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Election Results
  • Chemung County Executive Race: Chris Moss (R) 55% Jerome Emanuel (Dem) 29% Krusen (I) 16%
  • 1st District: Pastrick (R) 57% Pucci (Dem) 43%
  • 2nd District: Manchester (R) 69% Saglibene (Con) 30%
  • 3rd District: Sweet (R) 53% Lynch (Dem) 40%
  • 4th District: Brennan (R) 64% Bond (Dem) 35%
  • 5th District: Margeson (R) 64% Stow (Dem) 20% Miller 15% (I)
  • 7th District: Sonsire (Dem) 63% Milliken (R) 36%
  • 8th District: Woodard (R) 58% Callas (Dem) 41%
  • 9th District: Burin (R) 74% Fairchild (I) 25%
  • 12th District: McCarthy (Dem) 50% Collins (R) 45%
  • 13th District: Drake (R) 65% Logan-Lattimore (Dem) 34%
  • 14th District: Smith (R) 68% Heyward (Dem) 31%

Community Voices

Our community blogs

  1. On a hill looking south over Owego stands a white marble obelisk, visible from across the river when the leaves are down.  Its prominence denotes the Evergreen Cemetery, and specifically marks the grave of a young Mohawk Indian maiden.  The site chosen for her memorial displays a stunningly beautiful panorama of the town below as the Susquehanna River wends its way through the midst of what was once thick virgin forest.  And it’s not too difficult to imagine the Native Americans who once lived and traveled this waterway through our beautiful and fertile land.

     

    The elegant 17-foot tall monument was erected by private donations from the good people of Owego and other cities after the young woman’s death.  Her epitaph reads:  “In memory of Sa-Sa-Na Loft, an Indian Maiden of Mohawk-Woods, Canada West, who lost her life in the Railroad Disaster at Deposit, N.Y., February 18, 1852, Aged 21 years.”  [Searles, p.29]

     

    A carved wild rose with a broken stem and missing leaf adorns the back of the monument.  Facing west are the words, “By birth a daughter of the forest, By adoption a child of God.”  Sa-Sa-Na is buried at the foot of this elegant monument, facing the sunrise to the east.  [Searles, p.29]

     

    Several websites about Sa-Sa-Na include the words from a poem “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” with claims it is a Native American prayer.  This poem, with its origins in dispute, was confirmed in 1998 by Abigail Van Buren to have been written by Mary Elizabeth Frye in 1932:  "Do not stand by my grave and cry... I am not there, I did not die." 

     

    Many are the visitors who have reported hearing a voice softly singing while they sit upon a bench in front of the wrought-iron fence which surrounds and protects her gravesite.  If the singing be nothing more than leaves gently swaying in the breeze, the ambience denotes a quiet and peaceful setting.

     

    Sa-Sa-Na (Indian equivalent of the English Susannah) Loft was a direct descendant of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), the Mohawk chief who had caused much fear and destruction during the Revolutionary War.  With the colonists’ revolt against the British Crown, most of the Iroquois nation felt their alliance with Britain was key to stemming the tide of colonists who were taking more and more of their ancestral lands.  Maintaining his ties to the Crown, Brant (commissioned a Colonel) led numerous attacks on various communities within New York. 

     

    When the war for independence began, many of the Iroquois nation in the Mohawk Valley region of New York removed to what was called “The Mohawk Woods” in the township of Thayendanegea/Tyendinaga on Canada’s Salmon River.  The Loft family, living near Canajoharie, was among those fleeing the Mohawk Valley for the safety of Canada.  [Searles, p.8-9] 

     

    After Britain’s loss to the upstart American nation, more Iroquois resettled on Canadian soil given to them by the British Crown (as did white Loyalists from within New York State).  On May 22, 1784, twenty canoes holding fifteen Indian families under Capt. John Deserontyon landed on the shore of the Bay of Quinte for their land reserve of 92,000 acres.  The township of Tyendinaga (i.e. Thayandanegea, Joseph Brant’s Mohawk name) is west of Kingston in Hastings County; specifically, it is west of Deseronto and east of Belleville along the Salmon River on the northeastern end of Lake Ontario.  Others followed Joseph Brant to what became known as Brant’s Ford on the Grand River, now Brantford, Ontario, Canada.  This community is about 25-30 miles west of Hamilton and Burlington, both of which are situated on the far western shores of Lake Ontario. 

     

    A venerable warrior and revered chief of his people, Joseph Brant was born somewhere along the Ohio River in 1742.  His father died when he was still an infant, while his widowed mother, Owandah, raised her family with, presumably, assistance from their tribe in colonial New York.  Mary/Molly Brant, Joseph's older sister, became the common-law wife of Sir William Johnson.  As the British Superintendant of Indian Affairs, Johnson played a major role in supporting the Crown during the late 18th century in the province of New York.  He was also an instrumental force in helping educate the illiterate young Brant.  At age 14, Brant left home to become a student at Moor’s Indian Charity School in Connecticut (the forerunner of Dartmouth College) under Dr. Eleazer Wheelock.  Returning home with an education, Brant attained new roles in leadership of the Iroquois and as the head of his own family.  After the deaths of his first two wives, Peggy/Margaret and Susannah, he married Catherine Croghan in 1780 with whom he raised a family of seven children.

     

    With his natural abilities well suited to the role of chief and leader of the Iroquois nation, Brant was instrumental in securing peace treaties after the Revolutionary War between the United States government and other Native American tribes.  Having already proven himself a worthy warrior not only by his bravery in battle but as a leader of his people, he now proved his prowess as politician and diplomat.  But, more importantly, Brant also encouraged his people to settle their disputes and end the warfare against the ever-expanding white frontier settlements.  He then devoted the balance of his life to missionary work, including the raising of funds to build the first Episcopal church in Canada. 

     

    Appreciating his own education, Brant believed there was much to learn from the whites and their patriarchal society, which differed from the traditional Indian matriarchal society.  He felt strongly that, for the Indians to survive, they would need to incorporate more of the methods used by whites not only in their agricultural future, but in virtually every other aspect of life.  Having become a Christian (Anglican/Episcopalian) and a Freemason, Brant also believed in educating their own youth so that they, too, could succeed like the white man as the world around them continued its progressive change.

     

    His last words to his adopted nephew show how committed he had become to the intellectual and spiritual advancement of his own people:  “Have pity on the poor Indians.  If you have any influence with the great, endeavor to use it for their good.”  Brant died on Nov 24, 1807 at his home in what is now Burlington, Ontario.  He is buried at Her Majesty’s Chapel of the Mohawks (originally St. Paul’s, built in 1785), the oldest Protestant church in Brantford, Ontario, with a memorial statue erected in 1886 to his memory. 

