Isle Days, editing and a dispatch from the front

Sometimes I wish I were a better person, one who rolls up his sleeves and gives of himself and his time to make life better for strangers and friends alike.

Fortunately, we have in our midst dozens of good people who are not as selfish as I, and they are the ones who make community festivals possible.

I am not worthy to unlace their Red Wings at the end of a backbreaking day of volunteering. All I can do is use my bully pulpit to say thanks — and to encourage you to do the same.

I had the opportunity to spend most of Saturday at Isle Days and ended the day with a humble sense of gratitude for those who made it possible. At the fun run in the morning, I saw how many volunteers it took to make it possible, folks like Bruce and Genal and Gene and Mark and Butch — not to mention the dozens of firefighters, cops and scouts who directed traffic and manned the water stops.

A similar list could be compiled for the kiddie parade, car show, coin hunt, quilt show, fishing tournament, grand parade, coronation and pancake breakfasts.

Later in the day, manning the ticket booths, food stands and beer garden were folks like Duane and Diane and Jan and Dan and Troy and Lisa and Josh and Kathy.

It takes hundreds to pull off an event, but usually a handful do most of the work. Over the last few years, Steve and Mitzie Reis and Hans Woelfle have earned a special shout out for directing so much love and energy toward their adopted hometown — and doing it all with a smile. Duane and Kathy Zimpel, Linda and Dale Teal, Kristen Cooper and Steve Kautz also deserve stars on the sidewalk.

He’s rubber, she’s glue

When you accuse someone of poor editing, you should make sure your own editing is beyond reproach. In Rep. Erickson’s column on page 5, this sentence appears: “The result of these changes tell us one of two things, either the wording for these questions are completely politically motivated in an attempt to confuse voters, or Secretary Ritchie’s editing simply deserves a failing grade.”

As a former English teacher myself, I spotted two cringeworthy subject-verb agreement problems: “Result” is the subject of the first clause and “tell” (should be “tells”) is the verb; “wording” is the subject of the second clause, and “are” (should be “is”) is the verb. I would also recommend a colon instead of a comma after “things.” Tsk, tsk, Mrs. E.

A dispatch from the homefront

Most of the time I believe I live with a woman who is intelligent, charming, kind and beautiful, but then we decide to have company over and she morphs into someone you would find on a reality TV show like “Hoarders” or “Intervention.”

Apparently the goal at these times is to make the house as much like a sterile laboratory as possible by removing any evidence of human habitation.

Every microscopic mite must be eliminated. Each chair and table must be squared with the walls using a micrometer and the Pythagorean theorem.

On Sunday, in preparation for a visit from the family of Diane’s work friend, I had to take the mattress and box spring off the front porch because they looked “white trashy.”

“But they’re your friends,” I said. “That means they don’t care if our house is perfect.”

She cast me that blank look that speaks volumes no man can translate, so I went back to wallpapering over the bathroom doors, lest our friends realize what goes on in there.

Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.


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