The Way... With P. Jay
A Subject Politicians Shun
Well, the election is over and I don't know about you, but I don't expect to see any changes in the foreseeable future that will affect my lifestyle. I will still have to pay taxes; I'll never get out of this world alive; and, I'm never gonna be six feet tall.
But there is one issue that has been gnawing away at me for a number of years and I don't believe there isn't a politician in Washington brave enough to touch it.
This week alone, I received more than 25 pieces of mail begging for monetary donations. Some of the letters contain address labels, some Christmas cards, and some 2003 calendars. Most of them appear to be legitimate but I do have my doubts about some of them.
If you don't send something, some charities actual send out dunning letters. They say something like, "We have not heard from you and we are wondering if you received your 2002 Christmas cards"; or, "Hello, Mr. Amadio, just a follow-up note to ask you if you received the 2003 calendar we sent to you."
In a postscript to a very obvious form letter from the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, Father Jim Close, who has been the "man in charge" for some 28 years, wrote: "I am enclosing a small gift of personalized address labels for you. I pray it may inspire your support."
Before the postscript, Father Close said he has been living with cancer for the past three years. He said the initial news about his condition frightened him but, through prayer, he gained a new focus and now he is a man on a mission. He has purchased an older building and wants to convert it into another home for boys.
This past week I got letters from Food For The Poor, America's Second Harvest, Feed The Children, St. Bonaventure Indian Mission & School, and St. Joseph's Indian School, all pleading for money to buy food for needy children. Robin G. Mahfood of Food For The Poor wrote, "The hunger has gotten worse, much worse."
Before some of my critics begin to feel I am picking on charitable organizations, let me tell you where I am going with this subject. I support legitimate charitable organizations and I commend them for the work they do. But when I receive letters advising me that children right here in the U.S. of A. are starving, I get mad. Very mad! You see, my friends, I happen to believe that, if we can send millions, yes, and even billions to fight hunger and rebuild flood torn countries abroad, there is absolutely no excuse for children to be starving here at home. But it wouldn't be considered kosher if a congressman or senator were to say it.
Moreover, it isn't only children and the indigent who are being neglected by our friends in Washington. It is veterans. Men and women who fought to keep this nation free. Men and women who are handicapped today because of courageous performances in the military.
This past week I also received letters for donations from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Blinded Veterans Association, Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, and Help Hospitalized Veterans. And, oh yes, I got letters from the USO which is getting ready to bring the holidays to our troops serving overseas, and the United States Olympic Committee, organizations that should be funded by Uncle Sam.
Why do veterans who are blinded or paralyzed while serving their county have to organize fund raising organizations? We spend millions of dollars building memorials to honor war veterans but we cannot take care of our sick and wounded? My friends, if this is the case, there is something radically wrong in Washington and it's going to take more than a Republican or Democratic majority to correct it.
I know that, by law, I do not have to send any money for items sent to me that I did not order. But I also know that you feel kind of guilty when you get these small gifts in the mail and the natural reaction is to pull out the checkbook and see if there are a few bucks that can be spared.
When you receive letters like this day-after-day- after-day, you begin to feel obligated. You tell your butcher to make that four hot dogs instead of a couple of pork chops. You buy $10 worth of gas rather than fill the tank. And you hold back a couple of bucks from the weekly collection at church. All of this so you can funnel some of your dollars to worthy charities.
Frankly, I believe the politicians in Washington are afraid to touch the issue. It might offend the so-called "blue-bloods" who contribute millions to political campaigns across the country and who haven't got time to be concerned about their less fortunate fellow Americans.
I believe it was a British writer named Sir Thomas Browne who once wrote, "Charity begins at home."
We sat at the kitchen table, stomachs full; coffee cups half empty, listening to stories from the 1920s. My host was holding court. His wife had probably heard these stories many times before. His sister had even participated in some of the episodes he was describing. But to me, they were mostly new and fascinating.
