We need Harry now

Monday, June 30, 2003

Dear Editor,

This morning, somewhere between sleep and waking, the McCook water situation passed over. It seems easier to ask questions while fully awake but answers with no dimensional limits arrive between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m.

Memory and reality gets to become a game as this body continues to rack up the years. As these thoughts unfold, I offer my apologies to the memory of Harry Strunk.

Harry Strunk, publisher of "The McCook Daily Gazette," impressed this kid from age seven and up. Memories may be blurred and distorted but they always go back to that word, "impressed."

My mother operated a Gazette Linotype for a time during the World War II. My parents would see him at the Elks during his weaker moments but later read an editorial that was outstanding and to say the least, direct.

My most vivid memory of Harry Strunk was in June of 1947 when he appeared at "The Cambridge Clarion" flooded out building, bringing his crew to clean up the mud mess while offering the Gazette's services to keep those presses rolling.

From an early age, my folks talked about Harry and his efforts to develop flood control and irrigation for this area. During the early '50s, while at a restaurant in Matamores, Mexico, we saw a General Pick who (upon learning we were from Nebraska) asked: "How is Harry Strunk?" Everyone knew Harry.

Harry, a lot us in McCook wish you were here now. You knew how to get water to the region. You knew how to make us understand. Most important, you had integrity and as an adult and a publisher. In 1960, I personally observed when you turned down advertising from a group that lacked integrity.

Your memory, Harry, remains with many persons in McCook, Nebraska and U.S.A.

Perhaps the sound of your typewriter in that upstairs newspaper office still may be heard with each staccato key forming another editorial to remember. Perhaps those memories make me wish you were back to help us solve this water problem.

That would be too easy because your style really didn't give us all of the answers but it certainly pointed us in directions we may have neglected. Thank you, Harry, for the memories, for examples we may consider as we take on today's challenges and the courage to listen to our hearts while letting our minds remain open before making a decision.

And that's what I hope I can do when I wake up and maintain my concern and decision to not sign any demand for an election until we have all the facts on this water problem.

Don Harpst


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