Archive for December, 2011
Most of us in Plain City knew David Parker, the teacher and coach at Jonathan Alder High School, who overcame great odds after a senseless crime. David died this past January from injuries sustained from a brutal shooting that left him paralyzed from the neck down in November 1993.
The man, Arnold Nichols, who shot David at point blank range to get money for drugs, is now up for parole this July, barely a year after David’s life ended. He is eligible for release to a halfway house in January. Please go to the Blockparole.com web site and read David’s complete story. While you are there, submit your comments about why Arnold Nichols should not be released from prison and should instead serve the 83 year maximum sentence he deserves.
You can go directly to the page about David HERE.
Thank you for taking the time to work for justice on behalf of David Parker.
We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a day filled with lovely holiday memories. May this holiday be peaceful and overflowing with blessings.
Plain City Druggist will be open normal hours, 9 am to noon, on Saturday, Christmas Eve. We will be closed on Sunday, Christmas, but will re-open Monday, December 26 at 9 am. If you have an emergency, please call Joe’s pager at 614-240-8421.
Thank you for all of your support in 2011. We promise to do our best for you in 2012.
Thank you to the Dlugo family for this cute photo of their kitties, Bernard and Malcome, who, by the way, were the featured cats for March in the Black and Orange Cat Foundation 2012 calendar!
We will have volunteers in the pharmacy on Thursday, December 22, and Friday, December 23, from 4-6 pm wrapping gifts for a donation to Black and Orange Cat Foundation. We will also be wrapping presents on Christmas Eve from 10 am-noon. Bring your gifts in or buy some in the store and we will wrap them for you for a donation to help spay and neuter area kitties!
We’ll provide the gift wrap (you can choose which you like best), the bows, and even a box if you need one. All you have to do is provide the gift! We have professional wrappers on site (namely, my mom, Roberta Timmons, who has been wrapping gifts for Santa for years). Please stop in and let us help make your season a bit easier by wrapping your presents.
This is especially good for those guys out there who always have their wives, girlfriends, mothers, or sisters take care of their gift wrapping (Joe, keep that in mind–oh, but wait, Mom usually wraps gifts for you anyway!). Get your sweetie’s present wrapped and make it look good (you can even pretend you did it yourself–we won’t tell).
I had been thinking a lot about the passing of old friends as the middle of December drew near. On December 15, 2001, our good friend and delivery driver, Paul Carpenter died. This year, 2011, was our 10th year without him.
Another good friend, Wally Cooper, was in the hospital as the anniversary of Paul’s death approached. Joe and I had been over to see him and he seemed to be recovering from a major surgery. But on December 14, we heard that Wally was not doing well and at 11 pm that evening, he also slipped into the realm of the angels.
I woke up on the day marking Paul’s passing to learn that another beloved friend was also gone.
When I first met Wally Cooper, shortly after moving to Plain City, I was sitting near the back of Saint Joseph’s Church with my sister, Bobbie. Wally had been helping with mass and as he walked down the aisle at the end of the service, he kept looking at Bobbie and me.
Before we could escape the church, Wally accosted us. The first words out of his mouth were, “You girls have the map of Ireland on your faces.”
That was the first time anyone recognized the Irish in me.
Wally was Irish and Scottish; a true Celt who bled tartan blood. He was one of the first people who was as crazy about Ireland and his heritage as I was. We took Wally and his wife, Beverly, to a great many Irish concerts, our favorite being The Chieftains. We traveled with them to Ireland in 2000 as part of a church trip. Bobbie and I met some of Wally’s Scottish relatives when we went there in 2002 (we had to promise we would track down his family).
Even before he kissed the Blarney Stone, “Mr. Kepper,” as we jokingly called him, had the knack for talking (the Blarney Stone smooch, when he finally did it, only enhanced his gift of gab).
We used to say there were “Six Degrees of Wally Cooper,” a reference to the “six degrees of separation” idea that says most people are six steps away, after introductions, from every other person on Earth. Somehow, once Wally started talking to a total stranger, he would keep inquiring until he found someone who they both knew either by way of a friend or relative. He often got to that connection well before six people. When he did, he would yell, “Beverly! Beverly! Come here. Do you know who this person is related to? Mother of God!”
He and Beverly often worked as a team to tell his stories. When Wally forgot the name of a person or place, Beverly was called in to supply the missing details. She always figured out what he was talking about even when his clues were cryptic.
“Beverly! Who was that woman? You know, she used to live on Main Street in that house with the shutters. And her boys played baseball with Pat and Matthew. What was her name?”
Beverly always knew.
Wally Cooper was many things–headstrong, loyal, stubborn, from a “kissy” family, comical, faithful, charming, and, above all else, human. He loved animals, especially his dogs, as much as many of the people in his life (Wally even dressed up as Santa one year for us to help raise money for Black and Orange). He was forever proud of his children, even prouder of his grandkids. He was devoted to his church and was often called “The Monsignor” at Saint Joseph’s.
More importantly than all of those things, however, Wally was my friend. I loved him and I will miss him.
In much the same way that ten years ago, I tried to imagine a world without Paul Carpenter, I find it nearly impossible to think of one without Wally Cooper.
Until we see each other again, good-bye, Mr. Kepper. I will never forget you.
I wrote two stories about Wally and Beverly a few years ago. They both highlight three of the strongest things in Wally’s life: his faith, his family, and his fierce love of Ireland.
