Category Archives: Columnists

Hodgepodge, March 15: MardiGrasmas, snow, and words of wisdom

Merry MardiGrasmas!

Each year, my wife and I join son, Jeff, and my niece and her husband for our Christmas celebration.

This past year we found that impossible because of various complications.  In fact, it was the weekend before Lent when we were finally able to get together.

We christened our new holiday as “MardiGrasmas.”

There was snow on the ground, which we haven’t been able to claim on many past Christmas Days. Some of us wore festive Christmas clothing, Jeff brought a decorated tree, and the candles in our windows were brightly shining.

We exchanged gifts — the presents had been wrapped and ready for almost three months. Some of them were a surprise to the giver, as well as to the givee.

Some of our Christmas traditions might have been tweaked a little, but were still there. It wasn’t exactly the usual Christmas Day menu. The roast beef was replaced by lasagna; some of the Christmas Day delicacies were missing; egg nog was pushed aside for a cold beer.

The Christmas cookie tray was on the table and was loaded as usual, but instead of Santas, Christmas trees, bells, angels, and gingerbread men, there were cookies shaped as hot peppers, alligators, maps of the state of New Orleans and the fleur de lis.

We are the same family group that gets together at the end of June in many years to celebrate Leon Day,* and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if our recent celebration was the first of a new observance for our little family circle.

* (In case you didn’t remember, Leon is Noel spelled backwards, and Leon Day is observed each year to remind those who want  the rest of the world to remember that Christmas Day is only six months away).

Merry MardiGrasmas!

Getting Rid of All That Snow!

Last week I wrote about listening to my grandparents’ and my father’s stories of the winters they remembered, but one thing I don’t remember discussing with them was snowplows.

Looking into the history of snowplows, I discovered that there was a stretch of time in American history when getting rid of snow was no great concern.

In winter, horse-drawn carts and coaches traded in their wheels for runners — the more packed the snow the better. To keep the roads in optimal snowy condition, snow was packed and flattened with huge, horse-drawn “snow-rollers”.

The first patents for snowplows were issued in the 1840s. The earliest versions of snowplows were powered by horses, and the wedge-type blades were made of wood.

One of the first uses of snowplows on city streets was in Milwaukee in 1862.  The plow was attached to a cart pulled by a team of horses through snow-clogged streets.

One early inventor of snowplows was Carl Frink of Clayton, N.Y. His company, Frink Snowplows, was founded in 1920 and still exists today.

I suspect the wooden snow pushers that my grandfather made when my brother, sister and I were growing up in the ‘40s were inspired by those wooden plows attached to horse-drawn wagons and sleighs around the turn of the century.

Get Shoveling

The snow removal tool that most of us are most familiar with — the “Get out there and clear off the sidewalk” folks — is the   snow shovel.

More than 100 patents have been issued for snow shovel designs since the 1870s.

One of the first designs that hit upon the “scrape and scoop” combination was invented in 1889 by a woman named Lydia Fairweather – and that was her real name.  The first patent for a lighter, plastic snow shovel was granted in 1939 to Robert A. Smith.

If you want to do some shoveling and think that a snow shovel is a snow shovel — think again. There are scoopers, and pushers, metal and plastic; and shovels that both scoop and push. There are wide shovels, extra-wide shovels and narrow shovels.

There are shovels with sharp, jagged teeth, and big he-man shovels; coal shovels, barn shovels, folding shovels and car snow shovels. You can find snow shovels with wheels, rolling snow shovels and yes, electric snow shovels.

Some snow shovels come with ergonomic shafts. The shaft is the part of the shovel between the blade — which scoops or pushes — and the handle, which is where you grip the shovel.

The word ergonomic, which may be unfamiliar to you, in this use means that the shaft is strategically bent for easier lifting. If the shaft of your shovel is long and straight it is called a dog-leg shaft.

When I was searching for information on snow shovels, I discovered the Wovel. This contraption is a large, wide snow shovel/scraper which is attached to the shaft, handle and one large wheel, and may be the ultimate in the snow shoveler’s world.

This is how the Wovel works — As you push, the shovel gathers the snow, lifts it, and then throws it where you want it.  And there’s no lifting on your part — and, best of all, no backache.

