Category Archives: Columnists

Hodgepodge

A couple of days ago I celebrated what seems to be known as a “milestone” birthday. I’m not sure what that means but to me it means that I’m glad that I am still celebrating birthdays – but it also means that I’m at a number of years that I hate to say out loud.

The last time that I celebrated one of these “milestone” birthdays was 25 years ago, and I thought I was old then.  Back then I said that I was only slightly offended by some of the messages sent to us “over the hill” folks via birthday cards.

One of my cards 25 years ago asked, “How many 50 year olds does it take to change a light bulb?” The answer:  “None. They prefer it dark. Better for napping.” Another card said, “If people say you’re getting old, don’t argue or complain, ‘cause you don’t have to take that stuff…just hit them with your cane.”

A couple of cards advised me to “party ‘til it hurts” and then added that it will be a short party. Another of my cards made it very clear that I knew all there was to know about hula hoops, saddle shoes and bobby sox.

I said that if I wrote messages on cards for 50 year olds for a living I would be much kinder: “Roses are red, violets are blue. You may be fifty, but you’re still smart, and sexy too.”

It seems that birthday cards my friends and I exchange have gotten kinder over the years.  Now that we’re getting older, the cards don’t contain as many insults. One of this year’s cards stretches out over two feet long; it contains only the traditional “Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday!” message. Other cards include greetings from an exuberant squirrel and a friendly looking bear.

Other thoughts about getting older:

“Later than you think, sooner than you expected.”

“The time of your life when you are thick and tired of it all.”

“When you feel on Saturday night the way you used to feel on Monday morning.”

“The time when you get sacks under the bags under your eyes.”

“When you know all the answers but nobody asks the questions.”

“When you sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.”

“When you feel like the night before and you haven’t been anywhere.”

“When the gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bifocals.”

“When your back goes out more than you do.”

Amen.

Mom’s birthday message

From Sept. 5, 1995:

I went to see my mother a couple of weeks ago. It was Aug. 21, and I almost always visit or call my mother on Aug. 21. I celebrate my birthday on that day and I discovered several years ago that my mother celebrates too; she enjoys reminding me each year of the important part she played in that event.

She always tells me how many years ago it was and that she remembers where she was and what she was doing on that day all those many years ago before my father rushed her off to the hospital.

She also tells me how old it makes her feel to have a son as old as I am. At my age, the comforting thing about that statement is that she has been saying the same thing for as long as I can remember, and that she is still able to say it.

“You were born on a Sunday…4 o’clock in the afternoon…up in St. Joseph’s…it was a hot day…it was a real hot summer.”  And then she adds, “A lot hotter than this year…we don’t get hot weather like that anymore.”

I told her I thought it was pretty hot on Aug. 21 this year.  “Nothing like that year,” she said.

Guess I’ll have to take her word for it.

“The usual suspects”

Even though I am celebrating a birthday with a significantly high number attached to it, among my close friends — most of them octogenarians — I am considered a youngster. I belong to a group of friends who have known each other at least 30 years, see each other often and have great times together.

We’re known to each other as “the usual suspects,” as in, when we’re going to do something together, “Call the usual suspects.”

English language mysteries

There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine are in pineapple.

English muffins weren’t invented in England, or French fries in France.

Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Why do we ship by car and send cargo by ship?  Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

Don’t ask me.

…Roy Hodge

Poetry Corner

By Jim Farfaglia

College Bound

 

The night air streams in,

car windows wide open,

feeling the fullness of summer

 

and breathing in the beauty

that Seals and Crofts are singing;

treasuring it, for our tomorrows…

 

Old enough to know this endless fun will end.

Young enough to wonder

how we’ll learn to leave it all behind…

 

No one says a word; the song on the radio

playing like a gentle breeze,

soothing the ache that’s closing in.

Light in the Darkness: Signs and Wonders

By Pastor David M. Grey, Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church

 “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

John 4:48

When Jesus walked among men, many people were more enamored by the spectacular things He did than by what those things revealed about who He was and its importance to their eternal souls.

They  craved to see, or to see more of, the miraculous things Jesus was reported to have been doing. The blind were given sight, the lame walked, the dumb spoke… even the dead were raised to life.

To read the rest of this column, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Poetry Corner

By Jim Farfaglia

Game Land

Where else can you choose to be

a wheelbarrow or a race car,

a top hat or a terrier – or a thimble,

like you’d find atop Grandma’s finger?

 

Where else is it OK to take chances,

freely dip into the community chest,

or, with a roll of the dice,

figure out your utility bill?

 

Where else is money the colors of a rainbow

and green your only choice for house paint?

Where is it possible to collect rent

whenever somebody happens to stop by?

 

Where else can you hop a train every 10 steps,

make a “right turn only” at each corner,

and find those in need living a stone’s throw

from those who have?

 

Where else in life do you get the option

to go to jail or just pay a visit,

turn rich or poor in the blink of an eye,

and earn a crisp $200, just for ending up

 

back where you started?

Poetry Corner

Camp Nurse

By Jim Farfaglia

 

Looking back

she must’ve been fresh out of college,

sporting a camp T-shirt and shorts

– no starched whites and cap for her –

as she checked each of us in

with her free-flowing smile.

 

At the first campfire

I found out she liked to sing,

and to my restless ears

she had the sweetest contralto,

offering Baez and Dylan

over flickering flames…

 

Which is why,

more than a few nights that season,

I faked illness right around bedtime.

She’d check my temperature,

run through her questions,

then – like the wise nurse she was becoming –

she’d offer the perfect remedy

in song.

Light In The Darkness: Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

By Pastor David M. Grey

Mount Pleasant United
Methodist Church

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

               Genesis 1:31-2:3

In my last column I referred to the first verse in Genesis, which reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I then pointed out that at its very heart, Biblical faith is simply the act of believing what God has said. In the passage that follows that first verse in scripture, we read the order in which God created everything culminating in the verses cited above.

God says that He created everything in six days, even stressing the fact that each one of those days began in the morning and concluded at evening. Why do so many doubt that this is true? Even among Christians, we find many going to great lengths to show that the word “day” means something other than a 24-hour day as we know it.

For the rest of this column, pick up the print version of The Valley News.

Jerry’s Journal

Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, a copy of an advertisement was left out of Saturday’s Jerry’s Journal. Below is the ad, along with information about it from Jerry. The Valley News regrets the omission. 

By Jerry Kasperek

Please note the accompanying advertisement. It’s where Mike and I bought our first car, a maroon, 1949 Plymouth two-door coupe. It was in 1954, and what a bargain: we paid $800 for it!

OP Jerry 8-3

The Sportsman’s World: Seasons

By Leon Archer

This is the time of year that I start to wonder where the summer has gone even though all of August lies before us. Have you ever stopped to think for a moment about how much our lives are influenced by the seasons? And it’s not just our lives, but the lives of just about all the plant and animal life on this planet of ours. From the tropics to the poles we all move to the rhythm of a drum we cannot hear. It’s the music of life and death and life again.

The ancient learned observers of the heavens noted that the night sky was filled with the ever moving stars and the constellations marching from horizon to horizon. With simple implements, they calculated the daily rising sun as it appeared and climbed at a slightly different angle each morning, noting the relationship to what was happening in their world.

For the rest of the story, read the Valley News Saturday edition.