The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Terre Haute Tale
Thanksgiving Village Custom
68 years ago, directed by a bulletin board announcement at Western Illinois State Teachers College, I started a new teaching career at Terre Haute in Henderson County. It was a township high school, well maintained, with a small gym, a good science lab, a stage, and large, well mowed grounds.
I secured board and room from Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Morgan, and moved in my luggage, including outdoor clothes and a good rifle. I had recently completed a full enlistment in the Illinois National Guard, had grown up on my grandmother's farm, and always had a rifle.
I found myself among the finest people in the world and with great students with which to spend my days.
As the holiday season approached I was told that there was a longstanding custom to have one great oyster stew between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each local resident, who could shoot a rifle, paid $1.00 for a printed paper target. On Thanksgiving Day, the men came to a safe shooting area and fired ten rounds at his target, this at a prescribed distance. The targets had all been numbered in the order purchased.
At the end of the day a committee scored all the targets, and calculated totals for all the even numbered targets and all the odd number targets. The group, either the odds or the evens, scoring the lowest, were then required to plan and prepare the queen of all oyster stews using the money from the sale of the targets to pay the cost of the oysters. This was prepared with a great number of fresh oysters, cream, real butter, and all the side foods anyone could want. Wives were important helpers.
I have no idea when this custom started or how long it persisted. I know one of the board members who hired me was a mechanic and welder, also that he made the large receptacle in which the stew was made.
I hope others remember.
This year, the Illinois General Assembly will consider a 100 percent comprehensive smoke-free law introduced by Sen. John Cullerton (D-6th District) to prohibit smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.
The American Cancer Society strongly supports this life-saving legislation and encourages all Illinoisans to do the same.
The plain truth about the dangers of secondhand smoke is both mind-boggling and tragic. Secondhand smoke is killing our family members, friends and co-workers.
It has been for years, which is why the nation's leading public health authority, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued an updated, comprehensive report last summer that said there is simply no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Sadly, about 2,900 people will die in Illinois this year from exposure to secondhand smoke. That's eight people a day who are dieing from an act that is 100% preventable.
Employees of Illinois' bars and restaurants should not have to choose between a job and good health. In fact, restaurant workers are exposed to twice the amount of secondhand smoke than other workers. This is grossly unacceptable.
In Illinois, about half of the state's population is protected by secondhand smoke ordinances as a result of local initiatives that have occurred in the past year. The time is right for Illinois to pass a law that protects everyone in this state from the irrefutable cancer-causing poisons contained in secondhand smoke.
Illinois needs to join the growing list of states - 16 states as of today - that have adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws.
To delay passage of such a law would be a major public health mistake that could tragically cost more lives, suffering and pain for generations to come.
I urge everyone who supports Smoke-Free Illinois to contact their state representatives and ask them to vote in favor of this legislation.
To register your support and learn more about the dangers of secondhand smoke, go to www.smokefreeillinois.net.
Clement Rose, MD
The American Cancer
Society, Illinois Division