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Categorized | Voices and Views

Roger on Main St.

roger on main streetThe Allen Family had a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, w/gravy, cranberry sauce and more than one pie. There was no drinking and no one went to jail.

However, Roger is currently serving time at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids after suffering from two separate heart attacks within the past month. He started having chest pains sometime during Thursday night, last week, November 29. After being admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital, it was determined that he had suffered a recent, more severe attack prior. The earlier attack, hopefully not brought about by turkey, caused extensive damage. The second “attack” an infarction, was less severe, but he is struggling to get home from there.

No one regrets more than he, that he will not be able to write a column for this week’s paper. However, for those who just have to have a little Roger’s “Main Street,” we are substituting a previous one for that needed “fix”.

The following column was originally published in December 2007.

The following column was originally published in December 2007.


December 7, 1941

Seventy-one years ago tomorrow, Japanese bombers swooped out of the sky for a surprise attack on America’s naval fleet, moored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Our fleet was crushed and more than 2,400 Americans were killed in the raid. For a dwindling number of us, the event isn’t just history. We remember the day.

It was a Sunday. In that pre-television era, the reports came in on the radio, and my family’s radio stayed on all day. My parents were stunned. The whole nation was stunned. At the time it happened, a Japanese envoy was in Washington talking peace to our Secretary of State.

President Roosevelt quickly requested a joint meeting of Congress. On Monday, Dec. 8, he asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan, retroactive to Sunday’s attack. Three days after that, the fascist governments of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy declared war on America. They thought it was a great time to defeat us–we’d be too busy fighting Japan.

World War II had begun.

Those of us who remember December 1941 also remember that our lives changed abruptly. For the next few years, our nation’s efforts were bent on victory (although at first we seemed to get little of it). Our factories stopped making cars and bicycles and converted to ships, tanks, guns, and airplanes. Goods in short supply—including shoes and food and gasoline—were rationed for civilians.

The military draft took all levels of society, rich and poor.

Finally, after an entire nation’s sacrifice, we won a total victory. Japan’s unconditional surrender came three years and eight months after the Pearl Harbor attack. I still remember vividly my town’s celebration on “V-J Day.” Hitler’s government had already surrendered three months earlier.

Useful facts, or not

• You’ve heard the phrase, “once in a blue moon.” A “blue moon” is the second full moon in the same month. The expression has been around for 400 years. Usually we get one every 2-1/2 years.

• You have probably said, “for Pete’s sake!” An itinerant farm hand from Lincolnshire said it first at 2 p.m. on Sept. 23, 1497, immediately after he impaled his foot with a pitchfork in the presence of the local priest. There’s no written record of the incident but you can believe this if you want to. Actually, it’s “a minced oath” – a substitute for a different phrase, like “for St. Peter’s sake!”

• When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

• A day without sunshine is like night.

• 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

• On the other hand, you have different fingers

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