Cover story

The odd and beautiful life of Peter Hodapp, Viroqua's comics artist

PETER HODAPP ISN’T surprised by conventional wisdom declaring that truly hip people don’t live in the middle of nowhere, in vast open places, wind-swept and stark. The world of comic books is, undeniably, a subculture hip enough that to belong to it, you become so cool you turn inside out, into a nerd. Flip a coin to figure out the difference.

Anne O'Connor


The last Kickapoo Free Press
The last Kickapoo Free Press
THIS ISSUE MARKS the end of our fourth year of publishing the Kickapoo Free Press. It is also the final issue that I will be editing and publishing, and likely the final issue of the paper.
Anne O'Connor


Dreaming a new Viroqua library
Dreaming a new Viroqua library
WELCOME TO THE summer of the library. Over the next few months, Viroqua Library officials will invite the public to join them in dreaming up a new library to replace the city’s charming but cramped 105-year-old structure, McIntosh Memorial Library.
Merrily Helgeson

Guatemalan connections
AS HE STOOD to address the luncheon guests, Chepe Dias looked proud and happy. Tall for a Guatemalan, this handsome and articulate man spoke with confidence and from his heart. Dias is the director of the local health clinic in Nueva Esperanza de Chacula, Guatemala. He is a nurse, a health promoter, and a community leader.
Kim Dowat


A healthy dose of silence
A healthy dose of silence
WITH SPRING IN full bloom and longer daylight hours ahead, many of us feel the urge to get outside for a walk, take a bike ride, or get the canoe out of winter storage. Spring is an exciting time as many of us renew our earnest resolutions to stay healthy and be more active.
Bill Humphrey

Confederate dreams
Confederate dreams
I RECENTLY JOINED the Sons of Confederate Veterans. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, or the Civil War, or the War of Southern Rebellion, whatever you want to call it.
John H. Sime

Tennis ball more than a game
THE TENNIS BALL for me is a Tennis Ball. (Note the capital letters.) It’s not some random, inanimate object, but a true sentient being capable of transmitting the highest spiritual teachings. A Tennis Ball is, for me (and probably, me alone), clear and undeniable proof of the mystery and existence of God.
Ryan Evans

A Catholic vignette
WHEN I WAS a child I was devoted to the Catholic Church. My devotion was partly due to fear—after all, anything less than devotion might land me in hell when I died, or sentence me to a long stint in purgatory until I was purified enough to be welcomed into heaven.
Loma Huh

May flowers mingle in our memories
IT’S HERE! THE month of tulips, lilacs, great spreads of flowers in the stores. I have to get there early this year to find some fragrant purple petunias. So many petunias now do not have any fragrance—missing a key quality.
JoAn O’Connor & Arwyn Wildingway

Trout and Morels
Trout and Morels
I COME FROM Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. To this day, the salty smell of seawater stirs up memories and takes me back in time. One of the great advantages of growing up next to a large body of water is the abundance of fresh fish and other seafood.
Sofya Hundt

Connection or distraction?
AS I WRITE this month’s column the last shade-sheltered piles of snow have melted as winter lifts its veil of icy imperiousness. Robins can be seen chirruping and bouncing across boulevards, crocuses daring to test the still-icy air, the sun hanging in the air until past the children’s bedtimes.
Matthew Voz

Love me, love my dog
WITHIN WEEKS AFTER returning from the Peace Corps I found myself the owner of a Labrador puppy. “Make her sleep in a box or special bed,” numerous experts warned me. So I got a box, lined it with a blanket and pillow, and set it on the floor next to my bed.
John H. Sime

Missing the magic of television
ONE OF MY earliest memories of television concerns the Hungarian Revolt of 1956. I was sitting on the floor of our apartment in Readstown, watching the then-new television set. I was all alone in the room; Mother was evidently in the kitchen.
John H. Sime

Chemical-free lawns
WITH THE WARMER temps arriving, I thought it was time to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. The first thing most of us meet as we go out is the need (chore?) to take care of the lawn.
David Romary

Hello spring, goodbye winter
I AM THRILLED with the change in the season and in spite of blasts of snow in late April, I find myself reflecting on some of the better qualities of winter—I am not making this up. It’s the preferred season for owls, but as I finally turn the page from winter to spring, I also move away from my interest in the night sky.
Dan Peak

No place like home
SHEILA RETURNED TO her roots in late April.

She was named before we met her. A red heeler is what we were after, a female of a breed that originated in Australia. So, a she-la.
Marilyn Leys

New heights in the Drifter
A FINER SPRING day than this you could not want. The sun is finally high in the sky so that you can actually feel its warmth on your face. Isn’t that grand? It seems like it’s been such a long time since you could just walk outside and not put on a coat or hat or gloves.
Ed Holahan

Sheriff's Report

The Sheriff’s Report… in verse
Simply vani-shed?
Ed Holahan