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Former sports writer’s novel deals with concussions

Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper

The cover of the novel.

The cover of the novel.

Quad-City Times sports writer, 1978-2004. Genesis Health System senior communications specialist, 2004-present. And now Craig Cooper has an additional title – self-published novelist.

Cooper, 62, has written a book called “Convergence of Events.”

The story is about a collegiate hockey player in Minnesota who leaves for home after practice, where he suffered a concussion, becomes disoriented and, said Cooper, “dies unexpectedly and tragically, and they don’t know at first what has happened.”

It happens during the winter, and his body is found in some woods.

Adds Cooper: “They wonder if it was hypothermia – it was very cold that night – but they wonder why he couldn’t figure out how to get home. Why was he out in the middle of the remote woods?

“It turns out that he’d had a sports-related concussion at practice that day and had had numerous concussions throughout the years he’d been playing hockey.”

The central character, Cooper said, is a Denver reporter, who is on assignment in Utah.

“While he’s on assignment he finds out – it’s no surprise to him – that it would be the last edition of the newspaper that day. It’s closing down.”

Cooper, who strongly believes in the importance of community newspapers, said that’s reminiscent of what happened at the Rocky Mountain News.

The reporter in “Convergence of Events” needs a job and is offered one at a community newspaper in northern Minnesota. The hockey player’s death occurs on the second night he’s there.

Cooper said the college in his book doesn’t follow its protocol regarding concussions, leaving the player alone in the locker room. “And he’s still disoriented when he leaves the locker room (to go home) after practice. It’s a very, very cold day. It’s a remote area and heavily timbered. He gets lost on the way home.”

Cooper began writing the novel in January 2015, but he had been thinking about an idea on which he could base his story long before that.

He had written newspaper stories about the danger of concussions 15- some years ago, notes Cooper. A friend of his, a former Mallards hockey player he had covered for the paper, had suffered repeated concussions.

“His career ended that way – because of a concussion in a game. He’s had some very significant issues because of his concussions over the course of his career.”

One of the issues was depression. So sports-related concussions became the central theme for the book.

Cooper, who with his wife Susan has two grown sons and five grandchildren with another on the way, knew little about self-publishing – specifically about designing and uploading a book — in the beginning.

“I knew it could be done, but I didn’t know very much about it.”

A designer of ads, publications, brochures and websites at Genesis, Heather White, who also a senior communications specialist, has a design business of her own and used the appropriate software to format Cooper’s story.

“You can upload your book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble and get it listed,” he said. “It’s not a difficult process, and it doesn’t cost anything to do it.

“They take a portion of the proceeds when you sell a book. It’s not even that much of a percentage. It’s kind of cool to do.”

To those who say they’ve always wanted to write a book, “I say just sit down and do it because it is so easy now” to have it listed.

Cooper also worked with a company called blurb.com. “They will actually take your manuscript and turn it into a soft-cover book. We did that too, and that’s where I order books from.”

Cooper said novels usually range between 60,000 words long on the low end to 200,000 words on the high end. His book is roughly 300 pages or 76,000 words long.

When did Cooper find time to write?

“I sat down and started working on it is what it came down to. I would watch TV while I was writing at night, weekends. Whenever I had spare time I would do it.”

He gets up early each morning, he said, and walks on the treadmill.

“I’ll think of something while I’m down there. Or mowing the yard. I’ll think of something and go back to the computer and add it in. You just come up with ideas in different places, and I go to the computer and put them into the story and see if they work.”

He said one can Google how to write a novel, but “I did everything basically wrong. They tell you to write like it’s your job. I did everything wrong because I work for a living – I have a job. I have to write when I can, so that’s weekends, holidays and early mornings.”

Cooper said he didn’t write “Convergence of Events” to make a lot of money or sell movie rights. If you’re not a best-selling novelist you’re probably not going to sell that many books, he noted. He said there are about 12 million books listed on Amazon.

“I thought I had a story to tell that people might like to read. That was my whole idea,” said Cooper. “It was fun and exciting to just make stuff up. Especially in our business where everything we do has been based on fact. If there is one thing I really enjoy about the process, it’s that.”

You can purchase a soft-cover copy of “Convergence of Events” by Craig Lynn Cooper by sending him a message on Facebook.com. Or you may download a copy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Copyright 2016 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Florida memories

Billy Bridger at Snook Inn.