There’s plenty of snow out there, and just reading all that information you just read probably won’t move a flake of it.  So go grab your shovel, whether it’s a scooper or a pusher, and get out there.

And remember, shovel frequently before the snow gets too deep and too heavy; dress warmly and bend your knees; don’t twist your back; lift small quantities and throw only as far as necessary; rest frequently and stop when you get tired.

Or better yet, let a much younger person do the shoveling, and watch from inside the window.

Meanwhile, enjoy watching it snow.

Here’s What They Said:

Groucho: “She got her good looks from her father — he’s a plastic surgeon.”  And, “Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.”

Calvin Coolidge:  “Whenever I indulge my sense of humor, it gets me in trouble.”

Have a good week.

 

… Roy Hodge   

Poetry Corner

After an Adirondack Snowstorm,
by Jim Farfaglia

The world is black and white again;

uncomplicated…

even a mountain range of fir trees

softly darkens

and every branch, bush and boulder

gently hold

a million  flakes, so quietly balanced,

like life here

where a telephone wire’s sole purpose

is to guide me

on the pathway of my peaceful heart.

Bodley Bulletins, by Julia Ludington

We have successfully had our first full week of school since who knows when!

Our canned food drive, sponsored by the HOPE Club, FBLA, Student Senate, and French Club, was a success. Thank you to all those that donated. Let’s make it our goal to make next year even better.

The midpoint of the marking period was last Friday. Students should be receiving their five-week reports later this week or early next week.

Remember, these grades are not your final average, but are to gauge how well you are doing in the quarter thus far. This quarter has been unusual, since we had only had 17 class days in the five-week period due to snow days and winter break.

Our very own “March Madness” is taking place at the high school. Mrs. Dauphin, a world history teacher at G. Ray Bodley, organizes a bracket of world leaders every year from all time periods. Students are assigned a certain leader, must do research on that leader, and must go up against other students in the tournament to prove that their leader is the best of all.

The rounds get more challenging as more are eliminated, so stay tuned for times that you can witness this entertaining and often hilarious event.

I hope everyone has a good week.  Please keep checking the school website for updated sports schedules.

THE SPORTSMAN’S WORLD: Will March go out like a lamb?

By Leon Archer

The old saying is, if March comes in like a Lion, it will go out like a lamb, and conversely, if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.

If there is any truth to that, the end of the month should be pretty darned good.

In the meantime, there is plenty of ice for the ice fishermen and probably way too much snow and ice for the steelhead fishermen. Both the ice fisherman and the steelheader are a hardy breed.

The conditions on the streams and rivers should be much more conducive for catching those big trout as March slowly starts to mellow. I never fished for them much until April arrived, but once the weather started to get warm enough to tempt me to wet a line, I caught some nice ones.

Fact is, the really good steelhead fishing started on the Salmon River and other area streams after I had nearly given up fishing in the coldest months. I guess I had become a wimp.

I was trying to remember years when March was a docile as a summer night. I don’t have any dates in my head, but sweet thing’s birthday comes on March 27, and I remember us having a picnic on her birthday one year when the temperature was 75 degrees and the daffodils had been in blossom for at least a week and a half before.

I also collected sap a number of years with my father-in-law, Harvey Yerdon, when the ground was getting mostly bare before the end of March, and the maple season was nearly over.

With temperatures finally giving us a little break, it looks like the maple syrup season should be up and running.

Harvey always said there were a few things you needed for a good syrup season. They were: thawing days and freezing nights, snow on the ground – preferably with several crusts – rain, and reasonably calm days.

The season lasted longer if the weather didn’t warm up too much, too quickly. I think the conditions are pretty good this year for a better than average syrup season, but I’m really not much better at predicting the weather than Punxsutawney Phil, so who knows?

One thing is certain, spring always comes. I am a great fan of spring. I like fishing the streams before the rocks have become too slippery for an old guy like me.

I live for the tug of a bullhead at the end of my line on a warm night on Sandy Pond. I take great pleasure in picking up a couple hundred night crawlers on a damp evening. I even enjoy just sitting outside and listening to the spring peepers.

And I love the smell of spring, the odor of promise of great days to come.

After this winter, just about anything March has to offer is going to look good.

