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March 5, 1999

Glenn Miller's birthday slipped up on me earlier this week. He is one of my heroes, you know, and he would have had 95 candles on his cake last Monday if he had survived World War II. His hometown, Clarinda, Iowa, always stages a major celebration on the weekend prior to his birthday, but somehow this year I did not get a mailing about that event.

My favorite radio station, AM 1280, located somewhere in Kansas (they never reveal the city of origin, for some reason) dedicated most of its broadcast time on Monday to music in the Miller mood, and that's how I was reminded of it. And the AMC cable movie channel reran the two Glenn Miller movies, "Sun Valley Serenade" and "Orchestra Wives." They're not exactly screen classics and they'll certainly never make the list of the film industry's top ten movies, but they do show us how that wonderful band looked and sounded at a time in U.S. history when our taste in popular music reflected a more civilized and, perhaps, refined taste.

I recently reported to you that Bob Dellinger of Stillwater was in poor health. Bob was an almost legendary authority on wrestling rules, tournament systems and just about any aspect of the ancient sport that one could mention. Because of his expertise in this field, he was well known to many people in this town where wrestling is supreme. Bob died last Saturday and a memorial service was held for him on Wednesday. Bob himself was neither a wrestler nor a coach, but he was the recognized expert on just about every aspect of the sport. We are not likely to see his equal again. We join with many others in expressing condolences to his wife, Doris, their three sons and 11 grandchildren.

While poking around a garage sale, I recently came across a little paperback book entitled "101 Inventions That Changed the World." I can't decide if the author, Joshua Coltrane, had tongue in cheek when he compiled this 128-page bookette, but he must have been shooting for chuckles with some of the items selected for inclusion. For example, he includes the necktie, an item of apparel generally despised by most men. Chewing gum, the computer and Coca-Cola are on the list, and so are Frisbees and ketchup. Perry people may wonder about the absence of the Ditch Witch trencher, a labor-saving device if there ever was one. And another Perry product, now extinct as far as I know, the Fletcher magnetic door-closer, also is not listed. This was a simple but very practical gadget once manufactured on Kenneth Kirchner's showplace home west of town. There are many inventions on the plus side, however. Some of them are aspirin, automobiles, Coca-Cola, deodorant, penicillin and potato chips.

I personally would not welcome the chance to come up with a list like this, but I believe I would have included Ditch Witch equipment (all of them) and Fletcher's magnetic door closer, if it lasted long enough. Also, pizza would have been there, and I'm sure some other wonderful inventions also have been overlooked. Get a copy of the book and see for yourself.