Billy Bridger at Snook Inn.

Ocean view from the condominium.

Ocean view from the condominium.

Phil and Sherry at Naples Botanical Garden next to a gardener made entirely of Legos.

Phil and Sherry at Naples Botanical Garden next to a gardener made entirely of Legos.

Mike and Cindy at Naples Botanical Garden.

Mike and Cindy at Naples Botanical Garden.

The garden was beautiful.

The garden was beautiful.

An eagle at the garden made entirely of Legos.

An eagle at the garden made entirely of Legos.

A praying mantis made entirely of Legos.

A praying mantis made entirely of Legos.

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The view from our motel room.

The view from our motel room.

And a little closer to the water.

And a little closer to the water.

It was a touching moment. We were in the gate area of the Orlando-Sanford (Florida) Airport on Thursday, Jan. 21, waiting to board a plane for a trip back to the Quad-Cities.

We had flown to Florida on Sunday the 17th to spend some time with my wife’s sister, Cindy, and her husband, Mike, at a condominium they had rented on Marco Island, near Naples on the southwest coast.

Two uniformed airport firefighters approached a young boy near us who was probably 8 or 9 years old and sitting in a wheelchair. I thought perhaps he was having medical problems, but that was not the case.

He was wearing a Make-A-Wish T-shirt and holding a cloth bag that also said Make-A-Wish. The firefighters talked and joked with him for a few minutes. Then, before leaving, they gave him a black, plastic firefighter helmet and a stick-on junior firefighter badge. As they walked away, everyone in the gate area applauded them.

Here are some other recollections from that visit to Florida:
* We flew to Florida and back with Allegiant. It’s a no-frills airline that offers only direct flights, which I think is a real plus. As flying goes, prices are reasonable. And all the Allegiant employees were very polite. Time in the air both ways was less than two and a half hours.

* Bad weather, including some rare January tornadoes, had hit Florida’s west coast hours before our arrival. One of the hard-hit areas was Siesta Key, where Cindy and Mike were staying when we visited them a year ago. On Marco Island, high water levels damaged the beach. And in nearby Naples, a private plane owned by TV’s Judge Judy also suffered storm damage.

* For the few days we were there, Floridians thought it was cold. For them I guess it was. Daytime high temperatures ranged between the upper 50s and lower 60s. But that felt pretty good to my wife and me because it’d been minus 5 degrees and minus 25 degrees wind chill when we’d flown out of Moline.

* We’re used to seeing deer crossing signs in Iowa. But we were surprised to see signs in the Naples Florida area that read, “Panther Traffic.” Signs around ponds and canals also warned of alligators. And I know some parts of Florida also have bears to deal with.

* Although we did not see (thank goodness!) any, southern Florida is being overrun by Burmese python snakes, which are native to southeast Asia. According to the Internet, researchers say there could be from 30,000 to 300,000 of them in Florida. Burmese pythons are frequently found in or near the water, although they are also capable of climbing. Most Burmese pythons in Florida are between 6 and 10 feet long and are larger than almost all native snakes. A government-organized python round-up was taking place while we were in Florida.

* The vegetation in the Sunshine State is lush. The four of us — Cindy, Mike, Sherry and myself — visited the 170-acre Naples Botanical Garden. It was a beautiful setting of cultivated gardens and preservation land. A highlight was a number of varied sculptures all made from Legos.

* The meal that offered the most fun was at a waterfront place on Marco Island called Snook Inn. We ate outdoors in an open-air pavilion that had heaters going to take the chill off. There is live music there every afternoon and evening. A talented Canadian guitarist-singer-comedian named Billy Bridger entertained us.

* Because we had an early flight on the 21st, we stayed the night before in a motel, Monroe’s on the Lake, in Sanford that was only three miles from the airport. It was a quiet, clean place with a beautiful lake view.

* The best meal we had on the trip likely was the seafood combo at St. John’s River Steak and Seafood located next to the hotel. I’d highly recommend it.

* When we arrived back in the Quad-Cities, it was back to reality. The temperature that greeted us was a less-than-toasty 19 degrees. But there were no panthers, alligators, bears or pythons!

