only a five columns in the month, I realize I could probably write about something every week all year long.
Sometimes, it takes someone else to remind you of all the blessings you have. I taught children’s church Sunday and the kids took a moment to share what they’re thankful for — family, church, friends, school, sports. It was a good reminder.
This week, I will say I’m especially thankful for our Daily News readers. We have been supported by the community for 100 years. It is hard to describe this level of gratitude. I’m thankful for everyone who picks up the newspaper. I don’t care if they buy it on the news stands one day a week or they have it delivered every day. I don’t care if they read one story or every single page. They’re keeping a 100-year tradition alive.
Reader feedback is always appreciated, regardless of whether it’s constructive criticism or positive feedback. A few of you contacted me last week to thank me for my shoutout to first responders. Just knowing you’re reading this column means so much. I enjoy hearing about all the ways people support their fire companies. Jean Hampson from Three Springs reminded us that people come from all walks of the globe to support Three Springs Fire Co. turkey dinners. She says they have the best stuffing.
I’m also thankful for our Daily News staff that makes this “daily miracle” happen day in and day out. There are so many people who have a hand in that one product you read each day — from the circulation department to classified ads, composing, advertising, sports, and of course, news. And we can’t forget about the folks who print the paper and those who work in our mailroom, as well as the drivers who faithfully get newspapers to post offices and stores all across the county. Without even one of those departments, you wouldn’t be reading this column. Daily News employees are willing to work in any weather and in any situation.
It’s so nice to see holiday events returning after, in some cases, a two-year hiatus. The Christmas calendar is filling up fast. If you’re looking to add some events to your list, here are a few: The 15th Street United Methodist Church will host its annual cookie walk beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The cookies don’t last long, so you’ll want to get there early.
The church will host Come to the Stable, a story about the Nativity, on Sunday, December 11.
Bob “Hum” Rodgers tells us this month what’s he’s thankful for, so without further ado:
Seems Like Yesterday By BOB “HUM” RODGERS
Shiver me timbers, it is November; as Popeye the sailor man always said “Eat more spinach.” I had a nice letter to the mailbag from Myla Norris of Piney Ridge. Keep reading and thank you for your letter. Shout out to Janet Shugarts and Dayton of Kistler. Some disagreements occurred on the football field. Sometimes my perception of a play as a coach was different from that of the referee Shugarts. We are close friends, and I wish I could visit him more often. Thanks for reading.
Larry Snyder, formerly of Mount Union was also a great reader. Brian Rodgers heard from Larry how much he enjoyed his time at the old institution. Larry was proud of his command and respect for his officers. Captain shared many stories about his driving tank with Gen. George Patton.
The Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 5 was a great experience for me. I was just across the street from Washington Street’s Medicine Shoppe. My Republican committee had a float that was ridden by several veterans. This is what I would like to share: As my flag passed by, I stood up and crossed my arms. As the veterans passed by, I stood and said, “Thank you, my heroes.”
Just last night, I was falling asleep and began to thank God for His blessings. At 4:30 am, this was my first attempt to change my November story. It was 5:05 a.m. I’d like to comment on some bitter comments made in the Opinion Line or Letters to the editor. We are blessed to have a local paper, with hard-working employees. They perform their duties without hesitation. They do their jobs without hesitation.
My opinion is “Let’s take a positive look at this area.” I have often wondered just what visitors think about our town with all the negativity. Because of the beauty of Raystown Lake, many residents have moved to the area. It is a pleasure to meet campers and rent campsites for those who dream of moving here.
I have to commend Mayor Tom Yoder’s block advertisement that attracts attention. He outlines each month’s activities and projects in the borough. This is a wonderful addition to the paper, with photos of events, e.g. breakfast/coffee at the mayor I’d love to see The Daily News do something similar. It will soon be over, and it is time to think about Thanksgiving.
I’d like to share some of the blessings I have and things I am grateful for. Remember the hymn, “Count Your Blessings, Name Them one By One”. Here goes…..
