Kudos and booms

It’s too bad the word kudos is going the way of other colorful but archaic terms that have fallen out of use.

It’s quicker and far more fun to say than “pat on the back,” less stodgy (oops, that’s another on the way out) than “accolades.”

These days, almost every time I say to someone, “Kudos to you,” I’m answered with silence and confused stares. Some must believe I’ve wished some horrible disease upon them, perhaps a mutant strain of “cooties” (another oldie but goody). If someone cursed you with cooties in childhood, the horror could stain you for life. Awful thing, cooties.

I still love the word kudos, and I love passing them out. This week, I’m delighted to have an excuse to do so for someone who would just as soon I didn’t, our very own Melvin Honeyfield.

Florence started it, though. Monday, Melvin rode in the town’s Labor Day parade as its grand marshal, honoring all of the volunteer hours he’s devoted to that celebration. Well-deserved kudos to a man who shuns the spotlight and prefers working in the background.

So what kind of a guy is Melvin? Sunday evening at the Florence ball field, already dog-tired, he was the guy down on his hands and knees in the infield dirt, patiently sweeping away slimy watermelon seeds spit out by youngsters in a seed spitting contest. Someone had to do it, so Melvin did.

He was already working here when I walked into the Marion County Record as an intern in 1975, just a little bit older than I. Four decades later, he’s still here, still just a little bit older, and it’s arguable as to whether either of us is any bit wiser.

I could wax on (does anybody say that one anymore?) and on about Melvin, but he’d hate that. So I’ll limit my Melvin kudos to just one thing: Devotion.

In a word, that’s Melvin. If you’re family, friend, or co-worker, that’s nothing new to you. If you’re part of a cause that Melvin adopts, that’s everything you’ll see. Lay it on the line, give it his all, rock solid, weather the storm, don’t stop until you get it right devotion.

Melvin might not be considered one of the most distinguished or accomplished people at his 45th high school class reunion on Old Settlers’ Day, but he’ll be one of the richest. That’s the sweet fruit harvested from a life of devotion.

And what’s more deserving of kudos than that? Kudos, Mel. Kudos, indeed.

* * * * *

As for that other headline item, booms, we’ve had plenty of those going around lately.

Two of the biggest were long overdue.

About four weeks ago, a detachment from McConnell Air Force Base came to town to blow up a World War I artillery shell someone turned in to the sheriff. It brought back not too distant memories of an equally old hand grenade in a box of memorabilia donated to the museum by Jean Case that met a similar fate.

Soldiers from Ft. Riley had a hand in a big boom well before sunrise Friday near Antelope. Someone discovered a long-forgotten box of dynamite. My, how I wish Marj Nienstedt was still around to write about this in her column.

Old explosives are still waiting to be found. If you’re the one who finds them, stay clear and leave them alone, even if you think they’re safe. We want to give kudos to experts, not condolences to your family.

Mini-booms are sounding all around the county, as hunting season for doves opened Thursday. They’ll continue for months as hunters cycle through prey that flies, runs, and creeps.

We’ve had a pretty good record of hunter safety in this county, mostly because we have responsible gun owners who take safety seriously.

Still, tragedy is potentially one slip up away. I came close once, swinging on a duck and pulling the trigger without realizing the barrel of my shotgun had moved to within inches of my Dad’s head. I think he was too rattled to give me the cussing I deserved, and I was too shaken to shoot again that day.

So while it’s a broken record, it’s worth repeating: Be safe out there. Be safe when storing and transporting guns and ammo. Know the terrain, know where others are around you, and save toasting the ones that got away until after the guns have been put away.

And while they don’t measure up to pheasant or venison, kudos await all safe hunters at the end of the season.

— david colburn

Last modified Sept. 8, 2016

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