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  1. 8 points
    Chemung County has a historic opportunity ahead of us. With nearly every county legislative district contested including the Executive position, the future of the county, sink or swim, rests largely in the hands of the voters. We have the choice of three candidates this year, all of them fine people I’m sure, but there is one I think will deliver the results that Chemung County not only wants, but needs: Sheriff Chris Moss. From Day One, Moss was the first candidate to propose a plan to redistribute sales tax monies back to municipalities throughout Chemung County. This includes the City of Elmira, whose financial woes have made up a large part of the news over the past couple years. Speaking of the City of Elmira, Chris has the ability to work with the city government, unencumbered by the current friction between county and city. He also has the managerial experience to oversee county affairs, and an established relationship with many within the city, town, and county governments. He is the sole candidate with both of those qualifications, I believe. For nearly 20 years the leadership of Chemung County has remained the same. That’s longer than any in the County Executive in the past, and frankly, far too long. Public service shouldn’t be a decades long career. Moss’s platform includes term limits: 2 consecutive 4 year terms for the County Executive, and 3 consecutive 4 year terms for County Legislators. Term limits are long overdue in all forms of government, and finally there’s a candidate who wants to make them happen, if only on the local level. It’s time for a fresh start in Chemung County, someone with not only vision but a track record of getting things done. I fully support Sheriff Chris Moss for Chemung County Executive. Chris Sherwood, Lowman
  2. 6 points
    I'll admit right off the bat I am biased here, just so all the cards are on the table. Attending the Spring concert at Elmira High School the other night was, in a word, impressive. It seems like every event we attend the students' skills grow in leaps and bounds, the energy and time they put into practicing evident. The music was fantastic, as always. They've got one hell of a music program at the Elmira schools. Watching a couple of the soloists fidgeting nervously or taking a couple deep breaths before launching into their piece, I was thinking, "You got this, kid," because I know they've worked hard. And they nailed it, the look on their faces afterwards, the look of maybe relief but more pride than anything, priceless. Same for the whole group after each piece. Towards the end of the concert, they took a moment to recognize the seniors, who made up a large part of the group, and what they're plans were after graduation. Out of the twenty or so they introduced, every single one of them had plans for college and a career path. Computer security, dentistry, chemistry, theater, mathematics, and even a couple pre-med... every one of those kids has a path they've laid out before themselves to a promising future. As the introductions wrapped up and the concert proceeded, it bothered me how the public doesn't hear all the positive things going on inside the Elmira schools. Yeah, they had a rough patch a couple years ago with near riots in the hallways and brutal assaults documented on video. Right here on this site, I very bluntly compared the schoolyards to a prison yard at the time. But things turned around pretty quickly. With a strong message and better leadership in some of the buildings, there's been amazing progress. In a world gone mad, they're fighting an uphill battle there in the classrooms, both the teachers and students alike. But they're trying. Those seniors standing up there ready to chase their dreams prove it. At the very end of the program, the entire group played a rendition of "This Is Me" from the 2017 movie, "The Greatest Showman" to reflect the idea that no matter what, it's okay to be themselves. As they played an instrumental version, the lyrics showed on a screen accompanied by pictures of all the students doing what they enjoy: When the sharpest words wanna cut me downI'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them outI am brave, I am bruisedI am who I'm meant to be, this is meLook out 'cause here I comeAnd I'm marching on to the beat I drumI'm not scared to be seenI make no apologies, this is me And I believe they mean it. If this close knits group of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders is representative of the entire student body, there's more good things going on in those hallways than a music program. I'm proud of every single one of them. Of course I know me saying this means little to many, even less to some. There's always going to be the naysayers who judge the majority by the actions of the errant few who exist everywhere. People like to complain, it's a favorite past time around here apparently. Time for a reality check, people: There will always be drop outs. There will always be unruly students. There will always be fights. In any school building in America. Elmira is not some anomaly where such things occur. So the next time someone out there decides to complain about their taxes wasted on the schools. The next time someone someone starts to type a message on social media about how the students in Elmira are out of control, are a waste of time, all headed for jail... Or call them "all a bunch of hood-rats, welfare trash", here's a message from me: Stick it in your ass. Those kids are gonna have it hard enough in this world, the last thing they need is the people of their own trying to beat them down.
  3. 5 points
    Yep...I saw Santulli's "unbareable" mistake and would have pointed it out if you hadn't! It brakes my heart and hertz my eyes two sea that stuff!
  4. 5 points
    One of the things that set me on the path of doing a website like this was my time as a columnist for a small newspaper from Spencer NY called "The Broader View Weekly". Having a bi-weekly deadline helped me not only to get my writing up to snuff but also forced me to come up with fresh ideas. Even more than I have to now. Some of these were personal stories that somehow tied into a message to share with the readers. This is one of them that I'll be posting from time to time. Originally published in February 2011 An interesting and rather amazing thing happened this past weekend, and I’d like to share it with you, but first I have to tell you one story to tell you the other. About twelve years ago when the idea of talking to strangers on the internet was a new and exciting thing, I ended up finding a pen pal of sorts. In the electronic Tower of Babel known as the AOL chat room, I became friends with a lawyer in Connecticut. Her profile listed her profession as “ambulance chaser” ( She disputes this fact now, but I say it's true. ) and mine being a paramedic working out of one I believe was what got the initial conversation going. Nonetheless when we found ourselves online, we would shoot the breeze about whatever, as pen pals would the old fashioned way. Now my friend was a lawyer for children going through various problems, she never really specified what, but it seemed as though she took the task of being an advocate for children pretty seriously. There was one particular time when she must have had a bad day and asked at one point, “What’s the use ? I don’t think it will make a difference.” and I told her this story I had recently read: “ An old man and his grandson were walking down the beach after a storm. Along the way they came upon what appeared to be hundreds of starfish that had washed ashore in the storm. The old man immediately began placing the starfish back in the water one by one lest they die on the sand. The young man, watching, said, ‘Grandpa, what are you doing ? There’s too many and you can’t save them all. It’s not going to make a difference ! ‘ The old man turned, and placing the starfish in his hand back into the water smiled and said, ‘ It makes a difference to this one.’” Time has made the conversation sort of spotty, but I always figured the story helped. I had no idea… We eventually lost touch and life went on, ten years in fact. However last week, for some strange reason this friend crossed my mind. I have no idea why or how, just did. After a day or two of wondering “whatever became of…” that just wouldn’t leave me alone I finally decided to see if through the power of Google I could find out. So after beating my brains out remembering her last name I sent out an e mail to an address that seemed right, first making sure to explain I wasn’t nuts, just looking for someone. I also included the above story, knowing if I had the right person, they would remember that if nothing else. A couple days went past and I finally got a response. I found my old “pen pal” who, admittedly didn’t remember much about me but remembered the story. She was in Florida she said, and then told me something that still leaves me in awe. It seems she continues to work with a youth group in response to some “pretty ugly” violence in her city. There are three kids who are working with her who have recently come to her on separate occasions to ask if what they were doing is “worth it”. She assured them it is, and while in Tampa bought them each a gold starfish with the intention of telling them the story. It gets better. The day I had that irresistible urge to send out my e mail was the same day she bought the kids’ gifts. I’m telling you this story first off because, let’s face it it’s pretty cool. Also, because it occurs to me that without realizing it, we each in our own way touch so many lives in ways we’ll never know. While not everyone may get such a reminder as I have, it feels right, it again feels necessary to pass it on as a reminder. We all can make a difference.
  5. 5 points
    Last year after my wife and I got the lights on the Christmas tree, we let the boys take over and begin decorating. Historically this has involved them putting them on the tree in the same location within a 6 inch radius and me telling them to spread the decorations out. The grownups will put a couple decorations on the tree as well, ones that must be on there; a couple from a honeymoon trip to the Adirondacks, a mini union suit that commemorated baby's first Christmas, etc. Additionally, there's the decorations that have been on my tree since long before I can remember. You see a tradition in our family was for each year the kids would get a new decoration from Grandma, usually around Thanksgiving or shortly thereafter. So I have decorations going back 43 years, each one with my name and the year on it. Some of them have to stay in the box now, or risk being damaged, but I try to put a few from over the years on the tree no matter what. One of those is particularly special, as represents a very specific memory. As I recall ( and Mom if I'm recalling this one wrong, I don't want to know ) I was maybe 10 years old, I don't know, shopping with Grandma one year and an ornament caught my eye. A galloping unicorn made of a glass like substance. I can't remember why I was drawn to it, although given my appreciation of fantastical beasts it shouldn't be a surprise. Anyhow, I asked for it, got it, and it became part of the collection. As far as I know it went on the tree every year I can remember after that. Especially after her death in 2010, that ornament is mandatory on the tree, placed by me in front of a light so it shines. So getting back to last year, there we are, decorating the tree and I reach for the unicorn. Not in the box. I look in the other. Not there either. I search the remaining boxes, and then becoming more frantic, the two decoration boxes again. Nothing. I began to think, surely I wouldn't have missed it when we took down the tree last year. Would I ? Even if I missed it in the house, I would have noticed it when I put the tree in one of our bird pens. Right ? What if I didn't ? What brush pile did it end up on ? Ohmygoditslostforever.... Folks, if you'd ever wanted to see a 42 year old man rapidly losing his shit, this would have been the time to see it. I was coming unglued looking for it. Fortunately my partner "for better or worse" ( or sudden insanity ) found it. Deep breaths, heart rate settled maybe feeling a little foolish, it went on the tree and we went on with Christmas. The point to all of this is, we all have our traditions, and in those traditions are memories that last long after we've grown and others have gone on. We were blessed to have been raised with values that put emphasis on traditions, or more precisely, the memories that remain long after the material things are gone. Nevertheless, there is that value attached to small things like a two dollar ornament. Maybe it's something I wouldn't have consciously recognized even ten years ago, but with each passing year do. With each passing year memories fade, it can't be helped, they just do. We forget life's little moments, maybe even memories of people fade. So we treasure those little plastic talismans that bring us not good luck, but good memories that may have otherwise faded. And we remember all over again.
  6. 4 points
    Things have been rather peaceful here on Wipjibber Mountain this Summer, other than the sound of griping as the farmers try to get the hay in between rainfalls. It’s been so wet here this year that folks don’t need to dress up those little statues of geese in their front yards anymore, what with the real geese out there holding umbrellas. Well, there was some excitement in town after a few of the local boys gave the town quite a scare last month. It seems the McCaney boys and Pete Crabbe decided to go whitewater rafting in the crick after several days of rain. Pete says they were doing fine until they slammed into a tree trunk and fell off the tire tube. Pete ended up downstream a ways, the current so strong it ripped his swimsuit clean off. Stark naked, he ran to get help while Jimmy and Billy held on to Cal Hendrick’s barbed wire fence, which Jimmy later reported woulda took his head clean off had he not ducked underwater. Unable to see Pete, they screamed for help, attracting Cal’s dairy herd, which weren’t much use. Cal grabbed the first thing he could find, which happened to be his logging chain, and led by a bare bottomed Pete, run to the crick to drag the two out. His first attempt to throw them the chain missed... sort of. His following attempts more successful, Cal managed to drag the boys out of the water on to dry land. He gave the trio a good talking to, and they begged Cal not to tell their folks. But it was already too late as the site of a naked teenage boy pounding on the back door gave new meaning to “flash flooding” for Cal’s wife and town gossip, Onalee. Not counting Onalee’s nervous condition being set off, the boys were fine and casualties few other than a few stitches on Billy McNaney’s forehead where Cal’s logging chain hit him. Two of the three were the source of further consternation in town when "Mooch" Mitchell showed up at the Urgent Care Sunday last hollering he'd been poisoned and needed his stomach pumped. Doc, somewhat irked by being dragged away from the race on the waiting room TV, told Mooch to calm down and tell him what happened first. It seems while their folks were off in Millport visiting family, the boys were left home to stack wood. Mooch stopped to see if they wanted to go fishing and declined requests to lend a hand so they could. After an hour they boys figured it was time for lunch so they went in, followed by a now eager Mooch Mitchell. As they fried up a couple cheeseburgers Mooch mentioned he was feeling a little peckish himself. Jimmy offered to make him a burger, but would Mooch go back out to the woodlot and grab his water bottle while he cooked it? The prospect of food heightened Mooch's ambition, and he did. The three sat down on the porch and dove into their meal, the McNaney boys' intently watching as Mooch ate his own. With about two bites left, Billy burst out in laughter and screamed, "It's a GainesBurger!!!! Harharhar!!!" Well, Mooch thought it was a joke, but on further examination found that the "meat" was indeed a little queer looking. Spitting out the mouthful he had, he dropped his plate and bolted for there Urgent Care, convinced he'd been poisoned. Well, Nurse Crandall talked the boy down in short order, assuring him he hadn't, in fact, been poisoned. She gave him a glass of water and a popsicle before sending him home, cautioning him to be more careful about who makes his sandwiches in the future. Doc further advised him to avoid walking past the fire hydrant in front of the Methodist Church on the way home, just in case.
