Friday, April 26, 2013

Boston Marathon Massacre

4/24/13 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Running life's dangerous race

Dear readers: Once again, our country has been turned upside-down by an atrocity impossible to comprehend. Once again, we are forced to face the fact that life can be unbelievably cruel…as we just learned when the innocent and iconic 2013 Boston Marathon race became deadly.

April 15, I was sitting at my computer emailing our local congressman and senators. The gun bill vote was coming up and I wanted them to hear my opinion. I had just finished, when the horrific news broke about the Boston Marathon bombings. Early statistics showed two bombs detonated by unknown, despicable human beings. The toll was three dead and 170 injured.

When I heard that it was tentatively considered an act of terrorism and one of the victims was a child, I burst into tears and left the room. I shook my fist, looked up into heaven and shouted, “Enough! People have suffered enough at the hands of terrorists! No more! This craziness must end! Where are you God?” And I continued weeping.

Mass tragedy quickly puts daily life into perspective. Soon, I was throwing pettiness and self-pity out the window. I was focused on the hardships of strangers. I felt a kinship with people I would never know. I was safe but thousands of miles away they were suffering loss of life, limbs, family, sanity, and security. Hearts were breaking all over the world as messages of condolence poured into Boston.

So I began to pray a different prayer—one of hope and help. A prayer not only for the victims but those who were rescuing them from the hell they had all been plunged into: A prayer of courage for the injured and their families as they journeyed to hospitals and learned their fate. A special prayer of courage and wisdom for the medical teams that would make decisions and operate.

The prayers kept coming. A prayer of gratitude for the First Responders (fire, police, medics and other personnel) who were fast and focused. Another prayer of gratitude for the by-standers who viewed the carnage and leaped into action; off-duty medical personnel viewing or participating in the race who immediately sprang into action and race participants who ran to hospitals to donate blood.

As the day’s news unfolded, the big question was “WHO?” Who did this? As of this writing no one knows. This much we do know. The person was evil. I’m not beating around the bush about these things anymore. No rational, decent human being would detonate bombs in civilian populations for the sheer joy of killing. He or she is evil.

And what does ‘evil’ mean? Here’s the dictionary definition: "Morally wrong, bad or wicked. Characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering. In certain religious contexts evil has been described as a supernatural force. Marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc."

The next big question is “WHY?” Why would someone want to set up bombs in a public place of celebration? Again, as of this writing no one knows. But whatever the answer is, it will never make sense. There is no rational reason to randomly destroy people’s lives. No answer will ever be powerful enough to resurrect life.

If there is anything good to come out of this madness, it is that once again we have seen Americans jump in to help each other in times of crisis. We may not know our next-door-neighbor’s name but if they are hurting we will do everything in our power to get them help. Story after story has come out of this Boston bombing of Good Samaritans coming together to protect and save lives.

Only a small number of people panicked when they realized bombs were going off. Instead, they stopped and helped the injured. Some laid down on children to protect them. One young woman’s legs were shredded and both her mother’s legs were amputated. A young man in a red shirt gave them comfort until help came. They are now looking for “Matt” to thank him.

Although strangers helped many severely injured people, no one could help Martin Richard. The first bomb killed 8-year-old boy and injured his 6-year old sister but spared their brother. His mother lost one of her legs. His father had to have the bomb’s ball bearings removed from his leg. This adorable youngster will be remembered on Facebook holding a sign that reads “No more hurting people.”

The Richard family’s lives and hundreds of others will never be the same because of the carnage wrought by that deadly bomb. Martin’s mother will learn to walk again with a prosthetic leg but struggle with phantom pains to feel a limb that isn’t there. Healing and recovery will consume her life. Every day she will wake up aching to hold her son and kiss his sweet face.

In the days ahead I urge you to remember to pray for the victims as they rebuild their health, their strength and their courage. May none of them walk this wounded path alone. And in our prayers, let’s also remember the kindness and good will of the many angels of mercy on that Patriot’s Day in Boston. Together they made a difference.

As for the perpetrators of this heinous crime, I suggest we remember that a greater power than ours will ultimately convict them. Scripture says, “…for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay,’ says the Lord.” We reap what we sow. Believe it!

P.S. As I finish this column, the Boston area is in lockdown. Two young men (brothers) have been identified as suspects. One is dead after a shoot-out with police. A massive manhunt is on for the second.

P.P.S. Lutheran Church Charities provided Bostonians with an unusually effective comfort station. Check out:

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

Monday, April 22, 2013


4/10/2013 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Longtime Grovers will remember Bigfoot from the BiMart shopping center. He was a chainsaw carved, worn, cracked, big-as-life greeter for Merchant’s Donuts and later, Kaiser’s Country Donuts. In fact, he had a ‘big foot’ donut named after him. But through a succession of owners he disappeared! Where did he go?

