Our Annual Christmas Gag Gifts
Its about that time of year folks. Time for our annual off-the-wall and totally fictitious Christmas gifts. Any resemblance between our handouts and real Christmas gifts is pure coincidence.
Lets start with the county commissioners since they provide me with more copy throughout the year than any other sources combined.
Gary Marcho was the toughest one to shop for this year. I mean what do you get a guy who has everything? Just about anything I could think of for Gary turns out to be a oh, hum, been there, did that. I mean were talking about the Marcho Man here folks.
And then, it donned on me. Gary Marcho enjoys his privacy. He avoids crowds and, as evidenced by his failure to call the courthouse when he is going to miss a meeting, he must also dislike talking on telephones. Theres only one gift that Gary would appreciate and we got it for him. Gary, we are pleased to present you with your very own phoneless cord.
Lee Smith is the easiest commissioner to shop for. For openers, he is always campaigning and that is a good starting point. This year, we got him computer software that will update his list of luncheon and dinner dates. And, for in between, Dunkin Donut munchkins.
Calvin Dean is tough because he doesnt say much and when he does, county officials hold their breath because one never knows what Calvin will say. Anyhow, we got Calvin a county map to remind him that Binghamton is in New York and he is a commissioner in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.
The word in the courthouse is that this will be District Attorney Charles Alianos final year. We are told he is not going to seek another term and apparently stands ready to endorse his friend and protégé, Jason Legg, as his successor.
We would like to give Charles this Christmas gift. It is a hand-carved sign, embellished in 24-carat gold. It reads, "I always arrived late at the office, but I made up for it by leaving early."
Sheriff Lance Benedict is doing a fine job and deserves to be rewarded. We thought about a six-month enrollment in a weight-reducing program, but we know he wouldnt go. So we got him the next best thing, a white horse, a silver bullet, and a hearty, "Hi, Ho Silver, Away!"
County Treasurer Cathy Benedict and I clash from time-to-time, but I do respect her and I know she is doing a fine job of protecting our tax dollars. So, for Cathy, a bumper sticker that reads, "Im not opinionated, Im just always right."
If you are ever in the hallways inside the courthouse and you see this petite little girl charging toward you, get out of the way. More than likely its Susan Eddleston, our county prothonotary and clerk of courts, dashing to a court trial or some other job-related task.
At first, we thought of giving Sue a pair of roller skates. But since both courtrooms are on the second floor in the courthouse, we figured that wouldnt be practical. So we settled for a tee shirt that reads, "Im a Whiz Kid. Wanna see me whiz?"
Mary Evans, register and recorder, always walks around the courthouse with a smile on her face. I am never quite sure if she is just grateful to be alive or if she knows something that I should know but dont know. In either event, our Christmas gift to her is also a tee shirt inscribed, "I have all the answers. Its not my fault that you ask the wrong questions."
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans has got to be the most dedicated Republican I have ever met. It would not surprise me if he has an elephant tattooed on his body somewhere. For this reason, our Christmas gift to his honor is a George W. Bush inflatable doll with an inscription across his chest that reads, "It aint over til your brother counts the votes."
And, finally, this Politically Correct Holiday Greeting or, how to say Merry Christmas in Politicalese:
Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all; plus
A fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accept calendar year 2003, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, color, religious, or sexual preferences of the wishes.
As I glanced out the kitchen window early this morning and saw the white results of what the weather forecasters had called freezing rain, I was transported back to school days and snow days.
When I was a child, there were no local radio or television stations announcing what schools would be closed because of snow. We got dressed, ate breakfast and took turns standing watch at the kitchen window. As Ive told you before, we knew when we saw the bus go up the road, we had just enough time to walk out our long driveway and catch it as it came back from the turn-around a few houses beyond ours. On those days which turned out to be school-closing storms, we would wait and wait at the window. I was desperately hoping that we would see the big yellow bus because I loved being at school. My sisters and brothers were undoubtedly wishing just the opposite. They wanted to be out playing in the snow.
