It would probably be safe to consider today part of the fabled “dog days of summer.”
It’s been hot. The season is beginning to wind down as students make their way back to school. And the grind of another busy summer has most people (particularly those fortunate enough to live here) walking around with their tongues hanging out and eyes half shut.
The Department of Natural Resource’s (DNREC) Division of Parks & Recreation announced earlier this week that the locations for lifeguarded ocean swimming beaches in Delaware State Parks are changing beginning next week. Some of the beaches will be unguarded over the next few weeks, while others will only be guarded on the weekends. All swimming beaches will continue to be guarded on weekends through Labor Day, and the hours will remain from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lifeguards at those locations.
Here’s the thing: Fewer, or no, lifeguards on duty at various beaches does not mean they are necessarily safe. It means that they have fewer lifeguards to protect people on those beaches. Which means, obviously, that people must practice more caution and common sense when they are swimming at unguarded beaches than normal.
Don’t let yourself drift out too far from shore, remain vigilant on your surroundings and the waves around you and, if you have children with you, keep them close when they are playing in the water.
The ocean is a wonderful place to both relax and have fun. Just make sure you are not putting yourself at risk.
One of the sections of our paper most read and discussed by staff members is the obituaries.
It’s often because someone knows someone who has passed, or knows a relative of the deceased. Sometimes it’s because of an age all-too-young or gloriously old that sparks the conversation. And now and then it’s just because someone none of us ever had the chance to meet led a truly-extraordinary life, and left us all with an indelible mark in our souls just for having read about that individual.
Old or young, female or male, rich or poor — the obituary listing is both a capsule of our lives and instructions to survivors on how and when to pay our last respects. Maybe it’s morbid, but it’s something we all must consider at some point in our lives, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has pondered what mine would say about the life I’ve led.
In fact, I’ve even taken the time to sit down and pen my own obituary for when that day comes:
“Darin McCann, (Age), died. First, he was born. Somewhere in the middle of those milestones he met some great people, fell in love, lost some people he cared about, took some beatings, raised a kid and lost his hair. Instead of making a donation, go to your closest bar and order a Jameson with two ice cubes. You don’t have to make a toast or anything — just help out Jameson with their lost income with his passing.”
What do you think?
In the interests of full disclosure, my mind got stuck on this topic when reading a story on NBCnews.com recenty about Leroy Black, a 55-year-old New Jersey man who died earlier this month. His obituaries were published in “The Press of Atlantic City.”
Yes, I said “obituaries” and “were.” I also said “published,” “in,” “His,” and a few other words.
You see, Leroy Black had two obituaries in the same edition of The Press, and they were stacked one on top of the other. The first listed his name as Leroy Bill Black, and said he was survived by “his loving wife, Bearette Harrison Black and his son, Jazz Black.” The second identified him as Leroy “Blast” Black, and in addition to his son, siblings, other family and friends, said he was also survived by his “longtime girlfriend, Princess Hall.”
Do you see the problem here?
Mr. Black’s story got me curious about other obituary listings that might have raised some eyebrows. It really didn’t take me very long to find a few to fit the bill.
Dignitymemorial.com shared the obituary of Chan Holcombe, a man who passed away at the age of 72 in Fort Smith, Ark. According to the listing, he was born July 14, 1939, in a log cabin (cool!), was an Air Force veteran (cool!) and was circumcised with his father’s pocketknife (NOT cool!). He also loved to fish, had four children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
So we learned that Mr. Holcombe was a proud veteran who had the good fortune to see future generations of his family tree take hold before he passed, and that he was most likely tougher than a $2 steak. So, I guess there’s that.
A few other people I came across obviously took hold of the idea of writing their own obituaries, or at least contributing to what would be said in them. I’m becoming a bigger fan of this concept the more I think about it — hey, we only get one of these lives, so let’s control how it’s remembered, right?
Let’s take a look at the life of Oklahoma native Thurman Winston, for example. News.com/au shared Mr. Winston’s obituary, and the first 38 lines gave every appearance of a man who led a peaceful, pleasant existence.
