Jeff Lafferty, Columnist

We are coming up to a date in our country’s history that has a great significance to the history of this country.  We are going to be electing a president.  Now stop right there.  I am not going to sit here and tell you who you should or shouldn’t vote for.  I am going to tell you to allow your voice to be heard for whatever reason.  Take the next two months, and think about each candidate in every race that you can vote.  Think about each Presidential Candidate, Senatorial Candidate, Congressional Candidate, State Representative, and any other elected official that you could be voting for in the November election.  

People through history in this country have sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears for the ability for us to have the chance to vote in this election.  If you follow my columns, you know that I have rules that I think people should live by and one of them is not talking about politics, money, and religion to your friends.  I believe that I am not breaking the rule because I will not tell you my personal belief. I am suggesting that now is that time for you to understand and get to know the people that are running for office.   If you are one of those people that complain about government and haven’t voted in the last couple of elections, I would like to remind of you of the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush.  The election was one of the closest in the history of our great country.  George Bush won the electoral vote only 5 electoral votes while at the same time losing the popular vote.  The State of Florida’s 25 electoral votes went to George Bush by only a margin of less than one percent of the vote in Florida.   Think of your high school class president’s election, the school has 250 students and all of the students voted to have the same margin of victory would be less than 2 ½ students as the margin of victory.  So if you don’t think that your vote counts, it counts and will count.  Whoever you vote for make your decision based on what you think would be the best voice for you on the issues that you believe.  Watch the debates and listen to both sides of the argument and remember there are third party candidates that may match what you believe.  Pay attention to everything that they are talking about on cable news stations.  All I am saying is you need to make an informed decision in less than two months with who you want to represent you in government. After all, this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Welcome Update #51

5/27/2012

 
Jeff Lafferty, Columnist

Memorial Day was established in 1868.  It was originally designed as a time for people to collectively remember soldiers that died in the Civil War.  It later became an established holiday by most of the states by 1890. 

The word memorial is mainly defined as “something, such as a monument or holiday, intended to celebrate or honor the memory of a person or an event.”   It’s important that we use this day to not only remember the people that have served our country but maybe to take some time to remember the people that have meant something to us at some point in our lives.  This could be a person that passed away that was important to you or it could be somebody that is currently in your life that could be experiencing a difficult time in their life.  It could be anything from marital issues to health issues.  We all have those special persons in our lives; mentors from their youth, teachers that they feel have made an impact in their lives.  It’s important to recognized and remember these individuals. 

I am a four time cancer survivor.  I recently delivered a speech at my local Relay for Life.  I wanted to make sure that I communicated to the people in attendance the importance that remembering these individuals. Acknowledging can be comforting, rewarding, and enlightening.  We all have that person that we have turned to in our life when times were not as glorious.  We have the person that we have confided our deepest secrets.  It’s those people that we should also remember this week for Memorial Day.  

Love, honor, and respect should be some of the values that are used this week to remember the people that have meant something to us.  Love the people that you are with and tell that person that you love them.  Honor the person that has meant something to you, whether it’s your parents, siblings, or mentor by living your life in the way that person either showed you or told you to live.  Always respect the people for the views that they have.  Some people aren’t going to agree with your views and how you look at the world but the world could be a better place if all people respected each other views rather than thinking that their way of thinking is better than somebody else’s way of thinking. 
 
Jeff Lafferty, Columnist

It's the time of the year where everyone has some new energy, life, and hope because the seasons are changing. We also have the chance to enjoy a holiday with family and friends. If you have children, you may get to hide Easter eggs and watch them try to find them. If your family is like mine, you end up having to help them find that last egg or two because they just can’t seem to figure it out.   

In Northern Indiana, and other areas with a large Polish-American population, Monday is also a big holiday: Dyngus Day. Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the often restrictive observance of Lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions. 

The day dates back to 966 A.D. and is associated with the baptism of Prince Mieszko I.   The tradition began when Prince Mieszko I, along with his court, was baptized on Easter Monday. Thus, Dyngus Day has become a folk celebration in thanksgiving for the fact that the first king of Poland was baptized into Christianity, bringing Catholicism to Poland. In the early 1900’s, farm boys in Poland would want to gain the attention of girls of their choice. It was custom for the boys to throw water and hit the girls on their legs with twigs or pussywillows.  Some of the boys were more sophisticated and threw cologne instead of water. The ladies would reciprocate by throwing dishes and crockery on Tuesday and would get their revenge. (Some department stores that sell cookware and dinnerware would be happy to see this custom come back sometime soon.)

 Buffalo, New York and South Bend, Indiana are two of the towns that have a really large Polish American culture and celebrate the day. Currently the day is celebrated with local pubs and bars opening as early as 9:00 a.m.  People calling off work, kicking off political campaigns, and live polka music are some of the other traditions people use to celebrate the day after Easter. Polish sausage, noodles, and pierogi are just some of the traditional foods that are served along with beer all day long.  