  7. 4 points
    Attending my Owego Free Academy 45th class reunion on July 28, 2018, it was great to see and chat with several former classmates. We were the 100th class to graduate from OFA, and the first class to graduate from the new high school building – such honors! Having moved 15 times by the time I was 15, attending five different schools, learning to make new friends at each school, I’ve held onto many treasured memories. With the reunion in mind, I just had to share this blog originally posted in 2013. Oh, the childhood memories of places we’ve been and the friends we’ve made! Don’t you just love to visit with friends from long ago, remember childhood fun, and recall the good ol’ days when life was simpler? I suspect we all have precious memories tucked away, ready to be pulled out every so often. It’s a chance to gaze back in time, to smile anew on fun shared by all. But, I’m sure I’m not alone in having some memories that bring emotions to the surface, and tears to the eyes. Twice a year as our children grew up, we’d visit back and forth with my childhood friend and her husband, Hugh. Kathy and I were friends in East Palmyra – in church, in class at the Christian school, and in playing at our homes. We continued our friendship via snail mail after my family moved away in 4th grade, just before I turned 10. It was a very painful and emotional move for me – away from farm life, away from the best friends I’d ever known to city life in Clifton, New Jersey where I was born, and where my dad’s parents and siblings’ families lived. It was an unwelcome change. I hated city life, was horribly homesick, and cried for weeks. But, life got better as I let go of childhood pain and released the sadness. Though there were difficult times and events in Clifton, I now find many good memories to replay in my mind’s eye. It was an era when my sister and I could walk or bike everywhere without fear. And then there was the time we biked from our eastern side of Clifton to where our grandparents lived all the way on the other side. When my grandmother opened the door to our knock, trust me, she was not pleased… because no had known where we were! Still, with the used bikes my grandfather gave us, we felt so rich! I treasure memories of fishing with my dad in northern Jersey lakes, and of spending time with my grandparents. My grandmother was a former professional seamstress who taught me to sew clothes and quilts – and to rip it out if it wasn’t right and sew it over again, more than once as I recall! This little Dutch immigrant had an unspoken life motto - “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!” How I miss her greeting us at the door with a hug and always sweetly saying, “Hello Dear!” in her Dutch accent. Admittedly, my favorite memories are those of my childhood on the farms, and the fun my sister and I had back when there was no technology to ruin what our little minds could conjure up. My earliest memories, though, begin after we moved back from Delta Junction, Alaska. My dad had a foreign assignment in the Army, stationed at Fort Greeley before Alaskan statehood. He wanted to homestead, but my Mom wasn’t keen on the idea, so back to New Jersey we went. I’ve often wished I’d been old enough to remember the trip and the beautiful sights down the Al-Can Highway back to the States; but, then again, as I heard about the road without guardrails next to steep cliffs, of an old car with a steering wheel that caught at the most inopportune times (like coming around a curve and heading straight for a cliff when, at the last moment, the steering engaged again for my Mom, preventing us from plummeting off the cliff), maybe I’m glad I wasn’t old enough to remember that trip. Dad got rid of that car as soon as they got into Washington state, and they took a train east to Newark, NJ where my grandparents brought us back to their home. Dad next went to work on the Everson Farm in Clifton Springs, NY. I have photos of that time, but my first memories begin when he worked on the Wychmere Farm in Ontario/Sodus, NY. I clearly recall that, at age 3-4, we drove down a lane to a Lake Ontario beach where I floated in an innertube. Seeing a ship on the horizon, my child’s mind feared it would “run me over!” Then, imagine my excitement when, while dating my husband-to-be, Ed, my friend, Kathy, and her husband, Hugh, took us to that very same lane and beach near Chimney Bluffs and it was totally familiar to me, remembered from all those years ago! Next, on the Breemes farm in Marion, NY, my sister and I could be seen playing in and around the barn; milking “my cows” with an old tea kettle on the bank-barn’s wall ledge while standing on a bale of hay as Dad milked his cows; throwing rocks into mud/manure puddles with my sister, and accidentally following those rocks into the muck. My brother, Charlie, was born that year, an interloper to our fun… or so I thought at that age. Later, we once again moved back to Clifton, NJ where I went to kindergarten, a big girl walking several blocks by myself to school. Returning to Marion, NY the following year, we had many more adventures with Fran and Betty DeVries while living upstairs in their beautiful Victorian house on their parents’ farm. I still remember the layout of their barn, helping a few times to put milking machines together, watching their Dad put in silage with the belt-driven unloader off the tractor. My Dad knew Gerald and Joann from the Sussex, NJ Christian Reformed Church when he was herdsman for old Mr. Titsworth after graduating high school. Actually, Mr. Titsworth was a direct descendant of Willem Tietsoort who settled in that area after the 1690 Schenectady massacre, purchasing extensive lands from the northern Jersey Indians. Unknown to our family back then, my genealogy research several years ago discovered a daughter of Willem Tietsoort was one of my mother’s ancestors! Moving up the road to the spacious farmhouse on the Musshafen tenant farm brought more fun as we meandered the fields, and walked back up the road to spend time with Fran and Betty. My Dad bought a steer from Mr. DeVries to raise for beef. We girls named him Elmer… as in Elmer’s Glue! My sister and I thought it was more fun running between rows in the garden instead of our weeding chore. Brother Mark was born here, with Charlie anxiously asking, “When can he play ball with me?” My Dad’s sister, Aunt Hilda, taught us the little ditty, “On top of spaghetti...” Needless to say, whenever I recall that song, it is always with images from that house as the poor little meatball rolls off our dining room table, out the back door, down the cement steps, down the slope, past the garden and under the lilac bushes this side of a small creek! We shelled endless piles of peas and snapped mountains of beans, and, I’m ashamed to say, threw some under those lilac bushes when we got tired of it all. We practiced our fishing techniques, aiming to put the dobber into a bucket though I don’t believe we were too accurate. We caught tadpoles and watched them grow into frogs in jars before returning them to the creek. And we tried to fry an egg on the road on a very hot summer day… well, the adults always said it was so hot you could…! Next, as tenants on the Bouman farm on Whitbeck Road, fun found us running with Ruth, Annette and Grace in the haymow, catching my shoe on baling twine and tumbling down to the wooden floor below, barely a foot away from the upturned tines of a pitch fork and getting a concussion; traipsing over the fields and through the woods; walking among the cows in the pasture only to be chased by a very indignant new mom for getting too close to her baby and barely making it under the fence with her hugeness right behind me; roller skating, only once, on a pond because we didn’t have ice skates; building snow forts, sledding down the hill outside the barnyard; playing telephone as we kids all sat in a circle, laughing at how the secret message had changed from the first person to the last; playing Mother May I, Red light, Green light, and Hide and Seek; learning to ride bike under Grace’s tutelage with resultant scraped-up knees; playing at friend Kathy’s home, sledding down their hill and across the field when a train came through, freezing up and not thinking to roll off - thankfully, the sled came to a stop a few feet away from the track as I looked up in horror at the train rushing by; voraciously reading every book I could get my hands on, a life-time habit; and so much more…! Oh such fun!! Then, abruptly, we moved back to city life in Clifton, NJ. Sadly, Dad left much behind, including the unique doll house made especially for us girls when I was in kindergarten. Now, we enjoyed visiting often with our grandparents, and loved the family gatherings for every main holiday on the calendar. When brother Andy arrived, my sister and I, at ages 10 and 11, were responsible every week for months for hauling the family laundry in a wagon to the laundromat across the street from the bar at the top of our block, washing and folding it all (we became little pros, respected by all adults doing their own laundry), and getting to buy treats like 5-cent double-stick popsicles, way bigger than today’s version! We taught Charlie to ride bicycle in the former train station’s empty parking lot across from the end of our block. Our Dad took us fishing to northern Jersey lakes and on Clifton’s Garret Mountain with its great vista overlooking the cities to the New York City skyline, all fishing holes from his childhood. We two girls enjoyed traipsing the city unsupervised and unaccosted, walking or biking everywhere to parks and the city library, and to Passaic Christian School and then Christopher Columbus Junior High 12 blocks from home. I can still visualize so much of the city like the back of my hand, forever frozen in time. After four years, my heart rejoiced when we moved back to New York, through the outskirts with heavy traffic and hippies of the Woodstock Festival on Saturday, August 16, 1969. Our long drive ended in Lounsberry, half-way between Owego and Nichols, where the odor of neighboring farms was heavenly. Here, my latter teen years were spent caring for three-dozen-some chickens, 6 Muscovy ducks and their newly-hatched ducklings (who grew to provide us with fine dining), my lamb, and mare, War Bugg, a beautiful grand-daughter of Man O’ War… along with our youngest brother, Ted. I was, admittedly, very disappointed he was not a little girl, but I soon fell in love with him and those big blue eyes as my sister and I helped care for him. After all, we were “pros” in baby care by then! Simply spending time recalling precious memories of family and friends in a long-ago world brings a few tears and many smiles to my heart… So, what cherished memories do you have that are waiting to be brought to mind and shared? Going back home… Linda A. Roorda Going back home within my mind To simple retreats of childhood days Holding sweet memories of yesterday Like quiet oases of rest and peace. ~ Stirring emotions that overwhelm On traveling back to gentler times With early images tucked far away On pages engraved in a long-ago world. ~ For what could ever make me forget The fears that then descended strong With dog at fence and thunderstorm To shake the world of toddlerhood. ~ While a life-long love was built in scenes Of farming and learning beside my Dad With laughter heard through carefree days In adventures had by my sister and me. ~ The many homes of my younger days Are shelters now for cherished views As dear and precious memories enhance Wistfully perfect they ever remain. ~ But tucked within the pages recalled Are days of change and tender tears Moving away and losing friends Through a lifetime lived, they’re never forgot. ~ Yet often they say it’s just not the same We can’t return to scenes of our youth That life and times are forever changed The rift between then and now is too great. ~ But as I gaze on all that once was I find it’s okay to let the tears flow As they wash away the lingering pangs To leave my heart refreshed and clean. ~ So I shall always savor the joy Of going back home within my mind And holding dear those treasured days Of childhood mem’ries and lessons learned. ~~ 09/21/13 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author.
  8. 4 points
    It has been a while since I've put "pen to paper". For some unknown reason the words aren't flowing easily for me. Certainly, I've had ideas and I have several drafts of stories but nothing that comes together the way I'd like, nothing that makes me happy. Another bit of a problem I'm having is writing stories on two different sites and then keeping track of what I wrote where. I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to stay with one site, the Telegram, but I worry about copying my stories from the other site to this site in case some here have already read them. Yep, over-thinking again, I do that quite often. Anyway, this is a true story I posted a couple of years ago, I don't remember where, but I'd like to share it again. I'd also like to say "thank you” to my editor for inserting two graphics that I believe add just the right touch to this story. I hope you enjoy. When I was younger, Mom was always just Mom, someone you loved but also sometimes feared. As children we don’t realize that Moms are also individuals with feelings, frustrations, dreams, hopes and regrets. Never perfect but with many facets of personality that make up the person we call Mom. I have memories of Mom wearing rolled up jeans, saddle shoes and sometimes a kick ass attitude. I remember occasions when she went nose to nose with someone who did something she didn’t like. She wasn’t always the winner but she also didn’t often back down. When I first wrote this story I had always believed she was just upset about the spitting. I’ve re-read it and thought about things and have come to realize that perhaps anger and frustration for someone else was probably the motivation for her actions that day. I don’t know if she ever apologized to anyone or felt bad about that day but I guess it really doesn’t make any difference. She was Mom…not Perfect. Anyone who knew my mother knew her as a kind, generous, loving woman who absolutely adored her family and who opened her door to any and all in need. Ask any of my sons about their Grandmother and the first thing you’ll see is a softening of their face. A gentle look comes into their eyes and you’ll see a bit of a smile tinged with sadness as they think about her. They remember the older, gentler, kinder woman; I remember the younger, feisty woman you didn’t want to piss off. One summer day we were visiting my mother’s parents. One of our male cousins was staying with our grandparents for the summer and, as me the child remembers, he was about 7 years old, a red-headed, whinny, tattle-tale brat so I’ll refer to him as Cousin B. This particular day, Mom had reached her limit with him and his pissiness and she said it was time to go home. My sisters and I were in the back seat of our car with the window down. Cousin B. walked up to our window and spit at us. He stood there smirking until my mother’s car door opened. In a flash, Mom was out of the car and reaching for him. He took off running up the alley probably figuring she wouldn’t go after him because she was too old being in her late 20’s or early 30’s. Wrong…….she was hot on his heels. The exact moment he realized he was in for it, that Mom was mad as hell and not giving up the chase until she caught him, he started screaming for our Grandmother. “Help, help me Nanny, help” he yelled. The way he was screaming for our Grandmother I’m sure they heard him in Corning. Dad started laughing because Mom was really moving. Our Grandparents came running out of the house as Cousin B. ran past them into the house with Mom right behind him. “Stay in the car” Dad said as he got out. The next thing I saw was the second story bedroom window open and Cousin B.’s head pop out. With the window open we could hear Mom yelling at him and, realizing she was still after him, he crawled out onto the sun porch roof. Mom came out that window right behind him. My Dad must have explained what had happened because he and my Grandfather were laughing while my Grandmother was yelling at my Mom. Cousin B. was cornered with no place to go as Mom caught up with him on the sun porch roof. By now he’s wailing like a banshee. We stayed in the car like we were told but four heads were squeezed out the back seat window in awe of our mother. She actually caught him and she climbed out on to the roof to do it. “You will apologize” Mom yelled at him. “No…help me Nanny, please” was his reply. My Grandmother starts using the Gaelic so we know she’s really pissed now too. Mom grabs him by the arms and holds him over the edge of the roof. “You will apologize to them all or else” she tells our cousin. “Okay, okay” he cries, believing she’s going to drop him if he doesn’t. At this point my Dad reaches up and takes him from Mom after she lowered him down a bit. As an adult I realize that porch roof was probably only 6 or 7 feet from the ground but to a 7-year-old it probably looked like the Grand Canyon. Mom crawled back through the window, came outside, grabbed Cousin B. and marched him over to the car. He apologized for spitting at us and promised to never do it again. Nanny wasn’t happy with Mom for what she did and continued to yell at her. Cousin B. received a couple of swats on his ass from our Grandfather. No one said much on the drive home as Mom continued to vent her ire. When her temper was up you left her alone if you knew what was good for you. Our cousin never spit again, never antagonized us again and Mom was the only Aunt who never had to speak more than once to him. As he grew older he and Mom actually became close and whenever he was in town he’d stop in and visit with her. The loving, gentle woman my sons remember had fire in her blood and, at times, a temper to match. That fire was just banked to warm, soothing embers as she grew older.