     

    And into this heritage was born Sa-Sa-Na Loft.  From a Canadian biography of her brother, George Rok-Wa-Ho Loft, four children were born to Henry Loft and his wife Jemima (or Ya-Go-We-A, also their youngest daughter’s name).  Direct descendants of Brant, the Loft children’s maternal ties were of the unmixed Mohawks living in the township of Thayandanegea/Tyendinaga near the Bay of Quinte.  Henry’s father, David Loft, was a St. Francis Indian (Abenaki tribe) while Jemima was a Mohawk. 

     

    Sa-Sa-Na’s older brother, Rok-Wa-Ho (George Rokwaho Loft), married Ellen Smith, also a Mohawk.  They were parents of Frederick Ogilvie Loft and William Loft, both of whom have continued Brant’s legacy in promoting the betterment of the Mohawk Indians as a whole. 

     

    Growing up on the reservation known as The Mohawk Woods in the township of Tyendinaga on the Salmon River in Ontario, Canada, the Loft children received a good education through the work of the local mission school.  Understanding the importance of meeting the spiritual needs of his people, Brant had had several books of the Bible translated into their native language, including Genesis and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, along with the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, and other Christian writings.  Through the local mission’s efforts, the Loft family and children also converted to Christianity.

     

    With the two older Loft children having been educated at the mission school several miles away from home, they then taught Sa-Sa-Na at home.  The wife of the Episcopal minister in Kingston also gave music lessons to train Sa-Sa-Na’s beautiful voice, who in turn taught her younger sister, Ya-Go-Weia, all she knew. 

     

    In their longing to help provide a quality education and to Christianize more of their people, Rok-Wa-Ho and his two younger sisters, Sa-Sa-Na and Ya-Go-Weia, commenced a singing tour throughout New York state.  Since their oldest sister was married at the time, she remained home with their widowed mother.  Traveling to raise funds to help educate their people, their efforts were rewarded in helping to eventually build a church within their own community. 

     

    On February 15 and 16, 1852, the Loft siblings arrived at Owego, New York where the sisters gave two concerts, and received a warm welcome from the townspeople.  Sponsored by Judge Charles P. Avery, they stayed as guests at his home on Front Street in Owego, along the Susquehanna River.  Avery was a man with considerable interest in preserving local Indian history within colonial Tioga County, and thus his eager support of the Lofts.

     

    The siblings next traveled east to Deposit.  At the Oquaga Theater, they gave another sacred concert on February 17th.  They were well received at both towns just as they had been at other stops throughout New York, and were greatly admired for their efforts to assist their indigent nation back home.

     

    In Deposit the next day, February 18th, while their brother purchased tickets at the station, the sisters boarded the passenger train and took their seats.  Unbeknownst to everyone, just eight miles away on the same track, an engineer lost control of his freight train at “The Summit” [also called Gulf Summit], the peak of a steep downgrade [from my knowledge of the area, I presume this to be part of the summit of Belden Hill on Rt. 7.]  Knowing what the end result would be, the engineer jumped the train as it gained unrelenting speed on its headlong run down the track covered in snow and ice.  Hearing an alarm sounding for the fast-approaching runaway train racing toward their standing train, both sisters managed to jump from their car onto the station platform.  Unfortunately, as she jumped, Sa-Sa-Na lost her balance and fell backward onto the car they’d just left, being crushed and scalded to death as the freight train crashed at that very instant with a horrendous slam and explosion of steam.

     

    The Owego Gazette for Thursday, February 19, 1852 included this brief notice:  “Frightful Rail Road Accidents.  Deposit 18, 1852.  Freight Train East ran in to mail train going east at this station today, and one person, the elder Indian girl killed.  One lady from Great Bend badly scalded.  One man badly injured.  Freight train coming down the summit became unmanageable.  No others injured.”  [Both Miss Susan Wisner, 18, of Goshen, Orange County, NY and Patrick Moony from Susquehanna, PA died soon afterward from their injuries.  [Searles, p. 105-107, The Deposit Courier, Feb. 21, 1852.]

     

    Sa-Sa-Na’s funeral was held in Owego on February 20, 1852 “with impressive services at the Episcopal Church, and at the grave [with] Rev. Mr. Watson officiating.”  [Searles, p.108, The Owego Gazette, February 21, 1852] 

     

    A lengthy obituary of Sa-Sa-Na by the Hon. Charles P. Avery was included in the small handbook, “Memorial of Sa-Sa-Na.”  [Searles, p.83]   A poem written by W. H. C. Hosmer titled simply, “Lament of Sa-Sa-Na” was read at her funeral.  [Too lengthy to include here, it can be located online.]  The obituary, sermon and poem were included in an 1852 memorial pamphlet which was entitled, “To the memory of SA-SA-NA- LOFT, noble, lovely, self-devoted – early mourned; and to those who love and cherish her memory, these brief pages are dedicated.”  [Published at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.] 

     

    Great crowds gathered to show their grief in support of the surviving siblings.  They had become very fond of the three Indian youths and their endeavors to raise funds for the education of their tribe.  The deeply saddened Rok-Wa-Ho is quoted as saying, “One half the burden of the load is lifted from our hearts” following the great kindness shown to them by Owego’s citizens.  [Searles, p.33, excerpt from Star-Gazette Sunday Telegram, May 19, 1985]

     

    A memorial service subsequent to that in Owego was held at St. Thomas’ Church in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on February 29, 1852, with a sermon given by the rector S. H. Norton.  He referenced Ecclesiastes 3:4:  “A time to weep and…a time to mourn.”  [Searles, p.89, from the booklet “A Memorial of Sa-Sa-Na, the Mohawk Maiden…”]

     

    “The Deposit Courier” of Wednesday, February 25, 1852 included a poem “In memory of Miss Sasaneah Loft, the Indian Singing Girl, a victim of one of the late fatal accidents on the N.Y. and Erie Railroad:

    ‘To her Father, the ‘Great Spirit,’

    The forest child has fled; -

    Sharp was the arrow, brief the pang

    That laid her with the dead!

    But yesterday, and she was here

    Gay as the fawns that bound

    In sportive grace and joyousness

    Her woodland home around…

    Long, long, in sylvan solitudes

    Will sound the tale, I ween,

    How the Great Spirit called to heaven

    Their bright, accomplished queen.’

    From the Oxford Times, Feb. 21, 1852.”