The listing explained how he moved his family to Spencer “so his kids could experience the love of their remaining grandparents.” It shared how he had a passion for cars, motorcycles, family, friends and outdoor activities. His motto was “Accomplish what you can because tomorrow ain’t promised.” Nice, right?
His obituary closed with, “He stayed busy. He leaves to cherish his memories of his wife, children and grandkids, a host of backstabbing mother*******s that still owe him money.”
Wow. Talk about getting in the last word.
One obituary that I had actually seen before caught my eye again, and I figured I’d share it with the class. This is the remembrance of Scott E. Entsminger, of Mansfield, Ohio, and was published in the Columbus Dispatch.
The obituary stated that Mr. Entsminger was an accomplished musician and wrote a song each year that he sent to the Cleveland Browns, “as well as offering other advice on how to run the team.” As a football fan myself, that made me laugh. The next line almost brought me to tears.
“He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.”
Also brilliant was the obituary of William Ziegler, 69, which can be found at nola.com, the site for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
It read that Mr. Ziegler passed away on July 29, 2016, and continued that, “We think he did it on purpose to avoid having to make a decision in the pending presidential election.” It also read, “Unlike previous times, this is not a ploy to avoid creditors or old girlfriends. He assures us that he is gone. He will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Ziegler, I didn’t even know you. But you are missed, sir.
Letters to the Editor
Reader takes issue with previous letter
According to his letter named “Working families under attack,” printed Aug. 5, it appears that Bill McCauly has a problem with American diversity, starting with the statement that, “Diversity means an America that is less white and less Christian.” McCauly continues in this sarcastic revelation by stating, “...and this is good? Really?”
At this point, we must follow McCauly as the strutting minstrel takes us on an journey through America’s history, where according to him, “some white guys, and Christians as well... rebelled against foreign tyranny” including, “red-clad British veterans and Hessian mercenaries who, unlike our own, were equipped and trained with the bayonet!”
OK, well, let’s just stop right there for a minute folks and dig a little into our real U.S. military history of successful engagement using American diversity. At the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, over 150 blacks served among 3,000 Americans.
Some of the free African-Americans who served with distinction were Brazilla Lew, Salem Poor (who is considered an American War hero and is featured on the 1975 U.S. Revolutionary War stamp) and Peter Salem (my favorite), who shot British Marine’s Maj. John Pitcarn while Pitcarn was ordering his men to attack the defending Americans. Pitcarn was one of 1,500 British killed at Bunker Hill. The Americans retreated only after running out of ammunition.
Stepping forward in time, let’s highlight the amazing achievements of other diverse early Americans. The most decisive and one-sided victory in the War of 1812 was the Battle of New Orleans. The fighting force was named “The Sons of Freedom” by Gen. Andrew Jackson (later President Jackson). They were made up of a classic diversity of American heroes: 62 Choctaw warriors, pirate Jean Lafitte’s Baratarians, Tennessee riflemen and the Louisiana militia, which included 464 free people of color, most of which were Creole soldiers.
The Americans won, even though they were grossly outnumbered — 4,732 Americans to 14,450 British. The results were 285 British soldiers killed, 1,265 wounded and 484 captured, while the Americans only sustained 13 dead and 30 wounded. The British never attempted to retake America again.
Now, I could go on and on about the achievements of this diverse and creative population of Americans, from nuclear breakthroughs to space exploration, or from the Tuskegee airmen to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, all of whom are leading us to achievements in science and the arts, but that would be beside the real point.
The real point is these are our children, our American children who grow up and make us proud. Just sit back and watch tonight’s Olympics in Rio as the gold, silver and bronze medal winners try their hearts out to please us with their efforts as they expect nothing in return but to be accepted. They are the US in the U.S.A.
Auction gets plenty of support
On behalf of the KINfolk Board of Directors, volunteers, staff and, most importantly, the children that we serve, KINfolk would like to thank the Sussex Community for generously supporting our 11th Annual Wine Tasting & Art Auction held at The Cordrey Center in Millsboro on July 20, 2016. Together we raised over $16,000.
