10/7/2009 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

 

Forbes magazine reports on what Yogi Berra said when he was told about Joe DiMaggio’s marriage to Marilyn Monroe: "I don’t know if it’s good for baseball, but it sure beats the hell out of rooming with Phil Rizzuto."

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I was intrigued by the sudden appearance of a fungus on a tree in my yard. I think the tree is a box elder. The fungus was bright yellow and it was very noticeable. I took a few photos of it with the thought I’d ask County Agent Scott Knoke what it was.

But before I could do that, a woman from Oregon who was vacationing in Minnewaukan (Didja get that? Vacationing in Minnewaukan!), came by and asked my wife if she knew what it was.

Hollys said all she knew was that it was a fungus. The woman, who turned out to be an expert on such things, said it was Laetiporus sulphureus "Chicken of the Woods." She said it was a very tasty treat. Hollys gave the woman a butcher knife and she cut the fungus from the tree.

Hollys cut it up and fried it in butter and it had a pleasant taste.

Of course, anything fried in butter is delicious. I can’t say that it tasted like chicken, but it had the same texture.

Warning: this fungus growing on conifers (evergreens) may be poisonous.

Check this thing out on our Web site at www.bensoncountynews.com to see it in glorious color.

The woman also saw mushrooms growing in the back yard and told Hollys they were edible. Hollys ate some of them and that was over a week ago. She isn’t dead yet, so I guess they are edible. As a result I might try one.

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I’ve seen a lot of changes in this business over the years, but in recent years we’ve experienced a change I just don’t know how to handle.

We’ve always had correspondents in each of the towns writing the comings and goings of people in each community. We still have active correspondents in several communities, but we can’t seem to find anyone in Maddock, Minnewaukan, Leeds or Warwick to take on these duties.

I tried doubling the pay to a dollar per published inch of news but still we have no takers. The people who have tried the job say nobody calls with their news. I guess people just don’t want to let other people know what they’re doing.

That’s too bad. When I go to the courthouse to do research on stories of 50 years ago, I always read the Esmond and Minnewaukan news from

1959 and really enjoy seeing what people were doing back then.

When I was in the Army serving in Vietnam my Farmers Press was coveted by many fellow soldiers from coast to coast. They knew nobody from Benson County but they really enjoyed reading about Mrs. Olson having coffee with Mrs. Johnson. At first they thought it was quaint that a newspaper would consider this news. But after a while, they realized Benson County was a place much, much different than the cities they came from.

They’d read off names in the Minnewaukan news and ask me if I knew them. I knew almost everyone whose name was read. The same at Esmond.

I knew perhaps half the people named in the Maddock news and a quarter of those in the Leeds news. They were absolutely astounded that I knew so many people.

But the fact is that we out here in the rural areas know far more people than those who are surrounded by thousands or millions in larger towns.

Back in 1969 people made it a point to see to it that their comings and goings were recorded in the newspaper. Today, that has apparently changed. Another thing that’s changed is that I probably don’t know a quarter of the people who live and work in Minnewaukan today.

Organizations in all our communities are drying up because people are less inclined to volunteer their time to help. At least they don’t come out for the meetings of organizations like they used to. When there’s an event, like Summerfest in Minnewaukan there’s a cadre of people who do come out to help.

But on the whole, I guess we’re becoming more and more like people in the big cities.


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