Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Week's Column

More than thankful
As I look back on 2011, there are many things to be thankful for.
Some of them are the usual suspects: health, food, clothing and all the other basics. Some things I am thankful for are silly, like Diet Coke and Italian food. Some are sweet, like another year with my aging Lab, Boo.
One event in 2011 made saying “I’m thankful” seem almost a trite expression. It was something that made being grateful more than just words expressed. It was a state of being that overwhelmed me to my very core.
In March my dad was in a farming accident. He became trapped in a grain bin filled with corn. Seconds before being pulled completely under the corn stored inside, the mechanism pulling the corn out of the bin into a truck was shut off and rescue crews were sent to free him.
Thankful is an understatement.
My dad is the strongest man I know. He is known as one of the manliest of men to most of my friends. To think of him trapped in that situation was terrifying.
But, the ending was not tragic. It was miraculous. He was freed with barely a scratch. His guardian angels must have been working double time that day.
Our family always will be thankful for those on the farm helping that day — farmers, firefighters and EMS.
We are also thankful to God.
I remember being in the Sunday service that followed his escape and bursting into tears while singing one of the songs in the service. The words “oh, no you never let go, every high and every low,” have brought new meaning. God blessed us with more years with my dad. For that, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
Life has gone on since then. The norm has returned. Summer has gone and fall is here, planting has turned to harvest and the Wildcats are back on the hardwood.
I know, now more than ever, to never take my family for granted. Sure, they’re not perfect, but both of my parents are the kind of people I’m blessed to know.
So today, while eating turkey and all the fixings, dad and I will watch the Packers take on Detroit and I’ll value our time spent together.Events like that put your thoughts into perspective. New joy, new peace and a new mindset invades.
I love you, Daddy. You are my Superman.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This week's column

Zombies everywhere

I’m not sure at what point in our nation’s history zombies became cool. They’ve appeared in B horror films for years.
Maybe we can blame Michael Jackson for it. Jackson and his zombie friends danced their way to music history in “Thriller.”
It’s more likely the fault of popular films today with zombie themes or television shows such as “The Walking Dead.”
No matter the reason for their popularity, one question remains. Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse? The Centers for Disease Control is. Well sort of.
I ran across a post on Facebook about the CDC’s recommendations on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. I thought it was fake but was curious so I clicked on it. Sure enough, it was from the CDC. Somebody in that office is very clever.
The campaign was launched before hurricane season to give advice on how to be prepared for emergencies. To get people’s attention the usually dry government organization got a bit creative.
Laced between the usual yearly advice on first aid kits, emergency supplies and evacuation plans is “research” on zombie lore and what to expect during a zombie apocalypse. “Night of the Living Dead” was used as a source in their research.
They even go as far to say if zombies begin roaming the streets the CDC would investigate like any other disease outbreak and joked about the “disease detectives” who would be first responders to the zombies.
At the launch of the zombie “advice” the CDC’s website went from 3,000 to 30,000 page views and the organization’s Twitter followers went from 12,000 to 1.2 million.
For those of you who at this point are getting your weapons ready for the onslaught, zombies are not real. You know that, right?
Their appearance in folklore probably came from the same source of many of our other monster legends today. Sadly, a skin disease most likely infected a town, everyone got scared and zombies were born.
While I don’t believe in zombies, even though a few teenagers I work with might look the type when expected to be somewhere before 8 a.m. on a Saturday, I do applaud the CDC’s creativity.
They took a normally dry yearly public relations campaign and turned it into an attention getting promotion that even included a bit of useful information.
Their hope seemed to be if people were willing to prepare for a zombie emergency then they’d be prepared for real ones too. They were banking on the assumption that if you say the word “zombie” enough, you’ll get someone’s attention. It seems it worked.
Zombie, zombie, zombie. Let’s see if it works here, too.