Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

“Chick” Tallman

While recently re-reading a column that I wrote in “The Fulton Patriot,” I was reminded of a venerable Fulton character, Vernon “Chick” Tallman.

Chick had worked his way to the top of the list of well-known Fulton faces.

From that column:

“The first Fultonian I saw when I arrived in this fine city for the first time turned out to be Chick Tallman. As I approached the old Patriot building on the corner of Oneida and South Second streets on a wintry February day, Chick was in the middle of the road directing traffic.

“What a quaint uniform this city’s policemen wear, I could have thought.”

As I said in that column, I was soon to find out that if you knew anything about Fulton, you knew about Vernon “Chick” Tallman.

“Serving as a traffic cop wasn’t a strange role for Chick. I soon found out that Chick was also Fulton’s foremost ambassador.

“He was always somewhere to be found on the downtown scene. I got to know Chick well as The Fulton Patriot building served as his headquarters for at least part of every day.”

“He was responsible for seeing that every downtown merchant received a copy of each week’s Patriot, and he was always available to run errands throughout the area. Chick was often seen with a broom in his hand. He attended every baseball game in town, kept home plate swept clean, and often jumped on the bus for the away games.”

That column pointed out that Patriot employees had a lot of fun with Chick:  “One former employee remembers Chick studiously counting his papers out before delivery.

‘Two, three, four,’ Chick would say. ‘Eight, nine, 10,’ someone would say. ‘Eleven, 12, 13,’ Chick would continue. ‘Three, four, five,’ someone else would say. ‘Six, seven, eight,’ Chick would answer.”

Patriot employees also watched out for Chick. One year, after a particularly heavy first snowfall, employees made sure Chick had a sturdy new pair of winter boots.

The Patriot column detailed a special gift to commemorate Chick’s 70th birth-day. Fultonians responded to a drive spearheaded by Joe Arnold of Foster’s to raise funds to send Chick to New York City for a weekend of Yankee games.

Another Fulton native, Harold “Buck” Greene, who wrote a column each week for his hometown’s “Patriot,” through his connections with Major League Baseball, helped arrange Chick’s weekend trip.

“In his Patriot column that week, Greene said, ‘Well folks, it has happened, Chick Tallman has viewed the city of New York and most important, he saw the weekend series between the Yankees and the Twins.”

Greene continued, “What’s more, on Friday night Chick had the best seat in the house, behind home plate in a front row box. He could have called balls and strikes all night.

“Chick was presented with an autographed baseball by members of the World Champion Yankees, and before returning to Fulton he visited the World’s Fair.

“Time didn’t allow for a sweep-off of home base at Yankee Stadium, but after the action-packed weekend, with much royal treatment thrown in, Chick returned to Fulton with a new Yankees shirt along with the big Chick Tallman smile.”

Many Fultonians undoubtedly still have pleasant memories of Chick Tallman.

From “The Farmer’s Almanac”

Scanning the pages of the 2014 issue of “The Farmer’s Almanac,” I discover that I can:

*Buy “Fresh, Healthy Nuts” – (explanation required).

“Or Laundry balls, concertinas and old phonographs (or sell them).

*Find a “spiritual healer.”  Sister Cindy clears negativity and bad luck; Rev. Jackson is a voodoo healer, and Mrs. Annie, spiritualist, reunites lovers.

*There are several days listed during each month as the best days to: Have dental care, cut hair to encourage (or discourage) growth, or to can, pickle or make sauerkraut.

I also discovered that some folks are fond of puns, such as:

*A hole has been found in the wall of a nudist camp. The police are “looking into it.”

“Two silkworms had a race.  They ended up “in a tie”.

I was interested to learn about some “planting” folklore:

*To make a plant grow, spit into the hole you have dug for it.”

*Anything planted by a pregnant woman will flourish.

*Never thank a person for giving you a plant or it will die; in fact, the best way to ensure that plant slips will thrive is to steal them.

*Never plan anything on the 31st of the month.

*Never plant anything until the frogs have croaked three times, because there will be a killing frost before then.

*Anything planted on Good Friday will grow well.

Now You Know:

This year’s Farmer’s Almanac tells us:

*At the age of 60, fitness expert Jack La Lanne swam from Alcatracz to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf while handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.

*As far as the weather in our area of the country is concerned, winter was expected to be slightly milder than normal, with near-normal precipitation and below normal snowfall in most of the region.

And, finally, the Almanac wants us to know that 200 years ago, the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” took shape on the back of a letter, scribbled there by Francis Scott Key.

                                       . . . Roy Hodge   

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