By Bill Anderson
Well, here we are at Election Day 2020, finally. As this column is being written, Americans are already heading to the polls on the East Coast, and by this time next week the votes will have been counted and canvassed, so who the voters chose, and who they rejected, will be known for sure, we think, maybe. Mother Nature chased Old Man Winter out of the house for the week, providing a beautiful series of Indian Summer days for the voters to cast their ballots and either celebrate their victories or mourn their losses. Voter turnout is expected to be at a record level, as more than 97 million Americans had already voted by mail, or in early voting, prior to Election Day. Some States had already exceeded their 2016 totals by Election Day 2020. What does it all mean? Well, don’t worry, we will have self-styled political experts, commentators and historians explaining it to us for the next century, and we will be able to take our pick of the opinions offered. The one thing that most Americans are thankful for, though, is that it is over, for a few days at least. The 2024 campaign begins when the polls close on Election Day! The next election, like this one, will be the most important in our lifetime.
Like the 2020 political campaign, the 2020 harvest campaign is winding down in the Rutland area. There are still a few corn fields standing, and even a field or 2 of soybeans, but, for the most part, the 2020 harvest is in the bin and the proceeds are in the sock. Yields of 180 bushels per acre for corn and 40 bushels per acre for soybeans are considered to be “OK” these days, and reports are that yields for 2020 are in the “OK” to “way too good to talk about” category. As usual, there’s always something to take the glow off the occasion, though, and this year, again as usual, the price is too low. Well, farmers are nothing if they’re not optimists, and there is another year coming. As the late Dave Hoflen of this community often noted, “There have been two good years in North Dakota, 1914 and next year.” So, we have a chance at the best year ever coming up in 2021, but you have to play the game if you want to be a winner.
Old friends here were saddened on Tuesday, October 27, when word was received that Bernice “Bee” Banish, a longtime active member of the Rutland community, had passed away at Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman at the age of 91. The following obituary was received from her daughter-in-law, Deborah Banish of Rutland. The Mass of Christian Burial for Bernice “Bee” Banish, a longtime Rutland area resident, will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Cayuga, ND. Rev. Fr. Peter Anderl will celebrate the mass, and interment will be in the Cayuga Community Cemetery of Cayuga under the direction of the Price Funeral Chapel of Forman, ND. COVID19 practices of social distancing and mask wearing will be in place at the funeral. Anyone wishing to join the family for the committal service at the cemetery may do so at 12:00 noon. Bee passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman at the age of 91. Bernice Emma “Bee” (Barthel) Banish was born November 22, 1928 in Bluffton, Minnesota to William and Clara (Witzke) Barthel. She was the fifth of their six surviving children. The family moved to Albertville, Minnesota when Bee was seven years old due to her father’s failing health. He passed away the following year, and the children were raised by their mother, Clara. Bee attended Saint Francis High School in Albertville. She continued her education by attending nurses training at St. Francis School of Nursing in Little Falls, Minnesota. While in the nursing program, she met her future husband on a blind date. On January 9, 1951 she was united in marriage with Arnold Gene Banish in Cayuga. They made their home on a farm south of Rutland where they raised their three children. Their farming operation included both beef and dairy cattle, as well as hogs, chickens and grains. Bee was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in Cayuga where she faithfully served as the organist for 57 years. As a Registered Nurse, Bee worked at St. Francis Hospital in Breckenridge, MN and later as the school nurse at Sargent Central in Forman for two years. Bee was also active with the Happy Homemakers Club, the Rutland Friendly Garden Club, Rutland American Legion Auxiliary, and the Christian Mothers of Sts. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church. Bee’s gardens were always something to behold. She raised beautiful flowers, and weeds didn’t stand a chance of surviving when Bee was around! She also loved to go on daily walks around the farm, and the country roads around their farm. Arnold passed away on September 19, 2017 and Bee continued to make her home on the farm until moving to Forman. There she made her home at the Villas from November of 2017 until moving to Four Seasons this past March. Grateful for having shared her life are her three children: Richard Banish of Cayuga; Michael (Deborah) Banish of Rutland; Clarice Banish of Fargo; two grandsons: Tyler and Anthony Banish; a sister-in-law, Joan Beyer of Breckenridge; a brother-in-law, Thomas (Shirley) Banish of Lidgerwood; and many nieces, nephews and their families. Preceding her in death were her husband, her parents, William Barthel and Sister Mary Alma (Clara Witzke) Barthel; her siblings: Marcella Barthel, Bernadine “Bee” Passalacqua, Bernadette Zylla, Leroy Barthel, and Sister Rita Barthel. Condolences may be directed to the family in care of Michael Banish – 13804 96th St. SE. – Rutland, ND 58067.
Wind and a “Blue Blood Full Moon” kicked up their heels on Halloween, Saturday, October 31, but it was otherwise a quiet evening in Rutland. The wind swept the smaller ghosts & goblins off the streets pretty early, leaving their elders to enjoy the properly masked and socially distanced Halloween party that was hosted by Peter & Michelle Denault at The Lariat Bar. No buggies on top of the elevator, or threshing machines on Main Street this year.
Your regular columnist, Deb Banish, had family duties to attend to this week, and the length of this week’s column is a direct result of the short notice received. As the late American author and humorist, Mark Twain, once wrote to a friend, “I apologize for the length of this letter, but I didn’t have time to make it short.” Deb will be back next week.
For additional information about what’s happening in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at http://www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Remember to patronize your local Post Office, and don’t forget to keep the pressure on the U.S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.