By Erich Eipert
This story has a dejecting part as well as something heroic and uplifting. Let’s get the cheerless part out of the way first.
Litter on roads
I don’t think about litter much until I’m on foot and see great quantities of it hidden in the grass of the roadside ditch. Or drive past piles of filled plastic bags after a cleanup effort. There’s a surprising amount of rubbish out there. I seldom see anyone throw anything from a car window like in the old days, yet somehow the garbage accumulates. Maybe litterers are more active after dark. A study or two has probably addressed this, but I’m getting off track. I can understand drinkers who drive, and underage occupants, throwing out their empties, but who and what accounts for all the other trash? Fortunately Washington state, where I live, isn’t the worst place when it comes to offenders. I suspect the reason has nothing to do with the intellect-challenged “Litter and it will hurt” signs along the roads. But again, I digress.
Western history photos in Wall Drug Backyard
I’m on a vacation driving trip so I’ll keep this short. As I write, the driving happens to be across South Dakota, a state that is a mecca for highway billboards. You know—the tourist-trap type informing you of the mystery spot or the fun cave. Drive the state east to west on I-90 and it won’t take you 300 miles to become aware Wall Drug has 5 cent coffee, free ice water, and homemade pies and breakfast rolls. Wall Drug has been in business so long that its signs have become icons and there are many, many competing signs along the route. But I digress. If you’re like me, by the time you finally reach exit 109 and the town of Wall, you’ll be torn. Should I get sucked in by the advertising or do I drive on? Continue reading
Richard Rowland Kirkland memorial at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Photo by Eipert.
I have some ready excuses for not posting in weeks. One is that I’ve been busy trying to finish “Guy Going Under,” my cave adventure/mystery novel. I have to say heroic effort was required at times for me to sit behind the keyboard when spring and summer weather was waiting right outside the door. A second excuse is that I’ve been traveling. One of the places I recently visited was Fredericksburg, Virginia, the site of a Civil War Battle fought in and around the city on December 11–15, 1862. The battle there is noted for being one of the most one sided of the war. Continue reading
Oops – this ball got through the Seattle defense
Sports is not a topic I ever expected to touch when writing about heroes. After all, every daily newspaper already has an entire section dedicated to the topic. The unique sport I want to talk about is seldom, if ever, reported on by the media for it is not a glamorized-on-TV sport and has no well-paid stars. I find myself compelled to write about it because I just returned from a tournament featuring some very good teams and find myself highly impressed. The game is something even most sports nuts probably haven’t heard of. I hadn’t either until I became involved with it as a volunteer a couple of months ago. One thing which makes it unique is none of the players saw the action, and neither did a substantial part of the audience. Continue reading
Kate Shelley: train rescuer Part II
An Iowa trestle from the author's childhood: bridge across Pittman Creek near West Point, Iowa - photo taken by Mary Eipert shortly before demolition of bridge
For those who took an interest in the story of Kate Shelley, I’d like to share a few more interesting tidbits. According to the accounts I’ve read, after the death of her husband and son Kate’s mother not only lapsed into poor physical health, she also lost her spirit. I suppose that means she broke mentally and could no longer adequately care for and raise her children. This placed a terrible burden of responsibility on Kate, her oldest child, and Kate sacrificed her own childhood and later independence in order to fill this void and take care of her family. She was not recognized for this heroic act. Continue reading
Kate Shelley Bridge - 1900 replacement of original trestle. Flickr/David Wilson.
You won’t find a better example of real-life heroism than the story of a brave fifteen-year-old Iowa girl named Kate Shelley. I can picture what this girl went through because I grew up not so far from the Des Moines River, and near a railway with a high, scary trestle that I crossed a few times.
Throughout human history distinguished warriors have been honored as the quintessential heroes and no discussion of heroes can pretend to be complete without including them. I’d planned to begin posting the stories of several young war heroes very soon but a news story that just broke, Marines promoted inflated story for Medal of Honor recipient, has prompted me to jump in with this commentary. What follows should be a very disturbing story to anyone who has put their life on the line in the service of their country during war. It concerns the young marine hero of a deadly Afghanistan ambush and the intrusion of politics into a process that needs to remain above reproach. Continue reading
Adventure and bravery come in many shapes and forms. The following real-life account of a girl following her dreams is a contribution passed on to me by Marie Murphy of Running Springs, California at the recently concluded ‘49ers Encampment in Death Valley National Park. The young adventurer Marie describes is her grandmother.
Maria Guadalupe DeLarios was born in the beautiful exotic fishing village of Veracruz, Mexico in 1898. She was orphaned as a child but was blessed to be adopted by a wealthy family with whom she lived until she reached the age of sixteen. Guadalupe always loved to dance and sing and expressed her desire to become an entertainer and work on stage. However, the theatrical profession was not considered a proper one for women. So, at the age of sixteen, amidst threats of losing her inheritance, she followed her dream and boarded a stagecoach for her long trip alone to the United States. Continue reading
Death Valley is nothing if not a historical and geological theme park. Because of its many short-lived mining booms, it has left behind an abundance of interesting and compelling characters. The recorded history began with the first sizeable group of wagons that traversed the valley, and it is from this party that a couple of young heroes emerged. Continue reading