My Savior, my Lord and Savior-without Him I have nothing.
My family: I have five kids: Shannon, Ashley and Hunter, Noah, and Stephanie, my wife. I love them all! Brian is a successful entrepreneur, owns a semi-pro football team, and has his son Jesse as a business partner. Andy is Shannon’s husband. Shannon has been studying for many years in order to become a nurse in Altoona. Ashley is engaged and works as a teacher assistant in Altoona. Hunter, 26 years old, lives at home and is a referee for the PIAA. He also umpires baseball. Noah, 23, is a Huntingdon County Jail worker. He graduated from South Hills Business School, State College with a degree in criminal justice. He also coaches the Mifflin County Tomahawks. Stephanie is a hardworking wife and mother. She does each with a lot of love. She is crazy about Hunter’s 6-month-old beagle pup named Duke. She is a huge fan of the dog that has transformed our lives. He is loved by everyone. She is our housekeeper and works two jobs. She works part time at The FARM in Alexandria — watch for the smoke when Jim is barbecuing. She also works at Westminster Woods. I don’t know her job title, but she works many long hours, very diligently, then returns home to three grown men and Duke. We love you.
Greg Harven, my pastor, and my church family from Emmanuel Bible Church. Pastor is a great preacher. Many trials have been a part of his life. Kim died young after giving birth to Mark, Mark’s seventh child. She had six children, who now live in Canada and the United States. Our congregation is made up of all ages, from infants to seniors and even those who are over 90. There are activities, hymn singing, monthly meals at the gymnasium, HCA plays and fruit baskets. Guest evangelists also preach the Holy Bible.
My parents and siblings: Dad was one the true heroes of mine. He taught me fishing, hunting, trapping, and, our favorite, fishing. I’m attaching a picture of Dad leaving his work at 4 p.m. one day from J.C. Blair Co. (he is the dark shirt). Although he was the sole provider of his income, I was most proud that he believed in Christ as his Savior. Pastor Steve Crile, and I drove to Dad’s house. He sat down on the brown couch, and the pastor explained to him what to do. Through his tears, it was my first time hearing him pray. Vernon Allison, his friend, was his favorite person to give him Gospel tracts.
I’d like to talk about Mum who was the best lady I had ever known. Dad and Mum had only 8th grade educations, but they were blessed with four children who survived the Great Depression and kept our home. Mum worked from home every day. Dad had dug a well to provide water for the family’s laundry and cooking needs. Mum filled her Maytag washer with all that water, then used the clean water to fill a galvanized tub. After the clothes were dry, she ran them through the wringer and into the clean water. Mum would then twist the garment into a wooden basket after it was thoroughly wrung. Once the basket was full, Mum would take it outside to dry on the clothesline. When it was wet, drying took place indoors. Clothes were dried on old-fashioned drying racks. Every Monday was her job, rain or shining. Tuesday was ironing day; she even ironed Dad’s big blue hankies (he always had one hanging out of his back pocket because he sweat summer or winter). There was also a baking day. She baked cinnamon rolls, bread, and lemon meringue pie. Every scrap of dough made mini-cinnamon buns. Delicious meals were made from all the garden vegetables. Dad shared with everyone that Mum can make a meal from nothing. Just a couple of our favorites: coffee soup over homemade bread, duke’s mixture (all of the leftovers mixed with scrambled eggs), and garden peas and new potatoes cooked together in cream and butter sauce. I’m beginning to drool; my tastebuds are creating the need for a bib.
I’m proud to say Mum asked Jesus to save her while a patient in J.C. Blair Hospital. Rev. Rev. Reed Rogers from CMA Huntingdon introduced her to God and encouraged her in going to church. We were eventually moved by the lake. Shortly after we moved in 1972, she ended up at 722 Warm Springs Ave. Mum began going to Emmanuel Bible Church on Portland Avenue where used to be the high school. The third floor was where church was held. Mum and Dad were quickly reunited with Les McBride and Dorothy McBride. They always sat together in second pew, on the left side facing the pulpit. Each service, I would see Mum and Dorothy kissing cheeks while Les and Dad hugged. Dad referred to Lester as a man’s man! I must move on: see the photo of Mum and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was Dec. 7 — easy to remember because we always honored our veterans on Pearl Harbor Day.
