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Medora Covered Bridge

It pulls you back so you can see the beauty of it all.

End to end it spans across the White River below the falls.

Long, red and wooden too with beauty in between.

Trusses tell the stories of young lovers in their teens.

It has beckoned many to take the plunge and see

How refreshing the water underneath can be.

On hot days of summer they came, many stayed,

While sharing picnics, families laughed and played.

The circus came across it in days of old.

Many interesting stories my mother told.

Elephants marched to the circus sounds

Telling folks the circus had come to town.

Many faces were happy and all aglow

As across the Medora Bridge we did go.

Years passed, time took its toll,

Weather, rot and damage played their roll.

Many were sad to see it close.

Gone were the days of a “Long Red Rose.”

There was talk it might be torn down.

Many decided a way should be found,

To save this bridge from disrepair,

Shouting, “Let’s bring it back with flare!”

Plenty of people came together

To make the bridge a whole lot better.

Donations poured in from near and far.

They worked until it shown like a star.

And now we see what love can do.

Medora Bridge is now shining anew!

 

Sherry Lynn Davis was born in Salem, Indiana, then moved to Garden City, Kansas, in 1959. She attended Garden City High School and Garden City Community College where she majored in nursing and worked as a RN for 20 years. Sherry is married and has three grown sons. She and her husband Dennis Germann recently returned to Salem. She joined Writers Bloc and enjoys writing poetry.   More

30 days of gratitude

I love the cartoons and memes about people jumping right from Halloween into Christmas. I know some of these people...in fact, for those who don’t know, LPC sports writer Josh Lewis is one of them! He loves Christmas and everything that comes with it. He and Kate Wehlann have already started enjoying their Christmas music.

While I don’t mind that way of thinking, to each his own, it is not for me. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and I savor all 30 days of November! Of course, I could listen to Christmas music anytime tho...

Every year at Thanksgiving, we are reminded to think about the things we are thankful for. While we should give thanks daily for the big things and the simple things in life, sometimes we need a reminder to stop and appreciate what we have, or at least I know I do.

Online, I came across a photo a friend had shared. It said Photo a Day, 30 Days of Gratitude. It gives you a list of things to take photos of every day to remind you to appreciate the simple parts of life. Some examples are, I am grateful for: this moment, these hands, this routine, this inspiration, etc.

I have started it, tho I’m a couple of days late because I didn’t come up on it until Nov. 3, and I have enjoyed it so much! The challenge has reminded me to stop, look around and appreciate it all, every day. Because I love photography and capturing images, this has been a great challenge for me and I wanted to share with our readers.

Whether you are a social media fan or not, I still challenge you to follow this for the month of November. Take pictures on your own or read the daily challenge and pause to think about what part of your life would fit for each day’s suggestion of gratitude.

I love this month, with the falling leaves, the changing of the weather and the emotions that revolve around Thanksgiving for me, the smells, the sounds, the wonderful feeling of family and friends gathering together.

I hope everyone who reads this takes the time …   More

The Player

I saw her from across the room, and it was love at first sight. Even from a distance I could tell she was a player. I had to have her. She excited me. I wondered how many others wanted her too. Her beauty was not typical. She had a nice pair of tapered legs, kind of flat, with a few rolls, a little squarish and kind of flakey, but I knew when I got her in my hands, I could fix all that. I was going for it. She was coming home with me, but first I had to ask my wife. She gave me an understanding “O.K.” like she had so many times before. It had been a long time since I had done any bidding, and I wasn’t sure how far I was willing to go to get her.

I was drawn to player pianos as a kid. My Uncle Carl took the front off of his and replaced it with Plexiglas. He did this to display the multicolored artwork he did on her inner workings. Although I was fascinated by the complexity of the fluorescent billows and hammers convulsing up and down the harp strings, I felt pity for her. I’m sure at one time she dripped with elegance, but now she was reduced to a cheap painted lady, overexposed like a sideshow act in a small traveling circus. I could picture her in her earlier days, gracing the parlor of a fine Victorian home with a loving family. Now she sat in the corner of a guest room calling for the company of clowns and monkeys.

