Love trumps hate

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The cherished 90-year old man sat in my office with tears trickling down his cheeks and after he said what he said, I also had tears running down mine.

“How can there be so much love in Cherokee and so much hate out there in the world?” asked everyone’s best friend, Kenny Bern. “I don’t understand.”

A bona fide Cherokee treasure, Kenny Bern is officially Iowa’s Best Fan and has a special plaque from the Iowa High School Athletic Association to prove it.

For more than 70 years, Kenny Bern has lived his life following and cheering for our kids and their athletic and extracurricular pursuits. Along the way, our kids and their parents, knowing his unshakable love, resolve, and devotion, started hugging Kenny when they saw him at the ball games, at the grocery store, post office... it makes his day and theirs.

You see, Kenny and his beloved late wife Olga had no children so all of our children kinda-sorta became Kenny’s. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our grim conversation that day was about all the evil things happening in our world, from wars, mass killings, fatal weather events, impoverished countries and their starving masses, deadly flu, rampant sex abuse of children, satanic ISIS, and a vile human being now serving as Commander in Chief of an America that Kenny fought and risked his life for in World War II.

We sat lamenting the dire condition of our world when Kenny - the very essence of decency and innocence dripping off his words - asked, “Why is there so much love in Cherokee and so much hate out there in the world?”

We don’t have an answer but wonder just what might happen if we all one glorious day - from sea to shining sea - simply stopped what we were doing and hugged each other. No ulterior motives, just a hug expressing love and acceptance that we’re all in this together.

Just like Kenny and our kids do it in Cherokee. Where love abounds because Kenny Bern said so.

(Paul Struck - Editor)