I’m hoping for a good bullhead season. My favorite fish is likely still snoring away safely tucked into a soft bottom underneath the ice, but as soon as the sun gets higher, the water starts to warm and the ice gets rotten, his alarm clock will go off. I’ll be waiting for Mr. Whiskers.

Nothing brings back memories any stronger than sitting beside a gas lantern, listening to the frogs and peepers, hoping to see my rod tip jump as a bullhead takes the bait. My father and I passed many pleasant night hours together in friendly competition at the expense of Mr. Whiskers.

It doesn’t get much better than that. It gets my heart pumping just thinking about it.

Yep, I love the spring.

In and Around Hannibal, March 8

Oops — when I make a mistake, I does it good!

I am very sorry for any confusion I might have caused with my column last week. Don’t know whether it’s me eyes or me mind (I’m losing a little of each), but somehow I pushed the wrong button on this fool computer and sent the column from the first of March LAST YEAR instead of this year.

I will try to not do that again.  Apology said and I hope accepted, I give you this week’s offering!

**********************

I hope you enjoyed the series on Hannibal schools before centralization. Have you drawn any conclusions?

Our forebears were anxious for their children to get an education…and getting a school in their area for their children was important. Can’t help thinking that that translated down to their children.

If for no other reason than school provided a place for them to see their friends and gave them something to do besides chores. Children must have led isolated lives with only siblings for company, compared to youngsters of today,

The parents were involved with the school doing what they could to make it a go, from providing land and building the school to providing firewood and boarding the teacher.

I imagine the teacher was not reluctant to pay a visit at a pupil’s home if he or she felt one was needed.

In the earliest days, schools were able to schedule classes as they felt needed as many of the students would be needed to work the farm.

You could say there was a lot more ‘local control’ and a lot fewer mandates and financial aid. Maybe they went to school only in the winter when they wouldn’t be needed on the farm. The teachers were freer to teach what they felt the students needed than they are today.

Many schools were used for church services – as the churches were used years later for schools when they were building schools or additions to them in later years.

These little schools produced some outstanding people, from lawyers and doctors and teachers to elected officials as well as shopkeepers and skilled artisans, farmers and homemakers.

Education goes in cycles and all things are made new again eventually. I spoke recently with a retired teacher who said they tried to overcome the ‘bigness’ of their school by a  cluster approach – Hannibal over the years has done similar things.

Isn’t it interesting that we wanted bigger to provide a better education for our children, expose them to the things that only a bigger school could provide and then we struggle to fine ways to give those big schools, the small school feeling — the feeling of belonging, being really cared about and of being held accountable.

Ah … If we only had the answers!

**********************

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 don’t know, the Center is located in the Library Building, across from the Firehouse on Oswego Street.

This week’s menu features:

Monday, March 10 — homemade soup and sandwich, crackers, juice, fruit cocktail

Wednesday — Goulash, vegetable, juice, pineapple tidbits

Friday — Crispy fish clipper, Monterey potatoes, vegetable blend, juice, peaches

Activities:

Monday — Wii bowling; come cheer them on!

Wednesday — Bingo after lunch

Friday — games

Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation, 564-5471.

Can you believe spring sports begin today at Hannibal schools?

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 at noon Tuesday at the Senior Center for a covered dish luncheon. Please bring your own table service and a dish to pass.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) meets at Our Lady of the Rosary (Cayuga Street) at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The Hannibal Board of Education will meet at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 in  the high school board room.

The nominees for the Library’s Woman of the Year are: Donna Blake, Linda Ford,  Christine Bortel Learnord, Kim Heins, Carol Newvine, Linda Remig, Lenore Richards and Shelly Stanton.

Voting will be open at the library until March 15, and the reception for the winner will be 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 22.

The Hannibal Methodist Church serves a free lunch (donations for this ministry accepted) at 11:30 a.m. Thursdays. Don’t eat alone, come on down and join the fun and fellowship. The church is one block west of the Village Square on Route 3.

Lenten Services of the Enoch Thomas Cluster of United Methodist Churches have begun. All services start at 5 p.m. and are on Sunday.

March 9 at Martville

March 16 at Little Utica

March 23 at Ira

March 30 at Hannibal Center

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 2 p.m. Sunday March 30 at the Hannibal United Methodist Church.

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

There are a number of families in the Hannibal area dealing with ALS. Even if you don’t Zumba, come out and support these families.

