Shnay: Red is no favorite, but two inspiring women are
BY JERRY SHNAY Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org February 6, 2014 3:36PM
Karen DeWitt displays her creations — a quilt, and her book, "The Bunco Club" — in her sewing room at her home in Park Forest. | Jaime Angio~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 10, 2014 6:11AM
Red is not our favorite color.
The single worst purchase we ever made was a 1973 red sedan that was not very well put together by a German carmaker. Something was always going wrong with it, and it was gone in less than two years.
It was the first and last red car we ever owned, but not the only time we bought something red that had wheels on it.
For 10 months out of the year, this scarlet-colored contraption that cost more than we are willing to admit sits in the corner of the cluttered garage, not used and certainly not needed. But when the snow comes, it springs into action.
A gurgle of gas, a twist of a key, a few pumps on a primer, a push on a button and it starts, doing an adequate job of moving much of the snow away from our shack. One can ask little more from such a machine than that it does its job.
Red is still not a preferred color, but I am willing to make an exception in this case. There is, however, a question to be answered. What if we move all the snow away from the driveway, and we still have no place to go?
In the middle of this woeful winter, our spirits picked up when we read Jaime Angio’s excellent story in this paper about Karen DeWitt, a Park Forest resident whose book, “The Bunco Club,” has been nominated for a writing award by the Chicago Writers Association.
Karen, an artist and an ardent quilter, turned to writing after multiple sclerosis began to rob her right hand of most of its motor skills, which she needed for her artwork. It took her eight years to complete her book, writing in bits and pieces.
Her inspiration for the book was the seven women with whom she plays bunco, a dice game in which the object is to get 21 points. One book is not enough for DeWitt, who plans an entire series of books revolving around her bunco club and its players.
At times it was a struggle to string words together, and there were moments of disconnect between DeWitt’s fingers and the keys of her computer.
We who glibly construct pages filled with sentences and paragraphs should pay homage to one who can do the same, line by difficult line.
When Sue Kramer would deliver this newspaper to our house, she always made sure to place it inside our front storm door.
It was not that we were special. She did it for everyone on her route. She did it because it was the right thing to do.
Doing things right was the essence of Sue’s being, whether it was her involvement in one of her many projects at Faith United Protestant Church or sharing her wonderful fudge with friends and neighbors at Christmas.
Sue’s husband, Ken, was the longest-serving member of Park Forest’s village board, having served for 26 years. Six years ago, when asked if he wanted to run again for village trustee, Ken smiled and said he would because Sue was “forcing me out of the house.” Ken retired two years ago to care for his beloved wife, who was in declining health.
Sue died last week.
I am of the opinion that during its formative years, Park Forest was molded as much by the women of the community who saw what needed to be done and made sure that their husbands got it done. Sue Kramer was one of those who did her work quietly and efficiently and always in the right way. She will be missed.