The first was called “Psychic or Angel.”
Although the Coopers had been married several years and had not yet conceived a baby, Beverly Cooper was never worried about the lack of a child.
She always told her husband, Wally, “By the time I’m twenty-five, we’ll have a baby.”
Wally, for his part, prayed Novenas to Saint Gerard, the patron saint of mothers.
While working one afternoon as a salesperson in a local shoe department, Wally was approached by a customer.
“I’m a psychic,” she told Wally. “I’d like to tell you something important.”
To prove her veracity and psychic ability, the woman told Wally several details about him and Beverly that she could not have known: they had a light out in a closet; they lived in an upstairs apartment; they did not yet have children.
She described two of Beverly’s dresses in detail.
Then she told Wally two astonishing things.
“Tell your wife to quit wearing her slippers. I see blood at the bottom of the stairs.”
Beverly’s slippers were a pair of Wally’s that she often tripped in as she flopped up and down the stairs to their apartment.
Wally threw the slippers away.
Then the woman told Wally that Beverly would soon be pregnant and they would have a blonde haired, blue-eyed child.
Wally, upon telling Beverly of the conversation, was greeted with, “Don’t be ridiculous! Do you really believe that? ”
Wally’s response: “Even the Blessed Mother had to be told she was going to have a baby.”
Within a few weeks, Beverly discovered she was pregnant.
The following March, on Beverly’s 25th birthday, Gerard, the Cooper’s blonde haired, blue-eyed baby was born. The couple went on to have seven other children, as well.
Who was it that came looking for shoes in Wally’s store?
The second story was “Christmas with the Coopers.”
For the Coopers, Christmas has always been about family—celebrating the family able to gather in their home; remembering and praying for the family missing from the festivities; carrying out honored family traditions and paying homage to Celtic roots.
The Christmas of 1978 brought a unique intertwining of family and Irish heritage for Wally and Beverly.
In 1978, the oldest Cooper child, Gerard, was twenty-four. The youngest child, Kelly, was only six. All eight of the children had worked together secretly to present their parents with a gift Wally and Beverly have never forgotten.
Following their normal routine of midnight mass and an early morning Christmas feast, the family was ready to open presents.
Wally and Beverly’s daughter, Bridget, who had orchestrated the logistics for the gift with her brothers and sisters, told her parents,“Come into the living room. There are two chairs for you. Get a cigarette and something to drink. We’ve got something special for you.”
Once seated, the children brought Wally and Beverly a large cardboard box to open.
“You go first, Dad,” Bridget said.
Inside the box, Wally found a letter from Gerard. Written in green ink, the letter hinted at something unimaginable.
“Now you, Mom.”
Beverly found another letter in the depths of the box. This letter was from Craig, their second oldest, and again the writing was in green and the words contained strange clues.
Trading off and on, Wally opened a letter; then Beverly opened one. Each letter was from a different child. Each letter followed the pattern of the others—green embellishments, odd hints.
The eighth and final letter was from their youngest child, Kelly. On the letter was pasted a photo of an airplane. This letter spelled out the details of the children’s gift: an all expenses paid trip to Ireland.
Both Wally and Beverly began to weep.
While Wally had been to Scotland as a young man in the Canadian Royal Navy, neither he nor Beverly had ever been to Ireland. They had never really been on many vacations after getting married. The financial responsibilities of children and a home did not leave much extra money for travel and frivolous things.
A trip to Ireland for Wally was the same as going to a family reunion. He would walk where his ancestors had walked.
A trip to Ireland for Beverly would bring days of leisure and relaxation. Someone else would cook her meals; someone else would make her bed.
For both, a trip to Ireland was almost like slipping past Saint Peter at the gate and catching a glimpse of heaven.
After years of sacrificing and saving for their children, Wally and Beverly were pleased to discover that their children had done the same for their Mum and Dad.
For the Coopers, a family’s love is the true gift of Christmas. However, they will never pass up a trip to Ireland if you’d like to get them a little something this holiday season.
This Christmas, Wally will be dancing again in heaven and I’ll bet paradise looks a lot like Ireland.
To read Wally’s Obituary, please go HERE.
To see more photos and add your own, go HERE.
The wait is finally over. The 2012 Black and Orange Cat Foundation calendars are fresh from the printer (a big thank you to Tim Wilson and Melissa Noble from Wilson Printing and Graphicsin London for putting this fabulous calendar together).
Black and Orange had over 120 pictures submitted for the calendar and picking only a dozen was really, really hard to do! Everyone sent in professional looking pictures–even the printer said he couldn’t believe how super the photos were.
If you are ready to purchase calendars for the holiday gift giving season, you can do so in one of three ways. The calendars are $20 each.
1. Stop in Plain City Druggist any time during open hours and buy a calendar for $20 (no tax!). No shipping fees if you come in.
2. Order on the Black and Orange web site under the special PayPal button that is set up about halfway down the home page. Shipping costs will be included. Shipping is $5 for 1-5 calendars; $10 for 6-10 calendars; slightly more as you order larger quantities. Look for the photo of the calendar on the home page and follow the instructions to order. You can use a credit card or a PayPal account to order this way.
3. Download a handy order form on the web site or do it right HERE. Send that back in with the costs of calendars and shipping and the calendars will be mailed back to you. This is for those people who don’t want to use a credit card, but would prefer a check or money order.
All of the money raised from the sale of this calendar will be used to spay and neuter more area kitties!