Copyright 2016 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in the North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Taking the church to the community

The Rev. Linda Hunsaker from her Facebook page.

The Rev. Linda Hunsaker from her Facebook page.

The pastor of two Davenport churches has a unique way of meeting with church members who want to speak with her in a setting that is less formal than her church office.

The Rev. Linda Hunsaker, pastor of both First Christian Church and Cedar Memorial Christian Church for the last three years, is keeping some office hours at a coffee shop and a restaurant.

Hunsaker is at Starbucks on Middle Road in Bettendorf from 1 to 3 p.m. most Mondays and at the Village Inn on Harrison Street in Davenport from 9 to 11 a.m. most Wednesdays.

She also is holding a Bible study every other Thursday night from 6 to 7:30 in the cafe at the Hy-Vee on West Locust Street in Davenport.

She said the idea to get out of the office and into the community came from a book, “Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back From the Dead, and Yours Can, Too” (The Pilgrim Press), by United Church of Christ pastor Molly Phinney Baskette.

According to advertising for the book, it “offers a look at everything First Church Somerville UCC, a progressive Christian church in the shadow of Harvard, MIT and Tufts Universities, did to reverse their death spiral and become the healthy, stable, spirited and robust community it is today.”

Said Hunsaker: When Baskette was called to minister the aging congregation, church finances were nearly gone and “they literally were a couple of years away closing the doors. She went to them and said, ‘The church can’t be the way it used to be.’

“Not that it isn’t wonderful, and we don’t love church the way it has been,” Hunsaker said, “but we live in a time when folks don’t engage and go to church like they used to because we now live in a seven-day-per-week, 24-hour-per-day society.”

Hunsaker said the question the book poses is, “how can you be more accessible to people and also be more non-threatening? Not that the church is threatening, but I think a lot of people have been harmed by the church,” Hunsaker adds.

“I had never thought about it this way because I love my job, I love being a pastor and I love that God has called me,” she said.

Hunsaker, who grew up in the Des Moines area and came to the Quad-Cities from Ursa, Ill., said she never thought that visiting a pastor in his or her office was a bad thing, and when growing up was very close to the pastor of her congregation. “I never thought somebody might not be comfortable coming in to the church office and talking to me. (But for some) it’s almost like going to the principal’s office.”

Hunsaker said telling someone they can have a cup of coffee with her or breakfast with her or just sit and talk is must less threatening to people.

“It’s more of a friendship,” Hunsaker said. “That’s what I want people to know — that I enjoy sitting and talking and hearing their stories. Where do you do that? You don’t do that in the formal front room. You do that in the kitchen.”

Ministering to two churches leaves little time for visiting on Sundays.

“I have time during the week so people come and do this,” she said recently while seated at a Village Inn booth. “Sunday morning is not the time to sit down and get to know people in the congregation. Often the most time I get to spend with people is when I’m sitting with families in the hospital or at a funeral home. I want to know them before I get to that point.”

She’d also like to better know members of her flock before they’re in their 80s and 90s and perhaps in a nursing home. “People have useful lives that are like a back story.”

Hunsaker began her out-of-office office hours last fall and said the experience “has been wonderful!”

Pastors used to visit people by going to their houses and knocking on their doors. But Hunsaker said, “These days they often are not home or they are home but their house is a mess because they have kids running through it, and they are embarrassed.”

Hunsaker, the married mother of two young, active daughters, understands that.

There is another benefit to getting out of the office and into the community. Hunsaker has experienced some of the “Cheers” mentality. That was the TV show where “everybody knows your name.” She has, for example, become familiar and friendly with the employees at the Village Inn.

A waitress insisted on donating money toward a Thanksgiving meal for the needy she heard Hunsaker was involved in. Another employee asked her to speak with a regular restaurant customer whom he knew was going through tough times.

“You don’t do that if you’re sitting in your office,” Hunsaker said.

Copyright 2016 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Keeping pace and other random thoughts

WOC Club Dec 2015

Some members of the WOC Club at our last meeting held at Riefe’s (which is now closed) in December 2015. Club members are folks who worked at WOC-TV, KWQC-TV, WOC-AM, WOC-FM, KIIK-FM or KUUL-FM.