The Senior Council would like to remind you its rooms are available for groups and family rental when not being otherwise used. Give Rosemary a call for information and booking (564-5471.).

The Friends of the Hannibal Free Library will hold their Spring Book and Bake Sale Saturday and Sunday April 5 and 6. Starting now, anyone wishing to  donate books should drop them off at the library at the front desk anytime the library is open.

The Church World Service Truck will be making it’s way to Central NY to pick up school, baby, and hygiene kits and clean-up buckets on April 30.

If your church or group puts these together they can be delivered to CWS Regional headquarters at 200 A Gateway Park Drive, North Syracuse before April 30. Call Amy or Christopher at 458-8535 to make an appointment so you don’t find the office closed.

News flash – just heard they are in special need of school kits. Last year more than 57,000 school kits were provided for children in need in the U.S. and overseas including young survivors of flash floods in Garrett, Ky., the Black Forest Fires in Colorado and Superstorm Sandy in Jamaica, NY.

A school kit consists of 70-page spiral notebooks, blunt metal scissors, 12-inch rulers, hand held pencil sharpeners, large erasers, new pencils with erasers, box of 24 new crayons and a 12×14 tote bag with cloth handles.

If you would like to donate supplies for these kits, donatons are always appreciated.

I will be heading to Maryland March 18 to pack shipping boxes. If you have kits ready, I’ll be happy to take them. Give me a call or send me an e-mail.

Rita Hooper

706-3564

Twohoops2@juno.com

Jerry’s Journal, March 8

If you read my last journal you know that Peter Palmer was born with one arm, has a driver’s license but loves to walk (especially across the Lower Bridge on his way downtown), is a devout Catholic and once entered a monastery, is retired from the Oswego County Social Service Department after 32 years, is Fulton’s historian — can reel off facts about our hometown in the blink of an eye — and has lived in the same house on Worth Street his entire life.

“Did you know that Worth Street was the first street in Fulton to be paved?” Peter inquired of me during our interview.

It was because Mayor Foster lived on Worth Street.

“What was Mayor Foster’s first name?” I asked.

So, Peter looked it up and to our surprise, we discovered there were in fact two mayors with the last name of Foster. (I do not know if they were brothers; it’s something to further investigate.)

James Foster lived at 94 Worth St. and was mayor from 1902-04; while John M. Foster at 88 Worth St. was mayor 1906-08. That’s where Foster Park got its name.

“It once was an Indian burial ground,” Peter said. “You can still see a couple of the mounds.”

Oh, yes, Foster Park. …. I reminisced a bit and told Peter that my Dad had worked for the Best Ice Cream Co. on West First Street when I was a small child. … My Mom used to walk me down the steep stairs that went straight down into the park. … . I wonder if they’re still there?

Peter said John Foster had a daughter named Geraldine (that’s my proper name, too, a beautiful name if there ever was one, so my mother thought), and according to a 1948 city directory, Ms. Foster worked in our city library, in the children’s section.

She eventually sold their home on Worth Street and bought a house at 218 S. Fourth St. where she once entertained Eleanor Roosevelt at a tea.

Folk art painter Norman Rockwell also is said to have visited Geraldine Foster and stayed at her family’s camp on the river just north of the city. While in our area, Rockwell painted a picture of four boys on a toboggan.

One of those boys was Joe Crahan, who became a well known policeman around town.

Peter’s grandfather, Seymour Palmer, purchased the house on Worth Street a hundred years ago for his wife, Blanche, who did not like living in the country.

The house already had electricity, and his grandfather installed bathroom plumbing, but really didn’t like using it. He preferred the outhouse, Peter said. (He didn’t want bad smells in their home!)

The outhouse is gone now, as is the barn out back, Peter said. Their then next door neighbor, Coach Willard “Andy” Anderson, helped take them down and helped build the “new” garage that replaced them.

The Palmer home hasn’t changed too much over the years, Peter chuckled. He said he even has his grandmother’s “stuffed” canary.

And there are ghosts…you can hear their footsteps… and a neighbor thought she saw Peter’s dad sitting in the dinning room, while someone else thought they saw his grandfather sitting in his chair.

Both men had died in the house, but not at the same time, and both went peacefully.

I thank Peter for his time and stories and I guarantee they’ll be more from and about him in future columns.

