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Easter weekend events and more in southern Illinois

 Weekend Preview
Original artwork by Feri Saputra

Easter arrives on spring winds, and hopefully, bright rays of sunshine.   In the Christian world it is time for celebration, resurrection and hope.  There will be church services, cantatas, family gatherings, Easter egg hunts, (bet you colored real eggs, forget the plastic kind, maybe you still do), chocolate bunnies and rainbow- colored jelly beans.  It‘s a lovely weekend filled with sweet memories.  Make the most of it.

CHERRY BLOSSOMS BLOOM: Cherry Trees in Washington, D. C. originated in l912 a gift of friendship from the People of Japan to the People of the United States.  The Cherry Blossom festival usually runs March to April.  There are earlier blooms this year due to the warming spring.                                                                                                                        

Locals who have seen the blossoms bloom include Vic and Patty Koenig, Dr. Ray Hancock, Sharon Frattini, Yolanda Fisher, Diane Ogden, Mary Kucharik, Dr.Ray  former teacher, Charlotte Verkamman Smith, who took a class of Japanese students to see them. Carla Hays has a friend in the nation’s capital seeing the floral show this week.    Many more of you have walked that walk.  It is on my bucket list.

SHRINERS SHINE with another of their famous Catfish Fry’s, Good Friday, April 7, at the Williamson County Club, Rt. 37, Marion.  Eat In or Carry Out, 11 a.m to 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Coleslaw, baked beans, hush puppies, tea/lemonade. Hot dogs for the kids.  $12 for all you can eat.

AN INTERLUDE:  Jeff Place, and his son John Place, Leawood, KS walk in a neighborhood in north west Marion each time they visit.  His son, who  is 21, and has special gifts loves dogs.  They discovered three dogs that are now fond friends for each visit.  Jim and Laurie Pugh are dedicated to walking their three large pups.  Ledge, Heidi and Penny don’t just stroll, they are industrious in their daily walks.  Three leashes are a lot for Laurie, who is a fairy tale beauty.  They let John pet their dogs, do a bit of rolling around and make my grandson, John, beam.  Thank you to the Pughs.  It means much.

HEADING TO ALTON:  Don’t miss a meal, lunch or dinner at State Street Market, 208 State Street, Alton, IL.   The ambience, the food, wine bar, the care, the service is superb.  All of it put together by Beau and Terri Ferguson Beaubien, Herrin native.They make their mark in the restaurant industry with scores of followers from the St. Louis/Alton area.  Terri is the daughter of Jeff Ferguson, Davenport,  FL and the late Brenda Ferguson.

REMEMBERING:  He was a mentor, longtime GM of W3-D Radio, REDCO chair and a family man.  Jerry Crouse, 75, died March 31 after a short illness.  He leaves his wife Sheri, their two daughters and their families.  He leaves many of us who worked with, and for him, in the highly competitive radio arena at W3-D mighty memories of encouragements, direction, faith in what we could accomplish, and always  with a small twinkle, a gentle nudge of humor. 

Dutch Doelitzsch who was a  Marion High School classmate and owner of W3-D Radio, where he hired Jerry as his General Manager, was eloquent and poignant in his memories of his friend an conducted the service at the simple graveside service April 6 in Marion.

He will be missed. We see him now at a vast radio station in the heavens at his desk doing what he did best encouraging others to do their own best job.

JOB NOTES:  Best to Fred Calcaterra, 50-year owner and pharmacist, selling his three local pharmacies to John Hunter.  John is the son of Larry and Pamm Hunter, Carterville. 

CONDOLENCES to Jack Fletcher, his children, and friends of the lovely Pat Fletcher who died March 31 at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. IN. Pat was a friend to many, a supporter of the arts, a woman of measure who will be missed in our community.

WHAT A GAME IT WAS – March Madness is history.  U CONN swept the run in March.  Louie’s P&R with a tie to a U Conn player, Joey “California” Calcaterra (he has relatives in Herrin) has named a new sandwich after him.  They offer a "Joey California"Deli sandwich. There were ties to San Diego State as Herrin native,  Steve Fisher, now retired was their longtime coach with a winning record. His brother and sister in law, John and Joyce Fisher live in Herrin.   Fun, Cheers to both teams and their families. What are the odds, Herrin, Illinois would have two famous connections to a March Madness Big Dance Game in 2023?  It happened.

SNAPSHOTS: Best news. the Cardio-Plumonary Rehab Center has a new home at Herrin Hospital.  Always on the basement level it has moved to the first floor lobby, overlooking the Julia Harrison Bruce and Fred G. Harrison Memorial Garden.  Healing Garden. An excellent center for patients and now much easier in and out for patients.

Donna Humphrey, Lake of Egypt, and a great athlete, was recently in the spotlight teaching the finer points of Pickle Ball to a WSIL-TV News Anchor Channel 3.

Cheers to Herrin High School Reunion Committee Class of 1962 donated $255 to Chuck Parola for Herrin Doughboy Committee from their 60th class reunion. 

Carol Donelson Frey, former TV account executive at WSIL News 3, with homes at the Marion Country Club and Paducah, KY took in views of a first time look at scores of pelicans on the lake at MCC. Kim Borders saw them on Lake of Egypt at same time.  They visit us often, especially at Crab Orchard Lake.  Old timers say it is a relative new phenomenon in the last decade that pelicans have chosen our waterways on their migration journeys.

APRIL:  April showers continue on and off. The earth unfolds in a kaleidoscope of color.  Landscapes are a Queen’s necklace of emerald green with sparkling sun gems. Enjoy the Easter weekend, we thank God for our blessings. Take a walk, bring your umbrella, don’t miss a moment, Spring is fleeting.  Let’s talk next week.

Cheryl is a freelance columnist who writes about her native southern Illinois. She captures moments, large and small, people and places.  Contact her at 618-993-8173 or CRTheSouthern@aol.com

Cheryl is a freelance columnist who writes about her native southern Illinois. She left for college and came right back. Home is home in her heart. Contact her at 618-993-8173 or CRTheSouthern@aol.com
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