As of Dec. 22, I now have a pacemaker. It keeps the bottom part of my heart beating at an appropriate rate; it had been on the slow side. A friend of mine who has had a pacemaker for quite a while told me in advance that the implant surgery would be a “piece of cake.” I don’t know if I would go quite that far, but it was done on an outpatient basis, and I got to go home after a couple hours of recuperation time. That’s not bad.
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My wife, Sherry, recently took great delight in purchasing a children’s book to read to our younger grandchildren. It’s called “Hiding Phil,” and Phil is an elephant.
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The Quad-Cities area has many fine restaurants. But in recent months two — Bud’s Skyline Inn in Moline and Riefe’s Restaurant in Davenport — have closed so their owners could retire. It takes a lot of hours each week to run a restaurant, and brothers Dan Riefe, who joined the family business in 1980, and Rick, who joined in 1971, have certainly earned their retirement. My experience with Riefe’s dates back to when it was just a drive-in. My brother and I went there with our parents. Carhops brought our food, and we ate in the car. The drive-in was torn down in 1960 and replaced by a building that seated 45 people inside. It has since been enlarged several times. I remember eating inside as a teenager and ordering a two-piece chicken dinner, call the “chicken snack,” for 95 cents. Most recently some fellow retired broadcasters and I have met one morning each month at Riefe’s for breakfast. We will now have to find another place, and it won’t be the same. I got to know Rick Riefe personally in the 1990s when his son Jess and my son Dane were in Boy Scouts together. “Rick is a nice guy, and he was a good scoutmaster,” Dane, now 34, recalled recently. He also noted that Rick did the cooking on campouts, and that was a real treat.
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The recent death of former Harlem Globetrotters player “Meadowlark” Lemon reminded me of the time I played in an exhibition game against the Globetrotters. It was 1970 or 1971, and I was a college student and a part-time disc jockey and sales rep at the Quad-Cities’ original country music station, KWNT in Davenport. Our hastily thrown together team, called the Friendly Country Giants, played the Globetrotters briefly during halftime at one of their performances at the Wharton Field House in Moline. Of course, they ran circles around us but I did make a basket, scoring 2 points.

Copyright 2016 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in the North Scott Press.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

A shock for which I’m thankful

Before we ate dinner on Thanksgiving Day 2015, the friends and family members who gathered around our table were all asked to mention one thing they were thankful for. That’s my wife Sherry’s idea, and it’s a good one. We do it every year. It causes us to remember that Thanksgiving is about much more than eating a big meal and watching football games.

But if Thanksgiving came again tomorrow, I’d hard-pressed to select just one blessing to relate to others. I have a long list of things to be thankful for. In no particular order they are my caring family and friends, my faith, medical advances and healthcare professionals.

I was reminded of these blessings on Thursday, Dec. 3, one week after Thanksgiving. On that day I had a heart procedure done at Genesis Medical Center, East Campus.

Like many people in their 60s, I have some health issues. One of the most annoying is an inherited tremor called essential tremor. It causes some weakness in my left leg, an occasional tremor in my left arm and the loss of fine motor skills in my left hand.

One the plus side, the tremor, which occurs mainly when I’m cold, nervous or tired, is very helpful for brushing one’s teeth or shaking some liquid in a bottle that advises, “shake well before using.”

But there is a down side, too. Perhaps because of the weakness in my left leg, my sense of balance isn’t what it used to be, especially on uneven surfaces, and I sometimes find a cane useful. Regarding my arm and hand, I’m left-handed and my handwriting has gone from bad to worse and my keyboarding skills with my left hand have also declined.

The essential tremor has come on slowly since 2009. My latest problem, though, is an irregular heartbeat.

My doctor, James Kettelkamp, has a nurse named Judy who meets with his patients periodically to see how they are doing.

In my last meeting with her, she discovered that my heart rate was lower than normal and that my heart occasionally had an irregular beat. It’s called atrial fibrillation and can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

After some testing I met with a cardiac doctor, Blair Foreman, who said I was into and out of A-Fib on a regular basis. The first step to take, he said, in hopes of returning the heart rhythm to normal, was shocking it. The procedure is called cardioversion.

That sounds frightening, but several nurses and a doctor in my family reassured me the treatment is common and often successful.

