Last week I was honored to be the guest speaker at Oxford Township Senior Citizens Coffee and Conversation. A handful of local seasoned citizens sat around me at a table with coffee and pastries to ask me questions.
For about an hour they asked questions about my history (growing up on the mean streets in the ghettos of Clarkston), schooling (attending Central Michigan University – come to think of it I just told them I attended, nothing about graduating or not), unidentified flying objects, if I really and truly keep Casa D’Rush a balmy 57 degrees in the winter and about community newspapering. (No, I told them, I do not keep it at 57 degrees. This year I am splurging and bumped up the winter heat to 58 degrees.)
They wanted to know how much time I spend writing this column (about an hour a week) and how I get ideas. What I told them is this: I write Don’t Rush Me as therapy. If something is weighing on my mind, I write about it. I let that angst go. As a thrifty son-of-a-gun, I found writing Don’t Rush Me is cheaper than seeking professional counseling.
Somehow it came up on how I got the name for this column – and it was something I hadn’t thought of for a long time. Here’s the story of Don’t Rush Me (and I know it’s accurate because I went to the archives back to the very first Don’t Rush Me column).
At the end of February 1986 my column was ho-hummily called Straight Shootin.’ I know, the name sucked, so I put it out that I was conducting the Let’s Re-name Don Rush’s Column Contest. I opened it up to the community and would give the person who wrote the winning submission $19.95.
Here’s what folks sent: “Just Rushing By,” “Don’s View Scope,” “Don’s Scoops,” “Don’s Curiosity Corner,” “Don’s Focus on Facts,” “Don’s Events and Facts,” “Don’s Area Prime News,” and “Don’s Knowledge of Area Events.”
And, one guy — Dave Masek of Ray Road — sent me a handwritten page with nine ideas, and he Scotch-taped a nickel on the upper right corner with a note, “Just send me a 20 spot.” His ideas for my column were: “Rush – Around Town,” “Rush’s Ramblings,” “Don’s Corner,” “The Gravel Voice,” “Rushin’ Spoken Here,” “The Crack of Don,” “Not For Yuppies Only,” “The One That Missed the Waste Basket,” and “Don’t Rush Me.”
I sent Dave the Andrew Jackson.
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Speaking of winter utility bills and using less energy than last year and being charged almost three times last year’s bill . . . on Friday morning I was listening to NPR in the morning. They “reported” Consumers Energy says it has around 24 percent more natural gas in storage and blamed the rate increase on the “cold snaps” we’ve had. Cold snaps? Hasn’t this been the warmest winter in the history of Michigan winters? I wish the reporter would have asked hard questions, versus just reporting on what the utility company said.
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Speaking of Central Michigan University, when I was in college I had to take all sorts of super hard classes. You know the kind, classes which make your brain hurt. Classes like Scuba Diving and another called Leisure Pursuits (yes, that was the real name for that class). In Leisure Pursuits we had to play games, we went canoeing and there may have been a “kegger” involved.
Scuba Diving was cool but the pool water was cold. Our class was the first in the pool on Friday mornings at 7:30. Anyway, I learned how to scuba dive, however I never followed through with certification. That was too bad, because I loved breathing under the water and looking at stuff through the mask. Since we live in the Great Lakes State, I always wanted to explore lakes and in particular shipwrecks. So, it was no wonder I was stoked to read the news last week that a new ship wreck was discovered. Well, it isn’t a new wreck, it’s just newly discovered.
According to one of about a million press releases I receive weekly, “The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced the discovery of the 144-foot Barquentine Nucleus. The Nucleus was found under 600 feet of water around 40 miles northwest of Vermilion point on Lake Superior. The Nucleus sank on Sept. 14, 1869, when it was downbound from Marquette carrying a load of iron ore.
“The Nucleus was no stranger to accidents. It had already sunk twice, and in 1854, rammed and sank the side-wheeler S.S. Detroit in Lake Huron. On that September day in 1869, the Nucleus was caught in a bad storm on Lake Superior and started to take on water. The leak became so bad the crew had to abandon ship and took to their lifeboat. The Nucleus sank shortly afterwards. If Nucleus had its share of bad luck, so too did its crew once they cast off from the sinking ship. After a few hours in their yawl, the Nucleus crew spotted, and hailed the S.S. Union. The officers reportedly spotted the Nucleus crew struggling in the storm… but chose to keep on steaming, leaving them behind. Fortunately, they were soon picked up by the schooner Worthington, with no loss of life.”
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