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Issue Home April 22, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca
Food For Thought
Thinking Allowed

Slices of Life

One-Way Conversations

Have you ever been driving down the highway and happen to look into the car next to yours, only to see a lone driver talking? Maybe he’s singing along with the radio, or rebutting some annoying talk show host, but his (her) mouth is definitely forming words. I used to smile indulgently at people who talked to themselves, and then one day I found myself doing the same thing.

Actually, it seems that I talk to myself a lot anymore. It isn’t like I have conversations. Only Mrs. Morris and I do that. She yowls. I say, "No, I’m not going to feed you again. You ate an hour ago." She yowls, more insistently now, and tries to stare me down. "No, I’m not going to feed you." The third time around I open the cat food can as I repeat why I’m not going to feed her. And so it goes.

But, when I’m actually talking to myself, I’m formulating arguments that I intend to use to get a point across at a later conversation, or I’m talking my way through a problem, testing all the possibilities. I also rehearse speeches, stories I’m going to write – you get the picture. I believe it’s called thinking out loud.

This week I was talking to my late husband. Because I’ve been working outdoors cleaning up the yard and garden, and my glove has a hole in one finger, I have now accumulated two painful slivers from dried flower stalks. My husband was the world’s best extractor of slivers. "Let me see that," he’d say. Then he’d get out his jackknife, make a hole in the skin where the sliver entered and in no time it would be on the edge of his knife. "There it is," he’d say. And squeamish as I was about things that had to do with my body, I’d have to admit it didn’t hurt too much.

As a family we all agreed that it was very comforting to have him around. No problem was too big or too small for him to fix. For instance, I’d break a tooth and panic. "The dentist can fix that easy," he’d say. "Don’t worry about it." And I’d quit worrying. I’d conjure up some exotic disease, and he’d say, "Now, just think about that. What are the chances that you have meningitis? (or cancer, Lyme disease, whatever was my disease of choice that day)." And I’d begin to see that maybe I was reading too much into a headache or a strange rash.

So, when I was talking to him the other day, I complained, "You weren’t supposed to leave us. You were supposed to stay around a take care of all of us. Who is going to take out this sliver?"

He didn’t answer, but he didn’t need to. I knew the answer. He would have stayed if he could have. His biggest joy in life was caring for people. Not just his immediate family, but this much wider family of co-workers, neighbors, young men in need of fatherly advice but too proud to get it from their own fathers, and lonely older folks who craved a little attention. They all got the same undivided attention, common sense, a few laughs, but no unsolicited advice.

He was a rare man, and when I talk to the Other One who does not answer audibly, I pray that my husband is in a place where he is once again happy and sharing that happiness in helping those around him. That would truly be his idea of heaven.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

HARFORD: The Commencement exercises will be held in the Congregational church, Friday evening, April 24. There are three graduates, Carol McConnell, Mame Gleason, and Gladys McConnell.

SOUTH MONTROSE: The business of the South Montrose lumber company has grown to such a magnitude they found it necessary to employ a book-keeper and Jennie Wells has been appointed to the position.

SUSQUEHANNA: Two tramps, John Burns and Thomas Griffin, who recently were released from the County jail on Saturday lured Geo. Hoadley, aged 15, of Great Bend Township-who had been at work on the Oakland Side, to a box car in the Erie yard here, and after brutally assaulting him, robbed him of $12 in cash, and a portion of his clothing. (Hoadley received his month's pay and started for the depot, intending to go to his home and give his widowed mother the money). After a struggle, chief-of-police McMahon and Officer Palmer captured the rascals in Oakland township, and were arraigned before Justice Williams, charged with robbery and felonious assault, and an additional charge against Griffin of drawing a knife upon Chief McMahon. The prisoners are in the Montrose jail to await the action of the Grand Jury.

KINGSLEY: Isabel Goss has returned from Binghamton; she has dressmaking apartments at Mrs. C.C. Steere's.

LITTLE MEADOWS: The boiler at the Iron Bridge creamery exploded Tuesday. Fortunately no one was injured. AND: A.C. Lowe is making arrangements for an old fashioned school exhibition, consisting of recitation, songs, dialogues, etc., to be held at the hall, Friday evening, May 1st. Proceeds to swell the fund for the school library.

SOUTH GIBSON: Eldridge Pickering met with a serious accident while returning from Montrose last Friday evening. When about 2 miles from home he started across the fields and in the darkness lost the path and walked off the ledges on the W. Gardner farm-8 feet high and struck on stones below where he lay unconscious for some time. When he came to, he saw a light going over the hill and he called for help. Geo. Davis & C. Pickering came to his assistance and helped him home, where he is confined to the house with lameness and numerous bruises.

