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Issue Home December 10, 2002 Site Home

Along The Way... With P. Jay
Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca

Along The Way... With P. Jay

Elections Are More Than Popular Votes

My friends, the time has come for all of us to expect more from candidates for elective office than a brief autobiography and a handshake. Just knowing a candidate is not enough reason to vote for him or her. Not only should we expect more from candidates for important elective offices, we should demand more!

I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of the same old political rhetoric that every candidate recites repeatedly on the campaign trail. Below are examples of the rhetorical statements that many candidates utter during campaign talks and then, in italics, what they are really thinking when they make them:

"I will serve with honesty and integrity." (One of these days I have got to look in a dictionary and find out just what the word integrity means.)

"I will represent you to the best of my ability." (That’s an old standard line that always gets ‘em.)

"I am always just a phone call away." (Have to remind the missus to get an unlisted phone at the house if I win this thing.)

"If you have a problem, I will do what I can to help." (Like how much is one plus one. Just don’t try hitting me with any of that abstract algebra stuff.)

"I will always support issues with your best interest in mind." (That is, as long as I get a piece of the principal. Like getting a piece of the rock. Heh, heh, heh!)

"I will never lie to you." (Got to make sure my fingers are crossed when I do.)

"I will insist that all meetings start with the Pledge of Allegiance." (Is it, One nation indivisible under God or, One nation under God, indivisible? Always get that mixed up.)

"I will not spend a penny of your tax money unwisely." (What the hell can you buy with a penny anyway? It’s the dollars that I want to spend.)

"If I am elected, I will clean our streets and make them safe again." (Must remember to call the newspaper when I grab that broom. That will make a great picture.)

"I will always be there for you." (Whatever the hell that means. Well, it sounds good anyway.)

But seriously, folks, we must stop this practice of electing individuals by popular name. When we were kids, the most popular guy or gal in class was elected class president. The most popular or domineering player in any sport was chosen as team captain. The most vocal gal on the cheerleading squad became head cheerleader. That’s OK in school. But there is no room for kids’ stuff in politics and, especially in county politics, where elected officials are dealing with a multi-million-dollar budget and many of those dollars are generated by real estate taxes.

Candidates for any office should have more to offer than a family name. It is nice to elect someone whose family history includes a generation or two of county residency, but it certainly is not a barometer for measuring the qualifications of the candidate. After all, what’s in a name? Shakespeare wrote, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I have a rose bush in my backyard and when they are in bloom, the aroma is pleasing. But I also notice my rose bush has some thorns on it. I figure if the combination is good enough for Mother Nature, it’s good enough for me.

Candidates for any office should be able to demonstrate more than a long list of relatives living in the county. There should be more than personal credentials. Much more!

Once elected, candidates for public office should be required to complete certification courses qualifying them for the offices they are about to occupy. And no one should vote for a candidate who offers nothing except a desire to be elected. Individuals who run for public office should have goals in mind. Goals that will benefit the office, community or county in which they are running. They should reveal these goals to the electorate and they should be held accountable for pursuing them when they take office.

In response to some inquiries, yes, I am preparing my traditional list of make believe Christmas gifts for area politicians. Look for it in the Christmas edition of The Transcript.

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Slices of Life

Good Morning World

The thermometer outside my kitchen window is registering nine degrees this morning. The sky is a dusky yellow with tinges of pink as the sun prepares to rise. Chimneys are smoking around the neighborhood. The exhaust from idling cars makes fancy white patterns as it hits the cold air. It looks like winter is here.

With the coffee ready, I pour a cup and move into the living room to sit on the couch where Mrs. Morris can join me. However, she lingers in the kitchen, as she has taken over my chair by the window there. It seems that she is also fascinated by the morning scene.

From this new location my vision begins to include people. A runner goes by; his breath white and frosty. Now a man walking a beautiful German Shepherd comes into view. They are out of sight only a few minutes when they come running back up the street. I’m wondering if this is their normal routine, or is the cold contributing to the run. Then a woman in a long black coat goes by. It reminds me that it’s time to dig out my long black wool coat. I’ve been wearing a lined trench coat, but it may be time for something warmer.

I look across the street at the radio station. A large figure stands completely still in front of the building. He almost looks like one of the many Christmas decorations they use to brighten the neighborhood each Christmas season. I watch intently to see some sign of life, but this figure remains inert. Intrigued, I keep gazing. Finally he stirs and I notice that he’s begun to shovel snow. Maybe he also took a moment to wonder at the world coming alive.