  9. 4 points
    I’m still somewhat dazed over Christina Bruner-Sonsire's enlightening blog a few months ago that noted the “brief” history of the Chemung County charter…..and the small faction of entrenched politicians who have dominated county government since its inception. Considering the economic downturn and social stagnation this county charter model has perpetuated in its 44-year tenure, I do believe it’s time for a change…and have been hoping that a ‘revolution’ of sorts, rejecting the “old boy” clique and electing new blood, might be the solution. However, I find myself wondering more and more if the entire Executive/legislature structure has proven to be a failed experiment that needs to be dissolved. The growing group of (many solid) candidates for legislature seats could easily run for supervisor/mayor of their respective town or village and effect the change and leadership through the old model that served Chemung County well for generations and grew it into a booming community before this charter was adopted. Sure…we have all had it drilled into our heads that we had prosperity until Agnes devastated our area in 1972. We’ve been indoctrinated to “know” that the flood was the cause of all the insurmountable woes that the County government has valiantly tried to remediate for the last four plus decades. But somehow the previous “Board of Supervisors” government model managed to successfully recover and bring Chemung County back from natural disaster. That prosperity we enjoyed before 1972…..was occurring under the old model a mere 26 years after the "insurmountable" devastation of the 1946 flood. We have given the new model a couple of extra decades to figure it out. The situation has deteriorated instead of improving.
  10. 4 points
    Putnam Hill in Chemung, better known as Putt Hill, sits at an imposing elevation of 1700 feet. Located in the north east corner of the town, it is part of the Allegheny Plateau Region of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range, well known for its hard wood forests, ridges, hills, valleys, streams and haunting folklore. The raw beauty of the land is equally matched by the wild elements of nature. Those who inhabit this area face hardships and challenges when winter casts a spell over the mountain; turning it frozen and barren. The reward in spring and summer is the lush green foliage that reaches up to the blue sky and white clouds. However, in autumn the artist’s palette of reds and yellows that over come the hills soon turn to warm golden brown; and the fall sky turns to gray. Daylight grows short. The air is crisp. The forest floor is covered in the rustling of fallen leaves and the stirrings in the woods are amplified, with shadows darting from the corner of the eye. It’s the autumn equinox, when hauntings are prevalent in the minds of many. Were there spirits in the forest at night haunting those who entered or were they folklore tails of long ago? Thomas Putnam a brave pioneer settler to the mountain was born August 12, 1789 in Charlestown, New Hampshire to Thomas and Polly (Young) Putnam. Lucy Bowman Morse and Thomas were married in Vermont in the year 1813. Lucy was born in Concord, Vermont on March 10, 1792. Thomas, a veteran of the War of 1812 was well aware of life in the mountains, learning as a young child the privations of the forest. He and Lucy came to Chemung with their three children between the years of 1830 and 1840. Little is known of their two children Eleanor and Charles. That is not the case for George Washington Putnam who lived next door to his parents in the 1840 census with his young bride. George W. Putnam and Eleanor Jackson were wed November 14, 1839 in Chemung, NY by the Rev. J. Piersall. Eleven children would be blessed to their household: Dean, Mahala, Wilson, Martha, Lucy, Freelove, Jahiel, Hattie, Mary Elizabeth, Clarissa (Clara), Frances (Frankie); a household of thirteen. It was sometime between 1840 and 1850 that George Washington Putnam changed his name, becoming George Putnam West. His children and wife all carry the name of West as evidenced by their sacred family bible. The family bible also lists George’s parents as Thomas and Lucy (Bowman) Putnam. So why would a young man with a large family change his name to West, yet keeping his family name as a middle name so as not to lose his identity? The home of G.P. West is notated on Putnam Hill in the 1869 map of the Town of Chemung. The land was farmed for many years by the Putnam family in the wilds of the mountain. It was here, the family faced strife and joys. Nonetheless a secret was buried deep within the roots of this family. Thomas Putnam carried his namesake throughout his life: a name that passed back through time to England in the 15th century. But it was Thomas’s second great grandfather who defiled their name in Salem Village in the year 1692. The Salem Witch Trials were well known for their accusations, trials, and executions. During the course of the year in 1692 more than a dozen persons claimed to be afflicted by spells of black magic and sorcery, allegedly cast by men and women who had enlisted the supernatural powers of the devil. The outbreak of witchcraft hysteria took place in Salem Village. In harsh reality, the Salem witch craze was largely fueled by personal differences between two families; the Putnams and the Porters. As the story goes, Thomas Putnam Jr. was known as a significant accuser in the 1692 witch trials. Earlier in life he was excluded from major inheritances by both his father and father-in-law and became a bitter and jealous man. Putnam, his wife and one of his daughters, Ann Putnam, Jr. all levied accusations of witchcraft; many of them against extended members of the Porter family, and testified at the trials. An interfamily rivalry began in 1672 when a dam and sawmill run by the Porters flooded the Putnam farms, resulting in a lawsuit. A few years later the Putnam’s petitioned the town in an effort to obtain political independence for the village, and the Porters opposed them. The arrival of Reverend Samuel Parris in 1689 intensified the Putnam-Porter conflict. Twenty-six villagers, who included eleven Putnams, voted to give Parris a parsonage, a barn, and two acres of land. Some villagers claimed these gifts were too generous. In October 1691 a faction of Parris-Putnam supporters were ousted from the village committee and replaced by individuals who were openly hostile to the reverend; including members of the Porter family and Joseph Hutchinson, one of the sawmill operators responsible for flooding the Putnam’s farms and Francis Nurse, a village farmer who had been involved in a bitter boundary dispute with Nathaniel Putnam. The new committee quickly voted down a tax levy that would have raised revenue to pay the salary of Reverend Parris. It is no coincidence that the witchcraft afflictions and accusations originated in the Parris household. In February 1692 the reverend returned home from his congregation one evening to discover his nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Parris, her 11-year-old cousin, Abigail Williams, and their 12-year-old friend, Ann Putnam, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Putnam, Sr. gathered around the kitchen table with the Parris family slave, Tituba, who was helping the girls experiment in fortune telling. Realizing that they had been caught attempting to conjure up evil spirits, the girls soon became afflicted by strange fits that temporarily deprived them of their ability to hear, speak, and see. During these episodes of sensory deprivation, the girls suffered from violent convulsions that twisted their bodies into what observers called impossible positions. When the girls regained control of their senses, they complained of being bitten, pinched, kicked, and tormented by apparitions that would visit them in the night. These ghostly visions, the afflicted girls said, pricked their necks and backs and contorted their arms and legs like pretzels. Witnesses reported seeing the girls extend their tongues to extraordinary lengths. After examining the afflicted girls, Dr. William Griggs, the village physician, pronounced them under an evil hand. Nearly 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem during the summer of 1692. Twenty accused witches were executed, fifteen women and five men. Nineteen were hanged following conviction and one was pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea. Four prisoners, three women and a man, died in jail. The trials began in June and continued for four months; the final executions taking place on September 22. Ann Putnam, Jr. played a crucial role in the witchcraft trials of 1692. In her socially prominent family, her mother was also afflicted and her father and many other Putnam’s gave testimony against the accused during the trials. When attempting to make a judgment on Ann, perhaps we should remember that she was very young and impressionable and thus easily influenced by her parents and other adults. Fourteen years later she admitted that she had lied, deluded by the Devil. Historians claim to have identified a pattern of accusations that strongly suggests the afflicted girls singled out social deviants, outcasts, outsiders, merchants, tradesman, and others who threatened traditional Puritan values and or threatened the Parris and Putnam families, by claiming the spirits of the accused visited them at night and tormented them. Was it the multitude of chains created by the family over 100 years ago that pulled at Thomas’s feet as he plowed his fields? Was it with a heavy heart that he lived his life? Perhaps, this is the reason his son George broke the chains and scars, freeing his family of the dark shroud of guilt and humiliation cast upon them. The name Putnam forever remains in the wilds of the mountain, where the darkness of the forest hides the whispering of the winds. Disclaimer: Several on-line genealogy sites were used in researching the Putnam family. Without verifying the on line trees, there is a posibility of an error in the family tree, depicted in this story. For more information on the Putnam family: http://historicalechoes.weebly.com/thomas-putnam--west-family.html Mary Ellen Kunst is the historian for the Town Of Chemung. To see more information, visit her site, https://historicalechoes.weebly.com
  11. 4 points
    After the apparent suicide of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain I've seen several posts on social media apparently shaming others for feeling bad while "ignoring" the average 22 vets that commit suicide everyday. You know why no one says anything about those 22 vets? Because we didn't know. We don't hear about it because of the stigma society attaches to suicide. Like a pregnant unwed mother in the 40's, it's avoided, not talked about like some shameful thing. Put away so we can pretend things are neat and tidy in our little world. We like that, it's easier. Hell, what about the other people, the non-celebrity, non-veteran suicides? According to statistics from 2016, 120 people commit suicide A DAY. And reports indicate that the number has increased since. Why aren't the other 100+ people included in that meme? Why need to prioritize one group of people over another? It's perfectly okay to feel bad when ANYONE commits suicide, regardless of their station in life. EVERY death by suicide is sad. I didn't personally know Bourdain, Robin Williams, or anyone who was just found this morning. For anyone who let's that darkness overtake them, we can still feel sympathy for them; the 14 year old whose been bullied, the soldier fighting demons of war, or some rich guy on tv. Like many Americans, I too have felt the loss of someone I know after they decided to take their own life. Additionally, because of my former profession I've seen the aftermath first hand. It's not easy to understand, it's not easy to see, but it can't be ignored. It needs to be addressed, and it's not something that you can just plug into a meme on social media and move on. Perhaps Bourdain's and other celebrity suicide deaths can bring about discussion on the topic of suicide and mental health in America. Shed that stigma and make people more aware, more open to talk about it today. And maybe, just maybe, lead to a few less self inflicted deaths tomorow.
