Kickass and stokes pokes

Kickass, the doorstop dog, is amazed along with the keeper that the “Stokes Pokes” column identity has resurfaced after all these years as the name of a column for the new “Vista West Breeze,” a newsletter by VW residents.

Originated by Sherm Sword, city editor of the Stevens Point Daily Journal over 60 years ago to identify the keeper’s outdoor column about fish and critters, and carried on later at the Wisconsin State Journal with column writing about kids and escaped monkeys at the Vilas Park zoo, the keeper looks at the new “Stokes Pokes”  mission with trepidation: It is one thing to write about fish and critters, and kids and monkeys; it is quite another to write columns about the people who share your residency.

The first VW Breeze “Stokes Pokes” column dealt with the keeper’s long-standing campaign to keep a small flock of chickens on the VW balcony where he and Phyllis enjoy a view of the Capitol dome at such a great distance that it looks like a pimple.

Some of the State Journal “Pokes” columns were compiled in a book “Ship The Kids On Ahead” and, unbelievably, there are still copies of that in one of the keepers dusty closets.  It holds up as a bathroom reader, and the keeper will send you an autographed copy if you contact him at or with $15 in hand.

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