February 4, 2010

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if He broke the mold when he created that one? Weve all heard that commentary made about remarkable individuals, explaining the possibility that they are one of a kind. Im pretty certain God will never make another Wanda (Kraus) Swope.

She passed away early Tuesday morning after a two-month battle with cancer. This editorial should have been written a hundred times over during the past 40 plus years, but self-preservation instincts of the prospective writers likely superseded the obvious warrant of such praise. Basically Wanda would have killed me if I had written this a month ago.

She may still be mad at me when her copy is delivered to her in heaven, but oh well.

You see Wanda never was about the reward. That said, I never have witnessed such work ethic. I know in the nearly 10 years that I have owned the newspaper, she NEVER missed a day of work until her recent illness.

It wasnt just that she loved to work. Im not sure it is fair to offer flowery amorous attributes to her job, but lets just say she took it very seriously. After 40 years with the newspaper, it is safe to say she was pretty darn good at what she did.

I can say for a fact, it wasnt just about a paycheck. Soon after this young man and his wife took the plunge and purchased the Memphis Democrat, the key employee, pulled her new boss aside. Wanda explained to me that she was now 63, and she didnt know how long she was going to be around. At first I thought she was trying to tell me she was quitting. She explained to me that she was going to start taking her Social Security early. But she wasnt breaking the news to me that she was retiring. Nope, she was going to continue to work. But under the guidelines of the federal retirement program, she could only make so much salary annually while receiving the Social Security check monthly. Basically she explained to me that she needed me to cut her salary, but she informed me she had absolutely no intention of working any fewer hours.

She explained it to me as if she simply wanted to take advantage of her Social Security while she could, but I knew what she was really doing. She was trying to make things easier on the new owners. Like I said - one of a kind.

Basically she treated me that way from day one, when I first dropped off my resume in hopes of being hired. When the opportunity arose, she put in a good word for me, and from that day forward she was part mentor and part mother hen for this fledgling newspaperman. As a matter of fact, many people simply assumed that I was her son (or grandson on days when I explained to her I must look pretty young because she never looked old enough to be a grandma.)

Wanda was not an owner, not a stockholder, nor did she get paid overtime. None of those facts ever entered her mind when the clock struck 5:00 p.m. and she remained on her task until it was completed. I guess 40 years of a looming weekly newspaper deadlines taught her to complete all of the work you had at hand, and not to put off anything to be done until tomorrow, because there would be fresh tasks to complete when the new day arrived.

We learned recently that Wanda has been ill for some time. While those closest to her knew she wasnt feeling well, we didnt know the extent of her disease until she fell in her home just about two months ago.

If she would have had her way, we may never have known. One of Wandas biggest concerns was she might burden someone. Even after falling twice in her home, she crawled through her house and waited by the phone for a few hours before calling a friend for aid. She explained to me that it was too early to be calling anyone. So she waited until she knew her friend would be awake before calling to ask for help.

Very few had the pleasure of getting to know Wanda Swope. She was an intensely private person. One could say she buried herself in her work. But it was through her vocation that this wonderful woman touched the lives of so many people in this community.

I can not begin to put in words how much she will be missed, and can only say these few examples of her amazing character do not even begin to scratch the surface of how blessed we were to have had the chance to share her life.

Suspect in Memphis Stabbing Remains at Large

Curtis Anthony Cousins, 34, is being sought on a class A felony assault charge following a stabbing incident Tuesday morning in Memphis.

Law enforcement are still searching for a man involved in a Tuesday morning stabbing in Memphis.

According to the Memphis Police Department, Curtis Anthony Cousins, 34, is being sought for questioning regarding an altercation Tuesday morning at a Dial Court residence that left a Memphis man hospitalized with multiple stab wounds.

Investigators indicated they were notified of the incident at 7:04 a.m. by the Scotland County Hospital, which was treating the victim in the emergency room.

Police determined the incident occurred at #5 Dial Court, stemming from an altercation between the two men. Court documents indicate that the victim allegedly confronted Cousins in the garage of the home, regarding his interactions with a family member. An altercation ensued during which the stabbing allegedly occurred.

Investigators determined that Cousins fled the scene in a black Mitsubishi Lancer 4-door car with Iowa license plates.

Scotland County Prosecuting Attorney Kimberly J. Nicoli has filed a class A felony assault in the first degree charge against Cousins.

Cousins is also wanted out of Washington County, Iowa on a warrant stemming from an earlier arrest for possession of controlled substances, marijuana and methamphetamine.

Cousins is known to have violent tendencies as well as to abuse drugs and alcohol. He is to be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information of his whereabouts, or with sightings of the vehicle, is asked to contact the Memphis Police Department at 660-465-2151.

Ministerial Alliance Considering Options to Replace Close Closet Building

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance met on March 14 at the Lutheran Church. Those in attendance were Mark Appold, Karen Biggs, Marie Ebeling, Dan Hite, Pamela Glasgow, Jack Sumption, and guest Paul Milliken.

Chaplain Paul Milliken of the Hospice of Northeast Missouri was present to discuss services provided by the Hospice. People with terminal conditions with a life expectancy of six months or less are candidates for the Hospice services.

