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Local Columns

The older the violin …

As I entered the coffee shop I saw my cantankerous old buddy, Ebeneezer Griper, reading a news magazine. Eb was deeply absorbed, his wire rim reading glasses sitting at the end of his long, narrow nose. “What’s news this morning?” I inquired as I approached his table. Startled, Eb ...

Phono fun all over again

As Julie’s family opened gifts on the most recent Christmas Eve I was delighted to watch 13-year-old granddaughter, Eliza, open her gift from us. She told Julie earlier in the year that she wanted a phonograph and two long-play albums for Christmas. Though I recognize that vinyl albums have ...

Eating like a buffalo

When my maternal grandfather came to the United States from Germany as a teenager, he brought along a treasure of adages in his native Low German. Some of those sayings are in rhyming verse; a few are a bit earthy. Most impart a gem of wisdom. Opa shared those bits of German horse sense and ...

A visit to the filling station

If you were educated in an Iowa school system in the 1950s you undoubtedly remember those little yellow dental cards. How could you forget? Early in the school year we were given a dental card in need of our dentist’s signature confirming that our teeth were in good shape. Of course, that ...

A gentleman’s guide to Valentine’s Day gift giving

We’re in for a month of romance, folks. This February brings us Valentine’s Day and Leap Year Day to boot. As difficult as it may be to believe I am not, nor have I ever been, a Romeo. I do, however, have nearly 60 years of experience in this game and I would like to share what I have ...

Litchfield made ag equipment

The cold snap we had recently certainly caught me by surprise. It made me wonder what heating homes must have been like a hundred years ago. Being cooped up with the trusty laptop and internet unfazed by the frigid weather outside, I started to look and found … Lyman Litchfield was born in ...