HOPBOTTOM: At the reception at Burt Gardner's on Thursday evening, April 16, in honor of their oldest son, Judson, and his bride, 90 relatives and friends spent a very pleasant evening and left some very nice tokens, including a bedroom suite, dining room set, quantity of silver lamps, toilet towels, linen and lots of other things. All returned to their homes wishing them a long and happy life.

GREAT BEND: Miss Nellie O'Neill died last Sunday, April 19, after several days' illness at her parents' home. The young lady expired in her mother's arms and the shock following her death prostrated the mother, who failed rapidly until Monday evening when death released her from all sorrow and suffering. Mrs. O'Neill was about 55 years of age and her husband, Thomas O'Neill, three sons and three daughters survive. The funeral of mother and daughter was held in St. Lawrence's church yesterday morning at ten.

SPRINGVILLE: Large quantities of stone are being shipped from here via the Lehigh Valley. Springville stone has won and is still winning a famous reputation.

MONTROSE: At the close of court last Thursday afternoon, F.I. Lott, Esq., announced to those present that the tree sent from Nebraska by Mr. [Daniel] Freeman, the first Homesteader, it being a tree grown on the first pre-emption claim under the Grow Homestead Act, would be set out on a prominent corner of Monument Square, county grounds, and invited those present to come out and assist and witness the planting, which they did, persons from different parts of the county taking part, following which Mr. Lott, chairman of the "Welcome Home to Grow" committee, was called upon for some remarks and responded in a happy and appropriate vein.

CHOCONUT: E.J. Stanley had a wood bee Thursday and quite a number from Choconut and vicinity attended.

ALFORD: Thirteen ladies, friends of Mrs. I.D. Conrad, joined her in sewing carpet rags and sewed thirty-two pounds.

FAIR HILL, Jessup Twp.: The Ladies Aid met with Mrs. Laura Shelp on Friday. About 20 were present. All had a good time. A most excellent dinner was served, after which our Pres., Miss Laura Shelp, in a few well chosen words, presented to Mrs. Cochrane a very handsome quilt as a token of the high esteem in which the pastor and wife are regarded by those in this place. Mrs. Cochrane responded expressing her thanks for and appreciation of the same. Soon came time to separate and all departed feeling that the day had been well and pleasantly spent.

GIBSON: Omar Olin brought a suit for damages received by falling through what he alleges was an unsound and defective bridge in Gibson township. Presently on trial.

HALLSTEAD: James Banker was appointed High Constable to fill the unexpired term of R. Terboss, who has removed from this place.

TOWANDA: William Barnes and his son went to the jail here this afternoon and shot Charles Brooks, a tramp, who was arrested on Sunday for assaulting Barnes' 13 year-old daughter. Father and son planned it so that they would both have a hand in the shooting. They had no difficulty in getting into the jail, as it was visiting day and they were not recognized. When they got to Brooks' cell the boy took a revolver from his pocket and handed it to his father. Barnes fired two shots through the cell door at Brooks. Then he handed the revolver back to his son, saying: "My son, we have done our duty." One bullet struck Brooks in the hand and the other lodged in his breast. He is not seriously hurt. Barnes and his son were arrested and taken before the grand jury, which was in session. The grand jury refused to indict them on the ground that they were justified in shooting Brooks. They were cheered as they left the jail time.

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FORMER RESIDENTS Visit Ole Hometown – Yours truly had a nice "get-together" with two former residents who were Susquehanna visitors on Sunday, April 6 as they, Paul Chianese and family of Hadley, PA and Nick Zincone and family of Canton, Georgia enjoyed the monthly breakfast at the American Legion Post in Susquehanna. It was "like Old Home Week" for both the Chianese’s and Zincone’s, as they visited with most all of the people in attendance. (PS: I also enjoyed my visit with both former residents who keep up with local news through the Susquehanna Transcript. Come again, folks.)

A "MUST READING" – I, in one of my columns, called "amen" to the plight of the Blue Ridge and Susquehanna schools football merger. But after reading school board member Jack Downton’s letter in the Transcript of April 9, I could not let it go by without responding. To me, the letter makes a lot of sense. Whether "you" are for or against the merger, and you haven’t read the letter, please do so. The letter throws a lot of light on the football situation that, maybe, you didn’t know about. Most of it deals with the coaching of the team. As we all well know, if we have the horses, and do not know how to use them, we cannot win. But, if we have "experienced" coaches, the "horses" will and can be used to the best of their abilities.