One of my neighbors goes by with her tiny dog. What are these dogs thinking when they hit the icy streets after having that summer of ninety degree plus temperatures? I rouse from my reverie to go pour another cup of coffee. Mrs. Morris, who has remained at her post on the kitchen chair, now joins me on the couch. Having slept eight hours last night, she drifts off into dreamland again, only to be awakened by the crunch of truck tires in the driveway next door. My neighbor is home from his twelve-hour shift and will soon be winding down. I’ve often wondered how bodies ever adjust to shift work, especially when the shifts keep changing. This week you’re on night shift; next week it might be days. It amazes me that factories have so few accidents, considering the assault on the body rhythms of the workers.

Now at eight o’clock, the sun is out bright and clear, washing away that magical quality of early morning. Mrs. Morris is back to her work of napping, and it’s time for me to move on to breakfast and another busy day as I put the finishing touches on the Christmas Department Store.

Good morning, world! You are a beauty.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

FOREST LAKE: Our stage driver has bought another horse and expects soon to have everything in apple pie order, so that any one wishing to ride will find it more comfortable than before. He having bought the route we wish him success.

NORTH JACKSON: After a few weeks' illness, Elliott Bryant died at the home of Mr. and Mrs. M. Griggs, North Jackson, Dec. 3. He was a veteran of the War of the Rebellion, and his funeral services were conducted under the auspices of Myron French Post G.A.R., of Jackson, last Friday afternoon, Rev. Harry Kelly officiating.

SUSQUEHANNA: An effort will be made to electric light the road between Susquehanna and Lanesboro. AND: The stage of Hogan Opera House has been changed and improved. The larger troops can hereafter use their own scenery. Fred Raymond's big scenic production, "Old Arkansaw" will appear on Dec. 18th.

LAWSVILLE CENTRE: A Pie Social will be held by the School Library Association at Creamery Hall on New Year's Eve. There will be a grab bag in connection with the social. The ladies are requested to bring a pie and two forks. AND: There will be a "neighborhood" Xmas Tree, at the Baptist church, Christmas Eve, and all are invited to hang presents on the tree and enjoy the festivities.

NEW MILFORD: J. Reed Powell gave a stereopticon lecture at the opera house, Thursday evening: subject, "Destruction of St. Pierre." This was the second number of the lecture course. The third will be given next week, Wednesday eve, by the Hearous Sisters' Co.

LAWTON: The Rush Grangers annual feast will be held at Kahler's Hall, on Dec. 20th. Having a membership of about 160, it will be no small affair. The Grange will also have a Christmas tree and entertainment Christmas night. All invited.

HALLSTEAD: While Victor Stack and Frank Smith, of Hallstead, were out shooting with a small caliber rifle, they saw John VanAuken, the 10 year-old son of Henry Van Auken, of Great Bend, some distance from them and one of the boys thought he would see if he could hit him at so great a distance. He pointed the gun at the boy and fired, the ball striking the boy's head just above the ear. Dr. Hines was called and after locating the ball, which had lodged just within the skull bone, removed the same and at last accounts the patient was doing well and will recover. Pretty careless business.

MONTROSE:The Narrow Gauge train was caught early this year by winter's snows, and has been making but one trip a day part of the week. AND: The stereopticon machine to be used at Village Hall, this evening, is one of the very best to be had, it costing $900. The excellent work done with this machine causes the views to stand out with life-like distinctness, which coupled with the interesting and instructive lecture by J. Reed Powell, almost transport the people who are hearing of this dire catastrophe to that terror stricken island itself. The opportunity may never again be presented to our people to hear this wonderful lecture, and all should avail themselves of this opportunity.

CLIFFORD: A ping-pong club has been organized in Clifford with J.W. Edwards as president. They meet Tuesday evenings in Finn's Hall.

HOPBOTTOM: Those in the primary department of the graded school, Lillian Byram, teacher, who have not missed a day during the past month of school are: Ruth Watson, Albert Strickland, Elwood Tiffany and Paul Warner. Many other would have been included in the list had it not been for the severe storm Friday. Those having had perfect spelling lessons since Nov. 17 are: Mamie Brown, Roy Case, Edward Conrad and Clyde Luce.

FOREST CITY: The Forest City News has been enlarged, and is now a six-column, eight-page paper. It makes a great improvement, even in that excellent publication.

LATHROP TWP.: In the matter of the contested will of the late H.W. Lord, in which it is alleged the will is a forgery, court appointed Geo. P. Little, a master, to hear evidence submitted and make a report thereof to court.

HERRICK CENTER: Announcement is made of the marriage of Rose, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P.H. Flynn, to Matthew Crowley, of Long Eddy, N.Y. She is an accomplished young lady and we extend to them our heartiest congratulations.

GIBSON: A Christmas sale under the auspices of the Ladies Aid of the Methodist church will be held at Grange Hall, Dec. 12. Many useful and fancy articles will be for sale and a chicken pie dinner will be served. The band will be present in the evening and the entertainment will be given by the Kann sisters, of Scranton. An evening of pleasure is promised all who attend. Adm. 10 and 20 cents.

