Monday, April 22, 2013

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

Celebrate.  Remember.  Fight Back.  These four simple words are the essence of an American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

In each Relay, we celebrate those who are cancer survivors.  We hold a "Survivor's Lap" where survivors, their caregivers and family walk a lap in celebration that they are have beaten cancer.  

We then remember.  We remember those who were not so fortunate and did not win the battle with cancer.  We remember them with a Luminaria ceremony and a silent lap dedicated to their memory.

Next, we fight back.  We work through the night to raise money to find a cure for cancer.  We work together to find a cure so more people can be survivors.

In 2009, my neighbor (who is a cancer survivor and helped start the EGR Relay in 2008) asked me to help.  I was the Logistics Chair for the 2009 East Grand Rapids Relay for Life and I have had this same job in 2010, 2011, 2012 and again this year, 2013.

At the end of each Relay, I tell myself that next year somebody else can take my place.  I talk myself out of participating because it is a lot of work and I feel that there are better things I can do with my time.  Then, each year, something happens.  I find out that a friend, or a neighbor or a co-worker is diagnosed with cancer and suddenly, my complaining ends.  This year is no different.  I found out today that a former co-worker is retiring at the end of this week.  He is retiring because this past January he was diagnosed with lung cancer and he wants to spend more time with his lovely spouse.  Thankfully, he had surgery to remove the tumor and is now cancer free.  The wind in my sails filled again, and I am committed once again to be the best Logistics Chair that I can be and raise as much money as I can to fight cancer.

In 2012, I raised $2652.00 to help fight cancer.  I ask you to please consider supporting my fight in this battle we all must win.  No contribution is too small.

If you can make a contribution, click here and then click on the "DONATE NOW" button.  Thanks in advance for your support as I Relay to fight cancer.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

So long, old friend

Today, I managed to make one more stop at Paddletown Hardware before it will close forever later this month.  We were up at our cottage this weekend to have internet, TV and a telephone line installed.  Technically, the lines for all three items are already installed, we just had them all activated.  We went to Harrisville for lunch at our favorite restaurant, The Old Place.  

After lunch, I dropped Deirdre off at our cottage and I drove back into town to pick up some cash, buy Powerball ticket, and stop by Paddletown Hardware one last time.

This store has been a mainstay in Oscoda since 1937.  Soon it will be gone.

The discounts on all items are now 50% off listed price...

I strolled into Paddeltown Hardware to take in the moment, as well as to look and see if there was anything I needed.  The store had been pretty well picked over, but I managed to find a hammer and a CFL light bulb.  I actually needed a new hammer, and the light bulb was an added bonus.  The rest of the hardware and supplies there were not anything that I needed.

When I was wandering round, I saw an open door that lead to an office.  Tom Ruedisueli, the owner was sitting at a desk and he answered a phone call.  I waited outside the office until the call ended and I introduced myself to him.  The conversation went like this:

Me:  Hello.
Tom:  Hello.
Me:  You don't know me, but I am Paul Kratochwill.  I wanted to let you know how sorry I am that your store is closing.
Tom:  Yeah, we did our best.
Me:  We bought a cottage about 2 miles south of the Au Sable River in 2010 and we have been coming here for all of our hardware needs since then.  Your staff has always been the so helpful and friendly.
Tom:  Thanks for the kind words.  It had been tough the past few years, but the road construction on US-23 last year did us in.
Me:  Again, I am so sorry about your store closing.
Tom:  Thanks for the kind words.  I really appreciate it.

And that was it.  I took my hammer and light bulb to the check out and I was warmly greeted by the cashier who is losing his job in a few days, and I spent the last $10.40 I will ever spend at Paddletown Hardware.

So long, and thanks for everything you did for the community for over 75 years.