    [Searles, p. 118, The Deposit Courier]

     

    Intending to return his sister’s body to Canada for burial, Rok-Wa-Ho was persuaded by Judge Avery to allow her remains to be placed in the Avery vault at the Presbyterian Church on Temple Street.  A committal service for her was held the following spring at Evergreen Cemetery on the hill above Owego. 

     

    With letters of administration from Surrogate Court, Judge Avery sued the railroad company on behalf of Sa-Sa-Na’s family.  Receiving a payment of $2000.00 in September 1852, he turned the money over to the Loft family.  Upon receipt of these funds, they were then able to provide for “publication of religious books, in the Mohawk language, for the education and Christianization of the Mohawk people at the reservation in Canada.”  [Searles, p.25-26, from Deposit Courier Magazine, March/April 1957.]

     

    To provide a monument at Sa-Sa-Na Loft’s burial site, the Owego women raised funds locally and from communities as far away as Albany, Auburn, Binghamton and Oxford where the Loft siblings had given concerts.  When sufficient funds were received, a beautiful white marble obelisk was purchased at cost, $201.58 (for a monument valued at the substantial sum of $400), from the Owego Marble Factory of G. W. Phillips who obtained the shaft and bases from Vermont’s Rutland Quarry.  This monument was erected in May 1855 as a lasting memorial to the young woman with whom the community had fallen in love.

     

    Little known to the rest of the world, Mohawk Indians apparently arrive each spring at Evergreen Cemetery to pay their respects to the memory of Sa-Sa-Na.  At times, the chief attends in full Indian dress.  “As is the custom of the Indians they arrive and leave quietly and, unless someone happens to be in the vicinity of the monument at the time, no one is the wiser for their tribute.”  [Searles, p.8-9, “Still visited by Her People, the Saga of Sa-Sa-Na Loft”  in “An Owego paper, date unknown, from the scrapbook of Ruth S. Tilly.”] 

     

    How fitting that, at least in the past, a quiet and unassuming tribute has been paid each year by the Mohawks to the memory of Sa-Sa-Na, one of their own… a moving tribute to a kind and compassionate young woman who ventured forth with the simple and noble ambition of raising funds to further educate more of her beloved people… her enduring legacy.

     

    And so, closing my eyes, I visualize the solemn occasion as the chief arrives bearing a visage of serenity.  Slowly and quietly he walks to the edge of Sa-Sa-Na’s grave.  Head bowed, he pauses to contemplate… and to remember all he’s heard about this young woman in stories passed from generation to generation.  As he lifts his eyes toward the sun, his own face shines with a joy for one so young whose tender heart touched so many… one whose life ended far too soon… but one who left a lasting legacy of love and concern for her people.  And with hands raised to the sky, he thanks the Great Creator for blessing their nation with the beauty of Sa-Sa-Na’s life.

     

    MAIN SOURCE (other websites on request):  “Sa-Sa-Na Loft, Owego’s Indian Maiden, A Historical Anthology,” compiled by Marilyn T. Searles, 2001 (held at Coburn Library, Owego, New York).

  2. Linda Roorda
    Latest Entry

     

    Analogies give us a glimpse of similarities and truths of a story tucked within a story.  Thinking about this concept after my poem was written brought to mind Mark Twain’s British book, “The Prince and The Pauper,” published subsequently in the U.S. in 1882. 

     

    In Twain’s beloved story, a young prince and a pauper (who happen to look a lot alike and were born on the same day) trade places in life.  The prince experiences the roughness of a lowly life just as his counterpart once did, while the pauper tries to bravely find his way at the top of an unfamiliar kingdom.  Common sense, so crucial to his survival in the real world, comes in quite handy as he makes his way through the upper echelon.  Ultimately, the real prince returns to claim his rightful place as heir and is crowned king.  Ever grateful for his real-life experiences as a pauper, the prince now understands life for the poor and hard-working folks beneath him, and is better able to comprehend their needs.  And, then he makes his friend, the pauper, his aide. 

     

    Having never read Twain’s book, my poem was written without knowledge of the story line.  After research, it’s clear my poem takes a similar albeit slightly different tack in relating a king who was used to observing the realm from his castle high above the fray of every-day life.  Wanting to experience firsthand what life for his subjects was like, he walks among them dressed as a beggar.  In this guise, he observes that most people continue on their way with their heads held high, seldom stooping to assist someone poorer than they.  They live and breathe a self-serving arrogance.

     

    But, on the other hand, a young woman notices the poor man in his tattered clothing.  She kindly offers to feed him – and not only did she provide nourishing meals, but she repairs his coat to provide warmth against the cold.  He returns often to talk with her, to learn the depths of her heart, and to simply show appreciation and gratefulness for what she has done for him, a beggar.

     

    He was afraid to share that he had fallen in love with her, but was now in a dilemma for he needs to return from whence he came.  Indeed, he knows that truth must always be told in any situation… and so he set out one day to let her know how much he loved her.  He was willing to give up all he owned just to serve her for the rest of his life.  And it was then that he could see his love was returned in her eyes as he knelt down to propose.  With her “yes,” his heart leapt for joy to know their hearts would soon be united forever, as he shared who he really was.

     

    Tucked within the depth of this poem’s story is the analogy of our Lord’s love for us.  Leaving his throne in His beautiful and perfect heavenly home, He came down to dwell among us… into this world of sin and pain.  Once here, He experienced life just as we do with all of its temptations and sadness, but also the joy.  And thus He is able to be our advocate and comforter, knowing from personal experience what our life on earth is all about.

     

    Yet, our Lord came that He might serve us, not to be served. “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) In His sacrifice, He gave His all for us… His life… that we might accept an awesome priceless gift; and, in so doing, share eternity with Him above.  What joy there will be when we are united with Him, and remain in the presence of His love forever!  What a King!

     Ode to a King

    Linda A. Roorda

     

    I gazed from afar while observing my realm

    And found with int’rest motives in action,

    But often their lives showed merest concern

    While I could see depths of their anguished souls.

     

    Oh how I loved these people of mine!

    And longed to walk the path to their soul

    A chance to converse, a sharing of hearts

    To bring them peace with comforting words.

     

    So stepping down, I entered their world

    Yearning to serve the rich and the poor

    But they did not know this beggar in rags

    Most never saw needs, just held their head high.

     

    And then I noticed a young woman fair

    Who spoke gentle words to a stranger coarse

    She offered me food and to mend my coat

    While love in my heart had only begun.

     

    A love which grew on the winds of time

    A chance to bond and learn of her heart

    To know the depths of comfort and peace

    Humility’s grace wrapped up in mercy.

