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updated: 2/14/2012 11:57 AM

St. Charles author aims to lend helping hand

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  • The free community meal on the third Tuesday of the month at Geneva United Methodist Church has become one of the highlights of the month for my mother-in-law, who otherwise would have no other way to see people she knows and enjoy a nice meal at a terrific price -- a donation.

       The free community meal on the third Tuesday of the month at Geneva United Methodist Church has become one of the highlights of the month for my mother-in-law, who otherwise would have no other way to see people she knows and enjoy a nice meal at a terrific price -- a donation.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

 
 

St. Charles author Jay Payleitner may strike a nerve or two with a few of his observations in "52 Things Wives Need From Their Husbands."

Those would be the nerves of clueless males who pretty much have taken their wives for granted during most of their marriage. Like most men, I fall into that category more often than I care to admit.

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Payleitner, who penned a similar family values book titled "52 Things Kids Need from a Dad" a couple of years ago, aims his most recent guidance to husbands with this fairly simple premise: If you care enough about your marriage to even open this book and glance at just a few pages, it has served some purpose.

Speaker and author Angela Thomas provides the foreword to the book, noting the top three things she would want from her husband -- obey God, live gratefully and be nice. Simple directives, but difficult to fully embrace.

Payleitner touches on marriage rituals such as putting an end to an argument, explaining why men apologize for arguments more often than women -- and why they should.

He takes a certain joy in devoting a chapter of the book to listing the differences between men and women in a manner that a stand-up comic might. Examples -- men love "The Three Stooges," women are Stooge haters; men have about three pairs of shoes, women have between four and 400. Differences exist between men and women and those differences should be celebrated, not considered barriers, he insists.

For me, the overriding message from the book can be boiled down to this: Most of the things our wives ask us to do are fairly simple requests. To make a big deal about them and turn requests into prolonged fights borders on craziness.

Or something along those lines.

Free dinners galore: One of the great stories to come out of the miserable economy we've endured the past three years has been local churches offering free community meals.

The free community meal on the third Tuesday of the month at Geneva United Methodist Church has become one of the highlights of the month for my mother-in-law, who otherwise would have no other way to see people she knows and enjoy a nice meal at a terrific price -- a donation.

But many churches have embraced the concept, so those who enjoy these community events likely could use a quick list to figure out when and where they take place.

"Two Guys and Free Spaghetti" events take place the last Sunday of the month at St. Charles Episcopal Church. St. Charles residents Joe Ryan and Matt Rhead have spearheaded this free dinner effort for more than two years now.

Fox Valley Presbyterian in Geneva offers a free meal on the third Friday of each month.

Bethany Lutheran in Batavia has most recently joined the list of churches offering a free meal. Bethany Lutheran has marked the last Friday of each month to welcome guests.

All of these events embrace the same purpose in offering a free meal to those who need a reason to get out, for those who have hit tougher economic times, and for those who are lonely and eat by themselves far too often.

It's a great recipe for success and community pride.

Dancing event hero: It was fun to watch former Geneva High School football star Derek Swanson become a hero on the dance floor at last weekend's "Dancing With the Geneva Stars" event.

Swanson and his dance partner, Laura Rush of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, blasted across the ballroom floor at Eagle Brook Country Club with a jive routine that earned them the title of 2012 champions.

The event raised nearly $17,000 for the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission and Geneva Academic Foundation, once again proving that the real hero is event chairman Carolyn Hill.

It was fun being among the first participants to dance in the inaugural 2009 event, but it has been just as pleasing to be part of the planning committee and watch Hill get this highly enjoyable event in place each year with her team of volunteers.

Of course, Linda Cunningham at State Street Dance Studio has much to do with the final product, and she puts a shine on it that can't be beat.

But Hill is the straw stirring this drink nearly all year long. Without her passion for this event, area residents would have never enjoyed watching or, for six couples each year, participating.

Much like Paris: A bit of Paris in downtown Geneva?

Owner and chef Beth Cull of St. Charles is hoping that those who visit her Chez Moi cafe will feel as if they had visited a cafe in Europe.

The restaurant, at 415 W. State St., is in the back of the Riley Drugs building.

Staff at the cafe tells me business has gone well the first few weeks, as several people mentioned they were anxious to try it.

One waitress said a woman from France and her daughter who were in the area visiting stopped in and thought the French food was great.

"People seem to really enjoy the crepes and galettes, a traditional French crepes, and they like the atmosphere here," a waitress said.

Those who want a bit of Europe in their day can check out this new cafe from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Hiding away no more: It was tricky to find in broad daylight, let alone at night. No wonder Al Capone found it to be, well, his perfect hideaway when things got a little rough in the city.

But it is also no wonder that not enough area residents could find it for a night out for dinner.

Anyone who never had the chance to visit the Hideaway restaurant in what used to be known as the Valley View area, on the north side of St. Charles along the Fox River, missed experiencing an interesting part of our history.

It was a fine restaurant in its day, as well.

But, like many other restaurants in the region, it was not suited to withstand a prolonged recession. Thus, we learned last week that it has closed its doors.

Area residents figured it was a badge of honor to say a notorious criminal spent some time enjoying the Tri-Cities area.

More likely, he just figured there was no way anyone could find him out here 90 years ago. He was right.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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