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I always joke my birthday present 20 years ago was being hired at The Valley News, which was obviously a good present because I am still here.

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More than six decades ago, I wrote my weekly column about Dwight D. McMahon, a young man killed in the Korean War. Today as we observe the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I fervently hope we can find a way to end war. Here is what I had to say.

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I’ve begun looking to November and the 70th anniversary of writing my Up A Country Lane Column. Of the more than 3,500 columns that have been published, I want to share a few of my favorites, beginning with one from the 1950s called Jeff Runs Away from Home.

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Seven years ago, my husband Robert and I were almost tricked by a scam designed to take advantage of older people. I was embarrassed to write about it, but then thought it might help others to avoid something similar. It also turned into a funny family story. Here’s that column.

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I don’t get out much anymore, but I still feel that my world is very large. Friends come to visit. My sons telephone to share what they have been doing. I listen to recordings of books. My caregivers tell me about what is going on in their lives.

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I’m enjoying thinking about all the celebrations around my hundredth birthday. My phone continues to ring with friends checking in. I get emails and letters every day from people I’m so pleased to know.

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After several weeks of visitors, celebrations, and excitement, my home is finally calm again. My 100th birthday created much more activity than I had expected. I loved every minute of it, but now I’m ready for a nap.

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I’ve never gotten ready for a 100th birthday before, but I’m having fun doing it this time. So far it has involved lots of good friends and food coming to our house.

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When I began writing my column nearly 70 years ago, a big challenge was just finding the time. I had a new baby, a young girl, and a hard working farmer husband to care for. My frustration with interruptions became my column on May 1, 1950. Here it is.

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For most of the almost six decades our family has lived on the north edge of Sidney, I have called our place Honey Hill. I wrote about the origins of the name in a 1966 column, the year Sidney’s Boy Scouts got interested in bees.

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As July Fourth approaches, I’m remembering a 1991 adventure when I was invited to be on the CBS Morning Show. My book Neighboring on the Air had just been published. It told about the radio homemakers of Shenandoah radio stations KFNF and KMA.

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I know that passing away is part of life. Much of my generation is gone now. It saddens me and I miss many people, but there is something about us having lived a very long time that makes passages more acceptable.

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When our sons were little, summer was when my husband Robert would get the Turtle ready for a camping trip. With plywood, nails, and lots of imagination, he had built a camper on the back of our black farm pickup. With his boys as helpers, he made improvements every year. It became a subject…

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I recently learned that Bill Penn has passed away. He was a wonderful man and a friend of our family for all the years we have lived in Sidney.

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It is Memorial Day weekend. I always think about those who died while protecting America, and I also find my thoughts going to friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. As I near my hundredth birthday, the lists of names have become long.

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For nearly four decades and under six presidencies, I’ve exposed excessive waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars at the Department of Defense (DOD). From $640 toilet seats in the 1980s to $14,000 toilet seat lids and a new $115,000 Airborne toilet for C-5 aircraft in 2018 and $33 millio…

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I heard from my son Bob that he and some friends had bicycled to the University of Washington to watch rowing races. There were teams from all over. The University of Washington rowed against teams from Germany, Boston, and California.

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Every year, I hold at least one meeting in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. Many of these meetings are at schools, and the number one concern among students is student loan debt. They have every reason to be worried.

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It’s not a coincidence two Page County based school districts are facing the same issue. It’s another example to show rural America’s struggles are real.

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When I was a little girl, making May baskets and delivering them to the doorsteps of neighbors was one of my favorite activities. While my mother fixed meals, I would be at the kitchen table cutting pieces of wall paper to the right shape. I folded them and glued the sides. My mother would h…

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I give amaryllis bulbs to family members to plant in the winter in hopes the big flowers will brighten the snowy months.

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Tax Day (April 15) is right around the corner. For the majority of Iowans, their taxes will be lower and the filing process will be simpler thanks to tax reform.

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On April Fool’s Day I think of my mother-in-law Lucretia Birkby. The first day of April was her birthday, and we always had a lot of fun celebrating with her. That was especially true in 1998 when she turned 100.

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Budget scorekeepers tell us that taxpayers spent at least $600 billion in 2017 to pay for health care services for low-income Americans covered by Medicaid. This public health insurance program is a federal-state partnership that pays hospitals, nursing homes, and health care providers to ca…

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I received word recently that Arlette Hollister had passed away. She was best known as Foods Superintendent for the Iowa State Fair, a position she held from 1984 until just a couple of years ago.

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When I hear politicians talk about abolishing the Electoral College, it immediately makes me think about the impact on the state of Iowa. It would be devastating. The ripple effects would render Iowans’ voices moot in the general election and bring an end to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus…

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My sons Bob and Craig are in Europe on a ski trip led by Bob’s partner Claudeen Lyle. I’ve asked him to email me a report of their adventure so I can share it with you.

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My granddaughter Amanda Birkby has just joined the Boy Scouts of America. Changes in their membership policy allow girls to be in all-girl troops. Hers is troop 329, sponsored by the Edmonds, Washington, Methodist Church.

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I spend several hours most days reading books. Right now I’m in the middle of A Red Bird at Christmas by Fannie Flagg, one of my favorite authors. It is the story of a Chicago man in his 50s who had been diagnosed with emphysema. His doctor told him to go somewhere South where it was warm an…

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Everybody has been talking about the snow we’ve had in Southwest Iowa. Our days and nights have been cold and the snow keeps piling up. I’m ready for spring to get here.

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When my sons come to visit me, they often fly into the Omaha airport. It seems very easy and accepted to be flying. That wasn’t always the case.

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With the worst of the cold weather behind us, I hope the animals that usually live outdoors are warm and safe.

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               Earlier in my career I met a man who was an administrator of a parochial school. At that time he was easily old enough to retire, but using Biblical scripture, he said he couldn’t find the word retire in the book. He said he still felt confident and healthy enough to keep work…

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I’m delighted to hear about a January 8 event called Cook the Book! at the Clarinda Lied Public Library. They kindly featured my book Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers.

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I was very disappointed in your selection for person of the year. I think that the past city administrator was a paid ‘public servant’. That payment would be a salary or wage, from taxes, to do a job for the city and its citizens. Hopefully this person was doing the job he was being paid for…

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Last week we had a very big storm. Sidney was right in the path of it, and got the brunt of snow and wind. Fortunately, weather broadcasters had given us plenty of warning that bad weather was approaching. Everyone had time to get food on their shelves, candles ready in case power went out, …