As a previous letter stated, "Do you want your kid sitting on the bench while a Blue Ridge player is on the field?" I don’t believe so. And another thing that I thought strange was the letter written by high school student, Lauren Valentine, stating that 200-plus students welcome the merger. Where was this letter prior to the vote taken by the school board? How many of the 200 signatures are football players? If around 30 or 40 of the "signatures" are boys, why do we have to go "out-of-town" for players?

Like I said, Jack’s letter is a "must read," whether you agree with him or not.

LITTLE LEAGUE Officers – This columnist will appreciate a schedule of the Little League games this year. It can be left at the Transcript office.

SOCIAL SECURITY Is Solvent – Why do the Washington politicians want to "fix" Social Security, when it isn’t "broken"? According to Mark Weisbrot, a national columnist, "some myths die hard. We are repeatedly told that Social Security will face enormous strains as the baby boom generation enters retirement. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the system is financially stronger right now than it has ever been. The system can pay all promised future benefits for the next 38 years - without any tinkering at all."

BASEBALL and All Its Dollars – Do you know that Alex Rodriguez, SS for Texas, will be paid $22 million this year. The entire payroll this year of the Tampa Bay team is only $19.5 million. (What a farce.) The Yankees payroll is first (Steinbrenner would have it no other way) at $149 million; Mets, $116 million; Los Angeles, $105 million; Atlanta, $104 million; Texas, $104 million; Boston tops the "lower class," with $96 million. Anaheim, last year’s World Series winners have a payroll of $79 million. Other large-salaried players for this year get: Carlos Delgado, $18 million; Manny Ramirez, $17 million; Mo Vaughn, $17 million; Sammy Sosa, $14 million; Derek Jeter, $15 million.

NO TAP 300 Bowled – Recently at the Susquehanna Riverside Lanes (April 5), during a no-tap Scotch Doubles tourney, Steve and Theresa Felter teamed up to bowl a 300 game. They finished with a 773 series. (Congratulations, Steve and Theresa.)

STATE DEER Harvest – The 2002 deer harvest in Pennsylvania, including both antlered and antlerless, totaled 517,529. In Susquehanna County 3,143 antlered and 6,956 antlerless were killed. The flintlock harvest in the county was 5 antlered and 521 antlerless. State total was 32,640. The archery kill in the county was 357 antlered and 376 antlerless. In the state, 69,648 were archery kills.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross announced that deer hunters recorded the safest season ever during the 2002 regular firearms deer season, which was held December 2-14.

"During the 2002 regular firearms deer season, 12 hunting-related shooting incidents occurred," Ross said. "Eight of those incidents were self-inflicted, and the remaining four incidents were two-party related. This marks an unprecedented low for two-party incidents during a regular firearms deer season."

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Straight From Starrucca

Quite a few of our folks felt the gypsy stirring in them and to forget the blahs of our spring, off on some holidays of their own.

Carl and Virginia Upright, accompanied by David and Christina Upright, Bangor, PA, took off for the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky, taking a train ride along the base of the Smokies, visiting an Indian Cherokee reservation, the Biltmore mansion, enjoying a spring feast of blossoming plants, trees and bushes. They didn’t, however escape the bad weather as snow and rain beleaguered them on their two-week getaway.

Mary Piercy and family, on Sunday the 13th, drove to Suffern, NY, where they were privileged to see one of the two in existence, the silent movie of Peter Pan made in 1924 and accompanied by a Wurlitzer organ. This was held in the old Lafayette Theater, built in 1921. After the movie a sing-along was held to the delight of the audience. Mary wondered why Peter Pan is always played by a woman?

The Piercy family drove to Newark on Thursday to pick up husband and dad, Matt Piercy who was flying in from Italy on Friday.

The weekend of the 13th, Charlotte and John Keyser spent time visiting friends in Hopewell, New Jersey.

Karen Downton was the recipient of many lovely gifts when about eighty-five relatives and friends gathered on Saturday, the 12th at the Baptist social rooms, and honored her with a baby shower.

Darl and Carol Haynes now have a new home. They have purchased the former property of Dr. Sweterlich.

Is there such a thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder? I was given one for Christmas and they have chewed a hole through the plastic windows.

Hope you all had a joyous Easter.


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Food For Thought

One of the biggest health care problems facing the world today is super resistant bacteria. That is, bacteria that have become resistant to all of the antibiotics that are commonly available today. Bacteria are amazing organisms, in that they are capable of mutating rapidly to survive in any circumstance. They are the cockroaches of the microorganism world. Maybe bacteria are nature’s way of keeping man humble.