     

    Now deeply in love I’d sacrifice all

    Yet she did not know the truth of my garb

    How would I explain that she’d found favor

    That her heart was true, like gold refined.

     

    So I intended my dilemma to share

    To let her know from afar I’d come,

    That all I’d longed for I treasured in her,

    Companionship sweet, a blending of souls.

     

    Expressing my love for her tender heart

    Overwhelmed was she as on knees I bent

    Asking for her hand, with tears she said yes,

    My heart leapt for joy that we’d become one.

     

    And then I shared my journey in rags

    From a kingdom rich in glory and fame

    To this lowly world of sorrow and pain

    To which I had come, others to serve.

     

    For it was then my eyes did behold

    Analogy of One with far greater love

    Who left His throne to walk on this earth

    To share our burdens and speak to our hearts.

     

    His love ran red as He gave His all

    To purchase with blood and redeem our souls

    That He might draw near, from sin set us free

    To offer His gift of life eternal.

    ~~

    12/21/15 – 12/24/15

    All rights reserved.

    May not be reproduced without permission of author.

     

  3. 5b71f288abd66_ScreenShot2018-08-13at5_03_54PM.png.79ca403b9d468c3a9209f0d81a278f5b.png

     

    “Silent night, Holy night”. Christmas festivities in colonial America were in stark contrast to the celebrations and preparations of modern day. Christmas was celebrated by early settlers of Chemung and throughout the newly formed United States of America. New York was the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on July 26th, 1788, the same year the Town of Chemung was established. Although the celebrations would not have been as elaborate as those in the cities or of the wealthy, a modest celebration would have taken place. It has been noted in writings of how generous and extravagant George Washington was on Christmas to his family, guests and servants. The Christmas of 1788 found our Country without a President, it being run instead by the Confederation Congress.[ii] The election held for the First President of the United States of America actually ran from Monday, December 15, 1788, to Saturday, January 10, 1789. No doubt politics would have been a newsworthy item spoken around the dinner table. Whether or not the settlers in Chemung were given the opportunity to vote is not known.

    Decorations would have been very simple by today’s standards. The German settlers most likely would have brought a small tree into their home. If they had the means to do so they might have adorned the tree with candles. New England Puritans preached against frivolity and the pagan heathen traditions of Christmas trees, Christmas carols and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.”[iii] Although there were hymns, Christmas Carols weren’t actually sung until the later part of the 19th century.

    Fruit of any kind was too precious to be wasted on decorations. You would not have seen any apples or other fruit adorning the mantel. The home and church might have been adorned with what was called the "sticking of the Church" with green boughs on Christmas Eve. Garlands of holly, ivy, and mountain laurel were hung from the church roof, the walls, and perhaps the primitive church benches. Lavender, rose petals, and pungent herbs such as rosemary and bay were scattered throughout the churches, providing a pleasant holiday scent. Scented flowers and herbs were chosen partially because they were aromatic and thus were considered an alternative form of incense.[iv]

    Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Moravians celebrated the traditional Christmas season with both religious and secular observances in the Middle Atlantic colonies of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and in the South. However, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in parts of New England by Calvinist Puritans and Protestants. [v]

    By the 18th century, Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Christkind or Kris Kringle might have made an appearance at Christmastime to leave a gift. Similar figures were a jolly elf named Jultomten, who was thought to deliver gifts in a sleigh drawn by goats and Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Babouschka and La Befana; depending on the nationality of the family home.[vi]

    Although private celebrations would have been held in the confines of some of the first log cabins and frame homes in the town, it is possible that some of the families came together to celebrate with bible readings and prayers provided by family members. Little is known about the first church erected in the Town of Chemung. It sat on the bank of the Chemung River several miles from what is now “Chemung Proper” on the south side of the river. Travel to the church especially in the cold winter months would have been difficult. A ferry would have been needed to traverse the icy water in December. For those living on the south side of the river, their difficulties would have been to travel the rutted path with their families. At that early a time in the history of the town, there were few horses or oxen and little or no carts or wagons. Most settlers would have traveled by foot. It was here where “The beginning of Christian Organizations in Chemung and Neighboring Valleys” was organized. “The site of the first church of any denomination in Chemung Valley.” It was “organized September 2, 1789 by Roswell Goff, Pastor and William Buck, John Hillman, Peter Roberts, John Roberts, Jesse Locey, John VanCamp and Elizabeth Hillman. (All Baptists)”. (A monument, located ¼ mile from the site of the church can be seen today on the Wilawana Road, located approximately 2 miles east of Wellsburg at what is known today as the Tanner Farm.)

    A small gathering met in worship, according to the early minutes of the Wellsburg Church. From this beginning, the Baptist Church grew, expanding to the building of a Meeting House in 1812 on land purchased by Abner Wells for 50 cents.[vii] The log cabin church and a cemetery were washed away in a flood. There are no remains today and no record of burials in the cemetery.

    Traditions from various nationalities were brought with the early settlers from their homes in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and other New England States and from their homes across the Atlantic. Many of the earliest settlers arrived between the years 1788 and 1791. Depending on when they began homesteading and growing crops, their harvest and winter supplies of food may have been lean for several years. If they had a roof over their head, a warm fireside and enough food to eat, along with the courage and fortitude to better their circumstances, they were wealthy in their own right. “All is Calm, All is Bright”. 

    Merry Christmas to All,
    Mary Ellen Kunst

  4. Fall has finally arrived on Wipjibber Mountain, which means the boys of Troop 000 are back up and running after time off for summer vacation. The scouts are just back from their first camping trip for the 2018-2019 season and I’m told it was one for the history books.

    In an effort to train for next Summer’s backpacking trip in the Allegheny Mountains, the scouts hiked from the Methodist Church to the property of their scoutmaster, Gary Inzo. It was fair weather for the 5 mile hike with an overnight stop in the woods near the old railway station.

    The following morning they arrived at Inzo’s property and set up camp. The older scouts instructed their younger charges in the ways of woodcraft including cooking a meal over an open fire. I’m happy to report no injuries other than an incident in which Lawrence Hubschmidt got smoke in his eyes and recoiled, sending his pan full of half done fried potatoes flying through the air. As his spuds returned to earth, some landing in a fresh mug of coffee, just poured, Lawrence lost his balance and went rolling down the hillside, his scoutmaster following closely behind him. Lawrence was uninjured, thankfully, largely in part to the strength of the adult leaders who restrained said scoutmaster until a fresh cup of joe could be poured for him. The adults later remarked it was a good thing Inzo forgot about the shotgun he’d brought in case of a visit by a nuisance bear that’d been having around his place.

    The scouts enjoyed a rousing game of “Flashlight Tag” in the wooded section of the property until the game took an interesting turn which will not be soon forgotten.

