Category Archives: Columnists

In And Around Hannibal, by Rita Hooper

The Hannibal Sports Boosters is conducting a lottery ticket drawing to raise funds to support the Hannibal athletics program.

The group anticipates selling 1,000 tickets. Each ticket sold will then be eligible to win $50 a day for the month of May using the New York State daily lottery number drawn each evening.

An individual who purchases a $5 ticket will have 31 chances of winning during the month of May.

Their will be four bonus days — Wednesdays during May. The winning ticket on those days will receive an additional bonus of $50.

Only those over 18 are permitted to sell the tickets. Tickets will be sold at the IGA/Village Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 19. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Mark Lafurney at 374-8806 or email:

April 21 at 4 p.m. is the deadline to submit petitions to run by the Hannibal Board of Education.

The Senior Meals Program meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday for lunch at the Senior Center promptly at noon.  The center opens at 10 for those who like to work on puzzles, read the paper or just have a chat over coffee.

The center is located in the Library across from the Hannibal Fire Hall on Oswego Street.

This week’s menu features:

Monday, April 21 —  Swedish meatballs over egg noodles, vegetable blend, juice, pudding.

Wednesday — Turkey sloppy Joe, baked beans, cole slaw, mixed fruit

Friday — Chicken breast with mushroom sauce, rice pilaf, vegetable blend, cookie

Activities: Monday — Wii bowling and other games; Wednesday — games, bingo after lunch; Friday — shuffleboard, games

Voting for the Hannibal Free Library trustees will take place April 21 during the day and prior to the library’s annual meeting at 6:15 p.m. April 21. There are three trustee seats open on the library board.

Hannibal Elderberries, Hannibal’s première Senior Citizen group, will meet at 6 p.m. this Tuesday at the Community Center (Library) on Oswego Street for a covered dish dinner. They expect to see an influx of snowbirds!  Please bring your own table service and dish to pass.  If you’ve never been before, this just might be the time.

Speaking of snowbirds, I imagine the Jammers will be starting up soon…haven’t heard an exact date yet, but my guess will be the first Monday in May at the Legion.  As soon as I know, I’ll confirm the date!

Music Boosters will meet at 7:30 p.m. April 24 in the high school library.

The Hannibal Fire Company Auxiliary will be holding their last Breakfast Buffet until September from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, April 27 at the Hannibal Fire House, Oswego Street.

There will be a Community-wide Yard Sale in the Hannibal area beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 3.

Last year we had 27 sales – all offering many bargains! If you wish to participate and would like your sale placed on the master list, call 564-6410 and provide your street address and phone number by Sunday, April 27.

If you will have ‘special’ sale content like tools, antiques, sports equipment, or if multiple-families are participating, please note that also. (There is no need to provide your name.) Multiple copies of the master list will be available for the buying public at the Community Center (library) at 8 a.m. the day of the sale.

Presbyterian Women of Cayuga-Syracuse will meet at 9:45 a.m. May 3 at First United Church in Fulton. Rita Hooper will be presenting a program on her Mission trip to Appalachia last year. In the afternoon there will be a ‘hands on’ project for the gals to work on while viewing a CD on the Brethren Center including SERVV and Church World Service. For luncheon reservations, call 706-3564.

The Oswego Association of American Baptist Women will meetifor dinner May 5 at the Baptist Church in Pulaski. Registration is 6:15, dinner at 6:30. For reservations, call Colleen at 298-5265 by May 1.

Home and School will meet at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at Fairley School room 30.

From 1 to 3 p.m. May 10, North Volley Methodist Church, (corner of County Routes 4 and 6 in Volney) will host a gospel concert featuring the Misfits and Lake Effect Bluegrass. They will also have a used book sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; a plant sale, bake sale and lunch will be available too! The concert is free; a free will offering will be received to pay the musicians.

The public hearing for the 2014-15 Hannibal school board will be at 6:30 p.m. May 12 in the board room in the high school.