  12. 4 points
    In honor of Father's Day I'd like to share a story about my Dad that I posted on another blog site several months ago. Dad was one of 13 children. I know they didn't have much in the way of material things and I'm not sure how much affection was shown while Dad and his brothers and sisters were growing up. I would guess, based on things I remember about Dad while I was growing up, that there weren't a lot of hugs and kisses. I think my grandparents probably had to work so hard just to survive that there was only time and energy for the bare basics. What was yours was yours as long as you could hold on to it. I'm no psychologist but I know those growing years and the events that happened helped shape Dad's character and personality. Looking back now as an adult and remembering bits of conversation between Dad and his siblings I can understand how he came to be who he was. I remember one time when Dad and a couple of his brothers were target practicing using shotguns and he decided I was old enough to learn to shoot. He handed me a 12 gauge, showed me how to load it, told me to tuck it in tight to my shoulder and aim; if I didn't it would kick and knock me on my rear. I didn't tuck it in and down I went on my rear just like Dad said. I think he knew that was going to happen and that they would all laugh, including Dad. I didn't like being laughed at and I didn't want to do it anymore, but Dad told me to get up and try again. He had me keep at it until I could handle that shotgun and hit the target with accuracy. I learned not to give up. Bills were always paid first, a little set aside for savings, and groceries bought with what was left. Dad called the bit of savings his "tuck". If you wanted something and couldn't afford it, you saved for it or went without until you could pay for it. More often than not it was go without. As far as Dad's "tuck" went, that was generally his to use for what he wanted, be it a new gun or coon dog. While we lived in the city, Mom would sometimes work outside the home at part-time jobs for extra money. Once we moved to the country, however, having only one car meant Mom worked in the home exclusively so she had to work within Dad's budget and manage with whatever money he gave her. I applied for my first job the day I turned 16, was hired and started work that weekend. I worked 5:00 am to 2:30 pm every weekend, on holidays and summer vacations. If needed, I worked double shifts. I also paid room and board. I did not mind one bit. I was becoming an adult and learning to provide for myself, and the money went to Mom. I learned that nothing is free, if you want something you work for it. Whining didn't get you out of doing something you didn't like. There were lots of things my sisters and I hated doing like picking rocks to clear an overgrown yard so grass seed could be planted. It didn't matter to Dad. If he said pick rocks we picked rocks or whatever else needed to be done until it was finished. You don't give up or do it half-assed (Dad's words). There was no such thing as "I can't" or "I don't want to". You did what needed to be done and you did it the best you could. There was one exception that I can remember. Dad would butcher chickens and we kids had to help clean them. He'd butcher the birds outside but the worse part was the cleaning of the birds was done at the kitchen table. A large pot of water was brought to boil on the kitchen stove. Dad would dip the birds in the boiling water and then we plucked the feathers. Dad would then burn the pin feathers off over the flame of the kitchen stove. The stench of burnt feathers and chicken entrails is not pleasant and the odor would linger for a while in the kitchen after we were done. At some point I decided I wasn't going to do this again. Dad told me "If you don't help with this you don't get to eat chicken". That was fine with me. "I won't eat chicken" I told him and after that I didn't help with cleaning chickens again. Dad's rule about not eating if you didn't help held and I was alright with that. I learned about choices and consequences. Sometimes Dad would take us with him when he'd run his coon hound at night. We always looked forward to going with him even though he'd stay out for hours at a time. That is probably why we were only able to go with him on weekends. Often one or more of his brothers would join us. One night in particular stands still stands out in my memory so many years later. We were at another Uncle's farm; Dad, Uncle Nick, myself and another sister but I don't remember which one. We were all together in an open field surrounded by woods on both sides and there was enough moonlight that we could see the valley below us as the mists started slowing forming. It was late Summer/early Autumn and in my mind I can still see that night sky. It was so clear and the stars so bright you felt you could reach up and touch them. The night air was a mix of warm and cool breezes and carried the sound of Dad's dog baying in the distance. I can remember the chirping sound of peepers all around us, and the earthy scent of the surrounding woods and the fresh-cut hay from the field we were in. I remember how we sat together on the ground in that field just being there in the moment. Dad and Uncle Nick were talking, sometimes in Russian, and it felt so comforting to be there with them. I wish I had the right words so anyone reading this would be able to feel that moment the way we did and I still do. I remember laying down on the ground, looking up at the night sky and eventually falling asleep to the sound of Dad's and Uncle Nick's low voices. I learned that it's the simple moments in life that make the best memories. All rights reserved. I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it's my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner...me.
  13. 4 points
    Each year, thousands of families across America are affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide. In March 2014, Elmira resident Deb Maxwell's 34 year old son David took his own life. "Bubbie", as he was known to those who loved him, is described as a "beautiful man with a giving heart". Maxwell says she attended other support groups for those grieving the loss of a loved one. However she says, the people in those groups often knew why their loved one was gone. For those who are affected by the suicide of a friend or family member, they are still left with questions that may never be answered. Refusing to allow the way her son left this world to be the way he is remembered, she decided to turn personal tragedy into something positive. So she began "Smile Through The Storms", a local support group for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. "Smile Through The Storms" meets twice a month at Elmira College as well as participate in handing out information at events such as "Walk A Mile". The group meetings are an open forum where people are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings, share memories of their loved ones and know that it's okay to grieve. "All is private, and will not be shared outside our group," Maxwell said. While there isn't a mental health counselor in attendance at this time, a few have expressed interest and there are plans for that, especially as attendance grows.Forming the support group hasn't been without its challenges. In addition to simply getting the word out that the group exists, there continues to be a stigma society has attached to suicide that needs to be overcome and talked about more openly."The attendees of this group and myself wish that others people would realize that talking about suicide will start to ease the burning pain inside. That survivors would understand they do not have to go through this alone." "Smile Through The Storms" meets the first Wednesday evening of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 pm and the third Saturday afternoon of every month from 3:00 to 4:40 pm in the Elmira College Campus Center Board Room located on the first floor. For more information you can find them on Facebook at Smile Through The Storms or contact Deb Maxwell at 607-241-6624.For those reluctant to attend a group meeting, Maxwell says they understand that first time may be hard but they are there for those in need. "You are not alone," she said. "We will go through this together."For more information on the warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help, visit the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention at www.afsp.org
  14. 4 points
    The political climate in Chemung County is very interesting right now. At last count nearly 30 people have either announced their candidacy for Chemung County Legislature or are giving it very serious consideration, and there are at least three – possibly even four – candidates for Chemung County Executive. This injection of people and energy into local politics means our community will have an excellent opportunity to learn about the issues from a diverse set of perspectives. Despite each candidate’s individual concerns and ideas, one common theme has already begun to emerge: Chemung County’s struggling economy, and the way our county government goes about addressing it, has to be the top priority. For too long our area has been dogged by sluggish economic growth, prompting more and more people to seek ways that they can get involved and make a difference. Although we are incredibly fortunate to have an outstanding Chamber of Commerce run by innovative, creative thinkers who go a long way toward making our area attractive to both established and prospective economic investors, as well as numerous strong economic development agencies such Elmira Downtown Development and Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG), we clearly have a long way to go. Indeed, recent measures of Chemung County’s fiscal health are sobering: *A report last summer by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Chemung County was the only area in New York State with declining job growth. The entire report is found here. *Elmira’s 2.8 percent private-sector employment decline was worst in the state, and placed it among only three other metro areas in the state to record job losses. The rate of job loss here is the highest in New York state – nearly 3 percent over the past year – with a 6 percent drop since 2008 (link here.) *Personal income growth since 2008 in Elmira was half the United States national annual average for metro areas of 3.2 percent, according to numbers compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (link here.) *Chemung County’s reserves decreased from $30 million in 2011 to a projected level of just $19 million in 2018, and are expected to drop below $10 million by 2021 if no changes are made to the way county government approaches the budgeting process. This decrease in reserves stems from an average yearly budget deficit of approximately $2 million that started in 2011. (Note: this metric was provided by Chemung County Treasurer Steve Hoover during last November’s Legislative Budget Workshop. It is possible the projected loss in reserves for 2018 is now somewhat less severe given an unexpected increase in sales tax revenue generated last year, a figure that was released after the budget passed.) *Chemung County’s debt has risen by 25 percent, from roughly $40 million in 1999 to over $50 million in 2017, as its expenditures have far outpaced revenues each year. A link to an Op-Ed I wrote in November on this issue is found here. *Numerous local municipalities are facing hard economic times, including the Town of Horseheads that levied a property tax in 2016 for the first time in 30 years (link here), the Village of Van Ettan that voted last December to dissolve, a measure that will relieve residents of heavy tax burdens (link here), and the Town of Southport that will likely have to raise taxes over the next year or two as it has controlled expenses while seeing revenues its dry up (link here.) *The City of Elmira was forced to impose a 17% (!) property tax hike at the start of this week, leaving Elmira residents with one of the heaviest tax burdens in New York state (link here.) *The First Arena – an entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Elmira – is (a) currently without an prospective; (b) owned by the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency; (c) saddled with considerable debt; and (d) its future is unknown (link here.) *Town and Village officials expressed their concerns about finding addition ways to deal with dwindling revenue stream to the Center for Governmental Research last year: The reasons for Chemung County’s economic hardship are plentiful, driven in great part by a weakened (yet still relatively vibrant) manufacturing sector along with more and more directives from Albany that account for a tremendous portion (roughly 80%) of our county budget. Last night someone asked me what my vision is for addressing these economic issues, i.e. what are the solutions? In general, I think there are two core principles that can go a long way toward helping: cooperation and empowerment. With respect to cooperation, we need to find ways to solicit genuine input from all levels and all types of government. Some of the issues that are certain to be discussed in coming years – further municipal consolidation, sales tax distribution, countywide public safety (i.e. police and/or fire) agencies – affect everyone who lives in Chemung County. Many years ago there was a group called the Council of Governments. It included representatives from county government, city government, town and village boards, school boards, the library district, etc. Unfortunately that group no longer exists, nor does the cooperative spirit it fostered. Bringing back COG or something similar could be a great first step toward big-picture thinking on these matters. Closely related to cooperation is the need for empowerment of the governing infrastructure we already have, particularly the county legislature. Chemung County’s Charter envisions the legislature as a proactive body, stating: *”The County Legislature shall be the governing body of the County and shall be the legislative, appropriating and policy-determining body of the County…”, and *The Legislature shall have the power to…”make such studies and investigations as it deems to be in the best interests of the County and in connection therewith to obtain and employ professional and technical advice, appoint temporary advisory boards of citizens, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of books, papers and other evidence deemed necessary or material to such study or inquiry.” (Emphasis added.) A link to Chemung County’s Charter is found here. However, several people who have served on the Chemung County Legislature express concern that the opportunity for it to effectuate positive change is not being fully utilized. This concern has led several current legislators to undertake a study of their own rules in order to find ways they can have a bigger impact on policy decisions. At this time it is unclear what, if any, changes will be made. Every four years we elect 15 legislators to serve our community. It only makes sense that we take full advantage of the ideas and initiatives they bring to the table. Cooperation and empowerment, along with a frank exploration of the issues, can go a long way toward helping our community really begin to thrive. Christina Bruner-Sonsire is a local attorney and candidate for Chemung County Legislature
  15. 3 points
    Before I submit to my readers the recent news taking place in our fair town these past couple weeks, I would like to update you on a matter discussed in a previous column. You’ll remember on 9 September I told you the story of Mooch Mitchell who, while having lunch with the McNaney boys, inadvertently found his burger contained not USDA Grade A beef but a Gaines-Burger. This prompted a hasty visit to the health clinic where staff assured him the scamps that prepared his sandwich hadn’t, in fact, poisoned him. The story takes an interesting turn however. A sharp eyed reader wrote to tell me that The General Foods Company had ended that line sometime in the 1990’s. With that knowledge, it’s a testament to the quality of the dog food’s packaging to have lasted, as well as the strength of Mssr. Mitchell’s intestinal tract. Sadly, it’s also a testament of the McNaney family’s pet care, but who am I to judge? Constable Smith would like to remind area grocers to please refrain from selling eggs to anyone under the age of 18 as Halloween approaches. However toilet paper is okay to sell. This is a slight change from last year’s policy after the clerk at Mary’s Mercantile and Tax Preparation refused to sell a roll to the constable’s daughter during a particularly rough bout with a GI bug. Speaking of Halloween, Constable Smith says the hours for “tricks or treats” will be 6-8pm. Residents are encouraged to leave their lights on to let the kids know where the treats are. The constable said if you choose not to partake, don’t call him to complain about “tricks”. Willie Johnson down at Willie’s Bait, Tackle, and Trapping Supply tells me he has a new venture he’s all kinds of fired up about. Despite America being great again, fur prices are still at rock bottom and Willie plans to make better use of his raccoon catch by selling what he calls a “Coon Pr*ck Toothpick.” Yes, you read that right, Willie plans on selling ‘coon willys to use as a toothpick. Willie assured me he hasn’t forgotten to take his medication; apparently it’s something his family in Virginia made for generations. According to him, back in the day people would save a raccoon's penis bone, boil it to render it truly clean, and sharpen one end to use as a toothpick. Skeptical, I went to the library on a trip to town and checked in the Foxfire Books. They truly used the whole animal back then. I reminded Willie we’re several states and at least one bloodline away from Old Dominion, but he’s sure it’ll be a hit, and asked me to let you all know you can get yours by sending $5.00 to: Willie’s Bait, Tackle & Trapping Supply RD 1 Wipjibber Mountain PA, 16000 Folks, skeptical as I am I haven’t seen Willie this excited since he come to town telling to show off the first bobcat he ever caught. Of course said bobcat was actually Marge Tillinghast’s cat, but in Willie's defense she always did over feed the feline. Well that’s about it for now, until next time. Drive safe and watch for deer.
  16. 3 points
    I thought this recent exchange on Facebook was priceless:
  17. 3 points
    It's almost like the district has been doing what's right all along and all the hype was for nothing.
  18. 3 points
    Well, in the absence of a Phish festival, I thought I would throw this up here to remind everybody that 49 (yep 4-9) years ago there was another small music gathering in upstate NY: Woodstock. This schedule puts things from that weekend in perspective. Well except for the storms, I guess storms were not in the schedule then either :
  19. 3 points
    Maybe everyone can celebrate by portraying insulting stereotypes of the culture being recognized. Nah.......that could never happen.
