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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


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Just an old-fashioned Fourth

By Barry Schrader.................................July 13, 2010

Wanting to just relax and enjoy an old-fashioned Fourth of July after our exhausting trip to California, I made a list of all the things we could do that weekend.
Having to skip the Kirkland July 4th gala because of time constraints, I concentrated on three places. Bill Braksick, editor of The MidWeek, beat me to the punch writing about the DeKalb County Liners’ baseball game, but I still had a ball. In fact I caught two rubber balls tossed into the crowd by the Liners’ pep squad. Isn’t it great to have a “nearly-pro” team right in our backyard, or in this case, at Sycamore Park?
The player who hit the game-winning home run for the Liners against the DuPage Dragons was Anthony Foulk from Sycamore. I found out from his father, Kelley, that he is a “Base-liner.” That has nothing to do with baseball – he was brought up in the Ellen Oaks subdivision just off Base Line Road, where I was also raised. Even though the Liners program lists his hometown as Genoa, because of their mailing address, he is actually a 2008 Sycamore High grad. Now that is as local as one can get and makes me hark back to the days of the Sycamore Sons and the Henigan boys who made a name for that team. Fans turned out in droves to see their town team play back then, so let’s hope people from around the county will adopt the Liners as their team, instead of the White Sox or Cubs, and support them to a greater degree. The hot dogs and ribs sell for a reasonable price, and the $6 bleachers ticket is a steal.

Sycamore High solphomore Cassidy Meerman sings the National Anthem.

Liners catcher Anthony Foulk pauses for the National Anthem with umpires.

I can’t forget to mention that the girl singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” was Cassidy Meerman, a sophomore in the Sycamore High choir. She needs to “punch it up” to compete with the booming announcer who also did a great job keeping us entertained. But this was only Cassidy’s second solo performance on the field, so let’s give her time to climb to the class of a Kate Smith … Now, that grand dame really made the national anthem come alive, sending a chill up your spine. Anyway – Go Liners!
My second adventure on the Fourth of July weekend was to go measure some field corn to see how tall it is. I checked out the first field I found tasseling out at the Larson farm on Keslinger Road and it was nearly 9 feet tall already. But I was surprised I had been misled all these years by the old term “knee-high by the Fourth of July.” My writer friend Mil Misic claims that saying referred to a man on horseback in a field of corn, not walking.
Speaking of corn, this past weekend the long-anticipated sweet corn season opened with local stands offering that mouthwatering bicolor hybrid corn. I was almost the first in line, as I think it can hold its own against that Japanese brand super sweet corn from Harvard being hyped on the radio.
To round out a perfect Fourth, one only had to motor or stroll over to Hopkins Park in DeKalb where Dee Palmer and the longest-playing municipal band in the nation (but not the original players) perform in the open band shell.
Dee seems bigger than life – even compared to his statue nearby – and when he told the crowd to stand up and swing to the strains of “Copacabana” the response was immediate.
Of course to complete the Independence Day experience, fireworks lit up the night sky with booms that could be heard all the way from Sycamore to Malta.
Now is there any place in the world more patriotic on the Fourth than DeKalb County?

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115