The procedure is done on an outpatient basis at Genesis East’s cardiac care center. The date for my shock was Dec. 3. With my wife at my side, I showed up a little before the appointed time, which was 9:30 in the morning, to handle paperwork.

After that the registrar, Michael, then led us to the hospital room where preparations and the procedure would take place.

There I removed my shirt, put on a hospital gown and climbed into bed. I thought I might catch a little nap, but that wasn’t in the cards.

A parade of technicians and nurses, including my main caregiver, a nurse named Laurie, came in to my room. They reviewed my medications and when I’d last taken them. They asked when I had last eaten and used the bathroom. They took vital signs, administered an EKG and started an IV. The IV was used later to get a sedative into my system to knock me out long enough for the shock to take place.

Dr. Foreman arrived about 10:55 for the procedure, which was scheduled for 11. After some conversation, he administered the anesthetic and had Sherry go to a waiting room. I tried hard to stay awake so I could see the shock take place but was unable to do so.

I knew I was headed to la-la land when my speech began to slur and the clock affixed to the wall in front of me appeared to endlessly jump up and down.

When I woke up about 10 minutes later, the shock had already been administered, and my heart had returned to normal rhythm. Only time will tell if it stays that way.

As for my heart rate, it is still low when I’m at rest but is normal when I’m walking around. I have a feeling there may be a pacemaker my future.
The heart shock went off without a hitch, and I was permitted to leave after a recuperation period.

I feel fine, and I’m very thankful for that, too.

Copyright 2015 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This ran as a column in The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Notes from an old reporter

IMG_3790IMG_3788IMG_3801Christmas has already arrived at 3159 W. 11th St. in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s the address for the house used in some of the filming of the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story.” The Bob Clark-directed, low-budget motion picture was released in only 600 theaters, and it flopped. But it became a holiday classic thanks to Turner Broadcasting, which began showing it on TNT or TBS during the holiday season. The house, located in a working-class neighborhood near downtown Cleveland, is now a tourist attraction, complete with a Christmas tree in the living room and a leg lamp in the living room window. Across the street is a museum with original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, plus some rare behind-the-scenes photos. There is also a large souvenir/gift shop. Visiting the house was on my bucket list, so my bride and I stopped there last April on our way to Connecticut to visit a son and grandson who live there. A Christmas Story House is open for tours seven days a week year round, except on major holidays. You can get more information at (216) 298-4919 or info@achristmasstoryhouse.com.
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The late Wayne Littell of Eldridge, who died in July, accomplished a lot in his lifetime. But I suspect most people didn’t realize he had been a disc jockey at one point. As I recall, Wayne had spun records in Maquoketa, not far from his Baldwin, Iowa, birthplace. I met him later, in the 1970s, when we were both part-time disc jockeys at the former KWNT, the Quad-Cities original country music station. A mechanical engineer, Wayne’s full-time job then was at Long Manufacturing.
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When I am behind the wheel of my large SUV, my short arms are unable to reach the buttons on the ATM machine at Walcott Trust and Savings Bank. So I’ve been known to park on the street, walk to the ATM, do my transaction, then return to the car. That was my plan a few weeks ago, but I apparently put my card into the machine incorrectly, and it didn’t work. As I was standing there, probably looking perplexed, I heard a male voice on an outdoor speaker. It said something like this: “Hey, Phil. You can’t use that ATM. You are in a drive-through lane, and you don’t have a car!” Then there was laughter. It was my longtime friend, Daron Oberbroeckling, who works at the bank. Small towns are much like the “Cheers” TV show, where everybody knows your name.
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It seems like all bad deeds are caught on video these days. Most everyone — with the exception of me — has a smart phone and shoots video when something is happening. In recent weeks a sheriff’s deputy lost his job for the tactics he used in removing a student from a classroom. She had been asked to leave by her teacher but would not comply. A school bus driver was put on suspension for roughing up a student who had been asked to sit down but also did not comply. While the deputy and bus driver may have used excessive force, the students were also in the wrong. My parents taught me at an early age to obey them, my grandparents, my teachers, police officers and other authority figures. I’m afraid that’s a lesson that isn’t being taught much anymore. I knew if I got into trouble outside the home, I’d be in more trouble when I returned home.
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It is no wonder that awards programs on TV run so doggone long; they waste a lot of time on stupid stuff. That was true for the recent “CMA Awards” on ABC. The show opened with what FOXNews.com said was “a weak opening video skit where the show attempted to marry country music with ‘Star Wars.’” Calling it weak is putting it nicely. Then co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley spent at least another 15 minutes unsuccessfully trying to be funny. They may have gone beyond that 15 minutes. I don’t know because we turned off the television at 7:20 as Paisley was dropping his bluejeans to reveal plaid boxer shorts. Who knows why. As my wife turned off the TV set, I was shouting at it, “Just present the awards!” I often talk to the radio or TV. When a news anchor gives his or her opinion on a particular story — in other words editorializes — I shout, “Just read the news.” When a disc jockey drones on and on, I shout, “Just play the music.” We watch a lot of PBS TV programs, and that saves a lot of shouting on my part.

