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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Gray Matters: Reporting in

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A mixture of triumph and tragedy has been playing out here in my new location. Let me tell you about it. I'm not sure if this sad situation reached the news media in northwest Iowa, but in early January, a local snowmobiler disappeared.

Extensive searches were made with no success. It was assumed that he could have attempted to ride on the river and had struck an open spot in the ice. In time I learned the missing individual was the brother of one of the maintenance men here at Cottage Grove Place. This fellow is a great favorite, kind and obliging, he will do anything we residents ask of him. We were all so grieved for him and his family as they waited to learn the truth. Just a few days ago a decomposed body was recovered a good bit downstream from where the man was last seen.

Official autopsy results revealed the awful truth. In spite of all the heartache for our friend and his family, we know this will bring some much needed closure, and all are grateful, at least, for that.

The triumph on the other hand, involves residents here who have Cherokee County connections. I have told you of my new friends, Richard and Carol Burr. Carol's brother was the late Warren Held, and it was Richard's uncle, Archie Thompson, who sold his Chevrolet garage in Marcus to Claude Gray those many years ago.

Carol Held Burr is an extremely talented musician who taught in northwest Iowa schools for many years, and several of their family members have inherited those abilities. One of their daughters lives here in Cedar Rapids, so when her daughter came for an Easter visit, we were doubly blessed. This young viola player is at Julliard in New York City and is also a member of a prominent string quartet. Her accompanist had come with her, and together they favored us with an amazing viola recital on Easter Saturday evening. They played two magnificent viola classics by European composers and an encore by that renowned Austro-American virtuoso, Fritz Kreisler. Short of travelling to one of our major cities, most of us would never be privileged to hear this sort of professional perfection. What an Easter gift it was for all of us who crowded into the performance hall that evening.

Truly, triumph and tragedy exist here, side by side. just as they do in the world-at large. But somehow, both seem to have touched us more profoundly than usual these recent days and I wanted to tell you about it.