How COVID-19 Spreads In Rural Wisconsin

This week I talked with a public school employee who had a rather stark response to my question of how long it was expected for that school to remain open once it commences classes next week.

Without hesitation, the response was right to the point.

“Two weeks”.

Today as I looked at my home county newspaper and it was once again apparent the medically prescribed safeguards requested so to stem the spread of the virus are not being practiced by many people.

The first photo that struck my attention was one with the caption which started, “Plainfield’s Tri-County students are seen waiting for the bus to arrive….  There are ten people and two masks.  And the saddest statement is the ‘adult’ in the middle of the photo seeming to be blissfully unaware.

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“All ages swarmed around….” was the second phto that alerted me regarding an event to raise money for local concern.  Not a mask on anyone.

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Then I saw this reminder online today about how people can help spread the infection with friends and strangers alike over several days this weekend.

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Too many of our medical professionals work long hours and endure huge amounts of stress so to do their part to keep the public as healthy as possible. Many citizens statewide have played their part in staying closer to home, wearing a mask, and self-distancing.  Then there is a huge swath of the state that seems wedded to the idea they can act in any fashion they desire and not care one iota for the well-being of anyone—not even themselves.

This is truly a damning indictment on the caliber and fiber of too many of our fellow state residents.

Ron’s Restaurant In Plainfield Not Rebuilding Following Fire

Today the news was made official on Facebook from the family who owned and operated Ron’s Restaurant in Plainfield.

After great thought we are saddened to announce that we will not be rebuilding Ron’s. I’ve asked my parents to retire, the long hours on those cement floors have done a number on my mom’s joints over the past 33 years. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about the restaurant and our customers since that has been our lives and the employees and customers alike are like extended family. I’ve tried to come up with a short sweet story here and it always ends up turning into a novel. So that being said we hope you all are staying healthy in these trying times and have a wonderful summer. 

Readers to this blog know my fondness for this restaurant as it dates back decades for my family.  I have written about that diner on my blog over time and was very pleased to have been able to write the lead story in the local newspaper about what that place meant for customers.

I can truly appreciate the desire of the family to step back from the business.  I can only say the fond memories of Ron’s, the staff, the folks who gathered and shared smiles and laughter remain. They will always be treasured.

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9 Year-Old Boy With Cancer In Plainfield, WI Gives Donated Money To Family Of 6-Year-Old Killed While Getting On School Bus

The day is more bitter-sweet as it moves along.

Earlier I posted about the death of a 6-year-old girl who was struck by a truck which was trying to pass the bus on the right-hand side–as the bus was stopped and its flasher on.

Now comes news that a 9-year-old student, who is fighting cancer, has turned money donated to his cause over to the family who lost their child.

Donations collected by Tri-County schools for 9-year-old Miguel Duran will be given to the family of the 6-year-old girl hit and killed by a vehicle while waiting for the school bus Monday morning.

Miguel has stage 4 Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that forms in soft tissue. The cancer is aggressive, leaving him with not much time.

I am touched beyond words today.

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Plainfield, Wisconsin Kindergarten Student Killed, Driver Passed Stopped Bus With Lights Flashing!

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Those of us who grew up in the country know what it is like to gather at the end of the driveway to await the yellow school bus as the red flashing lights are turned on, and the vehicle comes to a stop.  Parents would watch from the front room or kitchen window to make sure all was well as the bus pulled away.  That scene has played out for decades in the area where I was raised.

But instead of a routine start to the school week, comes tragic news from Plainfield, Wisconsin.  (This was the school district I attended, graduating in 1980.)

Today a  6-year-old student died after they were struck and killed by a vehicle while waiting to get on a school bus.  My heart breaks for this little kid, and the sibling who was also at the scene of the accident.  There are no words to express what pain the parents will need to endure.

Tri-County Area School District Administrator Anthony Marinack said the bus was stopped, when another vehicle, traveling in the same direction as the bus, struck two students.  The sibling was injured.

Late reports, as this post is published, concerns the family.  After meeting with the mother and family of the children involved in this tragic incident, there is confirmation that the second child involved in this vehicle-student collision–the 4-year-old sister of the accident’s fatal victim–has been released from medical care with relatively minor injuries and is home recovering with her family.

One of my Facebook friends commented that it was foggy at the time of the accident. Another friend commented that he was on the road and foggy conditions and ice-covered roads required a driver to operate a vehicle with concentration. Green Bay television reports the school bus stopped along State Highway 73 with its lights flashing when a car tried to pass the bus on the right-hand side.