However, years later, when I was in college, I was delighted when classes were called off for any reason. And likewise when I was teaching. I dont know where all that academic enthusiasm disappeared to then. Being that neither of my children shared my enthusiasm for school, we all reveled in snow days when they were young. Out would come the sleds and they would begin to work that snow until they got it packed down to where a good backyard course was in operation. And then a little rain and more freezing weather would turn the path into the luge.
The prepared sledding track in a good year would go from our house down through our back yard, across the old railroad grade, through three more yards, and stop one house short of busy Grow Avenue. A contemporary of mine was telling me just a short time ago, that when he was a child, the path went even further and with dire consequences.
As the kids left that middle school age, snow days then turned into capital ventures for my son and his friend John. The snow shovels would come out and they would travel through the neighborhood drumming up business. On a good day they could make quite a haul, and they would return hungry and proud of the pocketful of bills theyd amassed.
My daughter would gravitate to the kitchen, and before long the tantalizing aroma of baking brownies would fill the house. She learned that job well. In fact she just flew in from Chicago to bake for our Christmas Department Store at the church. And when checking the inventory of my kitchen before buying ingredients, her first question was, "Do you have four pounds of butter?"
Not hardly. My kitchen has never seen four pounds of butter at one time. That is, until she arrived and visited the grocery store. What aromas emanated from the oven! For two days she was a baking machine, and neither of us dared taste a crumb, lest we get that rich taste in our mouth that called out for more, more.
So I sit here in my pleasant reverie, warm and cozy in my house, seeing the pristine landscape outside my window, and knowing I have the best of both worlds. I can enjoy the scenery, but know that before long one of my helpful neighbors will be along to dig me out. Do I have it made or what?
FOREST LAKE: Misses Lura and Orpha Warner have returned from a pleasant visit with friends at Little Meadows, Owego, Union, Cincinnatus and Binghamton. While in Cincinnatus they attended the 20th wedding anniversary of their brother, Adelbert; and on their return home they spent Thanksgiving at their friend's, Mr. Green, who gave them a pleasant ride on his automobile.
MONTROSE: Among the new popular books at the Montrose Library are: Cecelia Avery, Glengarry School Days, The Fortunes of Oliver Horn, The Friend of the Countersign, Those Black Diamond Men, The Leopard's Spots, Up From Slavery, The Vultures, The Little Green God, The Kentons, The Battleground, The Virginian, etc. Yearly subscription only $1.50. Four books a week can be drawn, so you can read 200 books a year for three quarters of a cent a book. Your choice of 1,000 volumes of fiction (new ones added quarterly), splendid biographies, histories and books of travel, reference, etc.
SPRINGVILLE: Until the rain of Tuesday the snow has been so deep in the woods that it was very difficult to navigate. The sleighing has been very fine. AND: Mrs. Allie Lyman had the misfortune to upset a lamp setting on a table which broke, setting the oil on fire on the carpet. By prompt work with loose carpet and blankets, the blaze was extinguished before any material damage was done.
SOUTH AUBURN: Ernest Carlin has purchased Andrew Carpenter's farm, known as the Peter LaFrance farm. He expects to take possession April 1st.
STEVENS' POINT: The Stevens' Point Creamery Company will apply for a charter of incorporation.
WEST LENOX: Nelvin Empet has accepted a position as traveling salesman for Dr. Noble's Family Medicines and will begin work soon.
GREAT BEND: P.R. Barrager, who has been Justice of the Peace, in the township of Great Bend for 25 years, is about to move to Uniondale, where he will engage in the harness making business, he being a harness maker by trade. Mr. Barrager has large real estate here, owning 350 acres of land, reaching near where they are now drilling for oil, also the land where the mineral deposit is for making the venation red. Mr. Barrager's farming interests will be looked after by his son, K.W. Barrager. AND: About 11 o'clock Sunday morning an alarm of fire called the firemen and citizens of Great Bend. The house next to the M.E. church, owned by Daniel Leary, was on fire. The family was at church, except an old lady 90 years old, and a little boy. They discovered that the kitchen was on fire near the chimney and ran out and gave the alarm and the fire was put out before much damage was done.