  20. 3 points
    At some point, there needs to be some restitution required if you want to obstruct and interfere with the very resources you called upon for assistance.
  21. 3 points
    Once again, a Chemung County official has accused a local candidate of distorting facts for political gain. In an article published online today by the Star Gazette, Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen criticized Sheriff Chris Moss, one of Krusen’s opponents in the county executive race, for failing to be honest with the community: I have no involvement whatsoever with Moss’ campaign, and don’t offer this post as support of his candidacy. Instead, the post’s purpose is to point out what seems to be an unfortunate emerging theme. An unprecedented number of people are running for local office in Chemung County this year. In an attempt to drill down the issues, these candidates – including myself – are discovering things our county government does really well, along with ways the county could improve. Indeed, this type of scrutiny is the essence of what it means to live in a democratic society. People who feel they can help out learn about the issues, share what they learn with voters, and let the voters decide who is best suited to serve. The way Chemung County does business has not faced this type of scrutiny in a long, long time, as a small number of people have held most of the county-wide elected positions for many years. However, instead of addressing the issues that are being raised and considering whether or not there are new and better ways to do business, some Chemung County officials have chosen to attack the credibility and veracity of the people raising them. It is easy to chalk this up to “politics as usual”, and there is some truth to that. But this type of behavior is one reason so many people have lost faith in government and avoid running for office, outcomes that run directly contrary to building a strong, successful community. By way of example, after hearing Chemung County Budget Director Steve Hoover state that the county will likely be forced to raise taxes in 2019 among other concerns about the county’s fiscal health, Tony Pucci, a candidate for legislature in the 1st District, and I both wrote Your Turn editorials about the matter, found here and here. In response to what we wrote, Chemung County Treasurer Joe Sartori countered by stating: Sartori used similar language to refute a "Your Turn" piece I wrote last month about the county’s newly proposed plan for a Council of Governments, stating: This kind of rhetoric is extremely disappointing – and exhausting. Distorting facts in order to mislead friends and neighbors so that I can get elected to the county legislature is an outrageous mischaracterization of what my entire campaign is about. In fact, the reason I created this blog in the first place is to have a place to share ideas about how to improve the community. Each post contains many links where readers can go to view information and data themselves, and I welcome any corrections to things that I say or do so that the ideas we discover are rooted in fact and as accurate as possible. Change is hard, and can be uncomfortable – but it is also necessary and inevitable. It is too bad that some of our local leaders are choosing to attack those looking for solutions rather than work together to find out how we can make Chemung County a better place to live. Christina Bruner-Sonsire is a local attorney and candidate for Chemung County Legislature
  22. 3 points
    Besides the funding, are there other threats the state can enforce if a local district doesn't offer the extra services and programs the state "recommends"? Could a district (in theory) decline that money and ignore whatever the state pushes? Obviously, 71% accounts for the lion's share of revenue...but it would be interesting to see numbers crunched on the cost of basic education without state mandates for psychologists, counselors and full time clinics, et al.
  23. 3 points
    "Down at the local job site, a couple construction workers sat down to eat lunch. Opening his lunchpail, one says, 'Damnit, peanut butter sandwiches again. I'm sick of 'em.' 'Why don't you ask your wife to make you something else?' the other replied. 'Whaddya mean wife? I'm not married. I make my own lunches.' The heavy machinery is in place and ground is breaking in Downtown Elmira to prepare for the new $14 million, 75,000 square foot facility to be built on Water St. as part of the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI ). A lot of conversation has taken place about the future and path for Downtown Elmira, and I've watched it with a good deal of interest not only for the purposes of this site, but also personal interest as well. Much of that conversation is pretty positive, which is a good thing. We need some good news around here for a change. But there's two sides to every coin. There's a new crop of people who see the potential that lies within an area like Downtown Elmira. They bring fresh idea and a new positive energy that, frankly, the area could use. They are attempting what many have tried and failed to do; get a foothold and restore the beauty of the place once known as "The Queen City". Some come to the area unencumbered by memories of what once was, they see only what can be. Which is a good thing, of course. However I think there's too much of an attitude of, "be positive, or be quiet" in response to the people who have lived here for generations that raise questions or doubts about the latest, greatest thing. Hurricane Agnes gets blamed a lot for the despair many residents of the city feel, but there's more to it than that. should be remembered that residents of the area have been here and heard a lot of pie in the sky promises over the decades. Developers and researchers have come and gone, millions of dollars thrown their way, only to see little or no results in return. "Good 'ol boy" deals and politicians' personal interests or screw ups have slowly chased small businesses out of downtown and to the west of the county or other outlying areas. A giant hockey arena that was supposed to be the savior of the city sits on a corner in the very heart of downtown, largely unused, costing millions while the major players have moved on. The people of Elmira have always been resilient. They've been through hell, yes, and they stayed. They've earned the right to be skeptical when presented with "the next big thing" if you ask me. To tell them to sit down, shut up when doubts are raised is doing a great disservice to the people who built this community. Having said that, I also think the people of this area need a paradigm shift. Folks, the Elmira you remember is gone. Like that last Labrador Duck in Brand Park, it aint coming back. It's sad, yes, but it's also time to stop living in the past. While I defend the right of every person to be skeptical about the future of the city, I also believe it's time to stop automatically dismissing every new idea that someone proposes. Sure, some of the ideas are blatantly stupid ( **cough, roundabouts... ) but you know, some of the ideas and things I see happening are pretty good! I've often believed that if you point out problems without offering solutions, you end up becoming part of the problem. Lord knows there's a lot of problems in this area, but truth is, we're still better off than others. People need to remember that. So if someone moves here and gets a glimmer of hope in their eye looking at a run down building in the city, good for them. If they want to invest their time, money and sweat into making something of it, yeah you can be skeptical, but I also think they deserve the chance.
  24. 3 points
    My wife teases me about jumping up, looking out the window "every time" I hear a car door or see a car idling in front of our house for more than a minute. She calls it funny. I call it "vigilant." You know, I was thinking as I read about the latest shooting incident in the City of Elmira that took place last night. Last week there were two drug busts in the area that occurred because a local citizen took a stand and called the police. That little spark of, "Somethings not right here," led to getting three alleged criminals and a decent amount of drugs off the street. With a simple phone call, a citizen put any other would be criminals on notice: "Not on this street." All too often when we read about the random shooting incidents that happen around the area we also read that there were no witnesses or those who know something won't cooperate with law enforcement. "Snitches get stitches." This time people got lucky, there wasn't a kid in the path of one of those bullets. This time. Maybe next time someone won't be so lucky, resulting in a little coffin being lowered into the ground a few days later. An empty place at the supper table. I'm wondering when, crimes like this are going to be investigated and prosecuted thanks to the help of people in the neighborhood finally saying, "Enough is enough." What's it going to take to make that happen ? It's understandable some people may feel afraid, fearing repercussions for being a "snitch". You don't have to confront anyone. If something looks fishy, jot down a plate number, maybe a quick description of the car, or the people involved. Just a simple phone call to police. They even have a number to call if you want to remain anonymous: (607) 271-HALT. It's time to take back your neighborhood folks, even if one block at a time. Be vigilant. Shine the light on 'em.
  25. 3 points
    This is really exciting. Pat was one of the brewmasters at Grist Iron and makes some great beers.
  26. 3 points
    As many of you know, among the other things I do I'm also a part time musician. I've been blessed to experience some of the things I once dreamed about. I've met and performed with people I once only knew through the radio. The lights, the crowds... I've been blessed. One of the best, and lesser known, things about what we do is getting to be part of the celebrations in peoples' lives. I don't know how many weddings, anniversary parties, retirement parties, etc. we've done over the past 17 years or more specifically, nearly 12 for me personally. These are kind of different from the bars or festivals where people are there to see us, we're not the main event. In a way, it's kinda weird, because we often start the day as outsiders. Yet more often than not we're still drawn in, and we're "family". We've become good friends with people whose celebrations we've been the soundtrack for. It's hard to explain, but there's something special about getting to do that. Every once in a while though, a moment comes along that we aren't really expecting. A special moment for someone that wasn't planned, it just happened. This past weekend was one of those moments. I'll let you in on a little secret: Every band has a schtick, some things they'll throw in to a performance that perhaps were once spontaneous but got such a reactions someone thought, "Hmm, we need to remember that." Often these will come out when the room needs a little energizing. It's not an uncommon thing for our fiddle player to find his way playing on top of a table or bar. ( While people are watching him, I'm watching the staff or owners of the establishment. The looks on their faces are often pretty entertaining. ) This weekend he ended up with company while doing so: At the end of the night as we were packing up, he came over to say goodnight. Introduced himself and said he's 86 years old, just had hip surgery this past year. He gave me a big hug, thanked us for the music, and left. No sir, thank you. You know, the world around us seems to have gone insane. We're told every day how bad people are. Lord knows I've been feeling like packing up and moving to the mountains somewhere, away from anyone. But then something like this happens, often when I need it most. I get to see people at their best, brought together by the common bond of music and celebration, and everything is just fine, if only for a couple hours. I feel so fortunate to have that opportunity. I don't remember this man's name, I'm awful at remembering them. He may or may not remember mine. But in some strange, cosmic way, we're forever a part of each other's lives now, part of each other's memories. Long after the very last note's played, when he's gone and I'm an old man myself, I'll remember that one night night some old guy climbed up on a table and danced to the music. I'll smile. He'll be alive still. Still dancing. That's pretty damned cool.
  27. 3 points
    It's that time of year again, the time of year everyone makes those New Year Resolutions. They steel themselves for the task they've laid out for themselves; gonna get up earlier and go to the gym, gonna stop eating too much, gonna quit smoking, and so on. Not that there's anything wrong with that, although I also believe there's an entire industry waiting to benefit from it as well. Let's face it, the salesman knows that treadmill he sold you will statistically end up a clothes hanger or on Craigslist. The gym owner knows that a large percentage of those new members will drop off after a month or two despite having paid for a year in advance. Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with an attempt at self improvement if done for the right reasons. Frankly I think the "new year, new me" mantra is a load of crap. We're being railroaded into feeling like we should do something we're not ready to do based on a calendar, slick advertising, or nosy people. "So, you make a new Year resolution ?" "Yeah, not talking to nosy assholes." At least that's what I hear in my own head. But no, we'll play along, we'll post our goals and efforts on social media. And in doing so allow our successes and failures to be determined by others. No thanks. Having said that, I admit to having my own self improvement project going on. But it's already happening, has been for a few weeks. On my terms. I'm going to be happy. That's it, simple enough. I have been, and will continue to, take steps to make sure I am leading a happier life. It's a multi-phase project, which as I said has already begun with the reduction of stress in my life. Not the elimination, there's no such thing, but the reduction. I am choosing which stress I will take on and why as opposed to enduring stress put on me by others or out of a sense of obligation. No more feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I guess you could say I'm telling the world to lose weight. HAH ! There are things beyond my control, I cannot change, and I'm no longer trying to. The voice in my head that has in the past said, "Well if you don't get involved, if you don't try, no one will." is now saying, "So be it." It's not easy, and it doesn't mean I don't care. Just the opposite actually. In a book I recently read, the author writes, "True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving." I'm just choosing between the problems I can handle and can actually change, and the ones that are just causing me undue stress and unhappiness. As for those who choose self improvement at the stroke of midnight Sunday, I wish you the best of luck. By all means quit smoking to avoid the disease it causes. Lose that 10 pounds to avoid the "dis-ease" when you bend over to tie your shoe. But make sure you define your progress. You define your successes and yes, your failures. You do it for you, on your terms.
  28. 3 points
    Did anyone else doubt that eventually the itch would need scratching? Welcome back!
