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After the leaves fall...all that is left are sticks - Albia Newspapers: Opinion

After the leaves fall...all that is left are sticks

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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 9:10 am

HER FIRST IOWA AUTUMN was a shock to Susan, a friend and Californian at Grinnell College. “The leaves have all fallen on the ground, and the trees that are left are just. . .just STICKS!”

I’m a veteran of Midwest weather and welcome the changes just as I’m getting tired of the previous season. Susan’s “sticks” let more sunlight pass through, plus DST’s departure takes the sun longer to set. (It’s not just the clocks and watches that need to be reset to Standard Time - it’s our innards, too.)

NEWEST CRIME GANGS in America? Teens. This is the consensus of America’s media, and newspapers and news reports are full of “teens” and their criminal activities.

Just this week, the Drudge Report featured a series of spa robberies - by teens - in Chicago and its suburbs. Gangs numbered any where from two to seven (victims may have been too frightened to count accurately).

These were armed robberies, when at least one of the gang had a gun. The businesses were robbed, as well as the spa employees and its patrons.

Earlier, Baltimore media reported on teen gangs roaming yards in upscale neighborhoods. Residents were afraid to leave their homes. Some still were assaulted with items like baseball bats.

In this space, I have written rants about sloppy journalism. And in this case, I might be partially justified. I have been unable to find the number of teenagers in this country. With a total population of 323.45 million, there are several hundred million teens (persons aged 13 - 19) who are NOT teen gangsters. Also, with gloves and hoodies, how can a victim identify whether the thugster is a teen or someone else 24 years old? (“Teen” makes a better story.)

The no-age criminal who held a gun on my grandson this fall as Thug No. 2 stole the gas station’s money and merchandise - both wore Halloween masks. So much for surveillance cameras.

The only time “teen age” makes any difference is treatment after arrest. The “teen” may be shunted into the juvenile court system, but shouldn’t be. Armed robbery is not child’s play.

A FAVORITE GIFT for my last birthday was a slim volume: “What I’ve Learned in 86 1/2 Years,” (my exact age some time this month.)

The editor/photographer took dozens of pictures of Joseph, a working class British Jew, always with his shopping bag. Then, he quoted Joseph on life subjects, such as Family, The Past, Humour, and Homosexuality (and Lettuce).

I savored his take on Religion: “I don’t believe in God. But there must have been an explosion of some kind. Otherwise how did it all happen? The sky, moon, women, cats. I’m Jewish but I go to the Christian church because the people there are nice.”

Opining on “Most Important Things in Life,” Joseph selects his keys, bus pass, and belt.

Without keys, you’re left outside, and without the pass, you can’t get home. “And, they won’t let you on the bus if your trousers have fallen down. This is important stuff, you know.”

Thank you, Joseph. Wonder if it’s too late to start my own “What I’ve Learned in 87 Years.”

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