FRANKLIN FORKS: E. Barlow's child was buried on Sunday last. A prayer and singing service was held at the house. The funeral sermon was preached at Vestal Centre where interment was made. The little one fell from a chair on the stove and was so badly burned before the mother could reach it, that in a day or so convulsions set in and it died on Friday morning. The child was buried on Wednesday and was about 20 months old and was an only child. AND: The following were elected officers in the G.A.R. Post: Commander, E.L. Beebe; Senior Vice, G.P. Stockholm; Junior, B.C. Vance; Quartermaster, A.M. Snow; Chaplain, A.E. Stockholm; Sergeant, I. Monroe; Officer of Day, S.L. Stilwell; Officer of Guard, John Devine.
BROOKLYN: Coasting on the hill is being enjoyed by our young people during vacation. AND: By request of Postmaster Eldridge, the Department has sent a letter-mailing box to be erected at the schoolhouse. This will be a great convenience for those coming in from their homes. Each morning the mail will be taken up at 10 a.m., on school days only.
GLENWOOD: The sleighing is excellent and snow 15 inches on the level and drifts 15 feet, but it is so far an old fashioned winter just to let the boys see what the older ones saw years ago.
FLYNN (Middletown Twp.): James Conboy is rushing his bark to the market, taking advantage of the fine sleighing.
THOMSON: E.E. Gelatt has a number of teams drawing logs to his mill. Thomson is having fine sleighing, snow over a foot deep. AND: The Creamery Co. has rented the creamery and [it] will be run under the name of the Alex. Campbell Milk Co. and will sell the milk.
SILVER LAKE: Many from this place attended the dance given by Hugh Murphy in the Alliance Hall in Brackney, and report a good time. AND: Johnie McInerny and James Kane, of Forest Lake, had the sad accident of running off the bridge between Jos. Conaty's and M. Coyle's one evening last week. Neither of the young men were injured, but badly scared, and the horse was somewhat injured.
NEWS BRIEFS: The Wells-Fargo Express Company advise all people to forward Christmas packages as early as possible to avoid delay in the great holiday rush. They furnish special labels requesting the package not to be opened until Christmas. AND: The postoffice department will make an official attempt to wipe out whatever sectional feeling may yet remain between the people of the north and south by the new five-cent postage stamp of the series of 1902. The countenance of Abraham Lincoln will occupy the central portion of the stamp. Upon either side and occupying three-quarters of the length of the design are female figures standing, one representing the North and the other the South. The figures will face the full front and the one upon the right will bear in her left hand a partly furled American flag. The figure upon the left will hold a similar flag in her right hand. The disengaged hands will be clasped about the head of President Lincoln, their arms forming the oval, each supporting upon her hand a palm branch. AND: Good manners, plenty of soap and water and a little shoe blacking will secure a position for any boy. Then all it will take to hold it and make it grow more valuable is energy.
TIME IS "FLEETING" The Susquehanna Borough Sesquicentennial memorabilia book, along with areas history, is going along "real well," with plenty of congratulation ads and photos. If you have been contacted and have not submitted an ad, you can still do so as soon as possible. If you were not contacted, you can call Lou Parrillo 8533835 or Mary Jo Glover at 8533657 or Pam Hennessey 8534538.
A.L. POST 86 Hosts Party For Barnes-Kasson SNFers: Sunday, December 1, was again a big day in the lives of the patients at the Barnes-Kasson Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility, as the Susquehanna American Legion Post members made their annual Christmas trip (with Santa Claus in tow) to entertain patients and give each one a gift, a self-photo while listening to the music of Maestro Terry Rockwell.
Pictured (l-r) are: seated Alice Fagan, a resident of SNF for six years; standing Mrs. Fagans son, Robert; Loretta Corse, SNF director; Peter Janicelli, Post 86 commander.
