Category Archives: Columnists

State Senate Report, by state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie

What started as a small-town school event in California held over the course of a week in 1978, Women’s History Month has grown tremendously.

Today, throughout the entire month of March, the world’s focus turns to women and the significant contributions they have made to our history, culture and society. In recognition of Women’s History Month, the New York State Senate has developed its “Women of Distinction” program which celebrates females from the Empire State.

This year, three women have been added to the Senate’s Historic Women of Distinction exhibit, including an individual with ties to Central New York.

Mother Marianne Cope, O.S.F. was a German-born American who lived in Utica during her childhood and early adulthood and then became a member of the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse. She helped found St. Elizabeth Hospital Center in Utica and St. Joseph Hospital Health Center in Syracuse.

Known for her charitable works and compassion, she spent much of her life caring for lepers in the Hawaiian Islands.

Despite her close contact with those who had the disease, Cope was never afflicted by it — considered by many to be a miracle in itself.  In 2005, Cope was beatified by  Pope Benedict XVI and in 2012, she was declared a saint. St. Marianne now joins the ranks of other remarkable women who are being celebrated through the Women of Distinction program, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker of Oswego, Estee Lauder, Harriett Tubman and many others.

In addition to celebrating the contributions of great women from our past, the program also recognizes women who are making their mark today. If you know an amazing woman living in Oswego, Jefferson or St. Lawrence County, I encourage you to nominate her for the New York State Senate’s Women of Distinction program.

You can do so by visiting my website, or by calling  782-3418. Nominations must be received by April 1. All nominees will be invited to a local recognition ceremony to be held on May 1 and one individual from each State Senate district will be selected to travel to the Capitol to be honored at a special reception on May 13.

Last year, 17 women from Central and Northern New York were nominated for the program. Of the nominees, Rhonda Lyn Roethel of St. Lawrence County was selected as the 48th Senate District’s “Woman of Distinction,” and became the 19th person recognized through the Senate program from the 48th Senate District.

Each and every day, women across our state — and our world — are doing amazing things. Throughout the years I have had the opportunity to recognize dozens of them through the state Senate’s Women of Distinction program.

If you know a woman who is truly exceptional I hope you’ll take the time to nominate her for this special honor.

In And Around Hannibal – March 22, 2014

I’m off to Maryland this week where I will volunteer with SERRV for a few days. SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eliminatee poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

It began when a small group of church relief workers helped refugees rebuild after World War II. SERRV has grown into a $9 million fair trade network connecting thousands of artisans in developing countries with customers and volunteers across the United States.

If I’ve raised your curiosity, check it out on the net! Some of our local churches put on SERRV Fairs.

While in Maryland, I’ll also be delivering more that 250 school kits to Church World Service from all across Central New York.

On Friday, I’m headed to DC to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days; EAD is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community and its recognized partners and allies.

Their goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen their Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

On Monday, 1,000 Christian advocates will take to Capitol Hill for meetings with their members of Congress. This year’s theme is, “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace.”

The longer I live, the more I realize that all those tiny beams of light that work on food pantries and clothes closets, fight and support for better health care, advocate against drug use, prepare free meals, put together assorted kits, etc. are just treading water.

It takes government to do for people what they can’t do for themselves. So it’s time I took that bigger step in faith and went to Capitol Hill. It will be a new experience for me, but one I’m looking forward to.

I feel a little like Ella Leonard Stevenson must have felt when she left Hannibal, traveling far and wide on behalf of women’s suffrage!


This year’s honoree of the Hannibal Libraries’ Woman of the Year award is Christine Learned. The reception will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. today, Saturday, March 22 at the Library.

Lenten Services of the Enoch Thomas Cluster of United Methodist Churches continue. All services start at 5 p.m. with refreshments afterwards; all are on Sunday, March 23, at Hannibal Center; March 30 at Ira (please note Hannibal and Ira have switched dates from what was previously announced); April 6 at Bowens Corners.

On Sunday April 13, Palm Sunday, they will all be taking part in a Choir Festival at Hannibal.

The Tri-County Singers will perform their Easter Cantata at the Hannibal United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. March 30. A free will offering will be received.

