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The weekly Kiwanis meeting was held 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, Jan 30, at the Windrow meeting room with 22 members and two guests. President Korina Loudon presided, Dennis Carter gave the prayer and Lori Harvey was the finemaster.

The program was given by Ray Gaesser of Adams County. He is running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Gaesser has been a past president of the Iowa Soybean Association and many other agriculture groups that work to benefit farmers and farmground. He has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad to promote the farming industry and safe land practices. Gaesser talked about many subjects and answered members’ questions.

The annual pancake Kiwanis fundraiser is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 13 at Creston First United Methodist Church, 400 N. Elm St. Members will have tickets soon to sell for this great cause.

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Creston Area Retired School Personnel Association (CARSPA) held its meeting Jan. 9 in the Del Richardson Conference Room at Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston.

Following breakfast, members enjoyed an informative presentation by Jody Sheriff of Greenfield. Sheriff earned gold (1991) and silver (2007) medals in bowling representing the United States in international competitions at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Eunice Kennedy Shriver put the gold medal around Sheriff ‘s neck, and that was a very special memory for her. When in China, Sheriff had a host family. She said she continues to be “on this kick with origami stuff right now.”  

Sheriff’s parents, Eileen and Cliff Sheriff of Greenfield, also traveled to China in 2007 to cheer on the U.S. team. They shared some of their memories, as well.

A business meeting followed. Members’ monetary contribution of $14 was collected and donated to Creston Elementary School for the purchase of extra Kleenex tissues during the school year. 

On Feb. 13, Jane Brown will speak about Creston’s McKinley Park.

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Ladies Literary Circle

Creston Ladies Literary Circle met Sept. 22 at Crestmoor Golf Club with Dottie Dunphy hostessing and 19 members present.

President Judith Wachter opened the meeting with roll call.

Treasurer Vera Fengler gave the treasurer’s report. The treasurer’s report was approved.

The meeting was adjourned and turned over to to committee member Vanita Moberg, who briefly introduced reviewer Marcia Fulton. Fulton gave a short history of author and poet Robert Service.

Service was born in 1874 in Preston, England, the oldest of 10 children. He was quiet and loved to read, but did not like school and was expelled at age 14. He worked in a shipping yard before working at his father’s bank. He spent his free time reading, and was very adventurous. He went from banking to professional sports to theater to working at a bar. Soon, he decided to live as a hobo after reading about it, boarded a boat and headed to Montreal, Canada. He eventually moved to Vancouver.

Service worked as a dishwasher when he heard about the Klondike gold rush. He went to British Columbia and wrote a newspaper story about it. His first real published work was “The Christmas Card” which became an instant success and he was finally known in the literary world.

One night, he was walking by a busy bar and became inspired. He then wrote “The Shooting of Dan McGrew.” One month later, he heard a story about a man who was cremated in an abandoned boat. His next ballad was “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”

Service went on to tell ballads of the gold rush. Life was tranquil in his later years. He became a war journalist, met a woman in Paris, and lived there in the winter. His summer home was named Dream Haven, and during World War II, his summer home was taken. He later restored it. He had two daughters and a granddaughter.

Service joined the military during Pearl Harbor. After the war, he returned to France and continued to write. He died at the age of 84 of influenza, and thus “the people’s poet was then silent.”

Candies and cake were served by the hostess.

Next meeting will be at the home of Stephani Finley. Judy Woods will be the reviewer.

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Creston Ladies Literary Circle met Oct. 6 at the home of Stephani Finley, with Finley hostessing and 16 members and one guest present.

Vice president Finley opened the meeting with roll call. The minutes of the Sept. 8 and Sept. 22 meetings were read and approved.

Treasurer Vera Fengler gave the treasurer’s report. The treasurer’s report was approved.

The meeting was adjourned and turned over to committee member Vanita Moberg, who briefly introduced reviewer Judy Woods. Woods gave a short history of Red Cloud, Nebraska, Willa Cather and her novel, “My Antonia.”

Cather moved from Virginia to Red Cloud when she was 8 years old. Antonia from her novel “My Antonia” was a real person, based on Annie Pavelka. The story was based in Red Cloud, which was renamed to Black Hawk.

Woods read a feature story in the Omaha World Herald about Red Cloud today, which focused on the Willa Cather Center.

“My Antonia” is narrated by an unnamed man traveling on a train with a companion, Jim Burden. The two discuss a woman named Antonia and they decide to write about her. 

Burden essentially narrates the novel. He tells his story of when he goes to live with his grandparents in Black Hawk. They have neighbors in sod houses and dugouts, but they live in a wooden house. A new Bohemian neighbor family moves into a dugout and they take items to the family. That is when Burden first glimpses Antonia, and he is fascinated by her eyes. The two begin a sort of relationship when Antonia’s mother asks Burden to teach Antonia to speak English.

One winter Burden’s grandparents assist Antonia’s family through the season. He also describes Christmas with a cedar Christmas tree. After Christmas, Antonia’s family visit Burden’s family and a rift begins. Then, Antonia’s father shoots himself and Burden begins country school and the two can’t spend as much time together. 

Antonia and Burden both grow up. After going away to law school, Burden comes back to visit Antonia, and he realizes she is not the same woman as he remembers. The next day, Burden leaves to head back to law school.

The hostess served creamy cheesecake slices and chocolate candy treats.

Next meeting will be at the home of Connie Rhine. Dottie Dunphy will be the reviewer.

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Ladies Lakeshore Auxiliary

Ladies Lakeshore Auxiliary met Jan. 31.

Canasta winners were Rose Blakesley, first; Cheri Lilly, second; and Barb Bills, third.

Bills won the door prize.

Sharon Gile will host cards and chatter Wednesday, Feb. 7.

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