Heroes, Hardware and Honor Flight

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March 28, 2014 | 11:55 am

If old pictures could talk, weíd know what those guys with guns have been up to as they pose beside a car with a rear window shot out.

Thing is, none of them are talking. And the picture has no information.

But, after running into it in an old scrapbook, Keith Techau of Lisbon sent it my way.

"We donít recognize anyone," says Keith, 75. "I thought someone else might recognize the people or know whatís going on?"

Mmmm. Thatís a Ford Model A (1928 to 1931). The three posse heroes on the right wear badges and have guns. The car window has been hit four or five times. The license plate prefix, 16, designates Cedar County.

Yep. The picture had been owned by Bonnie Pauls, who died Aug. 9, 2010, at age 96. She was born and died in the same house five miles southwest of Mechanicsville. Keith has the picture because his brother-in-law, Bob Conner, lived with Bonnie and her late husband, Melvin (died in 1976) for 30 years. They had no children so left the farm to Bob, 75.

"None of the people look like her husband, Melvin," Keith says, adding that he farmed and Bonnie was a nurse.

Was this the Iowa Cow War of 1931? That happened south of Tipton when 400 farmers confronted two veterinarians and 65 law officers as they tested cows for tuberculosis. The National Guard had to quell unrest the next day.

A shootout with John Dillinger? He reportedly visited the Lighthouse in Cedar Rapids and easily could have driven along the Lincoln Highway through Cedar County before his death in 1934 in Chicago.

What do you know?

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In a tradition that began 30 years ago, customers of Winegarden Hardware in Deep River will be treated to free food ó dinner from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the community center ó to celebrate the storeís 75th anniversary.

I visited the old store with its high ceilings, oiled hardwood floor and eclectic mix of merchandise, 15 years ago for the 60th. Leland Winegarden, now 89, has been involved with the store since his father, Phil, bought into in 1938. By 1998, Lelandís stepson and wife, Myron and Tina Widmer, had bought into the store.

So now itís on to 100?

"I donít know if Iím going to be here," laughs Lelandís wife, Lois, "but I hope the store is."

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"Suckers for Soldiers," started by Tricia Weberís fourth-grade class at Grant Wood Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, planned to raise enough money to send one World War II or Korean War veteran on an Eastern Iowa Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

Well, inspired by history, patriotism and their teacher, the kids sold 890 suckers in the first two days. So far, fund raising translates into more than $1,200, enough to send at least two soldiers, says George Ricky, honor flight media chairman. And, with "Suckers for Soldiers" continuing through Saturday, they hope to send a third.

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