Opinion

THE HISTORIAN: Pigs played a large role in Pennsylvania German life |Aug 18, 2017

A note in the publication American Farmer, 1819, reports that an exhibition at a fair showed a “pig with a wooden leg on the off side [left front] before which appears to walk with little lameness or inconvenience.

REFLECTIONS: Concussions make giving up football a no-brainer |Aug 16, 2017

This fall there are kids all over Berks County playing youth and high school football. Their parents should ask themselves, “Should they be?”

Sound Off with Carol: Community talks about medical marijuana Part 2 |Aug 16, 2017

In the Aug. 1 Tri County Record, we printed “On the Record with Carol: Medical Marijuana, What’s the Real Buzz http://www.berksmontnews.com/general-news/20170727/on-the-record-with-carol-medical-marijuana-whats-the-real-buzz

Welcome To My World: Happiness is washing the car, together |Aug 16, 2017

Reprint (First Use to Highway News 2011)

A Look Back in History: Hidden Architectural Treasures found at Pricetown |Aug 16, 2017

Conrad Price, the person for which the small community of Pricetown bears its name, was among the original 12 Brethren pioneer families who settled here about 1754 and were an outgrowth of the Brethren Plain sect who settled in the Oley Valley.

A Look Back in History: Freedom of religion granted to our Pennsylvania Dutch people |Aug 8, 2017

Our ancestors were working true-Grit individuals who turned the PA Dutch Country into an agrarian cradle of Liberty following in the ideas of Adam Smith, our founder of the “Free market private enterprise system.

Welcome To My World: The treasures we keep help us remember good times |Aug 8, 2017

All of us — both men and women — have treasures we keep. They can be called keepsakes, mementos, heirlooms, memorabilia, tokens of remembrance, even souvenirs — most any object of a remembrance one acquires for the memories associated with it.

Book Beat: ‘Salvation of an American Incon’ made me think of the blessings in my life |Aug 3, 2017

Author Greg Laurie was asked to start a Bible study at the age of 19, two years after he became a Christian. The Bible study evolved into Harvest Christian Fellowship, where Laurie serves as Senior Pastor to more than 12,000 people.

Welcome To My World: Searching for the origin of Uncle Sam |Aug 2, 2017

I received the idea for this article when I was browsing books on epitaphs from tombstones. I came upon a monument in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York that read, “In loving memory Of “Uncle Sam” The name Originating with Samuel Wilson 1766-1854 during the War of 1812 and since adopted by the United States.

A Look Back in History: The Extraordinary Folk Art Born Out of Our Deep Religious Roots |Aug 2, 2017

The heart and soul of our PA Dutch Country here in southeastern Pennsylvania cannot be explained without first delving into its ethnic diversity, especially through the Pennsylvania Dutch of our region and their American folk art which is world renown.

Reflections: Berks historical sites are an educational tour de force |Aug 2, 2017

Parents sometimes scramble about like field mice finding ways to entertain their children in the waning days of summer that don’t involve phones, tablets, apps, televisions, social media, ballparks, festivals, fairs, amusement parks, camping, beaches and pools.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Why Trumpcare failed |Jul 28, 2017

Political rhetoric matters! Political narratives matters! Both create limits on what can be done when focus shifts from rhetoric and narratives to policymaking.

A Look Back in History: The Once Breakfast of Choice for Some PA Dutch farm families |Jul 27, 2017

The oldest historical reference to funnel cake among the Pennsylvania Dutch was in a research paper presented to the Pennsylvania German Society by Henry Kinzer Landis of the Landis Valley Farm Museum, Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1935.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD: Autograph books, then and now |Jul 20, 2017

If you were a teenager in the ’50s, you probably had an autograph book. It was a 4-by-6-inch leather booklet, the cover reading “Autographs” printed in gold, with blank pages inside.

Welcome to my world: Traveling with Harry |Jul 20, 2017

My husband, Harry, and I have been traveling for 34 years. It’s one of our favorite activities. We’ve visited all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, and all 48 states on the continent. I did travel to Hawaii with my sisters, but I don’t count that as Harry was not along.

As I See It: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of free speech |Jul 20, 2017

The role of prayer in our schools is a hot button.

A LOOK BACK IN HISTORY: Cider presses in our Dutch Country |Jul 20, 2017

There were two basic types of cider presses in this apple pressing industry. The first was the two-screw press, which is built much like an old-fashioned book press. In this method, a wooden beam (about 12 feet long), threaded at both ends, is lowered vertically by two 8-foot-high wooden screws.

REFLECTIONS: We aren’t shaken by killer quakes in Berks, but are we rattled by cellphones? |Jul 20, 2017

If we all lived forever, do you realize how difficult it would be to get a decent tee time or dinner reservations at a reasonable hour?