The Friends of the Library have a new drawing basket called Just Frogin’ Around, all things frog. Includes a fountain, garden ornament, calculator, wrapping paper and more. The drawing is May 13.

Rita Hooper  706-3564

The Sportsman’s World — A Sign of the Times

By Leon Archer

My father always seemed to know when it was time to do certain outdoor things.

I’m sure he checked the calendar, but more often, he would look for signs that it was time for a certain activity.

For just about every year while I was growing up, my father would gather all the gear and we would go to Black Lake to put out a nightline for catfish. We always got catfish, which my father would clean and bring home to smoke.

Perhaps my very favorite food as a child was smoked catfish.

Black Lake catfish that we caught on the nightline averaged about 6 pounds, but we caught them as large as 26 pounds.

The small ones of a pound or two we would roll in cornmeal and fry up in a big cast iron frying pan on the shore of the lake the day after we ran the line. They tasted pretty much like bullheads, but they had a greater oil content.

That was why they smoked so well. We only set the line two nights before we headed back home, but we still took a cooler full of fillets with us.

A number of years after I graduated Albany State, I decided to put a nightline out on Black Lake. I had everything I needed and I put it out in the same spot off Manley Rocks where we had always taken fish.

The next morning when I checked the line, I had one eel, one small catfish, two bullheads and several large bluegills and perch. My father and I had never done so poorly.

When I got back from my less than stellar attempt at catching catfish on a nightline, my father told me, “I knew you wouldn’t do much. You went too late. If you want to catch catfish, you need to go when the shad berries are in blossom. They’ve been done for about three weeks.”

Shad berries or service berries grow on a small tree and the whole tree looks white when it is in blossom, so it’s hard to miss, and that was the sign dad always watched for before heading north to fish.

I’ve cataloged a few of nature’s signs over my 70-plus years, but that is the one I remember best. My father also always said, “Ice out for perch and trout.” That is right on for both of them.

The trout in ponds and lakes were right up near shore and hungry, and the perch were in shallow water ready to spawn. They bit like crazy.

Dad didn’t tell me, but I learned the very best stream trout fishing (at least on Little Sandy Creek) was when the willow trees were “eared out.” The new leaves on the willows looked like little squirrel ears.

Of course, I could have been scientific and kept track of air temperatures and water temperatures, but watching willow leaves come out was easier. In addition, right after the trout were in high gear, the sucker run would be starting.

Yogi Berra, who I got to watch play one time at Yankee Stadium, was noted for his quips that have become quotes. The one I like best is, “You can see a lot by looking.”

Dad would have agreed with that. You see, there is book learning, and then there is real learning; honest to God, hands on, eyes and ears open learning.

Nature is full of signs that animals are attuned to, but men are slower to see what is right in front of them. All too many of us have forgotten how to look.

Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

Sweaty Cities

I want to assure you that I was looking for something else one day last week when I came across this bit of information.

According to the annual rankings of America’s “sweatiest cities,” sponsored by Proctor and Gamble’s Old Spice Deodorant, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany are traditionally among the top 100.

According to the most recent rankings available, Syracuse was ranked in 77th place; Albany, 80th; Buffalo, 81st; and Rochester, 85th.

As I continued to read the article I wasn’t surprised to learn that New Orleans, my favorite vacation destination, is just outside the top 10 at number 12.  I have done a lot of sweating in the Big Easy, but I have enjoyed at least most of it.

You may be interested to know the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Las Vegas, Tallahassee, Miami and Tampa, Fla. and Houston and El Paso in Texas, work up top 10 sweats every year.

The temperature in Phoenix averages 94 degrees in June, July and August – causing the average Phoenix resident to produce 27.7 ounces of sweat per hour.

Old Spice points out, “that’s more than two cans of soda.”

Florida’s combined sweat would fill Shamu the Whale’s Sea World tank in about 3.25 hours – that’s 6.5 million gallons of sweat. Seven of the top 10 sweatiest cities are in Texas.  San Francisco, with an average summer temperature of just 63.5 degrees, is the nation’s least sweaty city, coming in at 100 on the list.