Senior Center

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.

There’s always something to do at the Center, which is located in the Library across from the Hannibal Fire Hall on Oswego Street.

This week’s menu features:

Monday, March 24: Hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, vegetable blend, fruit cup

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

Friday: Chicken breast w/mushroom sauce, rice pilaf, vegetable blend, cookie

Activities: Monday is Wii bowling; Wednesday is Bingo after lunch; Friday is   shuffleboard, games.

Please call Rosemary at 564-5471 and make your reservation.


The Hannibal Historical Society will be meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Community Center, Oswego Street. Alena Patane Sanford will tell about the history of the Hannibal Nursery School.  The school now operates under the umbrella of the Hannibal Free Library and provides for small group educational opportunities for pre-school children aged 3-5 years.

I remember 35-plus years ago receiving info for this column about the nursery school from Alena’s mom Vivian … wish I could be there to share the trip down memory lane.  Refreshments will be served.

Bone Builders don’t take the winter off — they meet at the American Legion at 9:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you have osteoporosis, there is help for you and your bones —stop in and check it out, or give Louise Kellogg a call.

The Elderberries will meet for a covered dish dinner at noon this Tuesday at the Community Center.  Please bring your own table service and dish to pass.  The center is on Oswego Street in the Community Center, Library building.

This will be the last noon meeting.  In April, they will begin their summer schedule and resume meeting at 6 p.m.

They voted to continue to collect food and non-food items for the Hannibal Resource Center and blankets and pet food for the Humane Society. Some of the Berries involved with these organizations have agreed to drop them off.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at Our Lady of the Rosary (Cayuga Street across from the High School) meets at 5:45 p.m. Wednesdays.

ZUMBATHON to benefit Upstate New York chapter of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday March 26 at Hannibal Village Tavern. For more information call 564-5266 or 564-5479.

The Hannibal Methodist Church serves a free lunch (donations for this ministry accepted though) at 11:30 a.m. Thursdays. The church is one block west of the Village Square on Route 3 (Church Street).

Hannibal Fire Co. Breakfast with the Easter Bunny will be from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, March 30 at the firehouse on Oswego Street. FREE pictures with the Easter Bunny will be provided By C. Perkins Photography from 9 to 11 a.m.

They will be serving pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries toast, sausage gravy, biscuits and beverages.

The Hannibal Lenten soup dinners and devotionals will begin April 1 at Our Lady of the Rosary Church across from Hannibal High School on Cayuga Street.

The next one in on April 8 at the Hannibal Methodist Church and the last one is April 15 at God’s Vision Christian Church.

The Senior Council rooms are available for groups and family rental when not being otherwise used.  Please give Rosemary a call for information and booking (564-5471.)

The Friends of the Hannibal Free Library will be holding its Spring Book and Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 5, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday April  6 at the Hannibal Community Center nextto the Library.  There will be hundreds of books,  for all ages and interests.

There will also be a wide variety of baked goods  for sale. For more information call Faith Chaffee,  564-5192.

Craft and Bake Sale at the Hannibal United Methodist Church, Church Street (one block west of the Village Square on Route. 3) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 12. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All homemade soup, chili, sandwiches and pie!  Two floors of crafts for you to browse and shop!

The Hannibal Library has a Garden Time raffle basket full of containers, gift certificate from Travis Floral, books on container gardening, gloves, tools and more. The drawing will be on April 15.

There will be a Community-wide Yard Sale in the Hannibal area 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) beginning at 8 a.m.

I can’t write it unless I have it — so you know what to do … phone or email me with your club’s or organization’s info. That includes the schools, churches, Dollars for Scholars, blood drives, Scouts, 4-H, TOPS, Resource Center etc.

Rita Hooper

JERRY’S JOURNAL: Transportation with Walt Carrington

I’ve never met Walt Carrington but he sounds like a real interesting guy.

I now share with you a letter from him, a former Fultonian who has sent me some interesting notes of what it was like growing up in our hometown.

The subject of this particular letter is “Transportation.”

