September 3, 2014

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Jim Langham

A new walk in a new place uncovers new kind of cardinal PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 8:41 PM

By Jim Langham

The older we get, the more intriguing it becomes following clues to a “destination unknown.” Quite often, we don’t recognize the first two clues as such, but as things progress, suspicions arise that a journey could be underway.

Aug. 10, a date forever implanted on my heart PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:34 PM

By Jim Langham

Sunday, Aug. 10, was a day filled with memories about a 4 foot, 11 inch angel that never weighed 100 pounds in her life time.

Grandma Cook, known to many in our family as “Aunt Maggie,” was a fixture in my life from the day I was born. Born Magdalena Hirschy, two generations from her native land of Switzerland, she was part of our “generational family” that I cherish to this day.

It was a different world that she was born into in Adams County, Ind., in 1886, one in which land was just being cleared for farming, World War I was 30 years away and the Great Depression, World War II and the Korean Conflict still many years into the future.

‘Call Norm’ had a special meaning to Payne residents PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 9:45 PM

By Jim Langham

The last time I spent honoring a particular individual in a column was in April of 2010 when one of Payne’s hardest working and admired ladies, Beulah Eschbach, passed away. Ironically, I’ve felt inspired to do so again and this time it involves her husband, Norm, who passed away in late May at the age of 97.

It was April of 1991 when I first met this sweet gentleman who, at that time, pumped gas into my car when I pulled up to the local Marathon Station. For some reason, at the time, I would put gas in my car seven dollars at a time. The third time I pulled up to the station, I was greeted by Norm who said, “Will that be seven dollars again, reverend?”

Elnora brings the gift of a special mother moment PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:37 PM

By Jim Langham

A few days ago, when I got out of my car in the parking lot in the beloved Limberlost Loblolly where I find solitude nearly every day now, I heard a cry somewhat foreign to marsh life.

The howling of a cat was coming from beneath the canopy of flowers on Trail One. Suddenly, a tiger-striped rustic brown cat appeared, crossed the parking lot and came to me like I was a long-lost friend.

It was very obvious this cat was fond of humans. It immediately started to nuzzle its face against my leg and rub its body against my ankles. I was startled with many quick questions such as, “Who are you? Where did you come from? Why did you come to me in such a friendly manner?”

Child’s passing leaves caregiving mother with a broken heart PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:39 PM

By Jim Langham

Several weeks ago I wrote a column about a special situation a few miles away in Decatur, Indiana. It involved a mother who purposely adopted a little girl with cancer in order to give tender love and care to her during her time of illness.

That was four years ago; Beth Ann Fawcett took little Ebony into her arms and cared for her as an “angel-mother” during the duration of her fight with cancer. During that time, Beth Ann lost her job and made major sacrifices on behalf of Ebony, who just celebrated her ninth birthday. But none of that meant anything compared to the heart full of love she poured out on her little girl.

On July 8, at 1:08 p.m., Beth Ann’s arms were emptied of her bundle of joy when her daughter and best friend passed in her presence in Decatur. Since then, it has not only been Beth Ann who has grieved the loss of Ebony, an entire community and surrounding area who knew this special bond has mourned the loss of Ebony and sought to bring comfort to a mother’s broken heart.

Today's bounty experienced through the stained hands of yesterday PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:15 PM

By Jim Langham

Who would think that a 66-year-old man would take a picture of his hand when it’s stained purple from eating mulberries.

For me, it wakes up the little boy within who used to run to the neighbors during mulberry season for a tasty treat. The picture of the purple hands is a reminder of those days when I ran through mulberries bare-footed and frustrated my mother with purple feet, purple hands and mulberry stains on my clothes!

Th magic of intergenerational connections PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 9:27 PM

By Jim Langham

There was a lady in the small village where I was raised by the name of Sadie Snow. Sadie was one of my grandmother’s best friends. By the time I met her as a young child, she was nearly 90-years old. She lived in the family home on the next corner down from us. She kept “hardtack candy” in Ball jars and when my grandma and I walked down to visit her, she always told me that I could have as much candy as I could grab in one handful.

As small as my hands were at that young age, it was amazing how many pieces of candy they could pull out of that special jar as Sadie and Grandma laughed at my efforts.

These days, I occasionally visit Sadie’s grave in a cemetery named after her family, the Snow Cemetery. But I look at her life in a different perspective.

My new friend in wings PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:55 AM

By Jim Langham

It’s been nearly two weeks ago now that I became aware of a brand new friend. He may have actually been there sooner, but he caught my eye the day he greeted me with a song and dance that was graceful and beautiful as any I’ve ever seen in nature.

Ronnie Redwing, who “poses” as a red-winged blackbird, has quickly become the gatekeeper to the famous trail that I enjoy so much when I walk in the Limberlost Loblolly. It’s a restored wetland just south of Geneva, Ind., developed in honor of famed naturalist writer, Gene Stratton-Porter.

Every name is a story PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:34 PM


By Jim Langham

As I walked the track at the Relay for Life a week ago, I found myself reading the names, and in some cases, messages, on the luminary candle bags surrounding the track. The more I read, the more it hit me that every name I was reading represented some kind of a story.

Some names represented those who have passed on because of cancer. Others represented families who have, or are, going through cancer struggles. Still others are tributes and salutes to survivors who have battled the disease and others say, “thank you,” to caretakers who have set themselves aside for the lives of the suffering.

A valuable table in spite of a few scratches PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:27 PM

By Jim Langham

These days, our dining room table is mainly used for “desk purposes.” I place my laptop on it to do much of my writing, surrounded with notebooks filled with story ideas and interviews.

Underneath the writing tools are memories of when it was once surrounded by our children, their friends and special family outings.

It was the centerpiece of family visits in our dining room in Michigan, a time when the kids were still home, my parents and Joyce's parents were still alive, and visits meant spending much of the evening visiting around the table following the evening meal.

It was where we colored with the kids, entertained guests, played board games and sat and drank coffee. Three days before my dad passed, he and I sat at that old table, drank coffee all afternoon on a Christmas Day that we didn't realize at the time would be our last one together.


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