This story was about Charles Rodgers. He was a hero to my family. Attached is a photo of Mum with my siblings. Charles is wearing his army uniform. With several other inmates, he brought his army skills to the job at the institution. Later, they regretted challenging him to box. Little did they know Charlie was a Texas boxing champion who had received military training at Fort Hood. He was a football player and graduated in 1941. JG Everard was his coach. He was a player with Walter Lott and Bob Cutshall, John Brown and Harold Hockenberry. That’s all that I remember from Charlie’s stories.
Hurrying on, I also had two wonderful sisters: Jean Grubb — she was a plain woman who never had much, never asked for much, and would give you anything you needed. She was a great cook specializing in potato salad and “Jean’s baked beans.” Each stop included black brewed coffee on a wood-fired cook stove and a piece of pie. The rest of my visits included stories about her family and every time I said goodbye, she would always reply “Come here, Sonny, ‘till I give you a kiss.” She loved her son, Gary, and daughter, Lois. Jean’s final years were spent in the care of Gary at his Entriken house. There are many things I could say about Jean’s funeral at Woodcock Valley Bible Church. It was packed. I was impressed by the number of valley residents who showed their respect for Jean. Jean demanded that the Rev. Buddy Baird was the guest of honor at the service. Buddy is a 50+ year old friend of mine. One of his stories of Jean was his praise of her having the cleanest outhouse he’s ever seen. Thanks, Buddy! Buddy, I love you so much. Dorothy Brindle was my other sister. She raised five children in Aitch, Connie Hoey and Bonnie Snare. She was in her 40s and worked at Elco Corp. setting contact strips for molded connectors. Dorothy was a talented baker and cook. Her homemade breads and rolls were glistening in butter melting. Her cinnamon rolls included icing or walnuts. For her large family, baking pies and cakes took more than one day. Dorothy wasn’t extravagant, but she was more concerned about her family’s hair than anyone else.
Recent declines in her health have been a problem. She fell last week and was brought to Huntingdon’s emergency room. I immediately went over to her and we had a private meeting, even though she was still on litter. I read the New Testament and was particularly struck by the story of God providing a mansion for her if she believed in Christ. She said “yes” — when she was in Broad Top City, her preacher showed her. She also stated that she was not afraid. She is now 94 and will soon be going to The Village, Martinsburg. As I pulled the curtains in the ER, I told her that I loved her and as always she answered, “I love you more.” I’m praying for you, Dottie.
I’m running out of space:
I’m blessed with grandchildren: I’m blessed with a miracle grandson, Max, who weighed 1 lb., 15 oz., at birth and could be held in your palm. I spent many hours praying for Max with my bended knees. He is now three years of age and is as intelligent as they come. God be glorified!
I’m blessed with good neighbors.
I’m blessed with many preacher friends: Leon Foote, Bob Maurer, Dan Hummel, Donnie Pollard, and John Leatherman.
I’m blessed with my best friends from college: Paul Perencevic, Grant Stiffler, Guy Feather, Woody Beaver, Charlie Stump, Terry Shoenback, and Jimmy Donley (who I helped put in a dryer at school — at least we kept it on low.)
I’m blessed with all my classmates from 1962. I’m blessed with good health. Each morning I praise God when the sun rises.
As the Bible says: Count your blessings; I’ve only scratched the surface.
Next month we will feature a Christmas story with help from Eddie Hammers and Gary Snare. I will have pictures for my readers.
Readers, you’re all a blessing for this old man. I love each of you — I really do.
God bless you today, and especially Thanksgiving, and soon Christmas.
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