Well, dear Readers, it’s been a long, hard winter and though I could have and should have done a lot more than looking out the window and longing for warm weather, it hasn’t been a total waste of time, (where does the time go? It’s March already!)

I’ve finally gotten all seven years of Jerry’s Journals — clippings from the Fulton Patriot and the Valley News — into two crammed notebooks, have completed a photo album from Ed’s 80th birthday last summer, and have organized into a less chaotic mess all the memorabilia my faithful readers and contributors have given me to use in my columns.

Now I can more easily find what I need when I need it!

Getting to the pile of stuff on my desk, however, I was horrified and embarrassed to find a long-forgotten letter from former Fultonian Walt Carrington who wrote two pages of “gist for Jerry’s Journal.”

His subject matter was “Transportation,” which I found most interesting and will share with you next time. Until then, I sincerely hope Walt will forgive me for the oversight.

Meanwhile, ponder this: Longing for the” Good Old Days” isn’t something new. The following excerpts are from a booklet of poems, “As I Remember,” written by Fred Kenyon Jones of Fulton, and dated 1934.

“They made twin beds in case he snores; They made machines to do the chores; They moved the pulley works out of town; They finally burned the round house down.

“They took the eel-pot out of the river; They charge you 50 cents for liver; They slowed up serge and started silk; They even stopped making Nestlé’s milk.”

“T’was fun to walk three miles to school; And help hitch-up old Jennie mule; ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ was a glorious treat; Or putting a tack on a teacher’s seat.

“Remember the days of the huskin’ bee? Yokes of oxen you no more see; But, there’s one thing you moss-back know; We had fun — 30 years ago!”

I thank Tom Trepasso for loaning me the booklet from which I took the passages. It was written the year I was born. It’s hard to recall or even imagine all the things that have changed since then, and it makes a person wonder what the next 80 years will bring!.

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 JHogan808@aol.com. Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

Hodgepodge, March 8

Tales of winters past

The older generations have always told stories of winters of their younger days to their children and grandchildren.

You know — the ones that start out, “Back when I was a kid in the winter time …”

It was likely that I had heard tales about my grandparents coping with big storms, about their trips through the deep snow to the hen house to gather eggs, and the sleigh rides of their younger days.

I do know that my grandparents both grew up on farms in the days when horses and one’s legs were the main sources of transportation.

I grew up in Syracuse and I had no difficulty thinking about the snowy winters of my youth. Winters when the snow was often up too high to get the back door open; many winters when the usually wide street in front of our house was narrowed down to a path that the cars with their tire chains didn’t dare to travel on.

It seems there was no shortage of snowy excitement from my younger days — adventures which should have kept my own children amazed by the stories of their father’s winter time activities.

Oh, my generation and I — we had our moments, OK? — but there was one problem when it came to bragging to my children about the winter time adventures of my youth.

Only one BIG problem — my kids were growing up in Fulton’s winter weather and nothing I could say about growing up in Syracuse would impress them. I’m afraid that they would have been bored from the beginning.

In Fulton the snow- banks were higher, and the houses were literally buried in snow from October to April; sometimes traces still lingered in May. It took a lot to impress them when snow stories were being told.

 

Dad’s snow tunnel

Wait a minute – I had it. When asked about my own adventures in the snow, I would cleverly switch the scene back a few years.

“Did I ever tell you about the time Grandpa (my father) was a kid?  Well, this one day there was so much snow between his house and his friend’s house across the street that they had to dig a tunnel from one to the other – and I got some pictures somewhere to prove it.”  Wow!

Well, that seemed to do it. They were impressed, and I am still searching for that picture.

 

Take a walk

I have always tried to do some walking as often as I could, just for the sake of walking and some exercise.

For years, my wife and I enjoyed frequent neighborhood walks in decent weather. Now that I am home more during the day, I try to take regular neighborhood jaunts. I find that my walks are half as long and twice as tiring these days.

When I lived in Fulton, walking was a daily ritual. We had a couple of set patterns for our walks.

As it is a common routine in Fulton to “walk the bridges,” we did that at least half of the time.

On other occasions, since we lived on the east side, we would take the “east side trek” from our house near East Side Park, up to Nestles, and then follow a rectangular course until we were close to where we started, and return home.

