Waushara Argus Perfect Place For Herman Cain’s Wife To Counter Accusations

The Waushara County Argus (publishing news since 1859) might serve as political inspiration for one of the Republican presidential candidates.  Yes, I am as surprised to be writing that line as most readers might be in reading it.

This idea comes to mind following a letter to the editor that was published this week in the rural Wisconsin paper.

While the small town paper serves a local readership, it also keeps those who grew up in the area, such as myself  who now live far away, apprised of the faces and places that make for ‘hometown’ news.

As such I was reading the latest edition in our Madison home, and came across a most unusual letter from Marie Thompson, who added “wife of an innocent man” to her signature.  My eyes always goes first to the writer of a letter to the editor, regardless of which paper I am reading, as it gives context to the matter being discussed.  The additional information about “an innocent man” alerted me that this letter was going to be better than the one about high-capacity wells which was printed on the same page.

Mrs. Thompson writes about her husband, Dr. Kenneth Thompson, who was elected Municipal Court Judge for the Village of Wild Rose in 2007, but was then caught up in a swirl of accusations ranging from “taking money under the table” to sexual assault.  (It should be noted that the writer of the letter denies all wrongdoing.)

This is where the letter took flight and soared.

Seems the best friend of the judge’s court clerk filed the sexual assault case, and after hearing the news the judge then suffered a heart attack.

Mrs. Thompson states her husband’s sexual movements were limited at the time the incident was to have happened as “we had a house full of company”,  and also due to back surgery and his needing to walk with a cane.  As such “there is no way he was capable  of what she (the one bringing the charge) accused him of”.

It seems, according to this sorted letter that a DNA test was undertaken, which proved Thompson’s DNA was not found.  So it is easy to see why the wife is defending her husband.

Hold on though–it gets better.

The letter to the editor continues that the DNA evidence reveals samples from “two men and one woman.”  The wife continues to explain (for those of us who do not live in small towns where such hijinks happen) that “this woman was with one man and evidently messing around while her husband was in a nursing home in Ohio.”

Now–a couple of things should be mentioned.

First off, it should be clear why I enjoy reading the local hometown paper.

Secondly, there is a lesson here for the wife of Herman Cain.

There is nothing more enlightening, or might I add entertaining, than to see a wife stand up and take her husband’s side in a nasty and public scandal.  While Herman Cain has been front and center in making his defense known, his wife has been silent and absent.  Think of the punchy response Mrs. Cain might offer to counter the accusations that have been lodged against her man.

While I know there are many places that Mrs. Cain could submit her column let me suggest that she consider the midwest where we try to be honest thinkers.

Since the Waushara Argus seems comfortable in offering space for such letters I think Cain’s wife might consider composing a letter and submitting it.

It sure would be more interesting than news about the community blood drive.

Letter From Home 1/12/11

“Read me a bedtime story.”

We hear about the cycle of life all the time.  Smiles are shared when hearing the news of friends who bring babies home from the hospital. Morning newspapers are read to  see if any names are recognized on the obituary page.  We plan for graduations, and weddings, and then as we get older time is marked by the vacations we took or the moves we made.

The cycle of life is something we live, and for the most part something that we do not reflect on as we are too busy doing what life is all about.  Living.  That is how it is supposed to be.

For me this week many of those pieces from the cycle of life converged in powerful and meaningful ways.  While visiting my dad who is now staying at a medical facility following a Christmas Eve heart attack many emotions were again brought to the surface.  

When one walks into the Wild Rose Memorial Hospital there are four pictures that hang on the wall.  One of them is that of Doctor Roger Kjentvit  who helped bring me into the world in 1962.   There are not too many people who can walk back into the place they were born and be greeted in such a way.  My mom always had the fondest memories of the doctor, and made sure many years ago that Kjentvit’s  obituary was given to me. 

My dad is now staying in the ‘swing-bed’ unit at the hospital.  The small town hospital that once served a larger community with all sorts of medical needs has given way due to economic necessity to a slimmer mission.  The old portion of the hospital where I was born is shut down and soon to be leveled.  Lead paint and asbestos prevents its use anymore.

As I walked around the building looking up I wondered where I took my first breath.  That must have been one eventful Saturday night for sure!  Standing in the snow this week  I recalled that as a boy many elementary teachers told me I was loud, and this was the place I first gave a shout.  

It was cold and James and I had things we needed to do so there was not much time to reflect  just then.  Inside the used portion of the building I looked into the restroom mirror and smiled at the gray hair that seem to be winning the battle.  

Nothing stays the same.

James and I walked to my dad’s room that is now located closer to the nursing station so his needs can be better attended to.  He has always been big and strong, but now sat in a wheelchair looking very weak and seemingly defeated.   I now weigh more than my dad does. 

Our eyes locked as I entered the room and he started to cry.  No words.  Just tears.   His eyes seemed to say  “Help me”.    I am not shy with my emotions and cried with him and gave him a hug.   Honesty without words can be powerful.

As my arm was around his shoulder my mind raced back to something I have not thought about for many, many years. 

When I was a young boy I often would wake up late at night when it was all dark and not be able to breathe correctly.  I was hoarse and frightened.  Back then we called what I had ‘the croup’.   My parents would hear me trying to yell and lights would get turned on. 

My dad would pick me up in his arms and carry me to the  bathroom where hot water had already been placed in the sink basin..  My mom would be in the kitchen making some strange tasting liquid that was bitter and sweet at the same time.  I have no idea as I write this what kitchen ingredients she used.  With a towel draped over my head my dad would hold me on his lap so the steam could help my breathing.  My mom was there with a spoon to get as much of the mixture down my throat as she could.

There is no way for me, or anyone, to work the magic dad did when I had the croup.  As the roles reverse  in life and our parents become needy and reliant on their children a whole series of shifts take place.  The problem is that the difficulties of old age are not often able to be remedied as when youngsters fall sick in the dark of night.

Dad ate only a small portion of his food as we talked about all sorts of topics he was sure to find interesting.  He looked at a pile of pictures we had brought, and asked again about the ducks James and I had rescued this summer at a Madison beach.  When he was tired and needing to lay down nurses lifted him back into bed and placed a cover over him.

As I stood by his bed he looked up and said “Read me a bedtime story”.

James then filled in the conversation as he is often my voice when I am close to crying.    My dad was saying in so many words that he knew the cycle of life was moving along and coming full circle. 

We talked for a while longer and then sleep overtook him.