    Bobby Joe Olson, being designated as the person who was”it”, heard what he suspected to be another scout in a nearby thicket. He snuck up on the unsuspecting boy aided only by the moonlight. He was nearly on his quarry when he heard a low, deep snuffling sound.

    “B-B-B… BEAR!!!!” he bellowed, before stumbling over a tree root and falling backwards, losing his flashlight in the process.

    Scoutmaster Inzo, seeing the opportunity to finally be rid of the bear, remembered he'd brought his 12 gauge and, grabbing it, sprinted up the hill towards the sound of Bobby Joe’s yelling. Arriving where the boy was still  thrashing in the dry leaves trying to get to his feet he took aim at the thrashing weeds where  he knew the bear stood, and let fly with two rounds of buckshot.

    At the report of the old Remington, Bobby Joe snapped to his senses. He also snapped countless small trees and limbs as he bolted into the night towards camp.

    Certain the bruin was down,  Inzo went to his tent, fetching a lantern and returned with the rest of the group. All were anxious to see the monster which nearly ate their fellow scout. All that is except said scout who was occupied cleaning up the mess in his shorts.

    Shining the lantern on his trophy, Inzo was immediately crestfallen to find not the bearskin rug he’d long desired, but Ollie, his grandson’s prize Hereford steer which until this weekend was bound for next year’s State Fair.

    The remainder of the weekend was a somber affair as scoutmaster searched for ways to break the news of the steer’s demise to his grandson. But all agreed it was a weekend they’d never forget.

     

                                   Community Announcements

    The Wipjibber Mountain Audubon Club will host a Pancake Breakfast at the fire department November 10th from 8-11 am. A free will donation is suggested.

    Scout Troop 000 announced they will be postponing their annual Fall Spaghetti Dinner. Instead, there will be an “all you can eat” roast beef dinner held in the dining hall of the Methodist Church on Nov. 17th from 4-7pm. Cost is $10 for those 12 and up, children $5. All proceeds will go towards the troops newly planned Summer trip to New York City.

     

     

  5. Without a doubt, we’re heading into some exciting times here in Chemung County. With the slate of candidates running for election this year, voters have the opportunity to enact change that could impact the county for decades to come.

    It’s exciting times for ElmiraTelegram.com as well. Not only has the site stepped forward to offer the chance for voters to voice their support for the candidates, but the opportunity for the candidates to reach out to the voters as well.

    Additionally, it’s a time of change for the website as a whole. Prompted by several people in our community and the void expressed by many, ElmiraTelegram.com will be making some major changes to the website in the next few weeks.

    Starting shortly after the election, ElmiraTelegram.com will be getting a major facelift, offering a more user friendly, professional looking website.

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    Just a peek!

     

    The changes won’t be just cosmetic however. We’ll be making it easier for readers and community figures to make their voices heard with an expanded “Opinion” section, modeled off of the traditional op-ed pages found in newspapers across the nation.

    E.T will have a Special Features section appearing throughout the year including a section to celebrate the holidays.

    And for those who enjoy the laid back chat, the the forums will remain available to those who have signed up.

    Best of all, ElmiraTelegram.com will remain free to the public. No firewalls, no pop up, just news and information.

    This change has been something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, and now feels like the right time to give it a whirl.The original plan was to make the changes to coincide with the site’s five year anniversary, but there’s no way I can wait that long.

    So stay tuned and sometime after Election Day we’ll pull back the covers and unveil the new and improved ElmiraTelegram.com. I think you’re gonna like it!

     

  6. by Erin Doane 

    The Lake Street Bridge closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic in March 2011. I started working here at CCHS in May 2011, so I never had the chance to go over the bridge that is just across the street from the museum. It was announced recently that work would start next summer to repair the bridge and open it to pedestrians. This is just the newest chapter in the history of this river crossing.

    The first bridge across the Chemung River in Elmira was completed at the foot of Lake Street in 1824. Before that, one needed a ferry to cross the river. The wooden bridge was constructed by the Elmira and Southport Bridge Company. It had three piers, one in the center of each channel and another on the island in the middle of the river. Some years after it was built, the spans began to sag considerably. Once, a drove of cattle crossing the bridge, broke through the first span during high water and timbers and cows went floating down the river. In 1840, the bridge was badly damaged in the “great fire” of that year. A new covered bridge was erected on the spot with J.H. Gallagher supervising construction.

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    The covered bridge burned in 1850 when the tannery at its south end caught fire. It was replaced by a wooden truss structure. This new bridge was open at the top except for some crossing timbers. This allowed the snow to fall through onto the roadway during the winter so that sleighs could more easily cross. A considerable part of this bridge was washed away during the St. Patrick’s Day flood of 1865. The bridge’s only stone pier was undermined and most of the southern span dropped out and washed down the river. The bridge was repaired and remained in used until 1869.

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    By 1869, there were two bridges over the Chemung, at Lake Street and Main Street. Both were toll bridges. Businessmen on the north side of the river did not like that people had to pay tolls to cross. Customers from the plank road district and other parts of Southport were reluctant to cross the bridge to do businesses. Farmers didn’t want to pay a toll to sell their produce so they went south to Troy, Pennsylvania instead of to Elmira.

    Early in 1869, the city passed a legislative act authorizing it to purchase both bridges for $25,000 (around $460,000 today). They dropped the tolls and used taxpayer funds to maintain the structures. Three years later, another act was passed authorizing the building of new bridges at both locations. The Main Street bridge was replaced first, then the Lake Street bridge was completed in 1874. The new Lake Street bridge was made of iron with three spans of 182 feet each and trusses that were 26 feet high. The piers were made of limestone. It cost $65,000 (about $1.4 million). 

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    The Lake Street bridge was replaced again by a new steel bridge in 1905. While the work was being done, a temporary wooden pedestrian bridge was erected next to it so that people could still move across the river.

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    In June, 1959, City Manager Angus T. Johnson reported to the Elmira City Council that the Lake Street bridge was in desperate need of repair. The bridge supports were weakened, the metal fixtures were corroded, and rivets were missing from some joints. Salt used on the roads during the winter caused much of the deterioration. The Council closed the bridge to both all traffic and plans were made to replace the structure.

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    On June 21, 1961, between 1,200 and 1,500 Elmirans gathered in the rain for the official opening of the new Lake Street bridge. The bridge had been closed for two years but construction had finished two weeks ahead of schedule. The cost of demolition of the old bridge and construction of the new was $473,270 (just under $4 million today). 