(I don’t live in Fulton now, but if I did I wonder how I could manage to shorten the distance between those bridges.)

If you are a walker and follow the same route every day at approximately the same time, walking can become a social event as you will meet up with at least some of the same people every day.

If you have walked for recreation for several years you will discover that you have participated in a variety of styles — moving along briskly; slowing down so your walking partner could keep up; moving slow enough to enjoy the passing scenery, and finally, “plodding along” (and slowing your walking partner down).

In your early walking days, the toot of a horn from a passing vehicle probably was a greeting from an acquaintance; now, the same thing could be considered more of a “get-out-of-the-way” blast.

And finally, a bit of wisdom from an unknown source: “Walking is a wonderful exercise that is sure to prolong your life, unless you try to cross the street.”

A question left over from last month:

Why is February the shortest month?

Well, here’s an explanation.  Back in Julius Caesar’s days, the months alternated: 31 days, 30 days, 31 days, etc., for a total of 366 days.

Julius decided he wanted a month named after him. He took the seventh month, named it July, shoved the other months down a notch with the last month dropping off the end.

That month had 30 days.  Julius thought his month should be one of the longest so he took a day from February and added it to July, giving July 31 days and February 29 days.

When Augustus came along, he wanted a month of his own. He couldn’t be ahead of Julius so he took the next month and named it August.

Like Julius, he shoved the other months down and another one dropped off the end. That month had 31 days. Augustus wouldn’t be outdone by Julius so he took another day out of poor February and added it to August.

February then had 28 days. We lost 31 and gained 30, for a new total of 365 days.

No, I haven’t been carrying all this information around with me since fifth grade; I found most of it on “Askville by Amazon.”

 

… Roy Hodge  

OPINION: It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

By Debra J. Groom

I was reading through some things on my desk and came across a notice that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

I thought I would toss in my few cents on this subject in hopes of getting a bunch of Oswego County residents off their keisters to get their colons checked out.

The best screening available for colon cancer is the colonoscopy. Yeah, I know, the dreaded colonoscopy. There may be a few of you reading this saying to yourself “Hey, no one is going to put a scope up, well, you know where.”

But listen. It really isn’t that bad. And if it can save you from dying from colon cancer, I’d say, go for it.

I have had five colonoscopies. Colon cancer and colon problems run in my family. Both of my grandfathers had colon cancer. One died from it (back in 1944, before there were the tests and treatments we have today). The other was cured, but he lived with a colostomy for the rest of his life.

My mother had problems with benign colon polyps and my sister has had colon difficulties too. So you can bet your bottom I don’t miss a colonoscopy.

The Centers for Disease Control says colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States. It also is the second-leading cause of death from cancer for men and women combined in the United States.

In 2010 (the most recent year numbers are available), 131,607 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, including 67,700 men and 63,907 women.

A total of 52,045 people in the United States died from colorectal cancer, including 27,073 men and 24,972 women.

But here is the most important statement from CDC:

“Screening can find precancerous polyps — abnormal growths in the colon or rectum — so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure. About nine out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancers are found early and treated appropriately are still alive five years later.”

Are you convinced yet?

Well, while the colonoscopy sounds yucky, it really isn’t that bad.

You spend the day before on a liquid diet, which leads to ravenous hunger. But hey, it’s only one day.

You drink some bad-tasting stuff the night before the procedure that makes you spend much of the next few hours on the porcelain throne. But you have to clean out that colon so the doctor can get some clean, pretty pictures.

That part — called the prep — is actually the worst part. And think about it, isn’t it worth it to go through a few hours of discomfort to live to a ripe old age with your colon in tact?

The test itself, I have found, is a breeze. I have always been totally knocked out by the anesthesia — I’ve never felt a thing. After, you lay in the recovery room for a bit, talk to your doctor to see what they found and then off you go. Most people can eat a regular meal not too long after the test is over.

Even with my extensive family history, I have this done only once every five years.

Of course, people should always mention any symptoms they have to their doctors immediately. The CDC lists the symptoms as blood in or on your stool (bowel movement, stomach pain, aches, cramps that don’t go away and losing weight when you don’t know why.

So if you have any symptoms or you’re over 50 and just want to be checked out, celebrate this month by see a gastroenterologist and having a colonoscopy.

I think that’s a small price to pay for life.