Its difficult to put myself back into an era that Ive only read about. Life before automobiles? Hard to visualize. I am ashamed to admit that I jump in the car, drive four blocks and buy three or four important items at the grocery store. I might do this more than once a day if I decide at noon to make something I hadnt planned on during my first shopping trip. I doubt shoppers in that earlier era hitched up the team twice a day for a run to the store. And why dont I just walk the four blocks? Dont have time. Too much to do. Yeah. Like those folks in that earlier era didnt have so much to do?
Even with a car, my childhood family went for groceries once a week. Saturday night was grocery night and anything you were going to need in the coming week had better be on that list.
Back at the table the conversation moved on to a later era when this man got his first chance behind the wheel of a car. He was about thirteen, I believe, and his older brother asked him if he wanted to drive. Of course he did! This was an open car and his faithful dog was riding with his paws on the top of the door and his head in the breeze. They were on their way to a weeks vacation. What a great visual image of a carefree summer day. Suddenly a stomp on the brakes sent the dog flying out of the car; right under the wheels of the truck behind them. Seventy-five years ago and still I can see the pain in his eyes as he re-tells this story.
But there are other stories. This time he is a young man drafted for service in World War II. Hes sent to Miami to train, where the government has commandeered the posh hotels for barracks. And where, in the city, are there fields for them to train in? "We had it made there," he says with a laugh. But then they moved on to Texas and that was a whole different story.
Now he is back to his teenage years again and remembering the shed where he and his buddies would hide their tobacco and go before and after school for a smoke. And he recalls from that era the buggy they "borrowed," which ended up pretty well demolished when the horse got out of control.
On and on into the evening we go as he lays down layer after layer of rich-textured stories that I file away in my mind, not only to be turned into material for my writing, but to give me encouragement to be like those strong, brave, adventuresome, hard-working people who came before me. Were they really the heroes that Im envisioning? Or were they just everyday people going about their everyday lives? Which ever, they make my life seem much too careful and controlled, too easy and undisciplined. Its no wonder the people from their era are reaching the hundred year mark and beyond. They are an inspiration to me, and I am very proud to know them.
Years Ago 1902-2002
LENOXVILLE: Mrs. Leroy Allen met with quite a serious accident while coming from here, one night last week. On the hill above Adam Miller's, one of the holdbacks to the harness broke, letting the wagon against the horse, which started on a run. At the foot of the hill they came in contact with Mrs. Timothy McCarthy, who had heard them coming and turned out by the roadside. The wheels of both buggies locked and the harnesses were stripped from both horses, while the occupants of the buggies were thrown to the ground. Mrs. Allen sustained quite serious injuries, but is now able to be around the house again.
EAST RUSH: East Rush is quite a thriving place, for a town of its size. It has an extensive creamery business and the buzz of the sawmill denotes that the woodman's axe is always busy. There is a large mercantile exchange, blacksmith shop, wagon repairing shop, agricultural agency, saw filing and gumming factory, and last but not least, an apple juice extractor, which although established quite recently, is reaping a large patronage. East Rush also boasts a neat church, and substantial school building.
FOREST CITY: The school board has decided to elect two additional teachers to relieve the congested condition of affairs in the public schools. All the rooms at present are overcrowded. AND: James Chambers was critically injured by a fall of top coal in the old Forest City slope of the Hillside company, Saturday morning. He was paralyzed as a result of his injuries and his recovery is doubtful. He was taken to Emergency Hospital, Carbondale.
OAKLAND: An Oakland young lady, Miss Gertrude Markhart, recently visited Binghamton and became exposed to smallpox. Binghamton authorities telegraphed the fact to the health officer here, and now she, as well as the balance of the family, is quarantined until it shall be known whether or now she has contracted the disease.
MONTROSE: Messrs. Fayette F. Sprout and Herbert F. Brewster, two popular young men of this place, have purchased the stock and fixtures of the well-known Fordham store and restaurant, and will conduct the business themselves under the firm name of Sprout & Brewster. Both gentlemen are progressive and industrious and their energies will be bent upon keeping the store in as fine a condition, as formerly, which is a standard of excellence seldom surpassed. Mr. Fordham has accepted a similar position to the one in which he has been engaged in here; in connection with the Y.M.C.A. building at Scranton and with his family will remove to that place.
