Beltz made an impact on this boy

People my age are fast becoming the last generation in our families. Just last week Rita (Beltz) and Ken Johnson were here to say their final farewell to Rita?s mom, JoHanna, at age 93.

My connection to JoHanna and the Beltz family goes way back. Mrs. Beltz was my art teacher as well as a den leader for my Cub Scout troop. I think anyone who attended Hillsboro grade school remembers the oil painting they made in Mrs. Beltz?s class?it?s the desert hacienda with blue sky and a cactus beside. I still have mine.

She had a pleasant disposition but could be stern at the same time, both at school and at home, when I went to their West Grand house with her son John while in grade school.

JoHanna and Woody built at least five new homes in Hills?boro and more in California before they moved back here to stay.


Everybody?s got to be asking what happened to autumn? Summer that goes straight to winter doesn?t work for me.


This year marks the third year for our Pumpkin Patch at First Mennonite Church. It was the second year I helped unload a partial semi-load. With about 50 people of all ages, it took about an hour to distribute these multi-shaped, multi-colored, multi-sized beauties all over the south yard of the church property.

The location had to be moved this time because of the new sod that isn?t yet ready for a pounding of foot traffic.


Of all the books I have helped people produce from all over the country, I have never received a phone call like the one I received last week.

An out-of-state church came up with a unique cookbook that also included stories of its mission trips and inspirational stories about many of its members with lots of recipes. The book was several hundred pages. It is one of the biggest I have ever been involved with. I had done a previous book for the woman who was in charge of the project.

She called to apologize that payment had not been sent because the church office person in charge of the funds for books already sold, and other funds, had just admitted to stealing the money.

I am not worried. I know my friend will make sure this story turns out right.


Did your mother always tell you not to pick up hitchhikers and not to be a hitchhiker yourself?

In the old days hitchhiking was much more common than it is today. In 1965, I decided to save gas and leave my car at home when I was a freshman at Bethel College. On a Friday afternoon in spring, after being without a car for a couple of weeks, I thought I would hitch a ride to Hillsboro.

So I grabbed my bag and walked out to Kansas Highway 15 on the west edge of campus. It took five separate rides to make it home. The first ride was just a couple of miles to the blacktop that went east to Walton, the second was to the Goessel corner, the third was to U.S. Highway 56, the fourth was to where K-15 turns north to Abilene, and the last was from that corner to town.

The amazing thing was that I only waited a few minutes for each ride.


People who cause trouble are the same people who seem to have the most trouble.

Written By
More from Joel Klaassen
Starting is the hard part
The first paragraph of my column is the hardest to write. The...
Read More