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Like old friends: Look back at first 100 columns

Good folks of Lennox Valley

POSTED: February 10, 2018 11:43 a.m.

If you have been reading "The Good Folks of Lennox Valley" since the first installment, I know how you are going to respond to the following question: "Can you believe it has been 100 weeks?"

When I first began writing the story of my hometown, my plan was to focus on the lives of the folks who made up the membership of the four churches on Bearden’s Corner. In Week One’s story, titled "My Hometown," we learned of the four churches and their various responses to being just down the street from the infamous Hoffbrau, the only restaurant to serve beer in The Valley.

This installment also introduced the character of Sarah Hyden-Smith, whose introduction led to several emails from female clergypersons stretching from California to Tennessee, most saying they were sure I was writing their personal stories.

For many readers, Raymond Cooper was both a villain and a favorite character. I’ve lost count of the emails I’ve received, sharing stories of radio station owners in small towns throughout America who were spitting images of Raymond.

Now and again, I still visit the church of Brother Jacob, who preaches near my current home. The story of his sermon on Psalm 50, verse 9, brought a lot of response. Using his paraphrased version of the Bible instead of the "approved" Lutheran Study Bible, his sermon theme, "I shall take no bull from you," was a favorite among readers.

If I were forced to select a favorite character, it would be a toss-up between Iris Long and Marvin Walsh.

To me, Iris represents small town newspaper publishers everywhere. She is fiercely honest, concerned about her community, and works an incredible number of hours to make sure every word she writes is true.

The real Marvin Walsh was one of the funniest men I ever knew. Every time he shouts something in our story, I hear Marvin’s voice in my memory.

Along the way, we have been introduced to Maxine Miller, author of "Rumor Has It," and Beatrice Justice, who speaks in Bible verses. One writer suggested, "Your story probably caused more people to pick up their Bibles than anything anyone else has done this week."

From a federal agency causing egg prices to soar, to the lovable and inept Mayor "Silver Tongue" Dick Bland, to a radio host who tried to use his celebrity status to sway an election, in the end the good folks always seem to discover the real truth.

I have many stories yet to share about the good folks of my hometown. Thank you for tagging along for the first 100.

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