By Chris Westbrook
Newaygo County’s Neighborly Northerners Community Group met Feb. 19 at the home of Bruce and Rosie Sherman near Hesperia, with 12 of its 17 members present.
We opened with the pledge to the flag. General discussion was held concerning our community, COVID and an overbearing government of regulation, overtaxing and generations of overspending, specifically: President Biden’s tax proposals, fossil fuels vs. green energy, fuel increases, the Enbridge pipeline, pipelines vs. the dangers of rail and trucks with no infrastructure, gun control proposals from the left, and the ‘no’ vote from our Senator Debbie Stabenow on medical treatment for fetuses surviving abortion.
We’ve been meeting for almost 40 years now. We started out with nine dairy farmers and three wives.
We watched our single men get married. We watched children born, go to school, participate in farm programs, go to college, get married and have their own kids. We’ve watched our parents age and pass away.
We watched a few of our members decide to go from dairy farming to just farming. We’ve supported each other in sickness and health, in grief and joy — month after month, year after year.
We’ve seen more of each other than some of our own family members. We celebrated birthday milestones of 40, 50, 60... We have a yearly summer picnic at Norris’ pool and enjoy a yearly Christmas dinner and gift exchange at a restaurant.
There are very few secrets we can hold from one another. We don’t need to, because each trial that we have gone through is just an opportunity to help the next one when they are confronted with it.
Our group met several times in 2020 during the pandemic: at Fremont Lake for ice cream, Westbrook’s for pizza around the fire, then again at Westbrook’s for potluck, and Carson’s outside for ice cream.
We didn’t do discussion topics; we just needed to be together.
We met in January at Larry Sherman’s home for a Christmas potluck and a gift exchange. And as usual, some of our white elephant gifts have us rolling on the floor with laughter.