There are no printable words on this blog that allows for a true expression of anger about a driver who does not know that a flashing red light on a school bus means to stop the GD car!  There is no reason under the sun to think that time is so short or a start time to any event so necessary as to not pay heed to the flashing red lights of a school bus.

This is worse than tragic.

It is now a crime.

Ron’s Restaurant Story In Waushara Argus

My thoughts and memories about Ron’s Restaurant which burned down last Saturday were published this week above the fold and with a byline in the Waushara Argus.

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Ron’s Restaurant in Plainfield Burns

This has me feeling mighty sad tonight.  The photos from Mark Michalski on FaceBook tells the story.

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Only a few weeks ago I wrote from the heart about this diner in Plainfield.  To say it has lots of memories for so many would be an understatement.  My thoughts are with the owner and workers and all those who knew it was a very special place.

Many know the feeling of moving away from their home community, and when venturing back, finding so much has changed.  There are new athletic facilities at the high school with players whose last names are not recognizable.  Large potato storage facilities have popped up, while a local church has far fewer members without a pastor.  The old family homestead may still stand, but empty of anything other than memories.  Simply put if you try to return to a place you remember from the past it won’t be the same as you remember it.

In many ways, over the decades that I have been gone from Hancock where I was raised, or Plainfield where I attended the high school, that sentiment has been very true.  But once again this week I was reminded that it does not need to be completely true.  Ron’s Family Restaurant in Plainfield is the reason why.

Entering the place on Monday, as the sun was setting and the warm autumn day gave way to evening chill, a vibrant and smiling teenager asked how I was doing.  I need to warm up I said, and she let me know instantly that homemade hot soup was just what was required.  She was right, the chicken noodle soup was akin to what Grandma would ladle into a bowl.

Becky, the owner, never fails to come by the customers to offer greetings and share tidbits of ‘this or that’.  For many years her constant kindness has been, for me, far more important than the food she serves.  We asked about her mother, one of the sweetest ladies I ever met, and the person who played the organ at both of my folks’ funerals.  As we were talking a woman came in with young kids and they all filled a table behind us.  Ron’s is always at its best when there are young people laughing.

Countless times my parents (Royce and Geneva) would sit in a back booth and each time the door opened everyone seemed to look around to find if their neighbor or bowling league friend had come to eat.  There were no strangers at Ron’s, everyone seemed to blend over hamburgers, or meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Monday James and I sat at a table, while in a booth nearby, a man overheard our conversation with the high school student.  We reminded the soon-to-be graduating senior to follow passions in life, and that the money would follow.  As she contemplated her college plans James mentioned his years at Middlebury, and how to secure education grants.  It was that back-and-forth which led the man in the booth to start talking with us as coffee was poured and orders were taken.

He had lived in Israel and studied theology while taking in many of the sites.  As the conversation continued, and the plates arrived with hot food, he told us he was from Madison.  He had served his church there for 40 years as a pastor. As we talked on and on the importance of Ron’s was more clear in my mind. In most restaurants, no one would ever think of striking up a conversation from where we both were seated, or for the length of time that we enjoyed each other’s company.  But Ron’s is so comfortable and friendly feeling that it all but begs no one to be a stranger.

By the time we closed the restaurant down, we had covered many topics, including the mutual fond memories of a state worker at the DNR.

There are certain things in life that should always remain true, and if there can only be a few from back home which remain, I am very glad one of them is Ron’s Restaurant.   It is a touchstone to the past and a reminder that one can go home again.

And smile about another good memory.

 

Letter From Home “Ron’s Restaurant Is A Touchstone” 9/15/19

Many know the feeling of moving away from their home community, and when venturing back, finding so much has changed.  There are new athletic facilities at the high school with players whose last names are not recognizable.  Large potato storage facilities have popped up, while a local church has far fewer members without a pastor.  The old family homestead may still stand, but empty of anything other than memories.  Simply put if you try to return to a place you remember from the past it won’t be the same as you remember it.

In many ways, over the decades that I have been gone from Hancock where I was raised, or Plainfield where I attended the high school, that sentiment has been very true.  But once again this week I was reminded that it does not need to be completely true.  Ron’s Family Restaurant in Plainfield is the reason why.