FRIENDSVILLE: Dr. Nathan Y. Leet died at his home in Scranton Saturday night. Deceased was born in Friendsville March 2, 1830, being nearly 72 years ago, and in 1866 went to Scranton where he had an excellent medical practice until the time of his death. AND: John E. O'Brien, of Montrose, and Miss Catherine S. McMahon, of Friendsville, were united in marriage at Friendsville, Wednesday morning, Nov. 26th, by the Rev. B.V. Driscoll. Thomas J. Mangan, of Binghamton, was best man and Miss Mary T. McMahon was bridesmaid. A wedding breakfast was served at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. McMahon. The couple will reside in Montrose, where the groom is engaged in [the] furniture and undertaking business.

NEWS BRIEFS: In the House, yesterday, Hon. Galusha A. Grow delivered an address on the relations of labor and capital. At the end of the present session he retires at the age of 79 years, after a career in public life extending over half a century. His speech was regarded as his valedictory to public life and was listened to with close attention by his colleagues. His conclusion was that some sort of co-operation between labor and capital was the only solution of the problem. AND: Rev. J. V. Hussie, rector of the Honesdale Catholic church, has urged the young ladies of the church to marry, even if the young men with whom they go are poor. He offers to perform the marriage ceremony without charge.

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SUSQUEHANNA Sabers/Blue Ridge to merge! Why? Because they had one winless season. I wonder how the Sabers gridders are taking this; especially the ones coming up from the Junior varsity. I would like to hear from some of the Sabers who are working their way up to the varsity. Will they be recognized, or will they have to take a "back seat" to non-Sabers when the rosters are filled? Why practice, for several years in the "minors" then be shunned aside for the Varsity. To me, it’s a tough call; could be the salvation of football for Susquehanna and New Milford. For what it’s worth, I would like to expound on a situation, I and several other local baseball players encountered when growing up.

Most of us were 19, 20, 21 at the time. The Triboro baseball team was formed. Practices were held. We all were faithful to practice sessions. Come time to pick the team, the manager (who will remain nameless) picked only four players out of the 14 or 15 trying out. We all wondered what was going on. We soon found out. The rest of the team was composed of all, out-of-town, paid players. I remember most of them, including an athlete from Scranton, "Special Delivery" Edgar Jones, who starred at Pitt University and played pro football with Cleveland. The others were also talented. But what happened to the local players. Nothing we could do... but–

The time came, soon after, that the Triboro manager had to "retire" from the game. So, a few of us got together, called a practice session, had about 14 or 15 answer the call. But, again, prior to the practice, we called a meeting. "Are we all going to be on the team," a couple of players asked? Without hesitation, almost to a player, the answer was, "Absolutely." Further discussion was that "no players from out of the area will be allowed to play and no one will be paid."

In conclusion, the first year we got our butts kicked, in the Sun–Susquehanna Valley Baseball League. The second year, we did a lot better, got in the playoffs, did not win. But (again) the third year we made the playoffs, won it and the following year, we won the pennant and the playoffs; all with local players – a thrill we will never forget!

What has this got to do with the talked-about merger of New Milford and Susquehanna? (At least win or lose, we were all local.)

(PS: The first year we played, a local businessman approached the team managers offering cash to bring in an out-of-town pitcher. Without hesitation, the answer was "no way in h---!" We had a topnotch pitcher in Steve (Pip) Grausgruber, one of the best in the (tough) league. He was aided by Luke Balmer, Al (Lefty) Mauro and Harry Brush, along with several others who could pitch and play the field.

(Again, I would like to ask: how do the Saber football players, coaches, parents, Booster Club, the fans, feel about the "proposed" merger? This is your chance to air your thoughts – for or against the merger. No matter what happens – if you kept mum, you have nothing to complain about.)

Another "FRIEND" Answers the Call: Although I have called him a "Friend," he actually was my brother; A. J. (Puff) Parrillo of Kirkwood, NY. He will be sorely missed by his wife, Alice and family, son James and family of Johnson City, by the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Great Bend, and where he spent many hours in an area restaurant, discussing who got the biggest fish, the biggest deer, the "biggest" anything. He died December 1, 2002, after a short illness.

I knew he would rather hunt and fish than do most anything else in life. On many occasions, we would go on vacations together, and more often than not, he would take his fishing gear with him. On one trip (I hate to fish) when arriving at our destination, the first thing he asked, "Lou, want to go fishing?" I said sure, "if you go bowling with me after." No answer. He went fishing, alone.

On another trip, to the Lancaster area, we got up one morning and couldn’t find him. Looking around, we found him in a nearby pasture, talking to an Amish farmer he had made friends with.