The Good Friday Service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on March 30th at 7 p.m.  All participants in the service are asked to be at the church in dark colored attire at 6:30 p.m. that evening.

The. Clothes Closet suffered significant damage from the hail storm during this past summer. Insurance will pay for a new roof. It is in bad shape structurally and it was suggested that SCMA to consider the insurance pay out to become part of a building fund for a new building. There will be estimates on this issue in future meetings.

The Memphis Chapter of the FreeMasons intend to have a poker run this coming summer to raise funds for the Tiger Packs.  Tiger Packs are the weekend food provision for elementary children.  The group offered their kitchen to SCMA to host a fundraiser breakfast on the same day as the poker run. A decision was made not to have the breakfast due to lack of time and volunteers.

Next meeting of the alliance will be Wednesday April 11, at 1 p.m.

SC Genealogy Society Hosts March Meeting

The Scotland County Genealogy group held their monthly meeting Monday, March 12th with eight members present.  The secretary’s report was given and approved followed by the treasurer’s report given by June Kice,

Under Old Business, Marlene Cowell reported that their audit of books went great and thanked Ronda Davis.

Under New Business, Bob Hunolt donated a picture he had of the Oak Forrest School from 1890.  Additionally, a motion was made by June Kice to meet at 5:30 p.m. as a trial for the June meeting.  The motion was seconded by Marlene Cowell.  Twyla Fulk made a motion to purchase a book titled Ring the Fire Bell.  The book is about the hospital in Keokuk, Iowa before and during the Civil War.  Marlene and June seconded the motion.

A program was given by June Kice on Ring the Fire Bell.  The book was about the transport of wounded soldiers on the Mississippi to the hospital in Keokuk to be treated.  They would ring the fire bell when steamships were bringing wounded soldiers and the Ladies Aid Society for Veterans would meet them.

The meeting was adjourned following the program and refreshments were served by Connie Bratton.

Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings on the second Monday of the month at the Genealogy Building.

Submitted by Connie Bratton, Secretary


Calvin and Ada Marie Hoover of Rutledge are the parents of a son, JaRon Ardell Hoover, born March 5, 2018 at 4:31 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. JaRon weighed 5 lbs 12.6 oz 20.5 inches long. Grandparents are Robert and Rachel Hoover of Rutledge;; and Luke and Ada Mae Hoover of Rutledge.


Jonathan and Alison Woods of Floris, IA are the parents of a daughter, Nina Rosella Woods, born March 10, 2018 at 11:12 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Nina weighed 7 lbs 7.8 oz and was 20 inches long. Grandparents are Tony and Dolly Benge of Floris, IA; Robert and Holly Woods of Squaw Valley, CA; and Ron and Lovie Parker of Floris, IA. Great-grandparents are Arlie and Alana Woods of Reedley, CA; and Irene Chalberg of Floris, IA.

Tiger Fall to Knox County in Campus Bowl Tourney Finale

An impressive run through the preliminaries came up just a bit short for the Scotland County campus bowl team which had to settle for runner-up honors at a recent tournament.

The Tigers pounded Fayette 340-100 in the preliminary rounds. Stephen Terrill led the way answering 12 toss-up questions and Adam Slayton added five.

Harrisburg fared no better as SCR-I dispatched the Bulldogs 390-100. Terrill was top scorer with 13 correct answers while Jacob Kapfer added seven and Slayton and Andrew Ebeling each had four.

Scotland County secured a top seed with a 390-140 win over Paris to round out the opening round. Terrill again topped the scorebook answering 16 toss-up questions with Ebeling adding eight.

SCR-I made quick work of Salisbury in the semifinals, pounding the Panthers 290-110. Terrill answered 12 toss-ups in the win.

The Tigers jumped out to an 80-60 lead over Knox County after one period of play in the championship contest. The Eagles turned things around in the second period, outscoring SCR-I 150-50 and never looked back in posting the 360-220 win.

Terrill was the leading scorer for SCR-I with eight answers and Kapfer finished with four.


This week I had the opportunity to pick up a couple of historical items from a friend in Kahoka.  She wanted to transfer them to the Downing House from the Clark County Museum.  I have enjoyed the history of the Scotland County schools, and a Granger yearbook.

I am also interested in the history of Etna, our little town nearby.  There is not much left there anymore; memories of the church, school, Tom Horn, and the Etna Cemetery, which I might add is well kept and mowed by Eddie Knupp of Wyaconda. It is located north of Etna and is on a rolling hillside.

The school was located just north of the curve in Etna, on the gravel road going north. All that attended has so many memories of that school and classmates. The church site is kept nicely as well by Larry Mohr.  Some of us locals try to keep it neat and decorated.

As with many small towns, at one time, it was quite the busy place. In 1870, there three general stores, two doctors, one drug store, two blacksmith shops, a hotel, two shoe shops and of course, a saloon.  In 1871, the largest hotel in Scotland County, was opened in Etna.  Also, a furniture factory there.  A German by the name of Hettemdofer was owner and made furniture and caskets for all of northeast Missouri. Later, Etna was known as the Hoop Hole. In the fall, 10-15 men would locate there and shave hoops for barrels. The work generally lasted until spring.  The barrels were used for molasses, meat and vinegar.  The two shoe shops that I mentioned made practically all of the shoes for people in this part of the state.