How do you finish up an article about sweating? There must be something good to say about sweat. How about — “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”                          –Colin Powell

“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things”.       –George Carlin

“I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.”         –Michael Jordan

“Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.”                                –Ann Landers

“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get us where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave to our children is just a little better than the one we inhabit today.”

–Barack Obama

 Losing a Friend   

I was saddened this week by the death of my friend, Jan Peacock, following a lengthy illness.

We had been friends since my early days in Fulton. When we met we lived in the northwest area of Fulton, and the Peacocks were neighbors from around the corner.

The Peacock daughters, Sheila and Marcia, were babysitters for our boys.

Several years later, Jan joined others in the Patriot’s “shop” once a week to put the finishing touches on that week’s newspaper for publication the next day.

Jan was the last surviving original member of the Fulton Hoboes clown group.  If you read Jan’s obituary which has appeared in area newspapers this week, you will know the real Jan.

She was fun-loving; she considered herself one of the “ink-stained wretches in the back room” at The Fulton Patriot. Jan didn’t invent that role, but she certainly did play it to perfection.

She was compassionate, having served as a foster mother to 57 children. Jan could have taught the course on love of family, as evidenced by the long list of surviving family members in her obituary – including children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers-in-law, nieces, great nieces and nephews, and a cousin.

Jan Peacock will be sorely missed.

Vintage Hodgepodge

From Hodgepodge, Aug. 15, 1989:

On Saturday I sat on the front porch of The Patriot building for three hours, soaking in the soothing Dixieland strains of the Hanover Squares, a talented six-some of musicians from the Syracuse area.

I was joined by many other Fultonians and visitors who were enjoying the Riverfest activities.

The afternoon’s musical program had been underway for a few minutes when the city’s esteemed group of fanatical funsters, The Fulton Hoboes, showed up to partake of the entertainment.

I guess the Hoboes had sent an advance clown to scout the premises and as soon as the announcement was made that there was food and drink inside, the Hoboes trooped in enmasse.

Hanover Squares drummer Dick Jones, who is always quick with appropriate commentary, noted: “That must be the paper’s staff.”

Funny?  Yes, but . . . two of the hoboes actually are (in real life, as they say), members of The Patriot’s staff.

The Fulton Hoboes were formed in the early ‘60s as part of the program at the First Methodist Church annual talent show. The group became well known publicly after Fulton’s Cracker Barrel Fairs were started in 1966.

Original members of that troop of clowners included Chubby Scaringi, Jan Peacock, Barbara Phelps, and Betty McGraw, with Shirley Collins and Norma Owens also logging plenty of duty in the early years.

. . . Today’s contingent of Hoboes includes veteran (not old) Hobo Jan, who also spends time in the city’s Civil Service office and does part-time duty as a layout artist at the Patriot; Jeff Hodge, whose byline appears every week in The Patriot; Hobo Sheila (Peacock), Project Architect for Dalpos, currently working on the Carousel Mall project; and the two youngest Hoboes, the two little Kings, Mike and Adam.

The Fulton Hoboes have been an important part of almost every Fulton celebration for almost a quarter of a century.

That’s Funny!

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

I asked God for a bike, but I know it doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Knowledge is to know that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


  . . . Roy Hodge

Poetry Corner

Muck Farm Moment, by Jim Farfaglia

I love to drive by them in spring,

black soil waking my winter eyes

weary from landscapes of white.


Oh, how their richness stretches far,

how they open  with such promise

and foretell a bountiful season.


Soon, farmers will draw their tractors

back and forth, back and forth,

breaking open that promise


and planting it with hope;

trusting sun and rain and time

to reward their months of toil.


One day, their dreams come true

in a green, glorious goodness—

something we can only imagine


when we drive by each spring.

State Senate Report

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

It’s often said that opportunity breeds success.

With the passage of the new state budget comes a wide variety of changes aimed at creating new opportunities that will enable all New Yorkers to continue moving forward.