“Air: Somewhere between 1957 and 1962, my Mom sent me a newspaper front page (Herald Journal probably) which had headlines claiming Fulton’s airport had 20-foot drifts of snow.”

“Buses: When I was in grade school (40s, early 50s) there was a period during which Fulton had a bus system. The reason for remembering was that the end of the line was at Whitcomb Road and West First Street.

I had left my sled there in a pile of snow to talk to a friend, Jim Kring, and while I was talking the bus turned around and crushed my sled.

“I seem to remember there was a bus stop at the State Theatre, and at the plaza in front of the Green and White Diner, where the bus lines converged.

One could also catch the Syracuse and Oswego Bus Line, which stopped next door to the State Theatre at its terminal where tickets were sold. I rode that bus to the State Fair in Syracuse and back a couple of years.

“Railroads: In the 1940s Fulton had passenger train service. My Mom told my sister and me that if we would stop chewing our fingernails she would take us on the train to Oswego and back. I didn’t get to take the trip but my sister did, and the depot was out Oneida Street where the passenger train station was overhead at the overpass.

“My Dad took Mom and Joann out for their trip and we waved ‘bye.’ That was the New York Central’s passenger station there.

“On the west side of the river, across the street from Henderson and Thompson Lumber Yard, on the west end of the Lower Bridge, there was the terminal for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) Railroad Co.

“I remember seeing steam freight switches in the freight yard in the 1940s, serving the feed mill and Henderson Thompson’s coal trestle and lumber yard, but I don’t remember any passenger operations at that time.

“In the 1880s, Fulton had 10 passenger trains a day running on the Oswego Syracuse Division of what was to become the DL&W, and later the Erie Lackawanna and still later ConRail.

For those interested in history, until 1957, when it failed, the Ontario and Western Railroad also served Fulton from the east. This railroad was nicknamed “Old Weary” and came into Fulton from Central Square.

The Old Weary began as the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad’s Northern Division. An 1873 time table shows 10 trains a day going through Fulton with freight operations only. “

I thank Walt Carrington for reminiscing with us per his correspondence. He supplied some date sources: When the Railroads Went to the Beach, John Taibi, 1909, p. 17, and Lackawanna Route in Central New York, 1977, and Steam Railroads of Central New York, 1973. Sorry but I can’t supply the source of these publications

I don’t know about you but Walt’s memories provoked a few of my own. I think the winter of 20-foot snow drifts at the Fulton airport was the winter of 1958.

That year Mike spent a lot of his evenings and weekends painting the inside of our about-to-be new home in the Patrick Tract on West Third Street.

One day he was so busy at his task that he didn’t realized how much snow had fallen and when it was time to go home our car was buried. Thank goodness for the help of our soon-to-be-new next door neighbor Joe LiVoti, Mike got shoveled out and got home okay.

I am very familiar with that corner of Whitcomb and West First Street Walt wrote about. I lived just a couple houses up and next door to the Kring family when I was a child.

As far as the old bus line around Fulton, I often rode the bus as a young working woman, on the route that took me from out in the Sixth Ward where I lived on Porter Street to downtown Fulton and my job at the Oswego County Telephone Company on South First Street.

The bus line that used to be called The Syracuse-Oswego, that stopped downtown near the State Theatre on the corner of South First and Rochester Streets, and is now known as Centro and still goes to Syracuse. You can still catch a ride to the State Fair in the fall (for $3 a head, correct amount only, no change.)

As for the trains that once ran through our city, my long ago neighbor on Porter Street, Home Bailey, worked for the DL&W and was a familiar sight in his engineer’s cap and coveralls of white and gray pinstripes.

And then there were the train whistles all times of the day and night that could be heard in our West Third Street neighborhood. That noise, mournful sounding at night, waking up small children tucked into bed, came from the railroad tracks that cross Curtis Street near the Junior High School.

I never rode a train to Oswego in my youth, but did walk the tracks to Sharp’s Pond many a summer, and I did ride the New York Central a couple of times — once when I when 12 and went to Hackensack, N.J. with an adult friend of our family, and once to New York City to spend time with Mike when were still newlyweds in 1952 and he was in the Navy.