If you live in an area with a big Polish American community, and you have never celebrated this day, then you need to do yourself a favor and just check it out!

Welcome Update #41

3/18/2012

 
Jeff Lafferty, Columnist

If you follow my columns, I write about rules that I believe people should live by in their own lives.  So, with that idea in mind, I would like to give a few rules that people should live by at this time of year. For some people it’s a very busy time with Easter just around the corner, favorite television shows are going to be getting more interesting as the season ends, and if you follow sports you have March Madness and filling out brackets. So for the rest of the month just keep these rules in mind...

10.) Make sure you have your DVR working and recording the shows that you want to see. (With the warmer weather GET OUT OF THE FREAKIN’ HOUSE AND TAKE A WALK.)

9.) Green should always be a color that you wear this time of year. (Especially on March 17th, unless you like getting pinched then wear blue and tell people that it is the actual color of St. Patrick’s Day and then it grew to green because St. Patrick is after all the patron Saint of Ireland)

8.) Parents and high school kids should already be making plans for their proms. (If you don’t go to prom then save your money for spring break and go to Cedar Point)

7.) Don’t feel guilty about what you tried to give up for lent. (We all have cheated....Somebody that said they gave up beer had to have a beer because he was stressed at work because he lost the office basketball pool because Duke lost in the first round.)

6.) Never under estimate the power that warm weather has on everybody feeling better. (That is until the humidity and higher gas prices kick in...)

5.) If you feel down just take rule #10 and DVR The Jerry Springer show. I guarantee you that you will feel better about yourself in no time because you realize that you ARE NOT ON THE SHOW.

4.) DON’T DRINK A SHAMROCK SHAKE!!!  IT’S A GIMMICK...It comes out once a year...if those things were really that good they would always be on the menu at McDonald’s

3.) Find a neighborhood kid or start reminding one of your children that mowing the yard is going to be right around the corner.

2.) Dyngus Day (If you are not aware of this day, it’s the Monday after Easter that people take the day off work or leave work early and bars open at 9-10 am in the morning so that people can have what they gave up during lent.)

1.) Start making your summer plans NOW so that you can enjoy and have a great spring and summer.

So, with that I hope everybody enjoys this time of year. It’s a really unique time of year so enjoy yourself because before you know it Easter will be here and then it’s mother’s day, memorial day, and then father’s day. Enjoy each day, have fun, and remember hope always springs eternal at this time of year.

Peace and Love,

Jeff. 

Welcome Update #30

12/25/2011

 
Jeff Lafferty, Columnist

First of all,  I want to say Merry Christmas to most of you.  I also want to acknowledge Happy Holidays to everybody else.  So with that said,  I wanted to give the update for this one reason,  I wanted to be the one to give the message of the importance of the holiday and the importance of enjoying this time of year especially with your family because at anytime you will never know when that could change in a given notice.   It’s the time of year where some people have the hardest time because they lost a love one at this time and it reminds people of that.   It’s the time of year that we remember the little things, mom’s or grandma’s cookies that we leave for St. Nick,  the year that we got that familar gift, or even the year where you may have struggled to get through the holiday season to allow everybody to get a gift.   Whatever reason that you have, just make sure that you don’t allow yourself to today of ALL days to allow yourself to forget about the people in the last 365 days that have meant something to you in some way because that’s really all some people need for a christmas gift is to let that friend or family member know how much you mean to them and why.  Don’t be afraid of the reaction that you could get because this is the holiday as the Al Green song goes to “Put a little love in your heart.  

So with that said,  I wanted to share with you some Christmas poems and lyrics from Al Green’s song featuring Annie Lennox “Put a little love in your heart.”  It’s the song that really makes the Bill Murray movie “Scrooged” my favorite movie of the holiday season because it’s the old message that it’s never too late for regret.  If you have been that person that has always been more concerned about how much money you have and been so self obsessed about your life, or if you know somebody like this remind them the importance their actions have had on people that have tried to show that they care about them in some way and that it’s never too late for regret and to get that relationship back with that person that maybe they had but had broken up because that person was being too self absorbed in themselves.  Just remind them to put a little love in your heart and just maybe we can have a little bit more love in the world.  Maybe just a little bit more love in the world than we had on Dec. 25th 2010.    

Put a Little Love in Your Heart
Lyrics by Al Green and Annie Lennox

Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart
You see it's getting late
Oh please don't hesitate
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me

You just wait and see

Another day goes by
And still the children cry
Put a little love in you heart
If you want the world to know
We won't let hatred grow
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see
Wait and see

Take a good look around
And if you're lookin' down
Put a little love in your heart
I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your
Love in your heart

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish,
And loves we used to know.

Christina Rossetti
Love came down at Christmas;
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and angels gave the sign.

Emily Matthews
From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another
The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Jeff