Two weeks ago, I brought you news that my Young Farmers NY plan — aimed at encouraging more young people to enter careers in the agriculture industry — was included in the state’s new spending plan.

This is just one of the initiatives included in the state budget that will help to create more jobs and a better quality of life for those who live in our region.

Additional highlights of the 2014-15 spending plan include:

** New, much-needed tax relief for hardworking families, including lower utility taxes and the return of property tax rebate checks;

** A record $1.1 billion increase in State education aid, helping to ensure all students are set on a pathway for future success;

** More funding to  help New Yorkers and their families make college more affordable, including a boost in the maximum tuition assistance program (TAP) award;

** More tax relief that will enable small businesses and manufacturers expand, succeed and create jobs;

** New job training opportunities that will help train workers in an effort to help them attain a bright, rewarding future;

** Critical funding to expand the state’s EPIC program, which helps our state’s senior citizens afford the life-saving medications they need to stay healthy.

As your state senator, my goals have been to revitalize our economy, grow jobs, provide relief for hardworking taxpayers and create new opportunities that all have a shot at attaining.

With the new 2014-15 state budget, we have taken major steps forward towards reaching those goals.

For more information on the new spending plan — and how it affects you and your family — I encourage you to visit my website,

Light in the Darkness

“A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:   “Hosanna to the Son of David!  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”   Matthew 21:8-9

Chuck Warnoc, a small church pastor and regular contributor to Outreach Magazine, in a message titled, “What Kind of King Did You Expect?,” wrote, “If Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was triumphal on Palm Sunday, what went wrong less than a week later?

Why did the crowds who adored Jesus on Sunday, turn on him by Friday of that week?” Both the title and the questions are thought-provoking.

This is especially so in this day when there are so many different ideas and images of just who Jesus really is. Paul implied early on that there would be those who would proclaim a gospel (s) different from the one revealed by Jesus.

Such a perverted gospels would, come from men emanating from the human heart which God long ago warned is, “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”  (Jeremiah 17:9).

Such were the hearts of many in that crowd who greeted Jesus that day He rode into Jerusalem. It was the day we now call Palm Sunday, remembering the palm fronds and garments they used to pave His way.

They had their own idea who Jesus was and what He had come to do. And they were wrong.

A few days later, when they realized that Jesus was not who they had expected Him to be, many turned on Him and joined the crowds crying out for His crucifixion.

Not that their expectations did not seem reasonable to some degree. Certainly the Jewish people were right in their anticipation that a king would come from the line of David. Years before they had heard the rumors that this king had been born in Bethlehem.

And, after all, what do kings do but protect their people from their enemies?  In their case it was the occupying Roman forces.

What you might not know is that Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that day was not the only one the people witnessed. Historians tell us that Pontius Pilate had come to Jerusalem that same day. He knew that the Passover Feast celebrated the deliverance of the Jews from their Egyptian oppressors. He was also aware of the rumors that a King and deliverer had been born of the Jews and there were rumors that Jesus was that king.

That, combined with the increased activity among the Zealots and others, caused Pilate to consider Jerusalem be at ‘Code Red’.

So, though his preferred headquarters was in Caesarea-by-the-Sea, he had traveled with a contingent of his finest military to Jerusalem just in case. On that day of two spectacular entries into Jerusalem, Pilate’s was a show of military might and strength while Jesus’ was meant to demonstrate just the opposite.

But back to the problem of the heart. All that threatening display of might and power on Pilate’s part, along with the heightened awareness that God was doing something spectacular caused many to believe that the deliverer, the Son of David, had come to dramatically overthrow the Roman oppressors and that meant the army which had just arrived.

Their desires for freedom and deliverance, fed by fertile imaginations led them to unbiblical expectations. Jesus was coming to show Rome who God’s people were!

Talk about anticipation and excitement! But a few days later they realized their mistake. Yet having made wrong assumptions, they did not blame themselves as they ought to have done, but rather turned on Jesus.

