Category Archives: Columnists

Summer columns

by Roy Hodge

I recently jotted down dates of some of the columns I have written about summer.

July, 1979: “When the phone rang before 6 a.m. one day last week it was a sure sign that summer vacation had started. It was Adam’s friend Peter on the phone.

“‘Is Adam there?’ Peter asked. ‘Not at six o’clock in the morning,’ Adam’s mother answered. ‘We’re going fishing,’ Peter said. ‘Not at six o’clock in the morning,’ Adam’s mother repeated.

“‘Call back at nine and you can go fishing then.’ He did and they did. Summer vacation was officially underway.”

Later that month I wrote, “If you’ve been bothered by the recent 90-degree weather you might derive some pleasure by thinking back on the ten feet of snow that covered your yard and the rest of Fulton a mere four or five months ago.”

In July, 1980 I was reviewing some “hot weather words.”

“When it’s hot for more than one day it ceases to be hot. It’s a scorcher, a sizzler, watch out for the blazing heat, and it might even get torrid. Sultry is another favorite; it almost always reaches sultry levels after a couple of days of high temperatures.

“Then the heat becomes tropical. Culinary terms are also big. Every July we cook, bake, broil, boil, roast and simmer. Soon the just plain heat of a few days ago becomes searing heat, blistering heat, and parching heat. By then it’s hotter than blazes, and we’re all smoldering.”

July 23, 1981: “Beware midnight snackers – that bowl in the front of the refrigerator isn’t chocolate pudding. It’s a nice fresh batch of night crawlers ready for tomorrow’s fishing trip.”

June 29, 1982: “’Twas the first day of summer vacation, there was a feeling of gloom;

“For the first time in weeks I was alone in the bathroom.”

And, in August, 1988, I was “playing games with the weather:”

“We do strange things. We don’t particularly like the weather when it gets too hot or too cold. But we don’t want anyone else to be able to say that they get hotter or colder weather than we do.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe by calling 598-6397

 

High Dive

by Jim Farfaglia

My brother and I pedal like mad,

leaving behind our quiet country road

and weaving through the city’s busy life.

 

A dime buys us a locker key,

we slip on our bathing suits

– bare feet tiptoeing on cold concrete –

 

and enter the West Side Pool,

with its endless playful waters

to splash away our summer sweat.

 

Later, sunning myself on a towel,

I watch the brave ones climb each rung,

triumphantly reaching the top,

 

then effortlessly diving into the water’s arms…

When would I climb my stairway of growing up?

How would I ever break the surface of my fear?

Passover

by Pastor David Grey

“This is my body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” — 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

The Lord Jesus spoke these words during the celebration of the Passover meal.

With those words, He gave new significance to the broken unleavened bread and the 3rd cup of wine which were part of the traditional celebration.  Originally, the Unleavened Bread was called the “bread of affliction” and had been made and eaten in haste before the Exodus from Egypt.

When the bread is eaten during the Passover meal, the host breaks the bread and says something along the lines of “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us. May it be God’s will to redeem us from all evil and from all slavery.”

When Jesus broke the bread His disciples were expecting to hear something very similar, however, He surprised them by saying,  “this is my body broken for you.”

Though they would probably not understand his meaning until later, Jesus was saying to the disciples that He who is the bread of life, would become the bread of affliction as all our sin and shame were laid upon Him.

Jesus did something similar when He, “took the cup.” Throughout the Passover Feast He carefully followed the same format as Jews had done for centuries, but then, surprisingly, He broke from tradition with words that must have startled the disciples.

During the Passover service four cups of wine were served. The third was called the “Cup of Blessing.” This is the cup Jesus took when the gospels report that, “after supper he took the cup.”

The third cup was the one served immediately after supper. At this point the people celebrating Passover would say something like, “I will take the chalice of salvation and I will call upon the name of the Lord.”

However, when Jesus served this cup, He said “This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” pointing to Himself as the blessing and our salvation.

The Passover Feast was always meant to foreshadow the One who would come, the Lamb of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover for all who will come to Him; to all who will trust in His shed blood just as the original Jews celebrating the Passover trusted in the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the door frames of their homes.

David M. Grey is pastor of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

Hot summers

by Roy Hodge

I have always enjoyed this time of the year. Summer is my favorite time of the year, and until a few years ago, when I began considering myself as “older” and less heat-resistant, I guess I adapted readily to July and its heat.

Thinking about hot summers, I am usually quick to think about the summer mornings when my mother would greet us in the morning with the statement, “It’s going to be a ‘scorcher’ today.” It didn’t take us long to figure out her interpretation of “scorcher.”

But I can’t remember not loving and enjoying the hot days – to me that was summer and the reason why we didn’t have to go to school.

My mother also used to say, when relating my summer day’s activities to my father when he returned home from work, “He (that would be me) lives at that pool. That was probably almost true.

“That pool” was the swimming pool at McKinley Park, two blocks from our house.

Along with my friends, the Fero boys, I would spend the morning at the pool, run home at lunch time for a sandwich and return to the pool to spend the afternoon.

My mother didn’t worry about me because she said I was “born swimming” and as far as I knew that was the truth. I loved the water whether it was in the pool at McKinley Park, or later in the summer, at Oneida Lake where our family always spent a couple of hot August weeks.

My mother was probably exaggerating a little about the “born swimming” thing. The only lessons might have been just a few years after that — standing in the water with hands on the edge of McKinley Pool kicking and splashing.

Neither mom or dad had a history of swimming. My father only wore a bathing suit one time in front of us, and my mother was proud that she could float on her back and had mastered (she thought) the doggie paddle.