A Look Back in History: Farm women turned out plenty of fresh bread and pies in outdoor bake ovens |Jul 12, 2017

The quaint bake oven as it is found in the Pennsylvania Dutch region was an outstanding invention for its time, far superior to any found elsewhere in America. As European families transferred their white man’s culture to the virgin forests of Pennsylvania introducing their frontier farmsteads to the area, there was no other invention, expect perhaps the large frontier fireplaces, that intrigued the native Indians more than these outdoor bake-ovens.

Welcome to my world: Listening to the silence |Jul 12, 2017

I happened to come across a title for this story through a leaflet that came in the mail. In my case, I’ve learned to listen to inward silence through the practice of meditation. Yet, looking back on my life, I realized silence also spoke to me, in a seemingly different way, especially in nature.

REFLECTIONS: Don’t let a tick get you sick with Lyme disease |Jul 6, 2017

When I was a kid, I loved to play in the woods. My buddies and I were all over Mount Penn, playing war games, building tree forts, hiking, scaling rocks, hiding out from our parents.

A Look Back in History: President John Adams’ favorable opinion of the PA Dutch People |Jul 6, 2017

When Patriot John Adams stopped over at Kutztown, Pa., he remarked in his diary he was pleasantly impressed with the cooking and lodging among these local Pennsylvania Dutch at Kemp’s Tavern on his return trip to Massachusetts.

Welcome to my World: Piggy Banks and the delight they bring |Jul 6, 2017

There are times I get exasperated because I discipline myself to sit and write every week night, but all last week I didn’t get one idea for an article. At least not until I visited, my 1½-year-old great-granddaughter, Eva, on Saturday.

Welcome to my world: Flowers do speak |Jun 28, 2017

For lo the winter is past; The rain is over and gone;

A LOOK BACK IN HISTORY: The Kutztown Folk Festival is right around the corner, literally |Jun 21, 2017

Our Kutztown Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival has long portrayed regional folkways that were always called “Deitsch” (Dutch), not German. A vernacular transferred here by ethnic sub-cultures living in the 18th Century Rhine Valley, though their actual ethnic lineage was German, Swiss, or French, regardless of the Rhenish tongue they spoke; but collectively and accurately known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and proudly! Us, these, native PA Dutch are a very religious lot and extremely principled people.

Welcome to my world: The origins of the Wedding Party may surprise you |Jun 21, 2017

Marriage is one of the earliest institutions and is observed in almost all societies. The wedding customs of today are based on folklore, religion, symbolism, and superstition. Our traditional wedding party refers to the people involved in the ceremony and its history has been established since primitive days, such as “marriage by capture”.

REFLECTIONS: Being a father isn’t harder than a long par-5 ... just make sure your playing partner is a loving mother |Jun 16, 2017

The big day is approaching, so let me be the first to wish Happy Father’s Day to all you dads.

Welcome to my WorlD: Father’s Day Remembered |Jun 16, 2017

A special day is celebrated annually on the 3rd Sunday of June — Father’s Day.

A Look Back In History: Legendary Mountain Mary’s voyage to America |Jun 7, 2017

A home-grown Protestant Saint, Mountain Mary became a pioneer model for anyone who lived alone in the Oley Valley, especially hard-working immigrants who were sold into servitude by greedy Colonial sea captains as indentured servants for their passage to the New World; a practiced not abolished by our Congress until 1818.

A look back in history: The Shelleys and Their Unique English Style Barn on the Hunter Plantation |May 31, 2017

One of the most beautiful Oley Valley plantations is the 1768 John Hunter plantation that also served as a wayside inn located on Covered Bridge Road, halfway between Pleasantville and Yellow House, in Oley Township.

Welcome To My World: The distinguished junk drawer |May 31, 2017

What actually is a junk drawer? In my case, it actually comes down to being raised Pennsylvania Dutch — the “shift and make do” kind. Most of us have a tendency to save things and tell ourselves, “I might use this one day.

A Look Back In History: William Penn’s legacy of Christian love & the Pennsylvania Dutch |May 24, 2017

Prior to 1727, a number of Rhineland immigrants who embarked at Philadelphia had the luxury of worldly possessions to enable them to become prosperous settlers. But after that year, those Rhinelanders that didn’t, were sold as redemptioners to pay off their passage to previous settlers.

The Historian: Oak Splint Baskets |May 24, 2017

Sturdy and inexpensive, oak-splint baskets were used in almost every kitchen and barn on the old homesteads. Prized now by collectors, these plain, undecorated, utilitarian forms tended to fall by the wayside in the twentieth century when inexpensive imported baskets, commercially made bushel and “peach” baskets, and all sorts of other containers came on the market.

