Ah, huzzah! The turkey note, with its Thanksgiving doggerel, is still alive. Well, barely. A week ago today, I moaned that this year I have received not a single Turkey Note. In past years, I had oodles of them, a contest for the best, and a tradition that got its start in Davenport. Today, my spirit is rising. Now I have received one, a dandy, from Sharron Solis:
"I’m sure to be but a small fraction
Of those … who … upon reading your article today
Are frantically heeding your call to action," is how she begins.
"So … (for what it’s worth)"
TURKEY SITS on a gray dismal day
Simply wishing and pining his day away
Hoping a friend like Bill will arrive
To keep HIM and his "Turkey Wishes” alive.
Remembering the 'perfect storm'
Letters and calls still shiver in response to my column on the “perfect storm' or the great blizzard of Nov. 11, 1940.
ELISE KING of Clinton writes “My great-aunt was buried in Oakville, Iowa, that day. My mother, brothers and I were there the day before. When my dad arrived that day he had his overcoat, for which he was ridiculed. (The temperature was 53, but quickly plunged to 28.) If it had not been for the coat, my mother, brothers, cousin and I could not have withstood the wind at the cemetery. He wrapped that heavy coat around us to save us from freezing to death in that terrible wind.
“That night, a little lady, while stoking her wood stove against the wind and cold of the blizzard, caught the house on fire. It took away most of the block of buildings in Oakville. However, it didn’t take the tavern on the corner, which one of my mother’s aunts had always declared would be the start of the end of the world.”
HORROR STORY: Steve L. Johnson of Clinton tells this story of his grandfather, Frank Thoms of Clinton, and his friend, Paul Paysen. “They were duck hunters who went out to hunt that morning upriver of the Clinton dam in Pool 13. As the size of the waves in the pool far exceeded the safety of their scull boat, the decision was made by them to stay in their duck blind for the night. To stay warm, their effort was to build a wood fire. Paul was breaking limbs by hitting one limb on a bigger piece of wood. A piece of wood flew up and hit him in the eye. He stayed in the duck blind all night with the injured eye to the point that when he returned home he had lost the eye. He wore a patch after that. I can only imagine what the two of them went through on the day and night of the perfect storm.”
FROZEN CHICKEN: A sweet woman, of some years, told me this story at church. “In the blizzard of 1940, we were living on the farm, with lots of chickens. That terrible wind and snow came up so quickly that it blew over the chickens. It left them dead. They were quickly frozen to death. After the storm, we ate a lot of frozen chicken.’’
OLD GLORY LOSES TO WIND: Harry Brandt remembers a surprising moment in the Veterans Day parade of 1940. “The wind was so strong it blew the American flags out of the hands of the flag bearers. The flags ended up in the trees of the Davenport courthouse.”