  29. 2 points
    Anthony Pucci was definitely one of my most influential teachers! Not only did he foster a love for reading, but also a passion for critical thinking, an imagination of possibilities, and standing up for what is right and just, particularly in times when others were quick to follow the herd. Mr. Pucci has integrity; which is something we need to see more of in the political arena. Mary Mosteller Horseheads, NY
  30. 2 points
    Hiawatha Island… The name alone brings to mind a land of legends and visions from a long-ago era. Did the legendary Hiawatha ever frequent its shores? Not likely. But, it is believed the Iroquois nation once used the island as part of their homeland. Artifacts found in its soil from bygone eras have been donated to the collections at both Binghamton University and the Tioga County Historical Society museums. The Big or Great Island, as it’s been called, comprises 112 acres in a beautiful tranquil setting. A few miles east of Owego proper, it’s surrounded on all sides by the Susquehanna River flowing west. Once a bustling retreat for locals and tourists alike, it contained a beautiful three-story hotel and meandering sylvan paths with the island’s dock reached by steamboats throughout the summer months. Earliest records for the island note that Britain’s King George III issued a mandamus (a writ directing a lower court to perform a specific act) dated January 15, 1755, deeding land, including the island, to the Coxe family in exchange for their territory in Georgia, the Carolinas and the Bahama Islands. By 1821, the Coxe family had surveyed and divided the land into small farms with the Big Island designated as lot no.120. Moving to Lounsberry in 1969, I did not pay much, if any, attention to Hiawatha Island during my high school years in Owego, NY. However, about 15 years ago, I discovered a [supposed] ancestral tie that piqued my interest in the island’s history. My earliest genealogical research found a McNeill family paper filed at both the Tioga County Historical Society in Owego and the Schoharie County Historical Society at the Old Stone Church in Schoharie, NY. This paper claimed that a Ruth McNeil, b. 1782 in Weare, New Hampshire, was the daughter of my John C. and Hannah (Caldwell) McNeill of Weare, Londonderry and New Boston, New Hampshire. Ruth was noted to have married Matthew Lamont(e). (Note my specific use of one or two “L’s” in the McNeil versus McNeill name.) This is where due diligence pays off in checking all genealogy sources yourself. The person filing that family paper did not reply to my inquiry in 2002. Digging deeper, I found and purchased a McNeil family history from the Montgomery County Historical Society in Fonda, NY simply to see if that family held clues to my own. However, that historical writeup is about the family of John and Ruth McNeil of Vermont who lived in Fulton, NY, with that genealogy listing a daughter Ruth who the researcher was unable to trace further. From personal extensive research on my own McNeill family, it is proven that John C. McNeill and Hannah Caldwell married May 8, 1781, that their first daughter, Betsey, was born December 5, 1781, and that she was adopted by Hannah’s childless older sister, Elizabeth. In checking late 19th century census records for Matthew and Ruth LaMonte’s children, they note their mother was born in NY, not NH. With the above John and Ruth McNeil’s family history listing a child named Ruth of whom nothing more was known, I felt there was sufficient circumstantial evidence for Ruth (McNeil) Lamont to be their child rather than a daughter of my John C. and Hannah (Caldwell) McNeill. Furthermore, John C.’s family did not contain the name of Ruth in any older or younger generations as does the Vermont McNeil family. Of additional interest, my earliest ancestors and their descendants consistently spelled their name McNeill while John and Ruth’s descendants consistently used McNeil. Matthew and Ruth LaMonte removed from Schoharie County to Owego, Tioga County, NY in the early to mid 1820s. The second registered deed to the Big Island, dated June 23, 1830, is to Matthew and Marcus LaMonte. Matthew was the husband of Ruth above. Their son Marcus had at least three children: Abram H., b.1831 on the island, Susan Jane b. 1834 (as a teacher, one of her students at the Owego Academy was the young John D. Rockefeller), and Cyrenus M., b.1837. Cyrenus purchased the Big Island in 1872 just before its commercialization commenced in 1874 with picnics and summer events. The earliest known birth on the Big Island was that of Lucinda (Bates) Lillie, born August 16, 1800. It is also known that various squatters took up residence on the island, particularly when owners were absent, making good use of the fertile river-loam farmland. Another tie of note to the island is that of Ezra Seth Barden who was born in 1810 at Lee, Massachusetts. In 1833 he brought his young bride, Catherine Elizabeth Jackson, to Owego where they set up their home on the Big Island. She just happens to be a second cousin of U. S. President Andrew Jackson. The LaMonte family had their main farm directly north of the island where Rt. 17C runs near Campville. They retained a few acres on the island after selling the rest in 1831, selling that small balance of acreage in 1834. From my previous research, the LaMonte family operated a ferry across the river to the island. In 1840, with her five children, Mrs. William Avery Rockefeller (the former Eliza Davison) removed from Moravia, NY to Owego, renting a house on the LaMonte farm. One of her sons, John Davison Rockefeller, Sr., 11 years old at the time, often worked for pennies a day on the LaMonte farm. Born July 8, 1839 in Richford, NY, John D. Rockefeller, world-renowned founder of Standard Oil Company, went to the Court Street Owego Academy, was tutored by Susan Jane LaMonte at her home, and often kept in touch with her on his returns to Owego as an adult. Another student of renown who taught at the Owego Academy was Benjamin F. Tracy, Secretary of the Navy under President Benjamin Harrison. The former Owego Academy at 20 Court Street is an old brick building still very much in use, nicely remodeled, repainted, and well kept over the years. It was in this Federal style building (built in 1827-28) where I began my secretarial career in 1972 as a high school senior. I worked part time, then full time after graduating high school, for Lewis B. Parmerton, Esq., gaining valuable knowledge from his experienced secretary, Kathy. My desk was at the second window to the left of the front door on the first floor, looking out on two tall buttonwood (sycamore) trees which are now gone. The basement then housed the N.Y.S. Department of Motor Vehicles where I obtained my learner’s permit and driver’s license. I will also never forget the sale of a particular old building on Front Street along the river’s edge to Pat Hansen. After all paperwork had been completed and signed, and Ms. Hansen had left, Mr. Parmerton stood in the office with us two secretaries, shaking his head, “I don’t know what she wants that old building for.” Little did he, or Kathy and I, realize then, but Pat Hansen turned her building into the extremely successful store, “Hand of Man,” spurring on the revitalization and growth of Owego’s Front Street businesses which continues to this day! I love poking around in the “Hand of Man,” enjoying the delicate and gorgeous one-of-a-kind gifts. But, among the antiques in the Parmerton office was an oil painting of the Owego Academy, with two young sycamore/buttonwood saplings which stood in front of our office windows. I cannot find a copy of this painting in an online search. The building’s tin ceilings were high and ornate. There were beautiful fireplaces, an old Seth Thomas pendulum clock, an 1850 map designating every road and building in Tioga County, and Mr. Parmerton’s office/library was lined with bookshelves filled to the high ceiling, rolling ladders needed to reach the upper shelves. The floors were wooden, uneven and squeaky in places, with a beautiful dark wood banister going up the stairs to the second level. In fact, taking the stairs to the upper floor, I had occasion to enter the office of two elderly attorneys, the Beck sisters. I remember Rowena Beck, the first woman lawyer in Tioga County. The sisters’ grandfather was Professor Joseph Raff who, in 1875, composed the Blue Tassel Quadrille for the start of a new season on the Great Island. Of further interest, Sedore notes that Raff was the brother of Joachim Raff, an accomplished orchestral composer, who just happened to be “a personal friend of Franz Liszt and Hans von Bulow.” (Sedore, p.23) Small world indeed! Little did I then know the history I was working amongst! When speaking of the island’s early years, one must also include reference to Joseph Shaw DeWitt, or “Old Joe” as he was otherwise known. Coming from Binghamton to Owego about 1841, he was an actor, fireman, businessman and restaurateur. On the side, he made and sold cough drops in a box which looked much like the Smith Brothers box, along with cream candies, and beer. He owned a restaurant on Lake Street, but it was at his hotel on Front Street in Owego which began the greatest period of Hiawatha Island’s history. Here, on August 5, 1873, a number of businessmen met to form a stock company with the purpose of building a steamboat intended for trips on the Susquehanna River between Binghamton, NY and Towanda, PA. They approached Cyrenus McNeil LaMonte, who had purchased the Great Island in 1872, and thus began the island’s “most flamboyant years.” (Sedore p.5) The Owego Steamboat Company had its first boat ready by the end of February 1874. The “Owego” was 75 feet long, 26 feet wide, capable of carrying 200 passengers. Unfortunately, she did not have the most auspicious start to her career. Putting the “Owego” into the river with 20 men aboard on April 6th was the easy part. All too soon, however, they realized her paddlewheels were too light and frequently simply stopped moving. But, that was easy enough to rectify – a man lay down on top of each wheel house, pushing the paddle wheels with his hands to keep them working! What a job that must’ve been! Having finally gotten the “Owego” into deeper water, things only went downhill from there. As they tried to bring her back to shore, someone misjudged and she stopped with a sudden thud on hitting the embankment. This sent several of the men sprawling flat out on the deck. Deciding to take the flatboat to shore (towed behind for emergency situations), the men got safely onto this small boat – only to find it couldn’t handle their weight, and it promptly sank. With chagrin, their only option left was swimming to shore, likely glad it was the middle of the night with few fans around to observe the indignity of it all. Sixteen days later, though, the “Owego” was steaming to Binghamton and back, and the Big Island was being cleared of brush where a dance hall and restaurant were to be built. “Old Joe,” the first caterer, fed all picnickers who came to the island for its opening day on Wednesday, June 10, 1874. Professor Raff’s cornet band provided entertainment on the “Owego”. Ever the entrepreneur and entertainer, “Old Joe” was ready for customers wearing Indian feathers and war paint on his face, and dubbed his restaurant “Hiawatha’s Wigwam.” Hiawatha Grove was the name for the eastern end of the island and of the train station on the opposite north shore (off Rt. 17C near Campville). Soon, though, the Big Island began to be known by the name of Hiawatha Island thanks to the showmanship of everyone’s favorite businessman, “Old Joe.” Over the ensuing nearly 20 years, the Hiawatha House hotel was built and eventually expanded to three stories with a dance hall, restaurant, and honeymoon suites, with its front balconies overlooking the river. Gravel strolling paths were made, with small “arbors” built along the paths to sell confections, cigars and lemonade. Games were played on the lawns of the island, and scull races were held on the river. Clam bakes were also quite popular, as was the dancing held until the early morning hours, keeping the steamboat busy at the dock. Many businesses and churches from local and numerous outlying communities soon found it a popular picnic destination spot over the years. In 1875, a new and better dock was built. It was 75 feet long with thirteen 16-foot-long piles driven to a depth of 10-1/2 feet. Sedore comments that nine of these original piles are still visible when the river level is down. This was another boom year for the island. In September, the “Owego” was sold with plans in the works for a new steamboat, the “Lyman Truman,” bigger and better at 120 feet long. She was launched March 9, 1876 from the riverbank just west of the Owego bridge, taking far longer to do so than expected. She broke the ropes as she lurched forward, gliding about a mile downstream before being stopped and held in place. Her engine and boiler were not yet completed; sadly, these, too, met with misfortune. The day before the “Lyman Truman’s” launching, the boiler exploded while being tested in a machine shop on Hawley Street in Binghamton. Parts flew upward and outward, some landing 500 feet away, another part embedded itself into the roadway, severing a gas pipe with noxious fumes filling the air. Two people were killed instantly, a third soon died from his injuries, and ten others received various light to severe injuries. By mid May, the “Lyman Truman” had a new boiler in place, just in time for the island’s full season. This was 1876, our nation’s centennial year, and celebrations were being held everywhere, with the island no exception. A great loss, however, was the passing of “Old Joe” in April, but the island’s summer calendar moved forward. The Hiawatha House hotel had just had its third floor added and was ready for the grand opening on June 7th of Hiawatha Grove on the Big Island. About 2000 people came for the July 4th centennial celebrations on the island. Even with a brief heavy shower, everyone was in high spirits. The Declaration of Independence was read along with prayer, a song, and a lengthy speech. Croquet and various lawn games were played, and bands provided music for dancing couples, along with a great deal of delicious food being consumed by those enjoying the day’s events. Every year, travel to the island was enjoyed by thousands. There were other steamers like “Helen,” “Welles,” “Glen Mary,” “Dora” and “Clara,” with the “Marshland” in use for the 1884 season after the “Truman” had been sold. In 1883, the crowds virtually disappeared with the “Lyman Truman” having been sold, as complaints began surfacing of island/hotel mismanagement in 1882. Now, with the “Marshland” operating in 1884, business picked up again with its 4th of July celebrations reportedly being better than ever with 3000 tickets sold for the day! People were coming from as far away as Elmira, Carbondale, PA, Auburn, NY, Waverly, Candor, Cortland, and, of course, Binghamton, Owego and Nichols. The Grand Army Association held its annual reunion of Civil War veterans with tremendous crowds attending. In fact, by the end of the 1884 season, “the Hiawatha House hotel register [showed] that…people had come to the island from twenty-six states and nine foreign countries.” (Sedore, p.85) In August 1887, Cyrenus LaMonte sold the Big Island, now known as Hiawatha Island, to Dr. S. Andral Kilmer and Company of Binghamton who later sold his half to his brother, Jonas M. Kilmer, in 1892. Apparently, Kilmer had stated he hoped to build a sanitarium on the island. Though the 1888 season was a great success, the island was never again used as a summer resort. The Big Island’s greatest days were unexpectedly silenced forever. The Kilmers made no announcements or promises for opening the 1889 season. The steamboats were leased or sold. Boats were not allowed to dock at the island by the Kilmers, and no one was allowed entrance to the island to observe how their work was coming on the new sanitarium. “The 1889 season came and went without the usual excursions to Hiawatha House and the grove. There was no dancing, bowling or billiards. Hiawatha was closed to the public.” (Sedore, p.111) Though small groups were occasionally allowed entrance to the hotel, the demise of the island’s success was obvious. Instead, the Kilmer family used it as their private family retreat. Sedore includes an 1890 photo of the Hiawatha House (Sedore, p.121, fig.32). Near the dock at the river’s edge, she stood tall, an elegant lady in white, an impressive four stories, with first and second floor balconies, and fourth floor dormers. In 1900, the island was sold by Jonas Kilmer, and a succession of various owners filed through the property in the ensuing decades. Hiawatha House was taken down in 1932 after falling into disrepair as other outbuildings either burned or collapsed with age. Aerial photos from 1900, 1937, and 1955 show how few trees remained on the island. From the highways today, it’s hard to tell what the interior of the island looks like beyond its border of trees along the river’s edge. It has been used during the 20th century for private family retreats and camping to dairy farming. I also recall that Hiawatha Island went on the auction block on August 20, 1988 following financial difficulties by its then current owner. Inquiries about purchasing the island came from Japan and the Arab countries, with an ad in the Boston Globe bringing ten phone calls in two days. Having heard a local land developer intended to purchase the island to strip-mine it, the Historic Owego Marketplace, Inc., also known as the Hiawatha Purchase Committee (a non-profit group of Owego business people), decided to purchase the island to protect it. They barely managed the successful bid at $351,000; yet, with a 10% buyer’s premium, the total purchase price was $386,100. Ultimately, the final cost was over $700,000 with interest payments and other expenses. Numerous people, volunteers, and businesses came together to help raise funds to pay off the purchase price, an accomplishment many thought impossible. A good number of fundraisers were held, with Noel “Paul” Stokey (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) coming to town to give a concert. After four years, the fundraising group was able to pay back those who had kindly loaned money to the purchase committee. An annual “Walk Through Time” was held on the island along with a Native American Pow-wow. When the Hiawatha Purchase Committee paid off their debt for the purchase in 1993, they turned their ownership over to the Waterman Conservation Education Center in Apalachin for perpetual conservation. The purchase committee insisted on restrictions to keep the island in a natural state forever, and that the name would always be Hiawatha Island. Waterman Center’s director, Scott MacDonald, has said, “From a naturalist’s standpoint, we preserved a very unique piece of land for the community. It truly is the ‘jewel’ of the river.” (Life in the Finger Lakes.com) “The Waterman Center plans to use the island for education classes on Native American civilizations, conservation, wildlife, and perhaps archeology.” (Sedore, p.220) In 2006, a family of bald eagles was actually spotted living on this now-protected island! And, I’m sure that many more eagles have made the island their home since then. What a legacy the Hiawatha Purchase Committee has left us for the future. In allowing the island to rest without commercial traffic, its use strictly limited under conservation guidelines, this gem of the Susquehanna once again shines in its natural state. BOOK SOURCE: Hiawatha Island: Jewel of the Susquehanna by Emma M. Sedore, pub. Tioga County Historical Society, March 1, 1994.
