'Cowgirl with attitude' to celebrate 90th birthday

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Billed on the door to her room as "A cowgirl with attitude!," Ruby Kirk turns 90 this year and the community will help celebrate her birthday with a 12:30 p.m. potluck Dec. 27 at Memorial Hall in Weston.

An open mike will afford attendees the opportunity to share stories about her; friends will sing; there will be a video of photos from her life; and family members will read some of her poetry, said daughter Brenda Kirk.

Ruby Ellen Hall was born to William and Jennie Hall on Dec. 27, 1919, the third child/oldest daughter of seven children. She attended a one-room grade school on Weston Mountain and graduated from Weston High School.

She and George Wendall Kirk wed Feb. 4, 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 that year changed their plans and George joined the U.S. Navy.

Ruby served the war effort as a Rosie the Riveter at Boeing in Seattle and also as a welder in Oakland, Calif., during World War II.

Afterward, the Kirks returned to Weston to farm and ranch. They raised three daughters, Brenda of College Place, Jill Perrine of Weston and Judy Kirk of Las Vegas, Nev. The girls were active in 4-H, and Ruby and George were honored as 4-H Volunteers of the Year.

After George died in 1977, Ruby continued as an active community member. She was Queen of the Pioneer Picnic and was Weston Citizen of the Year.

And if you ever wondered about Weston's Shoe-Tree, Ruby originated it, Brenda said. She also started a rooster crow contest at the Pioneer Reunion. An avid cribbage player, she began entering and winning cribbage contests.

After attending the first Elko (Nev.) Cowboy Poetry gathering, she was inspired to write her own poems and for a number of years read them at subsequent Elko gatherings.

For five years she rode her Appaloosa in the annual Chief Joseph Trail Ride, annually retracing a 100-mile segment of the route.

Brenda said Ruby is the oldest living Weston High School alumnus. She has lived at Quail Run Retirement Center in Walla Walla for several years, now that macular degeneration has limited her vision. That's where the door decoration on her room reads "Cowgirl with Attitude!"

In addition to her daughters, Ruby has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Friends needing more details about the potluck may contact Brenda at 509-876-2326.

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Walla Walla transplants Sonia and Frank Trapani periodically head to New York City, including a recent one-week visit with family. Sonia was on the lookout for some bargain N.Y.C. memorabilia on this trip.

"Having spent much of my life there I knew the street vendor game," she said via e-mail. "It is who takes best advantage of whom."

"So I bought quite a few NYC hats and shirts at $5 each -- what a steal!"

One of the items is a New York baseball cap that she bought from a street vendor in the city.

Back in Walla Walla, Sonia examined her items more closely and "the labels all said irregular, but the hat wins the prize for irregularity. A large tag says USA. However, only when I returned home did I see in microscopic print, 'made in China.' My N.Y. hat has quite a twist to it. Actually I love it because it truly is one of a kind."

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Walla Walla University will host members of Exchange Club of Walla Walla Monday when the club donates a freedom shrine to the campus. They will gather in the Alaskan Room of Kellogg Hall prior to the dedication, said Exchangeite Jim Bock.

The shrine will be displayed on the second floor of WWU's Administration building in the Department of History.

The shrine features 28 photographic reproductions of historic American documents, including the Constitution, the Mayflower Compact, the Emancipation Proclamation and George Washington's first inaugural address.

Terri Aamodt, a WWU professor of history, will address the membership for the shrine's dedication.

Exchange is dedicated to Americanism and fighting child abuse in Walla Walla, Jim said.

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An unidentified reader from Helix recalls a winter storm of freezing rain and sleet that ground a long line of vehicles to a halt on State Route 125. The reader was in that line and said in a letter to me that it was as if nobody knew what to do or how to do it. Then, out of nowhere, a smiling young man appeared and "He told me not to worry."

It took three tries to budge the vehicle and the Helix resident gained enough momentum to continue on the slick road. A U-B item about the incident ran around Christmas time in either 1997 or 1998. But the reader forgot to cut out and save the item about an angel that appeared on State Route 125.

Since the reader didn't give me enough contact information to respond by phone or mail, I'd like him or her to know that Whitman College's Penrose Library stores all of our older issues on microfilm.

Students will do research for a fee or visitors may drop by the archives department and do the research themselves.

Contact the archivist at 509-527-5922, e-mail archives@whitman.edu or write Whitman College and Northwest Archives, Penrose Library, 345 Boyer Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362.

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Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 992 and Ladies Auxiliary have an ongoing project to assemble care packages for our troops overseas. Donations of items they use and cash are in constant need according to the VFW's December-January newsletter. Costs add up: the basic shipping charge for one box is $11.