Doing the gift-giving and photographing were Post 86 commander, Pete Janicelli and first vice, Joe Bucci. This years party (for the 57 patients) could be the largest since the inception of the affair, with many relatives and friends attending, having their pictures taken with Santa Claus (also known as Donnie DeWitt
Aiding in the serving of food were Legion Auxiliary members, Anna Napolitano and Mary Ficarro. Others to serve the patients and friends were Mary Ayres, Stephanie Payne, Diana Payne, Susan Hansen, Jennifer Lee, Jennifer Grausgruber, June Hall, Kari Ward, Phyllis Kenny, Samantha Kuhn and Patti Roy.
IN THE MAIL From a "NewsBeat" Reader: Believed to be around the 1970-71 season, the following article tells of a Susquehanna High School basketball team defeating Tunkhannock with the help of four former cagers of Laurel Hill Academy. (Note: Laurel Hill closed after the 1970 school year, thus the transfer to SCHS by LHA athletes.) The article reads:
"The ghost of Laurel Hill Academy is a hobgoblin as far as Tunkhannocks basketball team is concerned.
"As a result of the ancient little Catholic school closing its doors in Susquehanna, PA, last year, four current Susquehanna High starters switched uniforms.
"Three of them Tunkhannock can abide, but husky 6-foot-3 Bob Keyes is something else. In the first meeting of the two last month, he scored 35 points. Last night, on his home court, he fired in 49 to shatter the SHS record set at 42 by Jerry Thompson in the mid-1960s.
"Keyes, surprisingly only No. 2 scorer at Laurel Hill as a junior, had consistent quarters of 13, 14, 13 and 9 in the 83-67 win that makes Susquehannas record 9-7."
In addition to Keyes, the other three LHA players were: Pat Ahearn, 0 points; Steve Glover, 12 points; and Dennis McNamara, 10 points. They were aided by teammates Dan Murphy, 4; Dick Angiers, 0; Tim Orr, 0; Dave Richardson, 2; Bob Ficarro, 6.
In the prelim game, Susquehanna defeated Tunkhannock, 63-32.
(NOTE: I still would like some info on the LHA team of 1967-68. How about it, fellas. Can you help?)
CERTAINLY Worth Repeating: The following appeared in the Scranton Catholic Light newspaper. It was written by Pope John Paul II in a 1991 Encyclical Letter: "No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing, and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all more difficult to find a solution to the very problems which provoked the war."
A LOCAL CHARITY had never received a donation from the towns most successful lawyer. The director called to get a contribution.
"Our records show you make $500,000 a year, yet you havent given a penny to charity," the director began. "Wouldnt you like to help the community?"
The lawyer replied, "Did you research show that my mother is ill, with medical bills several times her annual income?"
"Um, no," mumbled the director.
"Or they my brother is blind and unemployed?" The stricken director began to stammer out an apology.
"Or that my sisters husband died in an accident," said the lawyer, his voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three kids?"
The humiliated director said simply, "I had no idea."
"So," said the lawyer, "if I dont give any money to them, why would I give any to you?"
100 YEARS AGO: In November 27 Transcript, appeared the following. "Harry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kane, underwent a successful appendicitis operation. He will probably recover."
MORE ON PENNA. State Symbols: The Keystone State; State Animal, Whitetail Deer; State Flower, Mountain Laurel; State Beverage, Milk; State Bird, Ruffed Grouse; State Dog, Great Dane; State Fish, Brook Trout; State Fossil, Phacops Rana; State Insect, Firefly; State Tree, Hemlock.
Recently, Charlotte Keyser and committee had much fun trying to locate the members of her senior class of Lambertsville, NJ High. She was the secretary. She and John were overjoyed to welcome thirty guests to the reunion of her classmates, which began 40 years ago.
Sunday, December 8, open house was held at Nethercott Inn, hosted by John and Charlotte Keyser as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. About 65 people attended, leaving behind about ninety gifts to be distributed by the Susquehanna County Christmas Bureau. In attendance were Brenda and George Loubet, Springville, PA, in charge of this project.
Marie Soden, Tyrone, PA, who was spending some time with daughter and son-in-law, Carmen and Rosemary Cosentino, Steinbach Corners, usually finds time to pay me an overnight visit, which she did last week.