Well, one of his kin is back and alive! My neighbor Susie alerted me to a recent “Finding Bigfoot” Animal Planet episode. A man walking his dog in the Cottage Grove lakebed found Bigfoot-sized tracks. So I logged onto where I watched a two-minute video of a Bigfoot discovery team preparing to investigate this new discovery right across the street from us.

This crew of Bigfoot devotees consisted of Matt Moneymaker (website founder) and Cliff Barackman (analyst) plus a camera crew. As they drove and talked, aerial shots were taken of our densely wooded and recently clear-cut area forests. Shots of the London Rd. signs were also taken but the focus was on a set of large, crusty footprints in the mud of the reservoir.

The guys were immensely excited. Barackman was the main commentator throwing out statements like “Yeah, this looks like Bigfoot country. Two dog walkers found the prints in the huge muddy shoreline. It makes sense. Bigfoot witnesses from the 1970s were common from this area. The London tracks of over 122 footprints found and cast in CG Reservoir are the longest ever found and show the greatest variability of any casting ever. “

Unfortunately, at that point, the video stopped and since I don’t have cable TV, I was forced to do my own research. There are dozens of websites, blogs and other data on Bigfoot. It turns out that tracking Bigfoot is a big deal! And the lake prints are being touted as probably the most significant footprint find in the last 40 years.

So what does Bigfoot look like? Well, Barackman and Moneymaker say they’re all different. Basically, he looks like a giant ape-shaped human completely covered in ape hair. A scientist described them as Great Apes 6-10 feet tall; bipedal uprights covered with brown, white, yellow or (in Oregon green) hair from head to toe. They have a relatively low birth rate and live long lives.

And where do these creatures live? Well, in wooded areas all over the United States—but especially in Oregon because we are the second most wooded state in the nation. Oregon, one commentator said, is exactly the habitat that Sasquatch wants.  It is wet, has lots of coverage, long periods of winter darkness and plenty of food and water.

So why haven’t those of us who live in Bigfoot turf seen any of these creatures? Well, again, according to those who know these things, it’s because Bigfoot searches out places where there are no humans living en masse. They live in places with dense forest, vegetation, deer and elk. Kind of like the same secluded places where airplanes go down and are never seen again. Spooky!

So the next question is: Have there been other documented sightings in the Cottage Grove area? Yes. There is a website that has collected this data. has compiled a total of 85 sightings in Lane County beginning in the early 1900s. The sites range from Bend to Oakridge to Veneta, McKenzie Bridge, Florence, Lorane and…wait for it…Cottage Grove.

The earliest sighting was in the 1930s. The source “The Bigfoot Casebook “ simply says, “Bob Bailey, hunter saw Bigfoot at the headwaters of Mosby Creek.” Another local sighting was by Brad Chambers and a friend in the summer of 1972. Details as reported in the Cottage Grove Sentinel are sketchy saying that the “youth claim Bigfoot sighting on the hill.” 

Another local sighting was reported in June 1982. A family was swimming and picnicking at Blue Mountain Park with their Doberman. They could hear loud splashing down the creek and later, growling coming from the forest. This kind of spooked them so they loaded up their truck to head home. It was then that the woman saw Bigfoot.

 “He was about 6-foot tall, maybe 450 pounds,” she said. “Very human looking, reddish-brown hair all over his body. He was walking with his head down. His arms hung below his knees. He didn’t seem to be afraid of us or even curious about us. It was as if he could of cared less. My children didn’t see it nor did my husband. My husband wanted to go back, but I was too upset and afraid. So we went on home.”

There are many sightings but seldom an exchange of hostilities with the presumed Bigfoot creatures. So far, most of the stories portray him as peaceful. By and large, loud vocalization, a disgusting odor and huge footprints seem to be the summation of all encounters.

I found one 1972 Sharps Creek Rd. terrifying incident where a group of bikers were rebuilding a cabin (illegally). One night they awoke to pounding on the walls and doors and retreated to the loft with their rifles. The next morning they awoke to a destroyed woodshed, firewood thrown about and two chain saws carted away. The Forest Service evicted them. Bigfoot is probably still there.

So, I have to ask—are you a Bigfoot Believer? Do you have a Bigfoot story? I would love to hear and share it in another column. As for me, I’m still a bit of a skeptic. But I will admit that I’m a little worried about the effect our recent clear cut might have on his mental health. I really don’t want to make him mad. You know, just in case he’s ‘my’ Bigfoot!

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.