    In 1972, flood waters rose all the way to the bridge’s deck but it survived largely unscathed. Eleven years later, in 1983, it was closed for two months while new expansion joints were installed, the structural steel was scraped and repainted, and the roadway was resurfaced with a new membrane liner to help preserved the concrete deck.

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    Regular maintenance was not enough to keep the bridge from deteriorating. Winters can be hard here in the northeast and, despite yearly washing, salt used to treat the roads damaged the bridge’s concrete supports and rubber expansion joints. In March 2011, the Lake Street bridge was declared unsafe and closed to vehicles and pedestrians. At the time, it had the lowest traffic count of all the city’s five bridges over the Chemung River. As early as May 2011, there were reports that the bridge would be repaired for pedestrian use only. Next summer, some eight years later, the project may finally get underway.

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    Erin Doane is the curator at the Chemung County Historical Society. To see more of their blog, go to http://chemungcountyhistoricalsociety.blogspot.com

  7. I’ve been a member of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction since 2014. The task force was established at a time when local police departments and addiction centers, including many across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, were pointing to the alarming rise in the availability and abuse of heroin and opioids.  

    Since its formation, this crisis has only accelerated and deepened. 

    Significant resources have been committed to examining the myriad causes and effects, and to find solutions. State funding, for instance, has doubled to nearly $250 million in this year’s budget.

    Nevertheless, the work of responding is just beginning. 

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids.”

    The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) pegs the economic cost of prescription opioid abuse at nearly $79 billion annually in the United States, “including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”

    A report earlier this year from the Albany-based Rockefeller Institute of Government made this summary, “We found that drug deaths continue to surge in New York State. In one year, from 2015 to 2016, drug deaths increased 29 percent — from 3,009 total deaths to 3,894. In fact, it was the single largest annual increase in the number of deaths we examined going back to 2010. Overall…from 2010-16 there has been a 121 percent increase in the number of deaths in New York State.”

    That’s just a small sampling of the impact. It does not even begin to tell the personal, family stories of loss.
     
    Consequently, last week, our Senate task force released our latest, comprehensive report detailing a series of recommendations for ongoing state-level actions to address the burgeoning addiction crisis affecting communities. The report follows and continues to build on the series of public forums the task force has held across the state since 2014, including forums I have sponsored in Elmira and Penn Yan. 

    What the Senate task force has heard directly from the local front lines in fighting this heroin and opioid crisis is the foundation we are building on. This local input, which has been reflected in actions New York State has taken over the past several years, helps target the necessary responses and keep our strategies as up to date as possible.

    Local input has been the driving force behind the recommendations we’re now putting forth to build on and strengthen the state-local partnership that's going to remain critical to putting in place the most effective combination of law enforcement, awareness and education, and treatment and prevention.  

    We need to keep acting and keep working, and we will. The report details the task force’s emphasis on a four-pronged response focusing on prevention, treatment, recovery, and enforcement. Among many other actions highlighted in the new report, legislation spearheaded by the task force has served as a national model for other states and in the creation of the federal Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act recently approved by Congress. 

    The report’s 11 recommendations emphasize a plan to utilize public and private resources to help underserved populations and others without access to treatment, as well as improve existing support systems to keep enhancing and strengthening New York’s evolving fight against opioid abuse. 

    The full report, which includes more information on the recommendations and details about numerous legislative actions spearheaded by the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, is available on my Senate website, omara.nysenate.gov.
     

  8. The turkeys are back!!  About two dozen are now scratching up all the vegetation below the bird feeders.  Crisp leaves rustle like taffeta under their feet.  Young turkeys in the dog pen provide some wild entertainment when Freckles decides he must go out.   The birds race round and round, forgetting they can fly, and then suddenly they remember and soar over the fence with pounding wings and squawks of protest.  Then we let the dog off his leash and he barks after them.

    As the leaves continue to reluctantly fall, the catalogs have been pouring into our mail box; pages and pages full of Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas decorations and gift ideas.  My mind boggles at the plethora of STUFF ----- I am amazed that anyone would spend money on some of these items.   But then I remind myself that taste is surely subjective and what’s attractive, humorous or meaningful to one may not be equally so to another; I do not have a franchise on what is appropriate in décor, lawn ornaments or possessions.   

    Recently, we had visitors from Uganda --- a pastor and his wife --- and suddenly I looked at our house as they might see it.  I was struck by the thought that they could well find all my stuff over-the-top too much in the spiritual value system that we share.  Everyone’s culture is as different as everyone’s taste.  Rethinking our living conditions and our possessions is probably a useful activity now and then.  It’s so easy to accumulate, collect, and amass thoughtlessly.

    Anyone who has visited our home knows that I’m definitely not a minimalist (you can all stop laughing now!).  Each corner, the walls and all the shelves are full.  I surround myself with items that are meaningful to me or beautiful in my eyes, from shells and stones to cut glass and silver tea pots.  I like French provincial chairs and velvet pillows, homespun blankets and brass warming pans.  But I can also appreciate homes that are quite different; I admire the sleek glass and steel rooms with splashy Georgia O’Keefe paintings and luxurious fur throws.  I like the classic Arts and Crafts designs; Roycroft and Stickley.   Then there’s the Adirondack-style décor all pine cones and Pendleton blankets.  If I could decorate houses for a living, I’d be on cloud nine until my energy ran out.  On the other end, I probably would live in a wilderness cabin quite happily if I had my own pillow and tea cup.  I guess my point is that no one should feel a need to copy anyone else’s style – in homes, clothes or living.  We are each unique and, hopefully, are able to embrace that.   Alexandra Stoddard says: “Let the light that shines brightly inside you become the energy that guides the energy of your home.” * Now when any of my family lift their eyebrows at the multiplicity of my things ---- I’ll just respond that everything from the china and glass to the stacks of books, provide energy for my days------ but that I’m also trying to hold my possessions lightly. :)

    In another three days, it will be Halloween.   (And in thirteen days I hope you and all your friends, relatives and neighbors will be out to vote!!)  We’ve harvested our few pumpkins for the steps and brought out the broom corn.  These signs of autumn will remain until after Thanksgiving.  My small concession to actual Halloween decorating, are three orange pails with cut-out faces, through which candles shine, and we do usually carve a pumpkin or two.  I forgo the skeletons, ghouls, bats and spiders.  They are a bit macabre for my taste.