Items they use include jerky, instant coffee, hot chocolate, tea bags, phone calling cards, hard candy, trail mix, granola bars and nuts, lip balm, mouthwash, raisins and other dried fruit, snack packs, foot powder and creams in tubes. They can't use metal or glass containers.

More items are listed on the Post's bulletin board, at 102 N. Colville St., or contact Darlene Scruggs at 525-1113 or the Post at 525-1310.

Free Christmas greetings can be sent to our troops overseas, the newsletter notes. Go to thanks.com at the Xerox Web site, and the company will send the cards at no charge.

The post also has a Christmas food donation box located by its bingo machine for non-perishable items. Funds for this purpose should be earmarked for the needy and directed to the Post.

The post has also put up giant Christmas stockings into which unwrapped toys can be placed. They will be taken to Helpline for Christmas giving.

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DeSales High School's Tyler Wahl and Breanna Jaspersen and Waitsburg High School's Elliott Bartlow and Joshua Clayton Main-Smith, all seniors, received Exchange Club of Walla Walla's November Youth of the Month awards.

They are now eligible to compete for the Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Year award and a special $1,000 college scholarship. This year's Youth of the Month/Year Essay Theme that the students wrote to is: "Inspired by the power of community service."

Tyler is the son of Pat and Lori Wahl of Walla Walla. He holds a 3.7 gpa and has attended Walla Walla Catholic schools throughout middle and high school. He is applying to a number of colleges including University of Notre Dame, Carroll College, University of Washington and Washington University in St. Louis with plans to study computer engineering. His achievements, activities, and honors include: Notre Dame ND Vision Youth Conference Participant Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Conference participant; page for Washington State Legislature; Boy Scout Senior Patrol Leader, Eagle Scout nearly complete as of October 2009; junior and senior class president; varsity football captain, varsity golf, varsity track and field; band member and Destito Band Award winner; National Honor Society member; Math Team and Knowledge Bowl Member; Student of the Quarter and Student of the Year honoree; Community volunteerism through Challenger Baseball program, Parent to Parent Peer Mentoring, Exchange Club Ducky Derby, Mission Trip to Mexico, Eagle Scout service project and Italian Heritage event.

The daughter of J.D. and Carri Jaspersen, Breanna has a 4.05 gpa and is a lifelong student of Walla Walla Catholic schools. She is applying to Gonzaga, Whitworth and Seattle universities and the universities of Puget Sound and Portland. She's considering future studies within the health care and/or business fields. Her activities and honors include senior, junior class and sophomore class vice president; Girls League Service Club president; Retreat leader within DeSales campus ministry program; four-year Knowledge Bowl and Math team member; National Honor Society; Washington Business Week Participant; three-year varsity soccer player for Walla Walla High School; frequent student of the quarter honoree; competitive figure skater since age 6; school-related volunteerism at a number of events; and employment at Dairy Queen.

Joshua is a member of Leo's Club and has worked on a canned food drive, painted the football field, worked in concessions and on a penny drive. He has earned Scholar Athlete and Freshman of the Year awards, lettered in sports, and made the honor roll.

He has participated for the past four years in football, basketball and track. He has worked summers for people providing lawn mowing, leaf pickup, weeding, and caring for dogs.

Elliott has been active in Salt and Light Music Ministry; volleyball; Youth and Government; track and field; and as Yearbook editor.

With FFA, she served as chapter president, vice president; is in National Honor Society; is secretary for Leo's service group; is a HOBY representative; girls varsity track team captain; earned a varsity letter; is a scholar athlete; won a Masonic Outstanding Junior Award certificate; and is Class of 2010 Outstanding Student.

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First Presbyterian Church's sanctuary Christmas tree has been decorated with Chrismons. These are symbols of Christ, such as a chalice, fish, burning bush, grapes, and so forth.

Each of the Chrismon was sewn in counted-cross stitching by various women of the church, e-mailed Chris Crowder.

The items are displayed in gold frames and hung on the 9-foot-tall tree. "They remind us of the reason for this special season," Chris added. An arson fire damaged the older part of the church, so this is the first Christmas back in the 1912 section.

A Web site for Ascension Lutheran Church notes that the evergreen tree symbolizes eternal life, "which our savior has won for us." It provides the background for white lights and gold Chrismons designs.

"The lights speak of Him who is the light of the world, and the Chrismons ornaments proclaim the name, the life and the saving acts of Jesus the Christ."

A noun, Chrismon is from Medieval Latin, from Latin Christus/Christ and late Latin monogramma/monogram, circa 1872.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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