The Norman Transcript

Opinion

April 22, 2014

Hero of Haarlem … for common good

NORMAN — “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the 8-year-old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job even more important.

In fact, because a large portion of Holland was below sea level, the job his father did was essential. Sluicers manipulated the water levels by using a series of gates, dikes and canals to protect the villages and countryside from flooding.

The young boy was proud of his father’s brave, old gates and their strength and pondered briefly how sluicers always referred to the danger of “angry waters” inundating the land.

Suddenly the child was startled by the sound of trickling water. Up the side of the dike he noticed a small hole through which a tiny stream of water was flowing. “Quick as a flash, he saw his duty,” thrust his chubby little finger into the hole and stopped the flow.

Initially he was proud of the fact that he was doing his part in holding back the “angry waters” and that his hometown of Haarlem would not be drowned while he was there.

The remainder of the chapter, titled “Friends in Need” in Mary Mapes Dodge’s 1865 novel “Hans Brinker; or the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland,” illustrates the boy’s overnight experience.

The story relates the physical and mental anguish and the battle against numbing cold that the young boy encountered, awkwardly perched halfway up the dike all night long until he was discovered at daybreak, in pain and despair — yet alive and ultimately well — by a passing priest.

This legislative session, there is a desperate need for persons with the character of the young Dutch boy. There are a number of bills that need to be turned back like the “angry waters.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014