Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks are everywhere in small midwestern towns.  They're tools. There is a cool aesthetic to them. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Small Town Breakfasts

Saturday my oldest son and I went to a suburban Perkins for a late breakfast.  I ordered a biscuits and gravy with eggs kind of meal. It wasn't bad. But, it "weren't nothing to write home about."

My opinion, I am sure, was related to a meal I had at VIPS in Watseka in late May. VIPS advertises its biscuits and gravy skillet as having two eggs, two biscuits, hash-browns and gravy. When it comes, it has three eggs, three biscuits, a heap of hash-browns, and lots of gravy. 

VIPS versus Perkins?  Comparatively, Perkins looks and tastes like road kill. 

Sometimes, food looks so good you have to take a picture of it before you eat it. As you can see, I got wheat toast too. I am a health nut, after all. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Muscle Cars

When we were teenagers these were "used" cars.  I never had one.  Someday . . .

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wilbert J. Koester, Watseka D-Day Hero

Years ago I read Cornelius Ryan’s book: “The Longest Day.”  I noticed Private First Class Wilbert J. Koester, of Watseka, Illinois, was listed as a source.  PFC Koester, on his thirtieth birthday, landed on Omaha Beach with the First Infantry Division (the U.S. Army’s famed “Big Red One”).

I waited too long to try track down Mr. Koester and talk to him about his experiences . . . if he would have talked to me about them. By the time I inquired about him my dad told me Mr. Koester had recently passed after suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mr. Koester’s obituary (appropriately published November 11, 1997) briefly mentioned his Army service, participation in D-Day, and that he was twice wounded. It also mentioned, and this is typical of Watseka veterans, that he was active in his “Church, the Disabled American Veterans, Watseka American Legion and VFW.”

His obituary was silent about one thing, and like most combat veterans Mr. Koester probably never told his family about it; in 1944 Mr. Koester was awarded the Silver Star (the third highest award for valor in combat).  I can’t find the citation but I can tell you that the Army didn’t give Silver Stars to enlisted men unless they did something that would have caused their mothers significant anxiety.

Mr. Koester came home from the war, farmed, raised a family, and served his community. He was, and forever shall be, a true American hero. He, and many men like him, made Watseka a great place to be a kid.