OK, dear readers, let’s fast-forward back to the here and now: I don’t know where Walt Carrington lived here in town so I dug out my 1950 City Directory and looked up what I think was his old address and discovered that a Walter and Mary Carrington once lived on the corner of Whitcomb Road and Forest Ave — and their actual address was RD3 (imagine that,  that area wasn’t part of the city just yet, and no Whitcomb Tract or Lanigan School back then)…

I’m also guessing that Mr. and Mrs. Carrington were Walt’s Mom and Dad. Walt’s mother was listed as h (staying home), while his father was listed as a foreman at the PCKSCCo — Peter Cailier Kohler Swiss Chocolate Co. — which became Nestlé’s!

Speaking of our old chocolate factory, I think it would be fun to do a series of columns on people who worked there.

If you are one of them and want to share your story, please write or email me a paragraph or two — not more than a page — and let’s see how it all works out.

But be patient, it may take me some time to put it all together.

Now here’s my caveat:

Readers beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share.

Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up. I hope you have fun reading my stuff. Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome.

You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

HODGEPODGE: Mom’s ‘Club,’ Squirrelympics, Vintage Hodgepodge

Mom’s “Club”

“I fixed you some sandwiches. You’ll have to go upstairs early and play quietly until bedtime.”

We knew that if that was my mother’s message to us, it meant that the “club ladies” were coming.

We could have guessed that though, because since we arrived home from school we had been dusting and vacuuming and picking up all our “stuff” and putting it “where it belongs.”

We had to be reminded that the living room floor wasn’t “where it belongs.”

My father observed the same strictly outlined rules as us kids on “club night.”  He usually spent a couple of hours each evening at the dining room table doing his “homework,” which consisted of filling out orders for his bakery route.

On club nights he scrunched himself up to sit in the small chair at the small desk in our bedroom.

Our house was small and one of the problems that fact presented was that there wasn’t room for the ladies’ coats downstairs, so during gatherings when coats were necessary they were neatly spread out on my parents’ bed, so my accommodating father had to lay down with my brother or me in one of our small bunk-size beds until the ladies went home.

Most of the club members lived on Kenmore Avenue, one block from our house. At one time five club ladies lived in three houses next to each other.

To observers, it didn’t seem that the club ladies, most of whom saw each other on a daily basis, had an exciting agenda at their meetings. The ladies would entertain themselves when they got together by talking; some of them sewed while they talked.

The club’s custom was the hostess would serve “lunch” sometime around nine o’clock. The appetizing aromas of that late evening meal often caused a problem for the upstairs campers whose gulped down supper of sandwiches was a long ago memory.

There were leftovers the next day, but they didn’t seem the same without the club ladies’ lively chatter.

Not only did the club members have their evening get-togethers at each other’s homes, they gathered many times in the summer at picnics when they brought their children along.

Kids’ birthday parties were also a frequent event. So all the kids saw each other often and were, more or less, members of their own club.

The club ladies were visiting each other’s homes and enjoying their frequent parties long after their children had grown up.

As the years went by, there was a new era for the club ladies when some of the members were joined by their daughters for their social evenings.

Sometimes the memories from many years ago come back to me and I return to a living room full of my mother’s friends; to the enjoyment that those ladies received from each other and to the enduring friendships which were nurtured during those evenings with the “Club Ladies.”


I entertain myself quite often by watching some of our neighborhood’s many squirrels flying from tree to tree around our backyard.

In an article that I wrote in 2012, I called them “The Flying Squirrellendas” (do you remember Ringling’s Flying Wallendas?) as they performed in our backyard every day:

“I am happy to say that their performance arena is right here in our backyard … One problem is that you never know when the show might begin. … As I sit here one of the performers has appeared … I can’t tell what color his performance tights might be … He is being very cautious, this is obviously just a warm-up session … and then he disappears … no show for now.”

Two years later, they are still at it, and there are times when I am at the kitchen table just in time for show time. A couple of days ago I got so excited watching the tree tops activity that I spilled my coffee all over the table.