  31. 2 points
    It seems like a call to the jail when she first started getting these calls would have put an end to it.
  32. 2 points
  33. 2 points
    Seems funny how all this starts to happen 'round election time...hopefully enough people see through it
  34. 2 points
    No Kidding!! Me me me!! "The town should send fire trucks to bring us water". "I'mma sue someone". My personal favorite: "we should blow up the Health Department" But, if you look at the statement above from the band themselves, they could have shaped the conversation and inspired better reactions from fans. Their message could have been a little less 'all about us'. Instead of just speaking about only how heartbroken they are for their beloved fans and their beloved crew....it seems like they could have acknowledged the locals and pretended to show some concern/sympathy for their host community. I can at least say....other fans weren't shy to call out the ones being selfish centered and remind them that there are community members in the region suffering way more than missing a festival, and the community has more important issues to spend resources on right now than their party.
  35. 2 points
    As long as the county is done "investing" tax money into it, I'm happy with however any independent private businessman want to spend his own money and market his product!
  36. 2 points
    Just saw this slime ball on the news talking about something else. He is such a pandering POS, his eye on a presidential run. With each feather he sticks in his cap, those of us to the north of the Catskill and west of the Hudson pay for it. He is so out of touch with reality. FUAC
  37. 2 points
    According to the detailed citations that Christina included in her Brief History Of The Chemung County Legislature blog, the answer is "no". Steuben is not one of the handful of counties that New York’s Division of Local Government Services lists as a "chartered" county. In fact, few of the other counties on the list are places I'd want to live. Most are metro area and represent some of the highest tax burdens in the state.
  38. 2 points
  39. 2 points
    I know of this person and he is definitely not all there. I do feel bad for the horses maybe take his food and water a way for a few weeks and see how he feels.
  40. 2 points
    Kudos to Mr Capriotti for his vision. He's done great things for the city already, and keeps moving forward.
  41. 2 points
    It would appear their target demographic may be depicted in the first photo in this topic.
  42. 2 points
    Okay first of all I read Libertad as ... something else ! Second since when will low income housing revitalize the City of Elmira ?
  43. 2 points
    ELMIRA - Chemung County Nursing Facility resident and WWII Veteran Jim Roush will be the first resident to participate in the Twin Tiers Honor Flight. On May 12, the Honor Flight will take 61 Veterans from the Greater Binghamton Airport to Washington D.C. in honor of their service so that they can visit and reflect at their memorials. Right after graduating high school in 1943, Jim Roush was drafted to the U.S. Army where he trained in radio and radar communications. After completing basic training, Jim was offered the opportunity to sign up to join the military on his own. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corp., before it was called the Air Force, and was assigned to England. While overseas, Sergeant Roush served as a radio operator in a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber plane doing multiple tours flying over Germany and France. In 1945, Jim’s plane was fired at, killing two crewmembers and leaving Jim permanently injured. Sergeant Roush was shot in the knee and 73 years later, still wears a brace on his left knee. After the war was over, Sgt. Roush was stationed in Germany for ten months before being able to go home in 1946. Once back in the United State, he was able to use his skills he learned in the military to get a job at a T.V. station in Erie, Pennsylvania where he worked in the control room and as a camera operator. While working full time and having a family, Jim attended college for engineering at Midland Engineering College, Kansas City, Missouri. Jim then moved to Buffalo to go to college at the University at Buffalo and earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in January of 1971. After graduation, Jim began working for the Internal Revenue Service, tracking down people who had not paid their taxes. Jim transferred to Elmira, where he eventually retired from the IRS in 1994 after 25 years of service. This will be Sgt. Roush’s first time to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II memorial. “I’ve always heard how wonderful it is so I’m excited to see it for myself,” says Roush. Sgt. Roush will be accompanied by his son, Jim, to visit the memorial site in D.C. This will be the seventh time the Twin Tiers Honor Flight has transported a group of veterans to Washington D.C and is referred to as Mission 7. After this flight, more than 300 veterans from the Twin Tiers will have participated in the program.
  44. 2 points
    What a shock... The info on Facebook is not correct 😲
  45. 2 points
    I haven't written much about our monthly sister meetings since Sister #3, Andrea, died unexpectedly May, 2016. We have continued to get together each month since her passing but it hasn't been the same until recently. I came up with the brilliant idea of getting together monthly with my five sisters and so I hosted our first sister meeting October, 1997. The idea was simple. Starting with the eldest each month we'd take turns hosting. Each sister picked her date and planned how she wanted to do things. Full course meals or simple snacks, totally up to the hostess. No pressure about attending, if you could you did and if not we'd see you the next month. We've been doing this every month for twenty plus years. Andrea's death affected us all deeply and changed the tone of our monthly sister meetings and also how we treat each other. Before Andrea died our meetings were full of laughter, teasing, sarcasam, arguing and sometimes anger. No one censored anything that was said and believe me, plenty was said through out the years. We'd play card and dice games, for money of course, and since some of my sisters are very competetive, it could get down right nasty, especially when losing. It was fun, even when there was an argument because sometimes the sharp, angry words would end in laughter. No matter what, though, we never stayed angry with each other. After Andrea died, our monthly sister meetings were very subdued. Sometimes I got the feeling we were walking on egg shells and tip- toeing around the fact that our lives had changed drastically. Our sister was dead. That first year or so after Andrea's death we were together at our sister meetings but we weren't really there. I can't explain the difference, except to say it was lonely, it was sad, it was painful, it was just horribly different. We were each dealing with her death in our own way, quietly, personally, but not really sharing how we felt with each other. We were just going through the motions, grieving separately, not together. There was no teasing, no arguing, no games, no real life to our sister meetings. We had even discussed stopping our sister meetings because her absence was just so damn hard to accept. I think we were afraid to be as we used to be with each other because we didn't want to do or say anything to hurt or offend someone.....just in case. I'm glad we kept going. Sister #2 hosted our December, 2017 sister meeting. She planned a small dinner and invited our spouses. While the men were gathered in the kitchen, we held our sister meeting in the living room. As in the past, we exchanged small Christmas gifts but what made this sister meeting special was that sister #4 participated without any prompting or chastising about her "humbug" attitude. She's not much on holidays and all the hoopla but she planned for this one. Sitting around the Christmas tree we talked and opened our gifts to each other. Sister #4's gift to each of us was a necklace. A small silver heart that held some of Andrea's ashes and an angel wing. Finally, more than a year and a half later, we cried together, as sisters, acknowledging what we had lost, seeing what we still had, and accepting that it was going to be okay. January, 2018 was sister #4's month but she decided to cancel because, as she said, "she wasn't up for it". December didn't bring a miracle healing, there were and still are good and bad days. We all understood but we also knew she was hurting and needed our support. Sister #5 contacted everyone and said she was bringing donuts, meet at Sister #4's home for coffee early on a Saturday morning. Given Sister #4's temperment, however, there was some trepidation as to how she'd react. Sister #5 and I discussed it and we both agreed there was a real possibility she'd be ticked off and tell us "nice to see you, there's the door" but what's life without taking a chance now and then. I arrived last and perhaps that was a subconscious thing on my part. If my sisters cars were parked in the driveway I knew our unannounced appearance was well received. It wasn't until I showed up last, though, that she caught on to what was happening and that said so much about my sister's state of mind. You can't easily get anything by Sister #4 but we did that day. What was really nice about that sister meeting was that we were able to speak of Andrea. About her, her life, the sometimes stupid but funny stuff she used to do or say. Sister #5 hosted our February, 2018 sister meeting. What struck me about that get together is that it was more like our usual sister meetings. There was teasing, laughter, and even some display of temper and arguing over a game we played. It was a card game, I think called "cards against the world". It was the most obnoxious, rude, insulting game I've ever played and I never laughed so much in my life. It was a good sister meeting. Sister #6 held our March, 2018 sister meeting. At Christmas she had given everyone an Appleby's gift card so we all met there for lunch then went to her home for desert. Again, it was more like our old sister meetings. Which brings me to our sister meeting held on April 28th. We played a card game, for money, and Sister #2 actually got snarky with Sister #5 who won both pots of money. Sister #2 won't admit it but she hates to lose. There was a very loud silence after Sister #2 asked Sister #4 to do something for her and Sister #4 declined. We all knew Sister #2 was angry about the response she received. Her red face said it all. No one said anything, though, as we all just sat there waiting for the angry words we could clearly see she was thinking. She remained quiet and held them in. As I'm writing this I can't help but think maybe it would have been better if the angry words were spoken. They probably would have been doosies and we all know Sister #4 can give better than she gets. Obviously, we're not quite back to normal yet but I can see light at the end of the tunnel; we're getting there. I'm beginning to think a nice argument might be good for us. No more egg shells and tip-toeing around each other. I'll have to see what I can do if the opportunity presents itself at our next sister meeting. Wish me luck.
  46. 2 points
    Well, it's not something available at the mall right now but personally, think we have enough BBQ places. Best of luck to them though.