REFLECTIONS: Why doesn’t gender equity apply to barbecuing? |May 23, 2017

I always have found it amusing that men, many of whom would only cook in the kitchen if they were handcuffed to the stove, are the king of the grill.

the historian: Moral Lapses of Early Pennsylvania German Clergymen — Part 1 |May 3, 2017

Very few Lutheran or Reformed clergymen immigrated to Pennsylvania along with the flood of German speaking immigrants in the early 18th century. In 1751 Benjamin Franklin despaired, “This will in a few years become a German speaking colony.

look back : Our Local Dutch Country opens up during the Federal Years |May 3, 2017

Considering the dynamic change in our region’s Federal years, perhaps the biggest change was when the United States Post Office established post offices within regional General Stores, especially the Rural Free delivery that supplied these rural villages with hardware and food supplies for the community life.

REFLECTIONS: Commercial television is precisely that |May 3, 2017

I have a hunch I’m not alone in saying that commercial interruptions on broadcast and cable television networks are more painful than dangling from your thumbs over a quicksand pit.

Welcome to my world: Celebrating Women |May 3, 2017

Although I have a husband to discuss things with, I feel it’s important to get together with women friends on a regular basis. I think “me time” is good for all women, no matter what age.

A look back in history: Jonas Day Family of Irish-Pa Dutchmen in Berks County |Apr 26, 2017

Of all the ethnic peoples assimilated in Berks County’s PA Dutch Country, none have left their ethnic image on our architectural landscape, more obvious than a number of Irish frontier immigrants.

The Historian: Travails of the Early Protestant Ministers |Apr 26, 2017

By 1750 there were at least 20,000 Lutheran immigrants and as many Reformed in Pennsylvania. There were, however, very few ordained ministers to serve them. In the 1740’s, the Reverends Michael Schlatter, Reformed, and Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Lutheran, accepted the call from their church fathers in Europe to come to Pennsylvania as missionaries to try to organize the scattered congregations, such as they were.

REFLECTIONS: A slightly shorter shelf life |Apr 20, 2017

I recently received some literature from a funeral home about making burial plans.

wELCOME TO MY WORLD: What’s in a name? Let’s talk toilets |Apr 19, 2017

Thomas Crapper actually has a day named after him – January 27 is Thomas Crapper Day!

A look back in history The Importance of the historic Keim Homestead in American Folklife Institute’s early years |Apr 19, 2017

When the American Folklife Society in the 1970s was allowed to preserve the historic Jacob Keim farmstead outside of Lobachsville for a museum in the Society’s early days, they very much appreciated Rudy Rhoads’ wisdom and cooperation with Pike Township, as Director Shaner recalled.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk:” The Fall of Trumpcare: It was about Obama not Obamacare |Apr 7, 2017

The Bible warns that pride goeth before the fall. When Trump ran for office he said the Affordable Care Act (ACA), disparagingly referred to Obamacare, was a disaster and would collapse under its own weight and that when he becomes president he would fix it day one.

BOOK BEAT — IMPACT: ‘One Perfect Lie’ by Lisa Scottoline |Apr 7, 2017

Since “One Perfect Lie” by Lisa Scottoline contains many lies, I thought I had better tell you one perfect truth. Having written reviews of some of Lisa’s work previously, the publisher sent me an advance copy of this book, which is scheduled to be released on April 11, 2017.

Welcome to My world: Lent — a time for fasting |Apr 7, 2017

From ancient times, it was believed that the deity was appeased by voluntary sufferings of people. Since abstinence from food brought suffering, fasting became a way for people to make amends for their misdeeds.

A Look Back in History: Salvage art creations and industrious Pennsylvania Dutch |Mar 27, 2017

Among the most logical waste items on a dairy or cattle farm were the many strands of bailer twine that were left over after opening up bales for bedding or feeding hay to livestock. Usually hung on a nail in the barn feedway, said cut bale twine could not be used again by the bailing machine.

PASSHE Op-Ed: State System strategic review key to Kutztown University’s future |Mar 24, 2017

As a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is part of the strategic review being undertaken by the State System—a top-to-bottom examination of the operations of all 14 System universities and the Office of the Chancellor.

Person to person — impact: Goulash |Mar 23, 2017

I chaired a committee that met monthly for a couple of years and therefore it was my responsibility to create the agenda. Instead of including a category at the end of the agenda such as “Miscellaneous,” I tried to personalize the agenda by using different words.

A Look Back In History: The rare feature of a ‘Schpriggel bar,’ still seen in a Maxatawny Township barn |Mar 23, 2017

Both Schweitzer and standard barns in the region are frequently found with a practical large earthen bank at its rear, which allowed wagons carrying sheaves of grain or loads of hay to bridge the threshing floor.