I’m sure our neighborhood squirrels belong to some kind of a social/athletic club. Often times one or two squirrels will be chasing each other from branch to branch and soon I can count 10 or more participating in the games.

There is another large group of squirrels across the street in the park and still another smaller one further up the road. Who knows? Maybe they are participating in their own Winter “Squirrelympics”.

Squirrel watching and counting has become a winter afternoon fun activity. Squirrelympics — summer or winter, it doesn’t matter.

These athletic, bushy-tailed rodents compete during all seasons and they excite the audience (me and my coffee cup) and score points.

As I watch the neighborhood squirrels these days I wonder if they are trying to tell us something.  When they’re not chasing each other around our yards the squirrels seem to be busy storing more winter provisions.

Maybe we should be paying more attention. Perhaps the squirrels know more than the groundhogs, and even more than the television prognosticators.

And, they’re having a great time.

Vintage Hodgepodge

From The Fulton Patriot, Feb. 23, 1993:

I have been asked a lot of questions during the past couple of weeks. I have run out of answers. I am beginning to dread these questions.

  • When are you going to shovel the snow?
  • Enough snow for you?
  • Do you think it will ever stop snowing?
  • Is it going to snow tonight?
  • Is it going to snow this afternoon?
  • When are you going to shovel the snow?
  • Where are you going to put all this snow?
  • Have we got more snow than Oswego?
  • Is there school today?
  • Is there going to be school tomorrow?
  • When are you going to shovel the snow?
  • Why do you live in Fulton in the winter time?
  • Where is the car?
  • What is that huge pile of snow doing in the driveway where the car used to be?
  • When are you going to shovel the snow?

… Roy Hodge


By Leon Archer

When I was a kid, I learned to capture, care for and use fish worms.

The capturing and the using I enjoyed, but the caring for worms could be a bit of a pain. I learned early on that you couldn’t just gather a bunch of night crawlers and leave them in a bucket with a few leaves and expect that they were going to live happily ever after.

Nothing smells worse than a container full of dead worms. By trial and error, I learned to keep both the worms and my long-suffering parents happy; I learned the art of worming.

The art of worming consists of two distinct, yet vitally connected parts. The first part is the catching and caring for the worms. The second part is using the worms most efficiently for fishing.

I can’t prove it, but I firmly believe that the number one bait of fishermen, at least in Upstate New York, is the lowly worm. That’s probably why we kids called them fish worms.

More refined folks called them angle worms for the same reason. As long as they were available, they caught just about every kind of fish a kid wanted to fish for.

I even went so far one year as to nurse a few of them along in our basement until the ice was safe for fishing. I thought they might just be the magic bullet on hard water, but although they caught fish, they were no better than the minnows and jigs that we used.

The effort was hardly worth the returns, but other times of the year they were easy to procure and deadly on the fish.

Now when I say worms, there were two main types that I used for everything, night crawlers and what I call rain worms. I majored in night crawlers, but I didn’t ignore the smaller rain worms.

Night crawlers were easy to catch every spring, requiring only a flashlight, digital dexterity, and knees and a back that could stand an hour or two being bent over. On a good wet spring night, I could pick up 200 to 800 worms. It all depended on how wet I was getting and how soon my body started grumbling about the abuse.

I had several large, leaf filled boxes in the basement of our home. Each one was capable of holding up to a thousand worms safely for a long time, but in reality they came and went on a regular basis. I sold night crawlers and my father and I used plenty of them as well.

It wasn’t quite as simple as dumping them in and taking them out; there were certain chores connected with worm ranching.

After a few weeks, the remaining old leaves and worm castings had to be removed and new leaves put in the boxes. The removed residue was great for the family garden, but if left too long in the boxes before being replaced, it became toxic to the inmates.

If maintained properly, the worms were happy and my parents were happy.

It was extremely important to remove any dead worms or even those that did not act very lively. Usually dying worms would come to the surface of the leaves, but not always, so as I took worms out for sale or use, I was constantly on watch for the dead or dying.

When I did change the leaves in a box, I counted the worms into a bucket, allowing me to keep track of my inventory, before returning them to their refurbished home.