Maybe that’s why this recent find caught my attention so quickly. Maybe I just needed to, in my mind, right a wrong from the past. Maybe I could save this one.

The auctioneer started the bidding at one hundred dollars. Surely no one was crazy enough to think they could do anything with her. Think of the work it would take. No one but I… and I tried not to let it show. The hand-raising stopped at two hundred fifty. I was elated. She was mine now. I later bid on her rolls and picked them all up for ten dollars.

I pulled her out of the barn, like a hippopotamus in a pair of second hand high heels. She …   More

14 Steps

Fourteen.

I remember asking, when I was six or seven years old, why the basement stairs had fourteen steps going up but thirteen steps going down. “You’re skipping the top step on the way down,” was my dad’s answer, in his patient tone. My first-grade self had protested that I wasn’t skipping a step, and I was the best counter in my class, I could count all the way to a hundred.

But to a little boy of six or seven, Dad knew everything, like how the sky was blue because it reflected the ocean, or how wooly worms knew what the coming winter was going to be like, or how giraffes were so tall because God made them that way now I need to get this work done and if you’re not going to help then go and play with your brother.

Thirteen.

God, how long has it been since the last time I came home? The old farmhouse hasn’t changed much since then. I was surprised that everyone could still fit inside, despite all coming back with a spouse and children. It feels awkward, having the whole family in one house. Like I’m always in somebody’s personal space, no matter where I go.

Twelve.

Maybe that’s why I’m down here. Creeping down the basement stairs in the dead of night. All the relatives are asleep. Michelle and the kids are up in my old room. Mom and Dad must have spent a small fortune on air mattresses.

Eleven.

Why am I down here, counting stairs, phone flashlight in hand? I guess a part of me wants to see how many steps there really are to this basement. It’s a stupid notion, but then, here I am. I’d never even thought about the basement stairs since the first grade. Funny what you remember at a family reunion.

Smells like rust and old mothballs down here. That hasn’t changed, either.

Ten.

The sudden buzzing of the phone forces a yelp from my throat, and reflex launches the device forward. The phone clatters to a stop on the third or fourth stair from the bottom, …   More

Accepting Changes

Living in the country in an old two-story house was a dream that came true in 1973 for my husband Larry and me. The historic house located in Salem, Indiana, was an ideal setting for the antiques we were collecting and features a winding staircase, a bay window and a fireplace.

In 1972 we decided to take on the challenge of renovating the old house that had stood empty for nearly a decade. There were few contractors who would tackle any of the jobs we offered, so we did nearly all the work ourselves. It took a year working in our spare time to make enough repairs for the house to be livable. Even with all its flaws, we loved our old house and were pleased to be living in a small community to raise our children.

Our dream home was surrounded by fields and pastures that created a serene country setting. I could sit on my front porch and watch the neighbor’s wheat field as it waved in the wind, see the corn growing tall in the field around us, and hear the cattle bellowing in the distance. But that serenity was broken about twenty years later when Child Craft Industries built a facility for kiln drying lumber for their furniture manufacturing company in Salem.

Larry and I attended meetings prior to the construction of the facility to object to farmland directly across from our residential property being used for industrial purposes. Only one other neighbor attended to object, however, so the project continued based on the economic benefits the company would provide. Larry eventually went to work for Child Craft in 1994 in their maintenance department and at times was called to work at the location across the road from our home. That facility was later sold to Salem Hardwoods, and they have been good “neighbors” although it does create a steady amount of semi-trailer traffic.

Now 44 years later my country lifestyle has been permanently changed with a new Wal-Mart Supercenter and accompanying businesses and restaurants located just a …   More

There is no one solution for solving the drug issue

Layers, upon layers, upon layers.