Oh, how he had let them down. He was, in many eyes, a fraud who had gotten their hopes sky high only to dash them to the ground and so,  “Crucify him!!”, they screamed.

What do you do when the Jesus you thought you knew doesn’t do for you as you expected? In your disappointment do you turn away from Him or do you in humility, recognize who it is who was wrong?

The true test of faith and those who prove they have it, are those who remain faithful and obedient even when the Savior disappoints. They recognize that the disappointment resulted not from His lack of love or ability, but from our own desires and expectations that distorted our image of who He is.

Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church 

The Sportsman’s World: Time for Turkeys Near

By Leon Archer

We are only 18 days away from the opening of turkey season, and for many hunters, this is the most popular hunting season of the year.

About 100,000 hunters take to the woods in search of the big toms during the month of May, and I’m one of them.

Next spring, my grandson, Nathaniel, will be 12 and a legal hunter; I’m going to try to infect him with the bug as well.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I’m sure hunters are starting to check the fields and woods to see where they may want to be when the sun comes up May 1.

Last year, hunters in Oswego County harvested 532 turkeys during the spring season, but the harvest was greater in a number of other counties.

The largest recorded number of turkeys taken in Oswego County came in 2008. Hunters bagged 995 of the big gobblers that spring. That may sound like a lot, but hunters in Steuben County took home 1,543 birds in the 2008 season while Chautauqua County took the crown with a total of 2,016 bearded turkeys.

The year 2008 was also a big year for total spring harvest statewide. A total of 32,936 turkeys were taken in the spring of that year, compared with 21,515 taken in 2013.

While recent numbers have been lower than in the peak years, they appear to be edging back up from the low of 18,738 in 2011.

It remains to be seen what this spring will bring after our snowy winter and bitter cold. Turkeys fare pretty well during the winters as long as they can locate food enough to sustain them.

I would be very interested in hearing from turkey hunters on their observations and the results of their time in the field. I would especially like to know the relative number of turkeys you heard and saw as compared to other years.

If you have a good story, share it with me. My email address is and I really like to hear from readers. I got several responses to my request for information from trappers. They have been cruising the last two years. I envy them.

If you have a youngster who wants to hunt, I can’t think of a better way to start them out than on a spring turkey hunt; although a fall squirrel hunt after the leaves have fallen is pretty high on my list of beginning hunter activities.

Take a youngster with you, even if they aren’t old enough to actually hunt yet. As Yogi Berra once said, “you can learn a lot by watching.”

Keep me posted, and if you have a picture you would like me to use, send it with your email.

I heard from a fishing buddy a few days ago. He said the small streams in Oswego County were pretty much unfishable on the opener, but that the streams in Onondaga were reachable and water levels were fishable, but cold.

The trout weren’t biting all that well, but if one kept at it long enough it was possible to catch a fish or two. I guess it would probably have been better to just fish Salmon River for the steelhead.

I like catching fish, but I am exhilarated by just being out on the stream. It may be cold and the fish may be reluctant, but what a beautiful, vibrant scene greets one’s eyes.

Anyone who comes home disappointed by their day if they caught no fish, doesn’t understand fishing. Have a great spring, and think turkeys.


Bands Were Big!

I have enjoyed the music from the “Big Band” era for many years.

The “Big Band” era and the musical sound called “swing” began in the late 1930s. There were hundreds of popular big bands during that period in the 30s and 40s, and your parents and grandparents may have danced to some of them.

Some of the most popular bands included Ray Anthony and his orchestra, Louis Armstrong’s orchestra, Louie’s wife, Lil Hardin Armstrong and her orchestra, the bands of Charlie Barnett, Count Basie, Tex Beneke, Bunny Berrigan and Les Brown.

Bob Crosby’s Bob Cats and the Dorsey Brothers, Jimmy and Tommy and their orchestras, Ray Eberle’s band, the Roy Elbridge, Duke Ellington and the Les and Larry Elgart orchestras were also active.