Ruth and Robert Lunt, a week ago Sunday hosted a group of people interested in the history of Starrucca. After a potluck dinner, the meeting began in earnest, each one contributing a bit here and there. Those attending were Bill Young, Dennis Corrigan (man who renovated red house by creek), Bridget and Paul DAgati (live over Mumfords store), Dave and Norma Glover, Barb and Roger Glover, Loreda Everett and myself.
The Piercy family headed to Hartford, Connecticut, covered in eight inches of snow, for Thanksgiving dinner with Marys sister, Theresa and her family. Ben Cooper, one of the grandfathers at the dinner, brought out his 3-D slides from the 1950s. Ben had taken great slide pictures of notable people, even then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Later, Ben brought out his photo album from World War II. Ben was an Army medic and was ordered to Dachau Concentration Camp two days after it was liberated; all soldiers in the area were ordered there to be witnesses. For 50 years, Ben would not talk about it until 12 years ago, when he started to visit high schools and tell kids about it. It really helped him to heal, and he receives great letters from the kids, thanking Ben for his talk because they didnt believe that the Holocaust really happened. Ben also reads the only love letter he sent his wife. He became superstitious after watching other soldiers write home to sweethearts and then die in battle. So, he did not write until the war was over. All had a great dinner and a powerful reminder of just how blessed and thankful we can be here, living in America.
Sister Theresa and Sister Annunciata recently returned from a trip to the midwest. Sister Theresa said they couldnt wait to get back home to Starrucca. They have volunteered to help with the luminaries Christmas Eve.
Again Brenda Potter has done a fine job in conducting the ecumenical Christmas cantata performed to a full church, Sunday, December 1. Her accompanist at the piano was Linda Chesnick, whose cues were flawless.
Another forecast of a dreaded rain and ice storm.
Each winter, millions of people suffer from the flu, a highly contagious infection. It spreads easily from person to person mainly when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Flu - the short name for influenza - is caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It usually is a mild disease in healthy children, young adults, and middle-aged people. However, flu can be life threatening in older adults and in people of any age who have chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart, lung, or kidney diseases.
No vaccine gives complete protection, and the flu shot is no exception. In older people and those with certain chronic illnesses, the flu shot often is less effective in preventing flu than in reducing symptoms and the risk of serious illness and death. Studies have shown that the flu shot reduces hospitalization by about 70% and death by about 85% among older people who are not in nursing homes. Among nursing home residents, the flu shot reduces the risk of hospitalization by about 50%, the risk of pneumonia by about 60%, and the risk of death by 75 to 80%. A flu shot can greatly lower your chances of getting the flu. Much of the illness and death caused by flu can be prevented by a yearly flu shot.
According to the Federal Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following people are at risk for serious illness from the flu and should get a flu shot every year: people 65 years of age and older; residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities; adults and children who have chronic heart or lung diseases; adults and children with diabetes, kidney disease, or severe forms of anemia; health care workers in contact with people in high-risk groups; caregivers or people who live with someone in a high-risk group. It's easy to confuse a common cold with the flu.
Overall, cold symptoms are milder and don't last as long as the flu. The flu can cause fever, chills, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, as well as headache, muscle aches, and often extreme fatigue. Although nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can sometimes accompany the flu, especially in children, gastrointestinal symptoms rarely occur. The illness that people call "stomach flu" is not influenza.
Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and possibly life-threatening complications. While your body is busy fighting off the flu, you may be less able to resist a second infection. Older people and people with chronic illnesses run the greatest risk of getting secondary infections, especially pneumonia. In an average year, flu leads to about 20,000 deaths nationwide and many more hospitalizations. If you get the flu, rest in bed, drink plenty of fluids, and take medication such as aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve fever and discomfort.
Call your doctor if you have any signs of the flu and: your fever lasts; you may have a more serious infection; you have breathing or heart problems or other serious health problems; you are taking drugs to fight cancer or other drugs that weaken your body's natural defenses against illness; you feel sick and don't seem to be getting better; you have a cough that begins to produce phlegm; you are worried about your health.
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