That’s all I could think about Thursday as I sat through the day long opioid summit in Bloomington last week.

It’s an issue. It’s a big issue. It’s beyond you and me.

As one of the speakers said, “We need all hands on deck. We are in trouble.”

The number of people with drug abuse issues continues to grow…daily.

But even more alarming than that is the growing number of children who have parents who are drug users. It’s a trickle down effect and it’s one that is getting out of control.

You may be reading this, sitting in your nice house in a nice neighborhood thinking, ‘Drug use don’t effect me.’

But guess what? It does.

Those kids who live in a house with parents who have drug problems, they go to school with your children and/or grandchildren. The things they see, they share them with your child. When they act out in class because their emotions get the best of them? Guess what? Your child’s teacher has to stop what they are doing (teaching your child) to handle the situation.

Everyone is effected in some way by drug abuse.

There were a variety of people from all different backgrounds at the event. Social workers, media, community volunteers, business owners, elected officials, etc. Everyone is brainstorming. Everyone is trying to figure out how to tackle this monstrosity of an issue.

We all know there’s a problem and it needs to be addressed. The question is how? What is the best way? Where do we begin? How can each group contribute in their own way to helping ease the drug problems?

And the thing is, what works for one, doesn’t work for everyone. These people are struggling and we need to help them. We need to let them know we care…about them, their families. They need to know we want them to succeed and we aren’t giving up on them. We need to save our community.

I came away with several ideas from all the areas I’m involved with in the community. I see …   More

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins

Someone inform Mother Nature that it is officially autumn. She’s clearly confused.

And hush, you summer people. You have had months to enjoy being sticky with sweat and baking under the sun and we have tolerated you. Your time is over. The rise of the fall folk has arrived. We are ready for crisp air, hot cider and crunchy leaves.

^Me, emerging at the end of summer to bask in the beauty of autum^

 

The day before Friday Night on the Square, I made my first pumpkin-something. I’m not one of the pumpkin spice latte acolytes, but I love pumpkin pie and other pumpkin-y desserts, especially in the fall. It just so happened that Awareness Washington County needed desserts for their cake walk and as a graduate, it only seemed fitting to whip something up.

 

I might be a pumpkin fiend during the fall, but I’m a cheesecake lover all year long. These Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins  from The Novice Chef is the perfect marriage of the two. They come out moist (*twitches at having to use that word, but there really isn’t a better one*) and delicious they stay that way for a few days if they’re kept properly — airtight in the refrigerator. I could only fit 13 into the pan I was using for the Awareness booth, which left five muffins for me. Noooo complaints.

 

Start with mixing flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined and then, in another bowl, do the same with some pumpkin puree, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in eggs, oil and vanilla before slowly whisking in the flour mixture. Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full.

 

Now, these would be delicious on their own. If you’re not a cheesecake fan or you don’t have the ingredients on hand and don’t feel like going to the store or you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, you can fill the muffin tins fuller and just end up with fewer muffins. As I didn’t do this, I don’t know how this would change the baking time, but I’d say around 15 …   More

Presbyterians have a special place in my heart

It was like reliving a special time in my life on a recent Sunday morning as I stepped through the front doors of Salem Presbyterian Church.

In honor of its 200 years of existence, the church held a special service and invited me to come and take pictures of the day.

Although I am not a member any longer, the memories I have of growing up in that building will ensure that it will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only did my family attend the church when I was born, it is also where I was baptized, where I went to Sunday school every week, where I attended preschool (with Miss Julie McFadden), where I met my first best friend (Molly Huey Kelly) where I took confirmation and where I always knew I could return when home on the weekends during college.

To go back and see all the wonderful people who helped raise me and to remember those who are no longer with us, it was just something special.