NEWS BRIEFS: A woman, says an exchange, would not be satisfied without having an unnatural hump on her somewhere. For a time the bustle sufficed. Then the big sleeves with an unnatural bump at the shoulders. This didn't last long, and the puff moved from the shoulder to the cuff. Just now the fad is to wear a shirtwaist that looks as if a peck of apples has been dumped into it in front. AND: The new special delivery stamp to be issued within a few weeks by the Post-office Department is to bear the picture of a boy riding a bicycle, instead of the familiar messenger running with a letter in his hand. This will certainly bring the stamp up to date. AND: It is said the latest fad now is to send your picture to those of your friends on whom you cannot find an opportunity to call.
SUSQUEHANNA: Mr. and Mrs. George Boyden and son George, of Oakland, and Messrs. E.R. Barrett and Charles Allapaugh, of Susquehanna, are in the wilds of Pike County, hunting deer. AND: Susquehanna now has a member of Congress, a Sheriff and a County Commissioner, with a second Commissioner three miles distant. AND: Charles Schmidt, of Lanesboro, is erecting a residence and bakery on Erie Avenue.
BRANDT: The Chapot-Shirlaw Chamois Co. recently formed at this place, is at present in a prosperous condition, constantly taking on more hands and expecting to add new machinery in a short time.
KINGSLEY: The Ladies' Aid Society of the Methodist church will serve a chicken pie dinner at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Tiffany on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 29th. The menu reads: chicken pie, mashed potatoes, turnips, cabbage salad, raised biscuit, brown bread, pumpkin pie, berry pie, mince pie, pickles, cranberry sauce, celery, cake and cheese, tea and coffee. Price 20 cents; children under 12, 10 cents.
WELSH HILL: Morgan Morgan recently lost a valuable horse.
SOUTH AUBURN: L.M. Pipher has been having a furnace and bath tub placed in his house.
HOPBOTTOM: A sad accident occurred last Saturday evening. The oldest son of Milo Tiffany, a boy about 14, while attempting to cross the DL&W tracks near the station by climbing over a passing train, slipped, catching one foot neath the wheels, severing it above the ankle.
LAWTON: As election is over and the base ball season is at an end, Lawton is to have a little excitement in the line of foot ball. A team is being organized which promises to be as strong as the base ball club here this season.
FAIRDALE: Mrs. Milton Roy, mistaking the sound of wood being dropped by her husband between 3 and 4 in the morning as he built a fire, for burglars kicking in the door, jumped from the 2nd story to find help at Mr. Shelp's. In her half-awake state she injured herself. Her husband heard her moans but could not find her and started for Shelps, some 30 yards away, to get their help. Mrs. Shelp met Mr. Roy and said his wife had come to their home and was put to bed. Dr. Frye was telephoned for and in the meantime Mrs. Roy was taken home and all done for her that loving friends and neighbors could do to lighten her sufferings. The doctor thought she was badly hurt inwardly, as she bled from the lungs, but about 3 o'clock p.m. she appeared better and told some things about her perilous journey. She remembered raising the window and putting out her right foot and right arm, and swinging herself out but could not hold fast and had to go down and that the stones hurt her feet when she went through the gate, but nothing more until Mr. S. and his wife got her into their house. Mrs. Roy has so far recovered as to be out of bed part of the time and the bleeding from the lungs nearly ceased.
COSTUME "PARTY" Winners: The BKH Awards Club held their annual Halloween party on October 26 at the Moose Lodge. After digesting a smorgasbord of delicious food, over 60 adults some masked in beautiful costume paraded the hall as the three judges, after intense deliberation picked the winners in four classes.
Pictured (l-r) are: seated Carol and Joe Skiba; standing Kelli Kane, Bill Sparks, Sandy Barton.
The Prettiest was awarded to Kelli Kane, all dressed up in a Civil War costume.
The Most Original was awarded to Sandy Barton, as she was covered with autumn leaves along with other forestry objects.
The Ugliest was awarded to Bill Sparks, wearing a mask of "real ugliness," that of the ancient "Dracula."