    Halloween began as the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween).  This was a harvest celebration and the beginning of the Celtic New Year, but also a time when it was thought that spirits could come back; to vent their displeasure on those they felt had wronged them in this life.  The lighted pumpkins and gourds were carried to protect individuals from the unhappy spirits.  Bon fires were set in and around villages to make more light for said protection.  Samhain became our Halloween due to Pope Gregory the First.  In 601 AD, Gregory ordered the missionaries of the Christian church: stop trying to stamp out the pagan customs and holidays.  Instead, adapt the times already customary for celebration and rename them to fit the Christian faith.  So --- Samhain became All-Saint’s Eve, All Saints Day, and colloquially Halloween.

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    When I was a teenager, we went trick or treating for UNICEF.  Our sons seldom went out unless they were visiting someone who did.  However, we had several Halloween parties at home, where we and assorted friends constructed mazes, bobbed for apples, did skits and dressed in costumes.  Back when I sewed more, I made Super Man, Bat Man and other heroic costumes that after Halloween, became pajamas or went into the dress-up box.  Our house in the Catskills was a marvelous site for Halloween parties.  It had a split-level attic, the upper part of which was all gabled.  We set up mazes there with recorded ghostly music and props like cooked spaghetti and peeled grapes.  It was great fun.  Currently, since we live back from the road and away from the village, we seldom get any little voices calling: “trick or treat”.  However I find that it is sufficiently good to consider the All-Saints aspect of October 31st and November 1st.  Enough of my family and friends have gone beyond earth’s tether that I like remembering and celebrating them.   

    One of my current autumn activities is making potpourri – of two or three sorts.  My favorite happens to be a basil, sage and marigold combination.  This wouldn’t appeal to everyone --- including the men in my family who think that herbs are generally stinky.  But that pungent aroma brings back all the greenness and robustness of summer vegetable gardens.   I put phlox flowers and alyssum into another mix, creating a comfort-giving scent that triggers thoughts of warm conversations around my mother’s table accompanied by cocoa and molasses cookies.

    Diane Ackerman**, a local, but internationally-known writer, speaks at some length about fragrances and our sense of smell, in her book, A Natural History of the Senses.  Diane is a biologist, professor and poet; a woman of many interests.  This is what she says about our sense of smell: “Smells spur memories, but they also rouse our dozy senses, pamper and indulge us, help define our self-image, stir the cauldron of our seductiveness, warn us of danger, lead us into temptation, fan our religious fervor, accompany us to heaven, wed us to fashion, steep us in luxury.”   And she goes on to discuss perfumes, plants, animals and humans ---- our olfactory capabilities ----- and tells us what happens when the sense of smell leaves us --- we lose our sense of taste among other difficulties.  Odors are often hard to describe, but we can conjure them up in our memories if we concentrate.   Helen Keller*** said: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across a thousand miles and all the years we have lived.”  I’m not fond of most commercial potpourris and some perfumes actually give me a head ache.  But my home-made potpourri keeps me happy all through the long, NYS winters.

    Because Halloween is imminent, I conclude with this poem by Harry Behn**** to bring back your Halloween memories.  “Tonight is the night when dead leaves fly like witches on switches across the sky, when elf and sprite flit through the night on a moony sheen.  Tonight is the night when leaves make a sound like a gnome in his home under the ground, when spooks and trolls creep out of holes mossy and green.  Tonight is the night when pumpkins stare through sheaves and leaves everywhere, when ghoul and ghost and goblin host dance ‘round their queen.  It’s Halloween!”

    I hope this carries blessings and fragrant breezes wafting across your life this October time.

    Carol may be reached at: cpeggy@htva.net.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    *-Alexandra Stoddard—American writer and life-style guru.

    **-Diane Ackerman – American writer, essayist, biologist and poet; born 1948, resides in Ithaca, NY.

    ***-Helen Keller – American author, activist, lecturer; first person to achieve a BA degree who was both blind and deaf.  Quote from “The World I Live In”.

    ****- Harry Behn – American screen writer; 1898-1973

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    The Chemung County Matters blog exists to help promote discussions about local issues. The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily reflect my own, but are rather shared here in order to provide information and hopefully stimulate ideas.

    Last night the Chemung County Legislature voted 14-2 in favor of a new sales tax plan, with only Peggy Woodard (District 8) and Rodney Strange (District 15) voting no.

    The old plan has been under intense scrutiny since it was passed in 2013 for taking resources from the towns, villages and City of Elmira, causing many of them to suffer fiscal hardships.

    Numerous candidates for local office have strenuously advocated for a change in the way sales tax monies are allocated between the county and its municipalities, something that is undoubtedly part of the decision of county leaders to change course.

    However, the new plan has many problems as well.

    Prior to the vote, I offered comments to the sitting legislature about new plan as it relates to the towns and villages. I intend to describe my position in a subsequent post within the next day or so.

    John Burin, a former manager of the City of Elmira and current candidate for legislature in the 9th District, offered comments about the new plans as it relates to the city. A copy of his statement is shown below.


     

    Quote

     

    October 9, 2018

    Honorable Legislators:

    On September 24, 2018 I mailed each of you a letter with supporting documentation asking that you table this proposed plan to revise the reallocation of sales tax. I also referenced a process by which the 2019 county budget and budget message could move forward without the revised plan being in place. In my op ed on September 23, 2018, I pointed out in three months, newly elected officials should have the right to vote on this multi-year funding program.

    I fully support a plan to reallocate sales tax revenue however, I believe the plan should be based on more than fund balances and debt. For example, the County apportionment of real property taxes creates an unintentional double taxation for certain services. These inequities, which are common to most of the towns/villages in varying degree, should be taken into consideration with the allocation of sales tax dollars. Additionally, from 2013 to 2018 Chemung County expenses increased $15 million dollars. During this same time period five county budgets were passed with deficits that required $10.5 million dollars of fund balance to close the gap. Future estimates of county revenues and expenses should be projected showing the impact of a sales tax reallocation plan.

    In order for our county to realize desired social/economic growth, we must work together for a common cause. It was in this spirit that the City of Elmira allowed it’s Empire Zone Benefits to be used outside the City. The City’s willingness to share its zone in early 2000 produced economic benefits we still enjoy today and will continue to enjoy into the future.

    According to the Chemung County Industrial Agency report, Project Information, December 31, 2009 the City of Elmira Empire Zone;

    *Leveraged over $700 Million of private investment.

    *Generated new property tax revenue for the County in excess of $900,000 and $1.7 million local and school tax revenue. Each year as property tax exemptions expire, the real property tax revenue increases and therefore current tax revenue is significantly greater.

    *The City’s zone created 4,500 jobs and retained 10,000 jobs.

    *14,500 jobs with an average salary of $20,000 generated $290 Million of payroll.

    *$290 Million of payroll generates millions of sales tax dollars.

