The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Rising to professionalism in the face of severe challenge


It’s not a common occurence for professional conduct to constitute a significant act of service. What is a common occurence is that when it does happen, people tend to be very moved by it.

Among the most famous incidents of such a nature was Lou Costello, famed half of the comedy team Abbott and Costello. On the afternoon of Nov. 4, 1943, Costello was rehearsing for a new radio show when he got word that his infant son had fallen into a pool and drowned. Costello’s fellow famed comedians called to offer support: Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, and Red Skelton were all ready to step in for him on the radio program. But Costello went on with his show, all his comic timing perfectly in place and without the barest hint of a thing wrong, leaving the stage immediately after with tears streaming down his face. Abbott told the stunned audience about Costello’s son after the show was finished. Many who were never fans of the slapstick duo were deeply moved at Costello’s going such an extraordinary extra mile.

Where does one find that capacity? I’m no master at this art, but I have some experience with this kind of situation. My wife passed away six weeks after I started here at The Sentinel. I took a little time to myself after her funeral, then realized I’d just been hired to be the editor here, to fill a need, and I had to get back to that. So I wrote an editorial briefly sharing that my life was no longer the same after her death, then went on to discuss water issues in Bickleton.

But that cannot begin to compare to the strength Mildred Lykens, a columnist for this newspaper and The White Salmon Enterprise, showed us this week. My wife’s death was unexpected, but it didn’t come as an abrupt, out-of-the-blue act of violence such as befell Mildred very recently.

Mildred’s column on Lyle News, on page 5 in this week’s paper, runs along recounting the past and upcoming events in the Lyle community. But her final paragraph is of profoundly shocking personal news. Her granddaughter and her husband in Anchorage interrupted a burglary of their home. Both were shot and killed.

You wonder how someone holds it together to fulfill a professional expectation, such as sending in her column to The Sentinel, in the face of such tragedy. Mildred’s dedication is nothing short of astonishing and moving beyond measure.

The Sentinel is proud, honored, and touched by grace to have Mildred as a columnist. This family extends to hers heartfelt condolences for her losses and deep gratitude for her professionalism. It is indeed an act of incalculable service. She raises the water level for us all, and all the ships rise with it.


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