Goodfellows, gratitude & good deeds

By Don Rush

Something feels a wee bit amiss. The year 2020 aside, it took me a minute to figure out what I was missing and then it hit me. This time of year I usually have put the finishing touches on local “Goodfellow” editions.
This year, not so much.
This year the Oxford Lions Club will not be out hawking their papers for the first time in 72 years. This year The Clarkston Rotary Club will not be out selling their papers for their shoes for kids program. Nor is the Ortonville Rotary Club selling their edition.
These clubs all do good things in their communities. This would have been the Clarkston Rotary Club’s 80th year of selling papers (since about 1989 I’ve had the honor of putting those editions together). But, not this year. COVID-19 took care of that. These clubs will still do what they can in their respective communities, so if you feel the need to help, please do.
In Ortonville send your checks to PO Box 587, Ontonville, MI 48462.
In Oxford: Checks, made out to the Oxford Lions Club, can be mailed to 5365 Sherwood Rd., Oxford, MI 48371 or to 3251 Sandy Shore Drive, Metamora, MI 48455.
The Clarkston Rotary Club has spent thousands of dollars to replenish the shoe and boot inventory in advance of planned newspaper sales in December. Those who wish to help may send donations to Clarkston Rotary “Shoes for Kids,” PO Box 43, Clarkston 48347.
In Orion Township it is a different story. Volunteers from Orion Fire Station #3 have been Goodfellows since 1966 and they WILL be out this year. The group helps needy families in Gingellville (to those new to the area, that’s Baldwin Road, south of Clarkston Road). They help out with clothing, shoes and food.
In advance, thank you all for helping these folks help others.
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A few weeks ago I waxed philosophically about gratitude and the things I was thankful for. I’m sure it was a shallow attempt to share actual feelings — something I ain’t good at. At any rate, I did receive a nice email from an Independence Township resident. I think you’ll appreciate it. It’s short and to the point.
“Don. Every day for me is a bonus. I spent nine years in the Army — two tours in Vietnam and three years in Italy with NATO. I was badly wounded during my last year in Vietnam, which was 1967, by a booby trapped claymore land mine explosion. Two were killed and a few wounded me being the most serious. Suffice to say it was a miracle that I survived.
“I am grateful for life. I am grateful that I was born in America and have never gone to bed hungry. I am grateful for a loving family and the comfort of owning our nice home. I am grateful for all the blessings my Lord has given me. Every day is another bonus. — Barney Arendsen”
Thank you Barney. For reading and writing, more importantly for your sacrifices and service.
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This is the sixth year I have gotten behind Teena and husband Dan Finn, Jr.’s effort to make the world a more betterer place. The couple lost their son Zach to an automobile accident two months after he graduated from Clarkston High School, in 2012. Grief is a twisty and tricky emotion to navigate. Somewhere along their road, some way and somehow they came to a crossroad. They turned outwards to help heal their innards. #GoodDeedsforZach is their rally vehicle to traverse the hills, ruts, bumps and mud during the emotionally-charged holiday season and Zach’s birthday (Dec 4).
Wrote Teena, “This has become a yearly celebration in honor and memory of our son, Zachary. Because he was such a kind, loving, and generous person, we choose to celebrate his birthday by asking everyone to channel a bit of him, by putting some good into the world. Random acts of kindness, charity, and generosity towards your fellow man. It could be something as small as complimenting a stranger, or as big as a donation to your favorite charity organization. The rules are simple:
“Do something good.
“Kindness is contagious, and we want to see his birthday full of it.”
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If you haven’t given your heart a boost, try a random act of kindness, you’ll feel better.
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Picked up a book I think would be a good stocking stuffer for folks who like to read Michigan history. It’s called Dark Side of The Mitten: Crimes of Power & Powerful Criminals in Michigan’s Past & Present. It’s written by Tom Carr.
It’s an easy read, with lots of old newspaper photos and mug shots packed into 170 or so pages. Quite simply, I found it interesting and engaging. It’s published by Mission Point Press, and I see it can be ordered on Amazon.
The author is a reporter from Traverse City and has two other books, Blood Mitten: Infamous Michigan Murders — 1700s to present; and MI Bad: Robbers Cutthroats and Thieves. Which I have not read (yet).
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