Copyright 2015 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. Submitted a a column to The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Happy Veterans Day, Captain

Philip Ingraham

Philip Ingraham

philip-ingraham

Here is a pre-Veterans Day salute to the Army officer for whom I was named, Capt. Philip Ingraham from Massachusetts, who went into the Army in 1942. He was killed in action in France in 1944. My dad, Harry Raymond (Ray) Roberts, served under Ingraham and had a great deal of respect for him. Following are some excerpts from my dad’s World War II memoirs regarding Ingraham, who is pictured here.
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“At the end of Tennessee maneuvers, Capt. Philip Ingraham must have thought that we had been in the field so long that we needed something different. So we dressed up in our Class A uniforms and went to the city of Nashville. He had contacted the YWCA or some other girls’ organization and scheduled a dance for Company C members. All the girls lined up at the top of the stairs while the guys got in line at the foot of the stairs. As the girls came down the steps, each guy stepped forward and that was your dancing partner for the night. I don’t remember my partner’s name, but it was a fun evening. I have pictures in my Army album showing us at the dance. Every member of C Company was there, including all the officers.”
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“Capt. Ingraham always went out of his way to show he cared for his men. Another incident that I remember in Tennessee was when Capt. Ingraham probably saved my neck. One day, our entire company was walking down an old dusty road in Tennessee and it was one of those terribly hot days. Along came a Jeep that was traveling too fast and, as our two columns pulled to side of the road, the Jeep was speeding between our columns. Just before the Jeep appeared, I had picked up a paper sack full of flour. It had probably been dropped by an airplane and had not broken. You see, during maneuvers airplanes would ‘bomb’ us with sacks of flour. Anyway, as I said, it was hot and dusty and this Jeep was showering us with dust. Here we were walking and two guys were riding and showing no concern for us. This I resented, so without hardly thinking, I threw that sack of flour at the Jeep and I hit the passenger. The Jeep stopped immediately as I had hit an officer in the leg. I figured I was in trouble, but thank goodness the officer was only a second lieutenant. First Lt. Ingraham came over and took care of the situation for me. In no uncertain terms, he ordered that second lieutenant to get out of there and now. It was just another time when Capt. (then First Lt.) Ingraham took care of his guys. It was such things as this that endeared him to his boys of Company C.”
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“On July 4, 1944, one of our mortars was placed in the middle of the road. I was about 10 yards in front and to the right of it. Capt. Ingraham was a few feet in front of me. All of a sudden there was a terrific explosion in back of me. The captain asked, ‘What happened?’ I looked back and, where the mortar had been located, there was a big hole. I told him that a shell had hit the mortar. But later on we discovered that two guys with the mortar had placed it on a mine and, after firing it a couple times, the mortar’s base plate had sunk deeper and set off the mine. We lost two guys….On July 4, we formed a line and advanced across a wheat field for maybe 200 yards to get to the hedge rows on the other side. We had no problem until we got to the hedge rows. There they were. The Germans were waiting for us. Capt. Ingraham told me to take a couple runners and go to our left behind the hedge row, as we were out in the open. I didn’t know how far he wanted us to go, so I stopped and waved to him to see if we had gone far enough. He raised his hand, and I saw him go down. I believe that was when he was shot. As shells and hand grenades were coming along the hedge row and getting closer and closer, I decided that was not the place for me. So I started crawling toward the wheat field as I thought the field would be a safer place to be.”

Copyright 2015 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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