The church was also a large part of Etna. In 1866. The Methodist Church was built in Etna. The church was a large part of the community. One of the trustees was Louis Ruth, the great-grandfather of Duane.  The Ruth’s were owners of the farm that we live on now. It has been in our family many years. Louis Ruth was listed as a local preacher, also. Duane’s grandparents, Charles and Ida (Ruth) Ebeling were married in the Etna Church.

For those of you who are wondering, I am still watching the birds, and hope you are too.  Get those bluebird houses ready.  I cleaned all of mine out yesterday, and hope to see some hints of blues soon.  Until next time, good birdwatching.

My Great Frustration With People 

Urrggh!  People!  Ever feel frustrated with “them”?  And, why is that?  Because they are stupid, sinful, dopes, or just plain annoying?  Could be.  But, I wish to bend your justifiable (?) irritation toward a correcting possibility.

I experience incredible frustration with people.  I have for years…well, decades.  Yet, it’s not from a thread of criticism.  No.  Mine is due to the truth that everyone is more amazing than they believe.  However, too many live in a much lesser life than has been the plan all along.

Our prisons are full of wonderful individuals who possibly never got the reinforcement as to their deep and personal wonder. But it’s not just prisoners. Far too many are reporting to work today as boss or supervisor or employee with the feeling of drudgery; a feeling that they aren’t all that important.

My great frustration with people is not in blame nor is it in any form of criticism.  Mine is a matter against me…. I don’t know how to reverse their insecurities and senses of sheer inadequacies.  My great frustration is that these wonderful individuals have bought into a lie somewhere along the way that they don’t count.  The result is a lifestyle of just getting by.

My hope for people is that each can move past the past.  Those who have hurt you, injured you, neglected you?  So have you to others.  Our hopes are strong and embedded within the same dimension; believing that the resurrection power of God can lift us into a steady walk of happiness, productivity, and beautiful difference-making!

We are limited, never by another person, only by our broken ability to focus on the wonder of now.  Egotism is not our destiny so don’t go there.  Confidence is.  Jesus is our confidence.  Mine (and yours) alone without Him is destined to repeated misery warmed over.

So in our frustration, may we become a determined lot to build others; not tear down, lift others; not sink, and cheer others; not discourage.  We all need this… every… day.  Go. For. It.

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was one of the major figures of the American Revolution and is best known for his words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” delivered in a speech to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. In his speech to the Convention, Henry put forth a proposal that Virginia counties should raise militias to defend themselves, believing that war with Great Britain was imminent. Many of the delegates to the Convention were hesitant to approve any measures that might be viewed as hostile toward Great Britain, while still hoping for a peaceful reconciliation with the British. Word had not yet reached the colonies that King George had rejected the Continental Congress’ petition for redress of grievances. Henry’s impassioned speech and the support of Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson helped to pass the resolution by a few votes. Less than a month later, British troops and colonial militiamen clashed at Lexington and Concord, resulting in the first casualties of the Revolutionary War. Patrick Henry was a lawyer, orator, and statesman who dedicated most of his life to Virginia politics. He was an early critic of British authority and a leader in the movement of the American colonies toward independence. He served as a member of the House of Burgesses, as the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and was a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. Patrick Henry also played a crucial role in securing men and arms for George Washington’s Continental Army.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Hear it All

I was taken aback the other day during a morning turkey hunt. The rain had persisted all night and into the early morning hours. It wasn’t until about 8:30 that the sun broke through the clouds. It seemed every living thing had been waiting with anticipation for that hour. The rain had allowed the early risers to sleep in, but the sun sounded the alarm for all to get up. The sounds that morning were too numerous to describe. Each creature began its communication without waiting its turn. It sounded like one big cacophony without having any rhyme or reason. I didn’t notice that morning how each sound was different but how closely each sounded like the other. Sometimes the cadences were different, but the pitch was nearly identical. And I wondered how each hearer was able to distinguish between its kind and another kind and even how each could tell the differences of their own kind. And then I thought about God.

I wonder how many folks bowed their head to pray this morning. People from Maine to Montana; from New Mexico to North Carolina; and from Connecticut to California. And I wonder how many in other countries did the same – all speaking to God at the same time but in different languages. And I wonder how God sorts them all out. It really is amazing how God can not only hear all of us at the same time but  He does not miss one utterance of despair, one urgent cry for help, or one uplifted plea for direction. He is not only our God but He is your God. He is not only our God, He is my God.

Just as I don’t understand how nature works in perfect order and design, I also don’t understand how God can make perfect order out of every single prayer that goes up. But I must believe it by faith. The Bible says a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without Him noticing. When I remember that I have no problem knowing that even though millions of prayers are knocking on the doors of heaven, God will distinguish each of us as His special and unique child and will be equally excited to hear from us and to give us His very best.

Gary Miller

Outdoor Truths Ministries


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