In Our Community
The Whistler was a big league radio program. With echoing footsteps and a haunting whistle, a new man of mystery flowed into the 1942 CBS night.
The whistle: thirteen notes destined to become one of the all-time lingering melodies of old time radio, whistled softly at first, then louder as the Whistler steps closer. That whistle could set a stage by itself: the stage of a narrow street, one dim streetlamp and a thin ground fog all around. A man steps into the street and walks toward us. He wears an overcoat belted around the middle, and leather gloves and a large brimmed hat that keeps his face in the shadows. Closer he comes, until he blots out the yellow light from the streetlamp in the distance.
“I am the whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, many secrets hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes, I know the nameless terror of which they dare not speak”
In the melodramatic early years, The Whistler was written and produced by J. Donald Wilson, who occasionally had his character engage in dialogue wih the people in the stories. Even then, it was all done on the subconscious level, the Whistler taking the role of conscience arguing with the murderer, goading him on to his inevitable doom.
The voice of the Whistler was played through most of the run by Bill Forman. Among the Whistlers on the show was Owen James, who also whistled for The Saint. But for most of the run, the whistling was done by Dorothy Roberts. Wilber Hatch, who composed the haunting theme, once estimated that only one person in twenty could come close to whistling the melody. The show was carried nationally in 1947-48, heard in the east for Household Finance in the west for Signal Oil. It was still playing regionally in 1955.
Listen to AM 1370 KDTH Sunday nights from 6 to midnight and no doubt you will hear a whistle and haunting melody of the The Whistler.
Patient Surveys Show VA Hospitals Improving
In the latest Medicare Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient survey, the Department of Veterans Affairs outperformed community hospitals in 10 of 11 different categories.
The report said that 54% of VA hospitals earned four or five stars, while only 35% of community hospitals did. That’s a hefty increase; just a few years ago, only 26% of VA hospitals rated four or five stars.
The categories included cleanliness of the hospital, care transition, communication with nurses, discharge info and more. Questions were wide ranging, from “Did doctors treat you with courtesy and respect?” all the way to “If you were given new medication, were you told what it was for?” and “Was your personal information treated in a confidential way?”
The VA questionnaire, called the Survey of Healthcare Experience of Patients, is based on Medicare’s Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys. Results for all hospitals can be found at Medicare.gov and are updated quarterly. The latest release of the data, however, includes results from July 2020 through March 2021.
One worrying detail: Staff selects veterans to fill out the surveys based on the kind of care they got and the last time they filled out a survey. These can be either veterans who were admitted and had surgery or a treatment and then were sent home, or veterans who had care during a medical visit. Shortly afterward, they’re sent the survey packet (questionnaire, cover letter, return envelope).
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS.gov) website says that the survey is for a “random sample” of patients. How, one wonders, is it truly random if staff is selecting the patients to ask? Additionally, since all hospitals have a different mix of patients, it appears that those who finalize the reports average out the results in areas such as age, education, health status and so forth in what they call patient-mix adjustments.
What would the results be if they weren’t making adjustments?
© 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.
The Boy and His Boat
A boy spent hours building a toy sailboat. When finished he took his boat to a nearby lake. He tied a string to the boat so he could pull it back to shore. When he placed the boat in the water he was delighted to see the wind catch the sail and rapidly blow the boat from shore. When the boat pulled the string taut a stronger gust of wind came up, the string came loose and the boat sailed further and further out into the lake until it disappeared from sight. After staring at the lake a long time he turned from the lake and, with his hands in his pockets, dejectedly headed home.
Weeks later he was walking home from school and passed the second hand store as he always did. But today was different. There in the store’s window was his boat for sale! He quickly entered the store and told the owner, “That’s my boat, I built it, then it got lost.”
“Well, now you’ll have to buy it if you want it,” the owner replied.
“For how much?” the boy asked.
“Two dollars,” said the shop owner.
The boy ran home, retrieved two dollars from his dresser drawer, returned to the store, and bought his boat.
As he left the store, lovingly grasping his boat, he said to it, “You’re twice mine. First I made you and now I bought you.”
This classic story, told many a time by preachers and Bible teachers, illustrates the essential message of the Good News, or Gospel, that’s the focus of the New Testament in the Bible. God made us, then we became separated from Him by sin. He then paid the price to get us back by giving His life on the cross. The preachers and Bible teachers who tell this story usually conclude saying something like this: “When we respond to this great redemptive action of God, then God in essence says to us, ’You’re twice mine. I made you and I bought you.’”
The apostle John observed through a God-given vision of heaven the heavenly beings singing to Jesus: “You were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
I recently had coffee with an acquaintance named Dave Behai. Sometime earlier I had asked him about his vocation. His answer was quick and given with humble pride. He said he has been with Carpetland USA in Davenport, Iowa, for the last 20 years, working in the Commercial Division, and prior to that, 18 years with another carpet firm. His quick answer to my question gave me the inspiration to write this column. He had actually chosen his lifetime career at a youthful age.
I am always happy when people give me an immediate answer to my questions because their answers are usually from the heart. If they have to struggle to give me an answer to a simple question then I sense they may be defensive or intimidated by my inquiry.
I’ve had some friends tell me they wanted to be in a special field but life threw them a curve ball. One woman I knew took music in college but married and had too many children to follow her dream. Actually, she loved being a wife and mother. I never did ask her if she regretted not following her dream.
I once interviewed a man who said after high school he went into the Navy and then when he got out he went to college on the GI Bill and became an Engineer at a big factory. He said that he loved serving his country but knew he had to follow his desire to build and create.
In talking with Dave I asked if he had attended college after high school. He said he had but didn’t know what he wanted to do in the career field. At this point of our interview he said that for a while he had worked for his mother in the carpet business she had started in her home in Durant, Iowa. It was called “Happy House Carpets.”
Dave has spent about 40 years in a business he loves. His knowledge and helpful suggestions on buying carpets have been a big part of his success. And he was happy to say that many of his customers have made return visits to the firm and remain personal friends to this day. He also added this profound statement, “I didn’t become successful in sales until I stopped trying to sell and just started taking care of people.” Dave and his wife, Teresa, have five children and 15 grandchildren. No doubt, they are probably kept quite busy with many family activities.