The Funniest was awarded to Joe and Carol Skiba, as they portrayed "Phil and Lil of the Rugrats."
Judges for the contest were Lil Klym, Mary Ayres and Lou Parrillo.
ANGELS WIN! ANGELS WIN! Although MY Yankees failed to get in the World Series, it did my heart REAL good as the Angels whipped the Giants and that guy whats his name again oh yeah, Mr. Bonds, who believed that he was going to be the savior of baseball. I dont know about you, but the arrogance of the man is sickening. Not even at least some of his teammates gave him the "high five" after a HR blast. Granted, he can hit that ball. But it takes more than one man to win any game. He found out, as the Angels humbled them and him, in the last game. Did you see him chasing ground balls and fly balls. He looked pitiful. He looked at the ball as if it should come DIRECT to him. And if the umpire called a pitch a strike that he didnt like he just look disgusted at the call saying to himself "how dare he call a strike on me." He "may be" one of the games best hitters not players but he sure has a lot to learn about friendship with his teammates. I do believe that Dusty Baker wants to leave the Giants due to Bonds arrogance. I also understand that he comes and goes as he pleases, with or without permission. (Is he a team player? No way! I say.)
NOTE: After writing the above, I saw in the Sports Illustrated mag, written by Rick Reilly: "Dont you feel a little sorry for B. Bonds? True, Bonds has the warmth of a dyspeptic IRS auditor. He dispenses more snarls than twin Dobermans. Hes rude, insular and grouchy. And thats on his birthday. After game 7, he refused to talk to reporters, saying, "Back off or Ill snap."
He is one ball player that does not deserve any kind of publicity good or bad, regardless of his feats.
CORRECTION! CORRECTION! In my NewsBeat of September 30, in the SAL benefit for Devon Sieben the article stated that the Susquehanna Squadron 86 each year awards a graduating senior of Susquehanna High a bond. The article stated that it was a $100.00. Not so. The bond will be a $1,000 award. (Sorry if this caused any inconvenience.)
RESPONSIBILITY Out the Window: At least thats what I have been reading in Amadios column and a Letter to the Editor by James Jennings, who both write that Commissioner Marcho has been shirking his duties as commissioner. How often do the commissioners meet? I believe at least once a week. And for that they receive at least $40,000 a year. It has been noted that Marcho has missed several important meetings, some that he called on his own. At a recent meeting, he was asked by taxpayer James Jennings, why he missed a scheduled Planning Commission meeting and a Salary Board meeting. He (Marcho) said it was personal. Later when the two met, Marcho was quoted as saying to Jennings, "For $40,000 a year, I dont owe anybody anything." (I wonder if Judge Seamans liked that remark!)
NO MORE YANKEE Games: I probably saw my last Yankee game at least in New York. Just so he (George Steinbrenner), does not have to go on welfare, the best seats next year will jump $10 to $72. The rest will increase also. Steinbrenner is blaming the increase on the new labor deal. Baloney! Why didnt the owners stick together? Why didnt they pull all of their marbles and go home? They have enough money to survive. How long do you think a player making five to ten million would like it? Being out of a job and no more baseball jobs open. Im not against labor unions or any other union, but when labor goes too far, such as making it impossible for a blue collar worker to at least attend one ball game a year, then its time to do something about it, and that is to "boycott all the games." But you and I know that will never happen and so the billionaires (team owners) raise prices (millionaire players will gloat) and the poor fans (not me) will continue to manage, somehow, to scrape up enough money to go to a game now and then. As I said in earlier columns (and being a baseball fan since I could walk), I couldnt care less if the majors strike forever. (Then I wouldnt have to watch Bonds smirk and raise his hands to high Heaven every time he hits a long one.)
Seventy-nine registered voters turned out at the polling place in Starrucca Community Hall to cast their votes last Tuesday. Im almost ashamed to report such a small turnout. Such a privilege we have in the democratic process, that it should be a clarion call for everyone to get out and vote.
Tom and Tracey Swartz are overjoyed at the new arrival in their family. Kimberley Augusta joined the family October 3 and was welcomed home by a brother, Marty, five. Grandparents in Starrucca are Marie Swartz and the late Francis Swartz. Augusta was the childs great-grandmother.