When picking up night crawlers, inevitably some will be broken as they are pulled from their burrows. Usually I dropped them back on the ground where most of them would survive if they got back underground. The others ended up feeding the robins the next morning.

If I knew we would be fishing in the next day or so, I would keep them, but sort them out when I got home. It was very unwise to try to keep them with the other worms. I tried to never put a damaged worm in the boxes; it was just asking for trouble down the road.

Rain worms are a different story. Because of their smaller size and very pale pinkish color, they were the very best worms for fishing for small brook trout. They were tougher and stayed on the hook better than a night crawler, which made them a pretty good bait for pan fish that could often rip a piece of night crawler off the hook without paying any penalty.

There were many times when a rain worm would do a better job than a night crawler.

I usually picked rain worms up off driveways, roads and sidewalks early in the morning. I also dug them. They are found in much larger numbers than night crawlers when digging worms.

I never tried to keep any great number of them, but they did very well in smaller containers with soil in the bottom and a layer of leaves over that.

Fishing with live worms is an art as well; one size does not fit all. Worm fishing for pan fish and small trout was the easiest; simple and straight forward, small worms and small hooks but larger species each had their own likes and dislikes when it came to worms. Big night crawlers became the go to bait, but how it was hooked made a difference.

A number 2 hook baited with a whole night crawler was our basic bait for bullheads. We wadded it up on the hook in small folds, going in and out the length of the worm. If much was left hanging off, the bullheads would just tear it loose and be gone. Rock bass were always eager to take a similar bait. Black bass, on the other hand wanted the worm loose and flowing, so we hooked them once or twice near the collar band of the worm. With walleyes, we hooked the worm as near to the head end as was feasible.

Rainbow and brown trout were the fussiest. The worm needed to look natural and whole. Part of a worm was usually ignored, and a worm bunched up on the hook like one was fishing for bullheads was a no starter right from the get go.

Most of my worm fishing for larger trout was done in the spring or after a heavy rain in the summer. High roily water increased one’s odds considerably. I almost always used a single snelled number 6 hook below a willow leaf or Dixie spinner.

The spinner caught the fish’s attention in the cloudy water, and as they homed in on it they would grab the night crawler. It was a deadly combination.

Even today, my favorite bait is the lowly earthworm. I still catch them and use them successfully. I know it is still cold and the snow cover is tenacious, but before long it will be time to start harvesting those wonderful night crawlers, and when that happens, spring fishing will be close behind.

Time for the art of worming.

Light in the Darkness

“And they were calling to one another:   “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3). 

“Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?   Who is like you — majestic in holiness.”  (Exodus 15:11)

We are told that God’s Holiness is so central to His being that, “Holy is His name.” (Luke 1:49); and, because  we are told to, “be holy for He is holy” (several times in Leviticus and again in 1 Peter 1) it is important that we know what God means when He says that He is Holy.

Now this is not as easy a task as it may seem because God never tells us straight out what He means by His holiness. He can’t.

This is not because of any inability on His part but on ours. Words we would understand simply would do nothing to communicate what it means that God is Holy.

I like the way that A. W. Tozer put it.  “He is holiness Himself… beyond the ability of thought to grasp or word to express.  Language cannot express the holy, so God resorts to association and suggestion. He cannot say it outright because He would have to use words that we don’t know the meaning of, and we would then, of course, take the words He used and translate them downward into our terms.

“If He were to use a word describing His own holiness we could not understand that word as He uttered it. He would have to translate it down into our un-holiness. If He were to tell us how white He is we would translate it into terms of dingy grey.

“So, unable to communicate His holiness in words, God uses association and suggestion… he shows us His holiness by showing how that holiness affects the unholy.”

An illustration of what Tozer means by association and suggestion is seen when Moses comes into the presence of God at the burning bush (Exodus 3).

Moses is told to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground. Then, when Moses hears God say, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” he hid his face, afraid to look at God.

Another illustration is given in the book of Isaiah (chapter 6). The Prophet was given a vision of the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted and when he hears the creatures around that throne crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” Isaiah says that he cried out, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips.”