    This is a billion dollar infusion of economic benefits. If not for the City of Elmira sharing its Empire Zone, Chemung County finances would be quite different today.

    In June 2016, the New York State Financial Restructuring Board commented on the City of Elmira’s Bond Rating. “Prior to June 2015, the City had a bond rating of A2 with a negative outlook from Moody’s. On June 1st, 2015, Moody’s released a new rating for the City’s General Obligation bonds and lowered the rating by five notices – to Ba1 with a sustained negative outlook. This is non-investment grade (junk bond) rating from Moody’s.”

    The reasons Moody’s cited for this severe reduction in the City’s credit rating are:

    *Significant loss of revenue from the County sales tax sharing agreement;

    *Health insurance overruns;

    *Recurring general fund deficits

    Moody’s will view new development positively however this plan that defers City debt will most likely not improve the City’s poor investment grade of bonds. The mixed use $14,000,000 development project in Elmira was granted a twenty year payment in lieu of tax agreement with the first four years being 100% exempt, after eleven years the project will pay 30% and in year twenty 60%. Property tax revenue from the affordable housing projects are restricted by law and proposed private developments have been given multi-year tax exemptions. It is for these reasons additional sales tax revenue to the City should be a part of tonight’s plan. Even if the revenue is restricted as to use, Moody’s may look favorably at a slight upgrade.

    Sound business practice would suggest that this proposed sales tax allocation is deficient of solid reasoning for the suggested allocations. Over the next three months, a cohesive legislature working together should develop a plan that addresses the needs of the community keeping in mind the future needs of county government as well as the social and economic challenges inherent with high poverty levels, effective tax rates that stagnate real estate values and the ever increasing cost of providing efficient public safety services.

    The plan before you tonight falls short in capturing these community needs. Lets take a step back, analyze the financial impact of what is being proposed and compare those findings to the needs of our community.

    Thank you,

    John J. Burin


     

     

  10. If someone told you that you could go back in time to a day of your choice and change it, would you? 

    I asked one of my sisters that question and she immediately answered "No, I have no regrets".   "I'm not talking about regrets" I said, "Is there any one day or incident that you would change if you could"?  Her answer remained a firm "no".   

    For me one moment in particular came to mind, a snowy day in January, 1978.  "I would have left the laundry soap in the car" I told her.   "Regret is a waste of time" she said.  I didn't see it that way at the time but Sis was right, I was talking about regret.

    January, 1978, was a very snowy month and another storm had hit the area two or three days prior to that day so there was still a foot plus of snow on the ground. I was unloading the car after shopping for our second son's first birthday celebration.  Maintainence for the apartment complex where we living had still not cleared the sidewalks so I was being careful.  All bags were in the house except for the laundry soap.  

    "Leave it" my husband said, "I'll bring it up later".  

    I should have listened.

    While carrying that single bottle back to the apartment I slipped and fell.  I don't know what happened because I didn't feel anything.  There was enough snow to cushion my fall and all I was aware of was the loud pop I heard echo through the apartment buildings.  Evidently, that was the sound of breaking bones.  When I tried to get up I found I couldn't move.  I tried a couple of times but I just couldn't move and I didn't know why.  Luckily someone saw me fall and my struggle to move and the next thing I know Hubby's kneeling by me telling me not to move.  My ankle was shattered and the two bones above the ankle were broke.

    I can still see the faces of my two little boys watching from the bedroom window as I was loaded into the ambulance.  Their tears broke my heart.

    In the operating room they told me my toes were where my heel should have been.  I was in a cast up to my hip from January until July and then a cast from the knee down until September.  That was nothing compared to the fact that I missed my son's first birthday. 

    To add further insult to  injury, two weeks prior to the accident I had interviewed for a position as a nurse at the Elmira Psych Center.  The call that the position was mine came while I was in the hospital so I had to decline the offer.  

    Thinking about the four surgeries, bone grafts, many, many casts and knowing I have not had a pain free day in 40 years because of that accident I was positive.  "Yep, the laundry soap would have stayed in the car that day", that's the moment I would have changed.

    But then I started thinking about how my life and that of my family's might have been different if I changed that moment all those years ago. 

    Working at the Psych Center meant I wouldn't have taken the various jobs through the years working with several different lawyers, which in turn eventually led me to my last position as a Court Clerk.  I would have met and worked with different people.  I wouldn't have met my youngest son's wife who also worked at the same municipality.  If I hadn't met her my son wouldn't have either and we wouldn't have the two wonderful grandchildren they gave us including our only granddaughter. 

    So many little things that would have changed that I couldn't even realize or the effects those changes would cause.

    If I had been able to accept that position at the Psych Center I believe that eventually the home we bought would have been a different home.  Our boys would have grown up in a different neighborhood,  met different friends, probably worked at different jobs.  It's also possible my other sons may not have met the wonderful women they would eventually marry.   

    So many things probably would have changed, some minor but some could have been major and definitely life altering, possibly not at all positive.  Changes that could have been much worse than a few broken bones.

    The difficulties we have dealt with through the years resulting from that snowy January day have made us the family we are now.  My sons grew up seeing their father cooking, cleaning, doing dishes and laundry every time I was  recovering from another surgery or was in a cast.  He has always been and continues to be my helpmate.  To this day he's always concerned about me falling.  I'd like to believe that in some small way my sons are the caring, loving, hands on husbands and fathers they are because of the example set by their Dad through the years.

    I will admit to having many "why me" moments through the years and will probably have more of them in the years to come.  I try to keep to myself during those moments because I will admit to sometimes being a bit irritable.  Hubby always knows when I'm having a bad day.  On the plus side I always know when it's going to rain or snow and that can come in handy.  I have often joked that in a past life I was a very mean, unpleasant diva ballet dancer who is paying for her actions in this lifetime.  

    Was that day just a random accident or did things happen exactly the way they were supposed to happen?  A long time ago someone once told me that everything happens for a reason and I've come to believe that is true.  I was wrong when I told my sister I wasn't talking about regrets because that's exactly what I was feeling.  Regret for a choice I made on that long ago day and the consequences of that decision.  

    I will admit Sis had more wisdon than I did at that time.  Regrets are a waste of time and I now try not to let that emotion into my life.  Despite the daily aching joints and difficulty walking most days, I wouldn't change that day or any other.   All those days, moments and choices through the years have led me to where and who I am right this moment.  It may not be a perfect life but it has been and continues to be a good life shared with those I love most. 

    If offered the opportunity to go back in time and change any one day or moment of my choice my answer would also be a firm "no thank you". 

     Have you ever had one of those moments?  What would you do?

     

     

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