Persons, places and things: Blessings of spring, remnants of winter


By Barb Arland Fye

The sun sets gloriously tonight, casting a warm glow through the thick green canopy of trees in my backyard. Spring is my favorite season of the year and I remember to thank God every day for allowing me to savor the beauty of God’s creation.
Gratitude comes much easier for me this season following a particularly brutal winter with its seemingly endless polar vortexes and deadly ice patches.


Many people, me included, broke bones this past winter and healing is an ongoing process. Other individuals appear in the store, at the restaurant and elsewhere wearing the same black boot I’m wearing. Like me, they no longer have to rely on crutches or knee “scooters.” That’s progress!

One of those people is Jackie Maddy, pastoral associate and director of religious education for St. Mary Parish in Albia. While she’s out of the boot, she’s still relying on one crutch — temporarily.


Jackie broke her ankle in two places on Valentine’s Day, the same day I broke my tibia and fibula. Her accident happened shortly after she completed a Good Samaritan trip in a raging blizzard with Sharon Crall, assistant director of religious education and coordinator of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Mary’s.

A woman in the community had run out of food and called the parish for help. Jackie and Sharon obliged, even though it required driving in a blizzard to deliver the food box. As Jackie and Sharon approached the woman’s house, Jackie’s car slid into a ditch. Some of the food fell out of the box and into the ditch. Jackie and Sharon, who were unhurt, managed to collect all of the food items back into the box and deliver it to the recipient.

A short time later, Jackie was at home getting ready to shovel snow when she fell and broke her ankle. Like me, she spent part of her day in the emergency room. Her husband, Paul, was at her side. “Paul and I, a romantic evening,” she joked. Both of us had surgery within days of each other and can now commiserate and even laugh as we compare notes about healing.
Someone at the chancery, where I work, asked what I’m going to do with all of my free time once I’m out of the boot and able to move more swiftly. Catching up with work at The Catholic Messenger, I quipped.

These last 12 or 13 weeks have been filled with change and adaptations. Phil Hart, a University of Iowa graduate, joined the staff as our advertising representative four days before my running accident. Phil has extensive experience in advertising sales, including 10 years at the Quad-City Times. He is married to Mollie and has three children.

Last month, Lindsay Steele, a 2007 graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, joined our staff as the new diocesan reporter. She previously served internships at the Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus and the Peoria Journal Star. She is married to Chris.

This month, we welcomed intern Emmaline Jurgena, a student at Marquette University in Milwaukee whose family belongs to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. You’ll be seeing Emmaline’s byline in our paper this summer.
We also look forward to the return of circulation manager Nancy Hamerlinck, who has been away from the office because of illness in the family.

Dusk has settled and the trees are silhouetted against the night sky outside my window. But it’s a spring sky that fills me with wonder about God’s creation — flora and fauna and people, too.

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