June 16, 2024

COLUMN: It satisfied all the senses

Some things don’t have to change, and they shouldn’t.

I’m not a big fan of corned beef and cabbage, popular for St. Patrick’s Day which is Friday, but the beef does have its place where it is done well. I found a place where that happens.

A couple of weekends ago before I attended a show in Omaha, I had a reuben from the Orleans Room in the Blackstone Hotel. It made me cry ( a good cry) because it came on black rye bread. Many reubens I’ve seen in other places use marble rye, which is OK, but it’s not what a reuben needs. The sandwich, which is claimed to have been invented in Omaha, is excellent. The service was even better. Even hearing the 20-something waitress say black rye was satisfying.

Black rye is becoming hard to find in stores. Fareway once carried Amana Colony’s black rye, which was great, but obviously not enough people were picking it up as it was discontinued from the Fareway stores where I saw it.

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With the NCAA tournaments beginning this week, the season is near the end. It’s been a difficult season for me trying to be a fan but I am constantly annoyed with the constant criticism of officiating in games. Yes, there are bad calls or calls not made. I’m to the point if there is not a controversial call during a game, was the game played?

What makes it harder for me is the transition to baseball with the season beginning in April. This year Major League Baseball has included a pitch clock for pitchers and batters. A pitch must be thrown in a determined amount of time. The motivation for the clock is to speed up the pace of the game. I don’t think the game needed to be played faster.

Some research on spring training already shows nine-inning games are being completed 30 minutes sooner than last year. I blame society’s beyond-addiction to smartphones for the pitch clock. There are too many people who expect immediate results and think every other facet of life should be the same. Major League Baseball caved into that. Other fans tell me spring training will be enough time for players to get used to the clock and I won’t notice the difference during the regular season.

I will hold my judgement until well into the season. I’m not off to a good start.

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It’s a little disappointing to see Creston City Council not donate to the 3 Mile Lake restoration project as asked by Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials earlier this year.

The city’s suggested $50,000 donation would have gone to various improvements at the lake. The DNR knows the lake is a major attraction, not only in Union County, but in southwest Iowa. The DNR wants to maintain the lake’s reputation and show it further with local support. Driving by the hotels in the summer and see occasional boat trailers in the parking lot you have a good guess on why people are in town. Creston easily benefits from that lake.

Union County and Southern Iowa Rural Water Association were also contacted about donations. The county found a grant in lieu of its money, which city council debated as really not donating “their” money. Give the county some credit for using available resources to still help the cause.

The city decided to leave its money for 3 Mile Lake in park.

I respect the city’s interests in other projects, a reason for not donating. I’d be willing to live with the annoyance and length of time needed to convert the North Elm and Adams street intersection (up to the railroad) to a thick chunk of concrete which should last longer than asphalt. Maybe BNSF could help a little with that.

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Chaim Topol, a leading Israeli actor who charmed generations of theatergoers and movie-watchers with his portrayal of Tevye, the long-suffering and charismatic milkman in the 1971 musical movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” died in Tel Aviv, Israeli leaders said Thursday. He was 87. That was from the Associated Press’ story.

That is my favorite musical of all time. Fiddler is also a popular production for theater groups across the country. I saw Nodaway Valley High put it on stage some 20 years ago. I watched Red Oak High do the same last month. I watched a Broadway performance a year ago in Omaha.

Topol was brilliant in that role. It’s not fair for me to compare high school kids with Topol doing the same part (the high school kids were good). Topol defined that character but no one, no one, will match him. Zekher tzadik livrakha. The Hebrew phrase translates to “May the memory of the righteous be a blessing.”

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.