Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

November 25, 2012

VASICEK: Hostess Twinkies, Israel and Hurricane Sandy relief

American concern on display far too often these days

Kokomo — “Hi, Emil,” I muttered. “Come right in and have a seat. I have a few minutes.”

Emil made himself comfortable in my office. He was munching on a Twinkie. I ignored the crumbs that rolled onto my carpet as Emil spoke between bites:

“Yep, I sure am savoring this Twinkie. It’s my last one. Can’t believe Hostess and Wonder Bread have gone kaput.”

I volleyed the conversation back to Emil: “How can such a successful company go out of business? Our local Dunkin’ Donuts store also bit the dust.”

“Well, Dunkin’ Donuts I can understand,” Emil commented. “After all, we have some fine mom-and-pop doughnut shops here in town. Obama even visited one of ’em. But Hostess, that’s a tough one.”

“Forbes has some interesting comments,” I explained as I retrieved a clipping from my pocket and read:

“By constantly trying to defend and extend its old business, leadership at Hostess killed the company. But not realizing changing trends in foods made their products irrelevant – if not obsolete – and … [allowing profit] margins to disintegrate [doomed them]. Rather than developing new products which would be more marketable … Hostess leadership kept trying … to make their horse and buggy competitive with automobiles … [they blamed] … the unions ….”

“That is one raw deal,” Emil replied. “I knew a few folks who worked driving Wonder and Hostess truck routes. Wow, did they put in long days. Talk about working hard. They earned every dime they got and then some. Now the entire fleet is out of work. This job loss thing is getting old.”

“Yeah, I feel very bad for them,” I added, “but I won’t miss the Twinkies. I exchanged Twinkies and doughnuts for collard greens and kale a few years ago, when I got my stent. But Twinkies will come back. Someone will buy up the rights. They might cost more, but places like Pepperidge Farm or Aunt Millie’s are probably considering an acquisition while we speak.”

I continued, “The job loss is serious stuff. It’s not just about statistics and politics. When someone loses a job, that’s a big thing. Being out of work can create marital strife and make things like divorce, obsessive drinking, or other domestic problems more likely. I think it was President Reagan who said, ‘When your neighbor is out of work, that’s a recession; when you are out of work, that’s a depression.’”

“Ed, your point is well taken. Let me change subjects. I heard on the news that things are heating up between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s getting real bad.”

“Yep, it is,” I replied. “You would think they would eventually get tired of fighting. I know it is hard for us to understand why this thing can’t be resolved. The Middle East is so different from our part of the world. What do you think, Emil?”

“Well,” he replied hesitatingly, “I have my viewpoint, but until all parties recognize the rights of one another to exist, until all attacks are stopped, and until violence is no longer glorified, I can’t see how there can be any lasting peace.”

“I’m with you all the way,” I commented.

Emil continued, “And if the mess in Israel is not enough, the problems from Hurricane Sandy are far from resolved. People are helping with donations through volunteer teams, and in many other ways. I read on the Good News Network that the mayor of New York has reserved 5,000 seats at the Macy’s Parade for some of the victims. Things like that may not seem helpful, but they are morale lifters. Also read about portable food trucks that were serving affected people early Thanksgiving dinners. It warms my heart to see people pitching in.”

“Yep,” I concluded. “That’s one of America’s strengths: We do come through in a crisis. Wish we didn’t have to show off our concern so much. Too many.”

“Indeed,” Emil finalized.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • DAVE BANGERT: Indiana's new chief justice and court's 'mom question' Two years ago, as Loretta Rush ascended from Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge to the state’s Supreme Court, I dropped this line in a column celebrating someone who had earned her place.“Across the state, the headline will be: ‘[Mitch] Daniels Choose

    August 14, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: POTUS promises of transparency fail to materialize The United States system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convinc

    August 14, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: RIP Robin Williams

    I was re-watching the 2006 movie “Little Miss Sunshine” Monday when I heard my phone buzz. After the credits had rolled, I looked at the screen and found myself shocked.It was a news alert that Robin Williams had died that morning at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' is a Hoosier inspiration

    Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. James Whitcomb Riley was the most acclaimed, but he wasn’t the first Hoosier poet to gain national fame. Sarah T. Bolton dese

    August 13, 2014

  • DAVE BANGERT: Rokita, illegal immigration, Ebola outbreak and context At first listen last Monday, there was something so unsavory about our congressman, Todd Rokita, whipping up two full-fledged crises — Central American children at the U.S. southern border and the African scourge of Ebola — into one pungent sound bit

    August 12, 2014

  • DAN COATS: Let's give nonprofits relief from IRS delays A flurry of scandal has recently surrounded the Internal Revenue Service.Over the past few months, we have learned about missing emails from IRS employees and revelations of clear bias and hostility by a top IRS official towards organizations with ce

    August 12, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Pitchforks and pikes in our summer of discontent Congress is ... embarrassing. Our political system is failing us. On an individual basis, many of us have respect for members of our delegation. We can have a common sense conversation with a senator, congressman or congresswoman, and then they go ba

    August 11, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Enough reminders to forget It began with a simple phone call to my friend, Auri, a computer geek I asked to help me with my very successful website, which right now is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a

    August 11, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Outsourced jobs, health crises in foreign lands The other week, my Internet was giving me trouble. I called the support number, and — to my surprise — I spoke to a representative who sounded as American as apple pie. It turned out the technical problem was an oversight on my end and fixed quickly.

    August 10, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Dodging corporate taxes Corporations are among our oldest institutions. Something like a joint stock company probably triggered the earliest formal written communication — the accounting ledger. It should be unsurprising that the early traders of Mesopotamia used a corporat

    August 10, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller