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They don’t build them like that anymore


Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, March 12, 2001

As we were driving down into Iowa last week my wife said that she thought that it was about time that we traded the car in for a new one. I said that I didn’t think that we needed a new car, it looks like new and runs like a top. She said that it should run nice since I had replaced the engine, the front axle, the clutch and the exhaust system within the last three years. Then she wanted to know how many people were still driving the same car after fourteen years? She also wanted to know why anyone in his right mind would have a car serviced and repaired by someone called Shifty Shanahan?

I told her that Shifty and I were old friends and that he got this name when we were in school. She said, “And what reform school was that?”

“Shifty was president of our class and was voted as the person most likely to succeed.”

“So was Jesse James.”

“Look we’ve got two cars, this red one might have a few miles on it but it looks like new and runs like a top. Not only that but it is a one of a kind; it has a T-bar roof and a rear hatch that can be removed to form a pickup truck.”

“The only time that you converted the car into a pickup, you got caught in a downpour and when you got home you couldn’t get the hatch back on and had to pay Shifty fifty dollars to turn it back into a car. It’s bad enough that our new car is fourteen years old but that van that you bought ten years ago is now sixteen years old.”

“That van has everything that we need in a camper and it looks and runs as good as the day that Shifty sold it to me. It is also a good backup in case something happened to this car.”

“What good is a backup car that you don’t dare drive in the winter? The last time that you drove that van down our hill, the van couldn’t make it back up until the Spring Thaw.” I was about to tell her that we had two very good cars and what with all of the parts that Shifty had replaced over the years, they, the car and the van, were as good as new when the damned thing quit running.

We sat there looking out at nothing and she said, “Well, here is another fine mess that you’ve gotten us into with this car and all of it’s new parts. There must have been a part that you and Shifty have overlooked and just how many new parts are you two going to put into this tin can on wheels?”

I hate it when once in a great while I have to admit that there is a possibility that I might be wrong about someth .....
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The Gift of Life

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When the phone rang at three a.m. last Monday morning, my husband Joe sat straight up out of a deep sleep, "Baby time," he said.

With one foot on the floor, he then heard me saying, "Yes, you can dry ginger a ..... 
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Does History Make the Man?

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 26, 2001

Editor’s note: The following article was adapted from a school assignment by the author.

"I wanted to be above anything else a politician. Then along comes World War II, marriage, children,” said Lt. Col ..... 
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Crossing Cultures

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, March 19, 2001

It's a bone chilling November evening in 1979. Members of Sheie and Garness Lutheran Churches of rural Mabel wait in the LaCrosse airport for a family coming across the Mekong River, Laotian mountains and centuries of cu ..... 
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Beneath Tropical Seas

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 5, 2001

Waves roll in and then recede, as the ocean endlessly caresses this lonely tropical shore. Shallow, crystal clear and deliciously warm are the waters of the all-encompassing sea. The white sand beach is deserted, polis ..... 
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Escape from America

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, December 11, 2000

I guess I’m a snowbird at heart because every year about this time, once the temperature dips below zero and looks like it’s going to stay there awhile, I start yearning to go south. Way south. All the way down to Ecu ..... 
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More for Your Money

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, March 12, 2001

When the clock radio comes on these late winter mornings, I am often surprised by how much daylight already exists at that hour. I lose track of sunrise during the cloudy months of January and February.

This time ..... 
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Money Well Spent

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, March 19, 2001

I sat in a seat in the middle of the theatre and looked upward.

“The ceiling is still up there after all these years,” I thought. Masonite panels tacked up with nails and painted green. Usually the lights are lo ..... 
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Weller sentenced to 10 years

Fri, Mar 9th, 2001
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Monday, February 26, 2001

Lloyd Albert Weller was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Robert Benson in Fillmore County District Court on Thursday, February 22.

As part of a plea bargain agreement, Weller had plead guilty to one co ..... 
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