  47. 2 points
    I started this piece of embroidery early August, 1973. At that time I was a young 19-year-old bride of 7 months living in Iceland with my husband who was stationed at the Naval Base at Grindavek. We did not qualify for base housing so we lived in an apartment in Keflavik. I absolutely loved the whole experience and totally embraced the new adventure of living in a different country. Our apartment was modest but the view from our living room window was priceless; the Atlantic Ocean in all it’s glory and I remember thinking I’d never take that view for granted or forget. I shopped at the local stores, including going to the fish market every day for the catch of the day. Our mail came through the military base but I’d stop at the local Post Office just to visit with any one who was there at the time. Conversation was never a problem once it was apparent I was an American; they were as fascinated about Americans as I was about them. Our neighbors were wonderful, friendly people who always welcomed us into their homes with such hospitality and graciousness. Icelandic was not easy to speak but I did my best and was never made to feel foolish when I inevitably butchered their language. I’d receive smiles from the shop keepers or the person I was speaking with and then they would help with the words and phrasing. Since the winter nights were so long in Iceland you would have many different hobbies to help keep you busy. A neighbor introduced me to the art of embroidery and instead of starting out with something simple as she suggested I picked this ambitious piece. It was so large that I had to use a standing frame to hold the piece. She told me that as I worked my tapestry the back should be as neat as the front so I began working slowly and carefully. When it was time to return to the States I only had a small portion done but I wasn’t worried, I was young and had plenty of time to get it finished. Time, however, had other ideas and before I knew it 5 years had gone by and I hadn’t touched my tapestry. I remember setting up my frame and working on the tapestry, watching my toddlers play as I carefully stitched away. I’d set it aside then return to work on it every so often. Life happens, you get busy, and before I knew it more years passed by so quickly. It was not finished when my Dad died in 1982 at the age of 47. At that time I had just about completed the left half of the tapestry to the lady’s shoulders. I no longer had the heart to work on my tapestry so I packed everything up and put it away in the attic. More years passed so quickly and before I knew it our sons had graduated High School and eventually left home to start their own lives. Sometime during the mid 1990’s I was going through photo albums and came across pictures of our time in Iceland. Seeing those photos reminded me of my tapestry packed away in the attic all those years ago. I found it, set up my frame, and again began working on my tapestry. Watching my needle go in and out, filling each space with colored yarn, I gradually realized that when I was working on my tapestry I didn’t think about anything else. Concentrating on each stitch relaxed my mind. I worked slowly, trying to complete my stitches so that the back of the tapestry was as neat as the front, just as my friend from so long ago advised. I changed jobs during this time period so again work on my tapestry was haphazard at best but I kept it close at hand. Again the years flew by and before I knew it, we had celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Our sons married giving us daughters and within a couple of years we were blessed with the arrival of our grandchildren. There were parties, holidays, celebrations and sometimes painful goodbyes to more loved ones. Health scares, happy times, harsh words, not so happy times, tears and laughter. So much simple day-to-day life happened as I worked on my tapestry every now and then, stitch by stitch. By April, 2010, my tapestry was almost finished except for several rows in the upper right hand corner. Mom died April 14th that year, and though I still can’t explain why, this urgency came over me to finish my tapestry. I quickly realized I didn’t have enough of the colored yarn for that section of my tapestry so off to Michaels I went, sample in hand, to try to match the color. I wasn’t able to match it exactly but I did find a color that was close enough. To this day, when I look at my tapestry I can see the color difference in that section and I am always reminded of Mom. When I told my husband it was done and showed him the completed piece he praised my work. While the back wasn’t as neat as my long ago Icelandic friend said it should be, he made me feel as if I were Monet and had completed a masterpiece. He told me we had to have it properly framed and that’s what he did. We took it to a professional framer and I remember how excited the gentleman was to work with such a large piece of embroidery. “You don’t see pieces like this very often these days” he said and recommended the use of conservator glass to protect the colors of my tapestry from fading due to sunlight. It took time to pick out the wooden frame and the colors of the matte finish to compliment the colors in my embroidery. I don’t know why, but I remember shedding some tears on the drive home the day we picked up the finished piece from the framer’s shop. Seven years later my tapestry hangs on our bedroom wall and as I look at it I realize that each stitch, from start to finish, represents 37 years of my life. I’m reminded of our time in Iceland, the early years of our marriage, the births of our children and their growing years. I look at different parts of my tapestry and I’m able to remember certain events in my life both happy and sorrowful. Until I started this story, however, I also realize that I never really saw the beauty of the piece as my husband did. What I saw was failure because it took so many years to complete something that I had started so very long ago. Not any more. My tapestry represents a life….mine. I am as much a part of that tapestry as the colored yarn that makes up the picture because looking at it now, I remember my desire to create something beautiful when I selected this very ambitious piece all those years ago. Viewing it with different eyes, I also see that it contains my hopes and dreams through all those long years. There is heartache, joy and life in my tapestry. Different parts of the picture hold the tears I sometimes cried while working, soaking into the yarn and becoming a permanent part of my tapestry. My tapestry has absorbed all the love shared during those 37 years, and I now see, as my husband always did, something of beauty, something that holds a part of me in each and every stitch. I accomplished my desire of long ago to create something beautiful and despite time I did it…..one stitch at a time.
  48. 2 points
    “Spring is sprung; the grass is riz --- I wonder where the birdies is….”* Winter is having a hard time loosening its grip on us. Snow just keeps coming down and we keep shoveling and filling the feeders for the cardinals, tufted titmice, chickadees and, although not invited, the deer. Palm Sunday is just three days ahead, and then comes Easter. So ---- we keep hoping spring will also arrive!! We’ve experienced a few snowy Easters in past years, but we’d rather that didn’t happen in 2018. I changed the evergreen wreath on our door to one with forsythia, hoping to influence the weather, but so far---- no impact on winter!! In the spirit of eternal optimism, though, I do expect daffodils really soon! I enjoy this time of year. Unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, the preparations for Easter are generally not so labor-intensive. It is a more meditative season that awakens a need for exploring our spiritual component. We are prone to neglect that part of ourselves simply because we are so busy with careers, community involvement and the never-ending tasks of living. The Easter-Passover season reminds us to pause; to consider spiritual growth as something that impacts our health and ability to live a satisfying life. We may realize that if our beliefs are real, they aren’t just for holidays, but for daily living. If you are a reader, some book selections that speak to this are: Choices by Alexandra Stoddard and How Then Shall We Live by Wayne Muller. Neither is denominational in any way, but both speak of living joyfully, an interior as well as an exterior life. And if you are open for it, a more theological and challenging book is Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. Taking time for thoughtfulness and good Lenten reading is probably more useful than giving up chocolate!! One of the most delightful Easter customs is coloring eggs. This has been going on for centuries, and some traditions turn the eggs into fine works of art, like the Ukrainian wax& dye process. I’ll probably be coloring Easter eggs when I’m ninety, though mine are not at all elaborate. The regular coloring kits available in grocery stores are fun, but even more entertaining is using some of the available natural colorings. Wrapping eggs in red or yellow onion skins gives them muted shades of color, depending on how long one leaves them wrapped. If you have skillful fingers, you can cut designs in the onion skins. There are vegetables, fruits and spices that also may be used: beets (lavender), blueberries (purplish-blue), turmeric (yellow), cranberry juice (pink) and grape juice (blue-violet). Adding vinegar to the soaking cups intensified the color. And polishing the eggs after coloring gives them a lovely patina. If you wish to provide a bit more sparkle, apply a thin layer of adhesive (diluted white glue) and roll the eggs in glitter. (I wouldn’t recommend eating those!) Nestled in a pot of home-grown grass (or cat grass from the florist shop) they will speak of newness and spring. Back to books----- when I think of reading, I (of course) also think of writing. As I read, I’m often in awe of what comes out of people’s heads, through their fingers and onto paper. Once in a blue moon, for me, the writing just flows, but more often, it has to be coaxed and pulled out with agonizing and considerable editing. For several years now, I have promised my family a narrative cookbook: “Grandma’s House”. This would be a book of family stories and recipes, focusing on my mother and the home where everyone gathered, with peeks into other family homes too. It would be a sort of anthology of us, as a clan, using our favorite foods as the connecting vehicle. But --- how I procrastinate! ----how hard this seems to be! Oh, the recipes are all available, and so are the stories. But it is difficult; the weaving them together into a tapestry that makes evident the warmth of sitting around that polished oak table with steaming cups of amber tea and several choices of cookie boxes. How to make clear the combined aromas of varnish and paint (artist’s paraphernalia), wood smoke, bouquets of lilacs, baking cookies and scent of burning candle wax? And how does one insert the lowing sound of a barn-full of cows, the mostly contented clucking of chickens and the bird song from the trees and gardens? So far, the pattern has eluded me --- but I will figure it out! Given time and focus! Or perhaps the project will fly into another family member’s mind and flow through their fingers into a book. Meanwhile, just thinking about this brightens my day as I take a mini-vacation back in time to the drumlins and green fields where I grew up. While that book remains in my imagination, my garden orders are immediate and real, and I’m now concentrating on getting them ready to send in this week. Editing the plant possibilities is almost as agonizing as editing what I write. My gardens are blossoming extravagantly ----- in my plans. It is so easy to envision what should be marvelous patterns of color and texture in the gardens. How much harder it is to convince those seeds and plants to flourish as they should in our unwelcoming clay soil. Daffodils are soon to come, but pussy willows are here now. One of my former co-workers, from an Aleutian tribe in Alaska, said that they always used pussy willows instead of palm branches for Palm Sunday. Palm trees are a tad scarce in Alaska I’d imagine. And since I can’t seem to keep a palm (or much else) alive over winter, I too use pussy willows, on the altar table at church. And they stand in all their delightful gray fuzziness, representing both the coming spring and the wonders of creation. Whatever our capricious weather brings, I am sending good wishes to you for a blessed Easter/Passover/Springtime. Take some time to play for as Logan Pearsall Smith** says: “If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.” Enjoy each day, be grateful and be glad!! *--An old country verse, but I haven’t any idea from whence it comes. **--Logan Pearsall Smith (son of Hannah Whitall Smith) was an American-born British essayist and critic. 1865-1946. Carol may be reached at: cpeggy@htva.net .
  49. 2 points
    “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”* We love that old song and the memories it stirs. But what does Christmas look like? Along with hopes for the proverbial white Christmas, we each have special ways to remember and celebrate this joyous holiday. Lights are strung to outline houses, bushes and trees, and even vehicles! Christmas trees of real or faux evergreen in varying sizes are put up inside the house. Then we choose white lights, mixed colors, or a single-color theme. And we add decorations and bows, candles, poinsettias and more to bring a festive holiday look to our homes. There are as many ways to decorate as we are different and unique! But then there’s the other part… shopping! It can either be fun or a chore... yet, there’s something in the busy, frenzied pace that belies the true peace of Christmas. I confess to not liking the commercialization that starts barely after Thanksgiving is over, if not earlier. I don’t like hectic shopping, looking for just the right gift by trekking from store to store for hours on end, and waiting in long lines that go on forever. And we especially don’t care to be among rushing crowds that push and shove and grab… we’ve all heard about those examples which, thankfully, I’ve not personally witnessed. The deals may be hard to beat, but… that ambience leaves a bit to be desired. I prefer leisurely shopping trips, listening to Christmas music playing in the background with list in hand because I’m not good at off-the-cuff gift decisions. I enjoy gazing at the fancy decorations and gift ideas on display, giving smiles to other shoppers, and watching the faces of little kids light up at the sights. But shh!! I have to admit I’ve taken advantage of online shopping and actually prefer it now. Yes, me! Someone who could never imagine she’d ever do that! Oh, and let’s not forget the best part of Christmas… all those gift-wrapped packages under the tree! They hold hidden treasures for loved ones and friends, secrets known only to the giver. Giving a gift is exciting, really the best part! As the recipient unwraps their gift, they tend to take on the bright glow of joy... and treasure the gift wrapped with love from your heart to theirs. I’m sure some of my other favorite Christmas memories are yours, too… like Christmas Eve candlelight services, caroling with friends to greet those who are housebound, memories of Christmas Day morning worship services of my childhood, and the happy gatherings of family and friends. All of which brings me to contemplate the treasured gift we celebrate on this special day - a baby born a long time ago. Seemingly no different than any other infant… except that this one was born in a stable, amongst the cattle, donkeys, cats and mice… a baby whose birth was announced by angels to lowly dirty shepherds living out in the fields… a baby whose life still holds special meaning for us today. To an astonished young woman, the blessed virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel had appeared with this message: “’Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “’Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.’” Luke 1:29-32 NIV In due time, Mary’s little baby was born… in a stable, there being no room in the inn at Bethlehem. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone ‘round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not! For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’” Luke 2:8-14 That birth announcement must have been so exciting, yet very humbling, to have seen and heard! How awesome to consider that God sent us His love as a tiny infant, gift wrapped in swaddling clothes. The baby Jesus - Emmanuel, God with us… the one who walked this earth on His journey to a cross… He’s the gift of salvation for us to unwrap and treasure. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Merry Christmas to each of you! Gift Wrapped Linda A. Roorda In wintry stillness there’s a peace I find While the world’s a’bustle with its fast-paced voice Midst a din that beckons in all directions To draw me away from peaceful reflection. ~ From frenzied crowds to pushy shoppers There’s a greed we find in ego’s actions. May we bless instead by giving of self For within each heart we hold the treasure. ~ Yet it seems we rush from here to there Exhaustion filling our stressed-out lives. Did we accomplish what needed doing Or merely deplete our dignity’s calm? ~ May even we with our lists so long Take time to ponder and remember why The reason for joy in this season of cheer Is gift wrapped in peace and given with love. ~ In celebration our voices are joined Recalling a birth from long, long ago Announced to shepherds by angels on high “Glory to God…and on earth peace to all.” ~ For with the birth of baby Jesus We gaze in awe on the promised One Messiah, Savior, and Light of the world The Prince of Peace for our seeking hearts. ~ Most holy of nights when God came to earth To share Himself, gift wrapped and swaddled With an invitation that we would unwrap His gift encased in salvation’s love. ~~ 12/05/16 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. *Written by Meredith Willson in 1951, sung by many, hits by Perry Como and Bing Cosby in 1951. Original blog post at: https://poeticdevotionsblog.wordpress.com/
  50. 2 points
    You remember correctly son.