Man mistakenly thought that with the discovery of antibiotics, we would now be in complete control of the devastating effects of infectious disease.

Bacteria have proven us wrong. Probably because in our arrogance as the superior organism, we did not follow the rules.

When antibiotics were first introduced to health care, doctors cultured to find out what the infectious organism was, and then which antibiotic was the appropriate one to use against that particular bacteria. The patient was also cautioned to use the full amount of antibiotic, for the full course, and was usually monitored closely during the full recovery period.

As more antibiotics and other antimicrobials became commercially available, culturing for the causative organism, and matching to the appropriate antibiotic became rare, used only in extremely difficult cases. Broad spectrum antibiotics became SOP, and were prescribed for everything from earaches, to sniffles, to septic infections. Antibiotics were even fed to farm animals daily, to help weight gain and increase market profits.

What we have ended up with are infections that no longer respond to antibiotics, and super mutated bacteria that do things to human beings only dreamt of in Sci-Fi movies.

And, we have antimicrobial agents in everything: in hand soap, in dish soap, in babies’ toys, etc.

Current research is saying that the antimicrobial chemicals in our hand soaps are contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Research is showing that washing our hands longer with plain soap and warm water is more effective at killing bacteria than using the common antibacterial soaps. 3 to 5 minutes is the recommended amount of time to spend washing hands. How much research was actually performed before these antimicrobials were initially introduced to the public market?

Much like that common mouthwash commercial, the average time is less than 30 seconds washing with soap and water. And many times, we chose not to wash our hands at all.

We are in such a hurry to fill our lives with superfluous flotsam and jetsam that we cannot even take time for proper hygiene and so we douse ourselves and ultimately our environment with all kinds of toxic chemicals, that are now proving to be ineffective at doing the job we will not take the time to do ourselves.

In hospitals where cleanliness should be imperative, research has shown infections spreading because hospital employees do not wash their hands between patients. In several problem hospitals, enforcing hand washing has brought infection rates down to "acceptable" limits.

Once again, we chose the big fix, instead of the simpler procedure, which was more time consuming. We now pay the price for our hurry up habits. And what a high price this is, in terms of human lives lost, or permanently harmed by serious infection.

Trying to buy liquid hand soap without antimicrobial properties is almost impossible.

And because our lives are so hurried now, that old fashioned bar soap is just too inconceivably messy to use any more. I remember ads for the antimicrobial soap in previous years horrifying me with the bacterial count on damp bar soaps. Was this just propaganda from the manufacturers of the new soaps? As I have said before, I am really tired of money hungry, big business using our children as their guinea pigs. For, ultimately it is our children and the generations to come after them who will pay the price for our haste and ignorance today.

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Thinking Allowed

The stink of Susquehanna County Politics is wafting past my nose and the odorous stench is telling me county politics have again tumbled into the sewer.

And it seems to me the "Executive Committee" of the Republican Party has a problem. At the beginning of this political season, the Executive Committee of the Republican Party insisted that each Candidate for County Commissioner appear for a pre-run interview. The screening process, other than ego massaging for members of the committee, placed a "Stamp of Approval" on each of the Candidates who appeared and opened their souls to the committee. That’s about the only conclusion one might make of that process. This "Stamp of Approval," whether formal or de-facto, is a "Stamp of Approval."

Now, someone or some group with money to invest in a mass mailing has subjected one of the approved candidates to a despicable, incredibly personal attack. And we criticize the French! Sacra Blue!

The silence from the "Executive Committee" of the Republican Party who approved this Candidate is so loud, it’s deafening! Where’s the condemnation? Or, is this kind of vicious personal attack without bounds acceptable to the leadership of the Party? And, so indicated by their silence.

There is no doubt that anyone with the slightest degree of intelligence would be swayed by such a denigrating attack. I compare it to a statement by the Iraqi Ministry of Information. You know, Baghdad Bob!

But where’s the decency? Where’s the "Executive Committee" of the Republican Party? Where’s the condemnation?

And what of this so-called group of character assassins who call themselves "Citizens who really care about Susquehanna County"? A bunch of geographical bigots who have access to a computer. What do the other candidates for County Commissioner say about this gang? Will we hear outbursts of condemnation?

The "Executive Committee" of the Republican Party has an opportunity to say no to this kind of personal attack; especially after placing their "Stamp of Approval" on the Candidates. It’s time to act and raise the bar of ethical standards of politics in Susquehanna County, once and for all.

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