We could not have had such a magnificent event without the support of our local artists, restaurants and merchants who donated to our live and silent auctions and to the over 200 people who came to enjoy the evening and support KINfolk!
A very special thanks to our sponsors: Jane Brady, Grotto Pizza, Berkshire-Hathaway Home Services/Gallo Realty, Holt Paper, Holland Jewelers, Jeanine O’Donnell/State Farm, Made You Look, George Bunting Jr., Jack Lingo Realtors, Colliers Trim Shop, Erin Martin—Re/Max and Penn-Del Lock.
We also appreciate the generosity of our local restaurants for donating a delicious selection of finger foods: 1776 Steakhouse, Bethany Blues, The Cultured Pearl, Jakes Seafood, Big Fish Market, Edible Arrangements, Frank & Louie’s Italian Specialties, Go Fish, JD Shuckers Seafood & Raw Bar, Mariachi’s, Summer House, Fractured Prune, Dos Locos, The Greene Turtle and Bob Evans.
And a really big thanks to Teller Wines for the fabulous wine selection they provided again this year! And to our in-kind donations from: Delmarva Broadcasting, East Coast Garden Center, Wm. H. Brady Inc., Lower Delaware Autism Foundation, Children’s Beach House, Community Bank of Delaware, Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Acme, Food Fresh and Food Lion.
KINfolk would also like to thank all of the fabulous volunteers for their commitment to helping us achieve a successful event, including our wonderful auctioneer, Dave Wilson, and our celebrity pourers: Kevin Fleming, Marvin and Becky Carney, Joe Kirk and Tony Mongello. (A job well done.)
Community support of KINfolk’s Laptop Lending Program for hospitalized and homebound children will ensure we can continue putting laptops on the laps and smiles on the faces of deserving children. KINfolk provides a means of communication with friends, family, clergy and teachers — the very people who love and support them, at a time when they need it most. In our 17 years of helping these sick children to stay connected, KINfolk has served over 85,000 sick children in 32 states around the country.
Kathy McNamara, event chair, and the KINfolk kids want to say “Thanks” for your support and in making this event such a great success.
Alzheimer’s run a hit, thanks to many
Sunday, Aug. 7, the second annual Athletes to End Alzheimer’s 5K Run/Walk, presented by Loftus Wealth Strategies, broke records set in the inaugural year for participants, volunteers and donation. Dozens of volunteers were in place. Spectators lined the streets in downtown of Bethany Beach.
More than 750 runners started with the sound of the gun at 7:30 a.m. The first finisher crossed the line about 17 minutes later, on the iconic boardwalk. All of these folks were raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter.
What a day it was! We hoped to raise $25,000, beating last year’s gift of $18,000, for treatment, research and support for those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and early indicators show we are right on track!
Our sponsors are our invaluable partners. Thank you to: Anne Powell Group at Keller Williams, Baja Beach House Grill, Beebe Healthcare, Bethany Beach Ocean Suites, Coastal Point, County Bank, Creative Resource Group, Crowley Associates Realty Inc., D3 Corp., DJ Padraig, Dr. David Williams, Focus Multisports, G&E and Hocker’s, Heather’s Home Works, Todd & Candace Hickman Family, Home and Hearth Caregivers, Home Instead Senior Care, Law Offices of Scott & Shuman, Law Offices of Susan Pittard Weidman, Long & Foster Real Estate, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, ResortQuest Real Estate, The Rookery, Studio 26 Salon & Spa and Wilgus Associates.
Thank you to the more than 100 volunteers for the gift of time. Thanks to all of the runners and walkers, especially the members of the fundraising teams, including the standout teams of Studio 26, which raised $3,200, and Team Pappy (Brighid Loftus & Ian Schaubach), which raised $3,400. Finally, sincere thanks to my staff, Michelle Gates and Sue Bosley, and the Town of Bethany Beach. I want to thank each and every person for helping to support this important charity.
Save the date for next year: Aug. 6, 2017.
Athletes to End Alzheimer’s