Something I know he was proud of (I don’t know if he ever told his family) was the fact that (around 1935) at the age of 17 or 18, he entered into an amateur boxing tournament in the Binghamton area. I can’t remember the weight (maybe around 130 pounds), but he was fighting a four-rounder. He lost a close decision (but I thought he won, naturally) and the referee was none other than Heavyweight Champion of the World, James Braddock.

Another one of his biggest thrills in life, was while serving in World War II, stationed in Italy. Knowing his aunt (his father’s sister) was still alive, he got her address and eventually found her in the area of Moiano, a part of Naples.

Unlike his brothers, Pat, Lou, Johnny and Danny, he had no desire to play baseball. (He probably thought four in a family was enough). He stayed active most of his life, fishing the streams all over Pennsylvania and New York State and tramping all over the woods in New York State and Pennsylvania, for deer or whatever was in season.

Me, I never hunted or fished and no doubt, he couldn’t understand why. (Just never had the desire.) The stories are many, but he was a "friend" as well as a brother. When possible we went on many trips together, until ill health forced a "slow-down." But we still took short trips now and then, to see friends and relatives.

"Puff," as he was known to most everyone he knew – because not many knew his first name, Alphonso – was very active in the VFW of Great Bend, served as an usher in St. Lawrence Church of Great Bend, helped in the Senior Center. He was a proud man and no doubt when he catches up with me, he will "scold" me for the above revelations. But as the saying goes, "We must give a person his just dues, and I do believe he earned them."

Wow, I almost forgot – in addition to his family – his pride and joy was, religiously planting a garden every year – this year was no exception. He would plant tomatoes, lettuce, onions – everything edible. But the good part about it was that he would give more away – to friends and neighbors – than he would keep.

My heartfelt sympathy to Puff’s wife, Alice, who seldom left his side after his falling into a coma; his son, James and wife, Regina Parrillo and grandchildren, Jamie, Elizabeth and Joseph.

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Straight From Starrucca

Thursday, December 5 sure looks as if the weather forecasters were right for once. I don’t recall how many times I had to cancel activities because of dire weather predictions which failed to materialize.

The nuns now have a covered walkway joining the house to their chapel, formerly Glover’s garage. And they have razed the old milk house and are making renovations on the old cow and hay barn.

Jim and Sally Herr’s house has been sold, but that’s all the information I have.

Ruth and Lee Slocum’s son bagged a three-hundred pound bear during the season. I understand there were about four taken in the Coxton Lake area. Kevin Gardner came home with a deer, as did Art Kopp.

There were several large family Thanksgiving dinners with our folks. About the largest was the Buck family gathering, at the home of Lillian and Robert, when they entertained thirty for dinner. Then for the weekend, Wesley, Amy and three children from Port Treverton, PA and newlyweds Blaine and Renee from near Harrisburg enjoyed a pleasant visit.

The children and grandchildren of Gary and Gale Williams congregated at their home for a sumptuous meal last Thursday. Having a taste of the fare were Kristin and Donald Potter and babe, Steve and Ginny Williams and children, Greg Williams, Scott and Wendy Williams, State College, PA.

Shirley Williams, who has just recovered from a broken wrist, is back in hospital with a broken knee. Remember her with a card, she’s at Barnes-Kasson.

Don and Millie Haynes were guests of their son and friend, Donald and Sue, Pleasant Mount, PA on the big day.

Barb and Roger Glover entertained her family and their children Thanksgiving Day. Aaron and Sandy Glover, Maryland, called at their home recently.

Coming from Connecticut to join her sister, Naomi Getter and Roger, Joyce Troup also met up with her son, Chuck and wife, Robin and Chris Getter, Ryan and Ashlee, all enjoying the holiday together at Getter’s.

Charles Levchak and Doris Davidson wended their way to Windsor, NY, for a reunion with Charlie’s family, who had congregated at Cathy Daum’s.

Ruth and Lee Slocum greeted their daughter, Diane Brooking and Seth Pearson, Odessa, Texas, for a five-day visit.

Carl and Virginia Upright, Mary Pat Costello, Brent Upright, Lauren and Bobby were guests of Brenda and Bob Reddon’s last Thursday.

Bradley and Jean Upright, Chandra and Kara, Williamsport, Brett Upright, Modena, NY, were weekend visitors at the home of their parents, Carl and Virginia.

Last weekend was different for me. I spent Thursday with Judy Fairchild and family in Waymart. Friday I met up with my sisters, Jean and Betty and husband, Bob, and attended the wedding of our great-niece, Nicole Davidson to John J. Judge IV at Elm Park Church in Scranton, and the reception following at the Green Ridge Club. Saturday we spent with another niece and all left for home early because storm warnings were forecast, which never happened.

December 20, the local Girl Scout Troop is sponsoring a Christmas party in the Community Hall for children. More info later.

Hope this makes up for the lack of news last week.


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