In R.C. Sproul’s, “The Holiness of God,”  the author reaffirms that encountering God’s holy presence is the one thing that reveals to us our own great depravity and need.

“When we understand the character of God, when we grasp something of His holiness, then we begin to understand the radical character of our sin and hopelessness.”

How true. Jonathan Edward’s well known sermon titled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”  is often credited with beginning of a great spiritual awakening in America. It is unfortunate that both the title and the content lead readers to conclude that Edward’s emphasis was on the terrible flames of hell. On careful consideration, however, one realizes that the message reveals man’s utter sinfulness relative to a holy God.

Understood in this way, it becomes clear the theme of the message is not the fiery pit, but the Holy God who holds us from it, having prepared the way of rescue for those who believe. Edward’s sermon captured the essence of God’s Holiness in stark contrast to our un-holiness.

If we want to understand what it means that God is Holy, we must encounter that holiness first hand. When we do, that tremendous gulf that exists between His character and ours begins to sink in.

Only then do we begin to understand Proverbs  9:10 which tells us that,  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”


Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant 

United Methodist Church    

Poetry Corner

March Madness, by Jim Farfaglia


Somebody above missed the message

that winter’s officially done;

the white stuff keeps fallin’,

the big trucks keep plowin’

and nobody’s having much fun.


We’ve had enough of skiing,

of sledding and cute snowmen;

still the temperature ain’t risin’,

and golfers are agonizin’

over when they’ll see green grass again.


I’d be happy to deliver the word

if I could just find Mr. Sun.

It sure would be pleasin’,

if we had a new season;

here’s hoping he sends the right one!

THE SPORTSMAN’S WORLD: Watching the Snow Belt

By Leon Archer

As I write this week’s column, I am warmed by the sunshine pouring through my westward facing window.

I was just outside pruning some bushes and cleaning up the yard, and I noted the grass needs mowing. The daffodils are in full bloom and the maple trees are budded with their bright red blossoms already starting to shrivel up after the bees have done their work.

The thermometer tells me it is 63 degrees and it is 4:30 in the afternoon. That’s the way it is in Sammamish, Washington.

I check the weather in Oswego County nearly every day, and even though there was another snow storm this week, there appear to be signs that winter is starting to lose its grip.

No one will be picking up night crawlers right away, but they might be starting to stir deep underground. This is the time of year that I would be running a trap line when I was back in high school, and I can remember the weather bouncing around a lot in March.

I would pop out of bed about 4:30 in the morning, slip on my clothes and head out for the line. Some mornings were decent, but often it would be cold, windy and snowing.

Later in the month, it might be raining, but no matter what the weather, traps had to be checked once every 24 hours.

It was pretty good exercise, but if I figured what I made on average for the time I put in, trapping was a losing proposition. I enjoyed trapping, and if I ignored the hours I put in (which I always did.) the money was nice to have, and I knew I had earned it.

A few of my friends trapped also, but I don’t think any of them worked harder at it than I did.

April was always the better month for muskrat trapping, especially for me since most of my trapping was on streams, large and small.

Ice and snow made trapping streams like Sandy Creek difficult and provided poor returns, but when things warmed up a bit the rats would really be moving and I caught quite a few. An added bonus was that I could run my traps on Sandy Creek a second time, after school, and do some trout fishing at the same time.

Of course, April meant I was able to pick up night crawlers at least by mid–month and do some bullhead fishing at night. My schedule got pretty hectic in April; I loved it though.

Sometime in the hustle-bustle each day, I had to skin my trapping catch, flesh them, and stretch them, and if I had caught any bullheads the night before, they needed to be dressed as well. I was tired when I went to bed.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, my parents also insisted that I get my homework done for school, no excuses.

So I sit here in Sammamish, envying you for what’s coming up, but being glad that I’m here right now enjoying the early spring while Oswego County snow keeps flying.

However, as I look back on the many years I have spent in Oswego County, and the winters I plodded through, I don’t believe I would rather have grown up anywhere else in the world.

I’ll be back before too long now, and if a late spring snowstorm should greet me, I’ll grin and bear it. I sure am looking forward to the fishing.