I enjoyed reminicising about Ed and Elinor DeJean, Fred and Carolyn Fultz, Jess and Barb Helsel, Helen Roberson, Johanna Gili, Jinny Scifres, the list goes on. I loved seeing Pat Parkey, my sweet friend and old neighbor Alice McGinnis, Bill and Kathy Peterson and of course the many other members that I see around town daily.

It brought joy to my heart to see my girls sitting with my parents and enjoying the service. Getting to hear from four generations of Salem Presbyterian members was pretty awesome, too. Carolyn Haag, David Beck, Tom McQuiddy and Rachel Fisher all did a wonderful job, but Tom’s speech got the tears flowing for me.

He talked about the days of children’s church, how his grandmother (Johanna Gili) always ran into church 15 minutes late, our church picnics at Camp Pyoca and many more. Those are the days I remember and miss. The people, the faces, the smells, the feelings, it all came back in those few minutes.

Life is so short and so precious. I’m blessed that I grew up in such a loving church family with so many amazing …   More

#HoustonStrong

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the news about the devastating flooding going on in Houston as I type this. I don’t really know what to say but I feel like I should say something.

For those unaware my dad used to live in Texas City which is essentially a suburb of Houston. My step mom is from that area and so I have a lot of step family and friends in and around the Houston area. I spent many spring breaks and summers down there visiting family and for a long time Houston was essentially a second home for me. I am a very proud Texan (as are most if we’re being honest) so I feel a pretty emotional attachment to the area.

As news started pouring in yesterday there was a twitter thread that just broke my heart. It started as a tweet from the official City of Houston twitter page saying 911 services were at capacity and to only call if it was an actual emergency, as in more than a few inches of water in your home. There were numerous responses of people who had fled to their attics and were trapped or were on their roofs awaiting rescue. So many addressees of people in desperate need for help. It was chilling.

The pictures, videos, and stories coming from South Texas are heartbreaking, but also inspirational. So many people lending a hand where they can. The first responders selflessly risking their own well being to help those in need. And not just the first responders but also just ordinary people. There was a video that went viral on twitter of a man being interviewed by a news station as he was getting ready to launch his boat off into the water. The asked him what he was doing and he said he was going to “Go save lives.” How freaking awesome is that? This guy was going to go and help people he didn’t because they needed it.

There are tons of photos and videos of people being helped by their fellow man and it just warms my heart. I hate that a horrific event like this happens, but it also restores some faith in …   More

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

For whatever reason, we didn’t have meatballs much growing up. We had giant meatballs called hamburgers and really giant meatballs called meatloaf, but whether it’s because they were too much of a hassle to roll out by hand or whether it just never occurred to us that we should make them, the little ones weren’t really on the menu much.

Chicken Parmesan was, though. That was the first full meal I remember learning to make. When I was a kid, it was my dad’s go-to when company was coming over and he would make mountains of it. We’d be eating it as leftovers for a few days afterward. Despite the fact that it was my dad’s recipe and method, it was my grandmother (my mother’s mother) who guided me through it the first time.

I make my own sauce now and I still make my dad’s chicken parm, from time to time, in batches and freeze it so I don’t have to make a mess of my kitchen as often, but these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs from Dinner: A Love Story probably won’t last long enough to need freezing. With this being a fairly easy recipe, you could even leave out instructions for your middle schoolers to make this and have it ready when you get home from work, or at least ready to pop them in the oven.

I know I normally follow the recipes to a T when I do these, but I am my father’s daughter and if I come up with a twist I think I’ll like better, sometimes I can’t resist. In this case, I didn’t change the ingredients (OK, just slightly), just the way the ingredients are put together.

The recipe calls for fresh mozzarella and I used the block kind and cut about the same amount of cheese, weight-wise, maybe a little more, into cubes and set them aside.

Then I combined the ingredients for the meatballs and gently mixed. Ground chicken works like ground turkey and can get tough if you overmix it or mix it too aggressively. Gentle.

Form balls about the size of ping pong balls and, …   More

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