Jim Herr was in town recently and said Sally was still in hospital and not doing too well.
Desi and Bud Fehr have sold their home on King Hill. Well sure miss them, as they have been coming here for years.
The Corrigan two-story garage has a cupola on top to match the one on the house, and I assume will be painted the same color as the house.
Carly and Ted Batzel, Jacksonville, NC, spent a weekend at the home of her parents, Dave and Peggy Soden.
Pastor John and wife Jane Grove have returned from a weeks vacation in the Poconos.
Virginia and Carl Upright have spent several weekends with son Brett, Modena, NY, to help him with some remodeling.
Joe Brownell was home for the weekend and entertained a few of his college friends at his new home at Coxton Lake.
Barb and Roger Glover spent last Wednesday afternoon and night with Dave and Marilyn Czapnik, Cobbs Preserve, Lake Ariel. They had a most enjoyable visit reminiscing over pictures taken on their trip out West.
Laura Brownell returned recently from two weeks in Las Vegas, visiting her mother. Husband, Ronnie also reported a very successful elk hunt, who returned with his buddies from the West, about the same time.
Another one of my good friends, Marion Burman, has been ushered into eternity with a beautiful funeral service by Keith Albee, surrounded by such an array of floral tributes as Ive never seen before, and eulogies by Ivan Burman, wife Elaine, and Darlene Slocum, all emphasizing the qualities that made her a "special lady."
Marion passed away quietly in her sleep at home, Monday, November 4. Services were held at Hennesseys Funeral Home, and burial was in the Starrucca Cemetery, with dinner for the mourners at the Thompson Fire Companys dining room. I extend my sympathy again to all the family.
To end on a bright note, Ive had twelve different varieties of birds at the feeder. Also this a.m., a black squirrel to join the grays that ravage the feeder quite often. Must grease the pole.
Hey all you fans out there in Cyberland, it is November and I saw a flock of wild turkeys the other day. They really are a beautiful bird. Perhaps, this is why the Native Americans call them the "Earth Eagle". And, furthermore, since this is November, it is time for Thanksgiving! As is traditional, I have scouted around to find things of interest to you for this wonderful American holiday so boys and girls, put on your cooking aprons, your 'specs if you need 'em, get out the pots and pans and start thinking about decorating for this day which bring so many people to groans after they finish a delicious meal!
I like to look at the history of things so this year I found www.plimoth.org. It will give the history of the people in Plymouth and covers the Wamapanoag people who worked with them for a special meal. Okay, and now how about 20 pages of wonderful Thanksgiving gourmet recipes. This one is great: http://www.epicurious.com/e_eating/e04_thanks/menuintro.html.
Weather is always an important Thanksgiving factor, even tho' nothing stops us from going to grandmother's house. But, if you would like to look at the appropriate weather report check out www.stormfax.com/thanksgv.htm.
At www.4Thanksgiving.com you will find clip art, recipes, traditions, cards, pie and turkey tips for the whole family.
If you would like to see a recreation of the lst Thanksgiving 17th century life check out www.Pilgrims.net/plyouth/thanksgiving.htm. Then go on a virtual tour of Plimoth Plantation at www.pilgrims.net/plimothplantation.com. Scroll to the end of the page for archaeological perspective at www.spirit.lib.uconn.edu/ArchNet/topical/history/plimoth.
www.members.tripod.com/`madebymary/thanksgiving.htm gives you thanksgiving graphics. You can find a turkey screensaver at www.screensaver.com/turkeys.htm. For a coloring book for the children take yourself to www.coloringbookfun.com/thanks/index.htm.
Now, let's think about the wild turkey again see www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framist/13100id.html. Oh yes and for pumpkin fun look at www.pumpkinpatch.com.
Next month I will give you information on computers in time for Christmas shopping and I have a few more goodies up my sleeve! In the meantime, enjoy your Thanksgiving and while you do, remember we have become heirs to wonderful things on our planet.
Time for me to check out some new stuffing recipes apples, onions, raisins and maple syrup sounds interesting, don't you think!
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