Case in Point

With Cheryl, I had this eerie feeling it wasn't real


Well it is official, I’m now unemployed. I went to school today and took early retirement. I never thought I would be done this soon in life, but I have my health to get back so I can enjoy my life with my family. I will definitely miss cheerleading and my job, I work with some of the most amazing people who have always been there for me no matter what. I would like to thank all the coaches and PE teachers who went above and beyond for all their help the last couple years. I will truly miss the kids, I have gotten to know a lot of awesome kids and always treated me with respect and I think I left an impact on some. After almost 20 years it will be hard but I plan on staying involved with the school for my grandkids. Thanks to all the special people I have met over the years. Love you all and please stay in touch.

The words above were posted to Facebook at 12:46 p.m. Jan. 13 by Cheryl Prohaska, 63, of Durant, a woman no Durant Wildcat ever walked the halls the last 20 years without getting to know. If not, she certainly knew them.

The next day, Cheryl passed away, gone from this earth too soon while leaving so many in her wake confused, myself included.

To know Cheryl was to know her endless fight for her own health. She was a cancer survivor, having had countless battles over the years. Each one took a lot out of her, perhaps more and more with each round. Yet she always came away stronger for it. She always had an “undefeated” attitude, which bought her countless years if you ask me, one of her countless friends in this life.

I task myself with writing memorials for several people in our communities whom I feel strong connections with. The vast majority of the time, I’m ready and at peace with the fact that the time has come.

With Cheryl, I have this eerie feeling that it isn’t real. I’ll admit that a long time had passed since we last spoke. The fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has shut our community and school events down for almost a year certainly had something to do with that. Also, she had her own most recent health battle to fight.

As I write this, it’s just around 10 days removed from getting a surprise phone call from Cheryl. She wanted to talk with me about why she hadn’t seen her mother’s obituary printed in the hometown paper. After obtaining some information from Cheryl, I was able to find her mother Betty Clark’s obit, and printed it in last week’s issue dated Jan. 14.

After getting that squared away, I could sense the tiredness in her voice. “How are you?” I asked. We had a pleasant conversation about her most recent battle. We talked about how she and her mother were in the hospital at the same time. I told her I had seen pictures of the two of them in the hospital together. She said she was focused on getting better. I told her she was a fighter, one of the best I knew.

Never once when we ended that call did I think I’d be printing her obituary in the following issue of our newspaper. In fact, I still have a note on my desk with Cheryl’s name, phone number and address written on it from our call just days ago.

Life’s a fragile thing. No one knew it more than she did, and she fought for it, every day of her life. We are happy at the Advocate News to have been with her several steps along the way, as she was always focused on giving back, through wonderful fundraisers often times including groups at the school. She’d never hesitate to inform me of what was going on, and I never missed an opportunity to get involved and help her with coverage.

May she rest easy now. To give an answer to her retirement post printed earlier, yes Cheryl, you had an impact on many. More than you’ll ever know. Her obituary can be seen on page 7.


Turn the page—You’ll see on the next page, that we’ve printed two pieces of editorial writing this week. The first is from Advocate News publisher Bill Tubbs — a copy of his “Impressions” column that printed in the Eldridge North Scott Press Jan. 13. The other is a paid letter to the editor from Muscatine County Republican Chair Fred Grunder.

In the strange world of newspaper writing and deadlines, I’m writing this two days prior to President Joe Biden’s inauguration. By the time you read this, the inauguration will have happened.

I shared last week the words spoken in the Capitol building at 3:30 a.m. from Chaplain of the United States Senate Barry Black — a Seventh-day Adventist minister. I also said I wasn’t going to comment further on the events of Jan. 6.

I meant it. Upon receiving Fred’s letter, I’ll admit it made us do a bit of soul searching here at the AN. Should we accept it? Should we print it? If we were going to base the answer on correspondence from legal counsel, the answer would have been no, as it was "full of conspiracy theories and fabrications," according to counsel.

Do we become Twitter and Facebook on a Wilton-Durant scale? Do we silence him this time? We did not.

I will say that I’m not a good person to talk theories with. I don’t know what antifa is, nor do I know what QAnon is. I will forever be a searcher for truth. A seeker of fact. And I’ll forever write in this space with “the greater good” always at the forefront of my mind.

Much like I did the week after President Trump won in 2016. Then, the mantra from the far left was, “He’s not my president.” I went on record saying he was. Did I vote for him? No. But he won, and by the slimmest of margins, losing the popular vote “big league” as he always liked to say. Yet he won the rust belt — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — by around 80,000 total votes. The result was accepted.

We must accept this Biden win, by a much larger margin in the popular vote, and in the same Trump-like way in a some key states. My hope is that we can turn the page, and accept the result of the heart of our Democracy in action, our elections. Elections that are run by our own, in all communities across America. We know in our hometowns who was there helping us before, on, and after Election Day. They are such a key cog in the wheel of our Democracy. Thank you for making it fair and just.


NFL predictions—Keeping it brief this week, I was 3-1 in last week’s playoff predictions. Nothing out of the ordinary through three games for me with regard to results. I thought the Bills-Ravens game would be higher scoring, and it was too bad to see Lamar Jackson go down with a concussion, but I wasn’t surprised by the outcome.

I thought the Rams would put up a better fight in Green Bay, but expected the Packers to win.

Speaking of concussions, the hit that took Patrick Mahomes out in Kansas City was bizarre, and the world is now watching to see if he gets cleared to play Sunday in the AFC title game. As for predictions it’s simple: If Mahomes plays, I’m picking the Chiefs. If he doesn’t, I’m taking Buffalo.

The NFC matchup of the week, perhaps ever, given the careers of Drew Brees and Tom Brady, was Saints-Buccaneers. I never imagined four New Orleans turnovers, three of which were interceptions from Brees. It was hard to watch, and if that was his last game, it will be tough to swallow.

Brady is back in another championship game, this time in the NFC. It’ll be the game everyone wants to watch, to see the GOAT battle this year’s MVP, Aaron Rodgers. I think Rodgers wins this one in Green Bay, avenging a loss to the Bucs earlier in the season.