Entering the place on Monday, as the sun was setting and the warm autumn day gave way to evening chill, a vibrant and smiling teenager asked how I was doing.  I need to warm up I said, and she let me know instantly that homemade hot soup was just what was required.  She was right, the chicken noodle soup was akin to what Grandma would ladle into a bowl.

Becky, the owner, never fails to come by the customers to offer greetings and share tidbits of ‘this or that’.  For many years her constant kindness has been, for me, far more important than the food she serves.  We asked about her mother, one of the sweetest ladies I ever met, and the person who played the organ at both of my folks’ funerals.  As we were talking a woman came in with young kids and they all filled a table behind us.  Ron’s is always at its best when there are young people laughing.

Countless times my parents (Royce and Geneva) would sit in a back booth and each time the door opened everyone seemed to look around to find if their neighbor or bowling league friend had come to eat.  There were no strangers at Ron’s, everyone seemed to blend over hamburgers, or meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Monday James and I sat at a table, while in a booth nearby, a man overheard our conversation with the high school student.  We reminded the soon-to-be graduating senior to follow passions in life, and that the money would follow.  As she contemplated her college plans James mentioned his years at Middlebury, and how to secure education grants.  It was that back-and-forth which led the man in the booth to start talking with us as coffee was poured and orders were taken.

He had lived in Israel and studied theology while taking in many of the sites.  As the conversation continued, and the plates arrived with hot food, he told us he was from Madison.  He had served his church there for 40 years as a pastor. As we talked on and on the importance of Ron’s was more clear in my mind. In most restaurants, no one would ever think of striking up a conversation from where we both were seated, or for the length of time that we enjoyed each other’s company.  But Ron’s is so comfortable and friendly feeling that it all but begs no one to be a stranger.

By the time we closed the restaurant down, we had covered many topics, including the mutual fond memories of a state worker at the DNR.

There are certain things in life that should always remain true, and if there can only be a few from back home which remain, I am very glad one of them is Ron’s Restaurant.   It is a touchstone to the past and a reminder that one can go home again.

And smile about another good memory.

Racism Blow-Back For Racist-in-Chief

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If you had any reason to need a smile amidst the slime being pumped by Donald Trump’s White House since Sunday’s unhinged racist tirade, it came on Thursday when the mice on the ship started to fear rising water.  News reports of nervous Republicans, from the Trump family to the leadership offices in congress, urged someone to muzzle Trump.  That is when the needed grin started.  But when Trump threw all the Jim-Bobs and Sue-Ellens from the North Carolina rally under the bus with his comment, ” didn’t say that. They did” the grin became a full-fledged smile.

Trump was forced to kneel verbally while sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office.  He had been told in no uncertain terms that he had stepped far outside the norms of decency and good taste.  Even in the eyes of the modern Republican Party!  

Steven Colbert told his late night CBS audience that Trump’s supporters in North Carolina, and around the nation, never saw the truck coming but sure felt the tire marks on their faces.

Both NBC and CBS evening news broadcasts made specific note that Trump was not telling the truth when he stated he tried to stop the offending outbursts from the audience. Trump, however, paused during the chant so that the momentum could reach its crescendo.  In each newscast it was noted that Trump waited until the crowd was done chanting, before speaking.  Almost 15 seconds of racial crud spewed from the all white crowd. Colbert even showed, with a stop watch, to further showcase Trump’s lie.

As I read the news reports Thursday afternoon of Trump’s laughable excuse for the national embarrassment, and racist chants from his base, I thought about dangerous demagogues.  What does happen when someone like Trump loses control of the angry crowd?  Are we to see pitchforks hoisted and torch wielding villagers ranting down the streets?  

There is no way not to be ashamed at what America has become.  The base of Trump supporters have demonstrated, time and again, who they are and what they wish to be identified with in our nation   I have continually stated as a matter of fact that ignorance from Trump supporters along with pure cowardice and lack of moral leadership from Republicans and conservatives is not only appalling,  but indeed dangerous.  

North Carolina is proof of that fact.

What those rubes in the arena did not know, and what Trump did not know when he started this mess on Sunday, is something that I learned in my small rural school.  Mr Winn and Mrs. Glad taught me lessons for a lifetime in that Plainfield school.

Disagreeing with certain government policies is not anti-American. In fact, it is the epitome of the freedom this country was founded on. To try and shame someone for speaking out and asking them to self-deport is certainly anti-American.

And so it goes.