EMMA BUSH: To all those who made my day at Pocket Park

Editor’s note: Emma Bush is a near lifelong resident of the Big Rapids area. She’s written the stories of her life in a book for her family, but wants to share what life was like in Big Rapids while she was growing up. Her columns will appear periodically in the Pioneer.

 

Below is a list of all those who made a little old lady feel very, very special on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. This could be a long list so I will try to keep it brief, hopefully without missing anyone.

First of all there is my nephew, Myrl Thompson, also known as “the Driver,” who has been “ghost writing” every column for me since the beginning. I always provided the meat, but he knew how to provide the seasoning and how to cook it up to make it tasty and good. He also cooked up the whole event on May 15 as well. I didn’t want to be the center of attention and glorified, but he said it was “just a fundraiser” for the museum, and that the attention would be spread around … so I played along. I should have known better. He didn’t bother to tell me that he and Barb and Gordie had scheduled such a huge number of wonderful, thoughtful things that there would be enough to make not only me, but also 200 other people who attended all warm and fuzzy all over. Let it be known his heart is bigger than that of any man I know. I know that I have said this more than once in the past two years, but this goes into my book of life as one of the highlights of my 97-year experience.

BIG BASH: Emma Bush and Barb Warner share a laugh during the event on Tuesday that celebrated Emma’s 97th birthday and retirement from writing columns. (Pioneer file photo)

Then there was Scott Taylor: It sure was a treat to ride in your antique car. You have a much better grasp of driving one of those old beauties than my dad did when he took us for a ride in his brand new Dodge Touring Car so many years ago down the two- track that is now McKinley Road. You didn’t scream “whoa, whoa” at the car when you wanted it to stop. You stayed on the road really well, unlike my dad. And then, on top of it all, to be escorted by such a handsome man as Mayor Mark Warba, who rode in your car with us from the court house to Pocket Park downtown.

Judge Nichols: Being with you was the very first time I ever had to stand before a judge. I am proud to say that we were standing together rather than having you look down upon me from behind a desk in the courthouse. You were a good master of ceremony.

Sandy Jones and all of the Dulcimer Band Musicians: Your wonderful talent sure created a backdrop of music that fit the occasion well. I only regret that I was so busy that I couldn’t just sit and listen and appreciate it. Maybe I will come over and listen to you all practice some evening. From what my “driver” wrote, it is a “Heavenly experience.”

Mayor Warba: Not only handsome, but also always the gentleman. You were a good sport to respond to the invitation to be involved. I would like to sincerely thank both you and the city commissioners for the award of the certificate of recognition and appreciation that “declared and proclaimed (me) to be a “Grand Lady of Letters and Literature” in Big Rapids.

When I first heard that there would be something like that happening, I was really nervous. Then when it did actually happen, I still was nervous, but I was overwhelmed by the honor of it all. You were very lucky that the little farm girl inside of me didn’t faint away right in front of you. I was very flattered.

I want to thank my readers and everyone concerned. You have made me very happy.

Barb Warner and Gordie Telfer: I sure am glad you guys were there and had my back. Barb, I leaned on you hard. I was so glad and felt so blessed that you were there for me … and thank you for the beautiful corsage. I hope you decide to try the guest columnist experience … starting with the upcoming visit to the Ferris State University microbiology lab that is being worked on for the next article.

Milton Rackham, the other book signing author selling books to benefit the museum, deserves recognition, appreciation and honor far beyond anything that I feel I could ever deserve. His service in World War II in protecting America, our great homeland, goes beyond the levels of sacrifice that can ever be expected of anyone. My son, John, and Milt were talking about WWII and John told Milt about my brother, John, and his experience in the South Pacific as part of Company E that was made up exclusively of men from Big Rapids. When John mentioned the Red Arrow Division from Michigan and Wisconsin, Milt perked up and said that he had heard of the Red Arrow Division while he was serving in the Pacific. He said that the Red Arrow Division had fought some of the toughest battles of the war on Iwo Jima as the Japanese stiffened and began to use banzai suicide troops when it became apparent that the U.S. was positioning itself to invade the Japanese homeland … in the days before the atomic bomb was dropped.

Milt’s book is the only book I have ever read twice in my entire life on purpose. I couldn’t put it down either time as I lived not only once, but then a second time through five years of World War II duty alongside Milton Rackham. This man and all the other veterans who have ever served, or who ever will serve, deserve the highest levels of thanks, appreciation and honor that can be bestowed. Having read his book twice already, I am waiting in anticipation for what I hope will yet be one more chapter … a final chapter that will describe the peace he deserves when he is finally able to be free of the nightmares that have kept him on PT patrol for the 66 years after WWII. Milt, know that you have people here in the Big Rapids area who are praying with you not only for our country in this time of increasing uncertainty, but also for the peace that you and your wife, Carol, deserve from the nighttime interruptions still caused by WWII.

Mr. Mendenhall at the Dairy Queen: Thank you for the delicious birthday cupcakes that you provided at an extremely reduced price so that we could offer free ice cream. Who would ever have guessed that we would eat every single cupcake you had on hand in your freezers … as 200 ice cream-aholics ate everything you had to offer.

I am so touched by the “Grand Lady” proclamation, that I have asked my driver to include the words below … that even mention my mother, something that deeply touched my heart. …

 

Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition of Emma Bush

Whereas Emma Bush has been a Guest Columnist of the Big Rapids Pioneer Newspaper with over 100 articles published which have touched the lives of readers, giving them hope, encouragement, laughter, and wisdom, and

Whereas Emma Bush has drawn strength, insight, and stories from her hard-working, farm background and family relationships, including a proud heritage from her half Indian mother, dating back to May 16, 1915, and

Whereas the community of Big Rapids has been elevated,

entertained, and informed from her articles, stories, and opinions,

Now, Therefore, in recognition and celebration of the valuable contribution she has made to the Big Rapids community through her writing in the Pioneer, is hereby declared and proclaimed to be a “Grand Lady of Letters and

Literature” in honor and distinction. The community, through this certificate of recognition, expresses its appreciation of the thoughtful contributions and observations Emma Bush has made through her writings.

 

And to my Readers: I love the time that we have spent together.

You will be a part of me forever. That’s just the way it is. That’s what I think.

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