Also included were Ziggy Elman, Maynard Ferguson, Ella Fitzgerald’s orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, the Benny Goodman and Jackie Gleason bands (yes, that Jackie Gleason), Lionel Hampton, Erskine Hawkins, Fletcher Henderson and Woody Herman.

Ina Rae Hutton was the leader of an “all-girl orchestra” and dancers and listeners were enjoying the bands led by Harry James, Louis Jordan, Sammy Kaye, Hal Kemp, Stan Kenton, Andy Kirk, Kay Kyser and drummer Gene Krupa.

Also on the road were Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, Jimmy Lunceford, Wingy Manone, Billy May, Glenn Miller and Ozzie Nelson (Ricky’s father), as well as the Tony Pastor, Don Redman and Luis Russell orchestras.

Artie Shaw and his Big Band, singer Maxine Sullivan and her all-stars, the Jack Teagarden orchestra, as well as his other smaller groups, were traveling from city to city as were Tommy Tucker, Fats Waller, Chick Webb, Teddy Wilson, Paul Whiteman and Sy Zentner with their bands.

Whew, and that’s only part of the 30s and 40s big band lineup. During World War II, the Big Bands boosted morale throughout the world.

Ish Kabibble

The Kay Kyser Big Band was one of the Big Band era’s most successful groups.  The band had 11 number one records, 35 top 10 hits, a top-rated radio show for 11 years, starred in seven feature films, and outdrew the Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman orchestras.

Ish Kabibble was one of the band’s feature characters, created by Merwyn Bogue, who played cornet in the Kyser band.

The name came from Bogue’s comedy version of an old Yiddish song, “Isch Ga Bibble.” Loosely translated it means “I Should Worry?” which he performed with the Kyser orchestra.

The public and the band started calling him “Ish” and the name stuck.

Michael (Mike) Douglas (not the actor who is Kirk’s son), a name you might recognize – Mike was the lead voice on many Kyser hits (Ol’ Buttermilk Sky, “The Old Lamplighter”).  He was best known to American television viewers as a singing variety/talk show host.

“All or Nothing at All”

One of the world’s most popular singers emerged during the 30s after singing “All or Nothing at All” on a Major Bowes amateur radio broadcast, fronting a quartet known as “the Hoboken Four.”

Frank Sinatra (“Ol’ Blue Eyes”, “The Voice”, “Chairman of the Board”, “Swoonatra” and “Sultan of Swoon”) sang during the Big Band era with the bands of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey.

He went solo at the Paramount Theater in New York in 1942. His first of hundreds of record hits was “All or Nothing at All.”

Sinatra was indeed “Chairman of the Board” of the company he founded, Reprise Records, in 1960. Along with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, Sinatra was a member of “The Rat Pack.”

The Market

One of our favorite Saturday morning activities is to visit the Regional Market.  Admittedly, the market isn’t as exciting this time of year as it is in mid-summer through late fall when it is busting out with the fresh home-grown produce of those seasons.

But even on a Saturday in late March there are treasures to be found.

My wife was happy with the sack of yellow potatoes, which she says are hard to find in supermarkets – and make the most delicious mashed potatoes and French fries.

My market tastes are more likely to lean away from carrying a 10-pound sack of potatoes around to standing in line for free samples of everything from chocolate chip cookies to pretzels covered with   “maple-flavored crème” to hunks of bread dipped in “politely spicy” hot tomato sauce.

(Question: “How much spice makes something to be impolite?”)

Also free for the taking and perfect as part of my late Saturday morning breakfast were hunks of cheese and sausages and hands full of tasty crackers slathered with all kinds of dips and spreads.

I think the top attention-grabber of the day on our recent visit to the market might have been a bright green “Spinachburger.”

The market seems to be a popular social hub on Saturday visits. Recently, we have met up with friends from Syracuse, from Fulton as well as from our own neighborhood.

There is a lot of everything at the Regional Market. Sometimes the only thing that you might have some difficulty finding is a good parking spot.


. . . Roy Hodge