Our little house on Wiman Ave. was probably a little more than comfortably warm on those hot summer growing up days. Our bedrooms were all upstairs and were very hot when it came time to go to bed.

Back then, air conditioning was meant for some of downtown’s movie theaters, but not much of the air in our world was “conditioned” – it was hot. On the hottest days we slept on our “much cooler” back porch or in our little pup tent under the big pine trees in our front yard.

Swimming, running and chasing with the other neighborhood kids, or riding my bicycle – all a part of those (hot) summer time memories.

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After a Summer Storm

by Jim Farfaglia

The sky pulls back its curtain

and the world, light again,

is revealed:

Every flower, every greenery,

battered by the rain,

bows to its power.

The oak and the maple,

having gallantly faced the tempest,

raise their arms in jubilation.

Street and roadside streams,

carrying tales of sound and fury,

gather to chatter away while the mourning dove,

who’s survived it all before, circles the world with a calming coo.

More Fulton history

by Jerry Kasperek

E-mails have flown back and forth between Marion Murphy Stanton and I that happily jogged each other’s memories, thanks to Mary Runeari and her writings in my last column.

Mary worked at Frawley’s luncheonette on East Broadway as a teenager and discovered that the “neat gentleman” who came in to get his coffee cup refilled each morning was none other than Mr. Murphy, who owned Murphy’s Gift Shop next door.

In later years, Mary became active with the American Field Service along with Mr. Murphy’s wife, Marie. The Murphy’s had two daughters, Eleanor (Vaynor) and Marion (Stanton) and one son Richard.

Eleanor and Marion still live in our community but Mary had lost track of Richard.

In case you don’t remember, Dear Readers, Murphy’s Gift Shop was on East Broadway, on the north side of the street, in the block between South First and South Second Streets (S. Second is now Route 481).

“John Finnocchario had his barber shop next door,” Marion wrote, “and the Victory Grill was on the corner, with Mr. Scanlon’s liquor store next door to the east. Mrs. Percival and later the Courbats lived in the little house, and after Quade’s came the Sealright Bowling Alley and the — I think — the Commodore Restaurant. Mr. Jonietz Texaco station was on the corner.

Marion continued, “I remember Mary working at Frawley’s (later Kanaley’s and Guilfoyle’s) and it was always a lot of fun when she was on! Not that the other staff wasn’t great too…We’ll share her recollections with our brother Richard who lives in Rochester,” she said.

 

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Fulton Hoboes

by Roy Hodge

Do you remember the Fulton Hoboes? I do, and if not for any other reason, every once in a while when I come across a photo of the group when son Jeff was a member.

In my memory, the Hoboes were an important part of the Cracker Barrel Fair, which was a fixture in Fulton for many years, and were still strutting their stuff during Riverfest celebrations in the late 80s and 90s.

From Hodgepodge, August 15, 1989:

Wasn’t Riverfest wonderful?

“On Saturday I sat on the front porch of The Fulton Patriot building for three hours and along with many other Festival goers soaked in the soothing Dixieland strains of the Hanover Squares, a talented six-some of musicians from the Syracuse area.

“The afternoon’s musical program had been underway 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 man to scout the premises and as soon as the announcement was made that there was food and drink inside the Hoboes trooped in, en masse.

“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.

“If my recollection of Fulton clowning history is coming back to me properly as I type this, I can tell you that the Fulton Hoboes were formed somewhere around 25 years ago. They originally got together as part of the programs at the First Methodist Church annual talent show. The group became well known to the public after Fulton’s Cracker Barrel Fairs were started in 1966.

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

“Among my fondest memories, I recall the first years of the Cracker Barrel Fair when a certain little kid, who happened to share my last name among other things, fell in love with the Hoboes and tagged them relentlessly around the fairgrounds all during the fair. After about three years of that one of the Hoboes finally said, ’Listen kid, if you’re going to hang around with us you’re going to have to wear a funny hat and a red nose.’

“That little kid grew up to be Hobo Jeff, the tall skinny member of today’s version of the Fulton Hoboes.

 

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Major floods

by Leon Archer

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the wildlife in a stream or river when they are flooded over their banks by rains like those that have been creating havoc around Oneida and points south east?

Looking at the pictures of the coffee brown water flooding streets, inundating homes and vehicles, while carrying vast amounts of debris and mud, we quickly become aware of the damage to land and property.

What we don’t see is what is happening to the communities and residents that call the streams and rivers their home.

The mud that we see left behind on land creates a mess that has to be scraped and scooped up and then transported to a landfill or field. The remnants get hosed away into storm sewers which direct the offending goo back to area streams in many cases.

The streams get it coming and going when major floods hit them. Normal rains are a welcome event for fields and streams, but just because an ecological community resides either in or around the water doesn’t make it immune to damaging effects of flooding any more than we are.

At first, a heavy rain invigorates the fish, insects and shellfish that live in a stream, but the rising water always increases the strength of the stream flow, which is great for some of the denizens, but not so good for others.

A torrent moves dead  wood  downstream, wood that has been trapped for some time and supports all sorts of life from microscopic to large insect nymphs. It also displaces rocks and rearranges the shape and size of pools.

This stirring of objects large and small casts all sorts of food into the reach of trout and other fish. They can often gorge themselves on insects that had pretty well been safe from them before.

A normal heavy rain is actually good for the life of a stream even though it may cost some of the prey critters dearly. I always thanked the good Lord for every heavy summer rain that hit the Sandy Creek area when I was a boy, because it meant great fishing in Little Sandy for at least a couple days. Trout’s natural caution was overcome by the abundant food in the water and the cloudiness hid the fish from the view of predators.

However, the kind of rains that the state has been experiencing in some locations presents a difficult time for streams and all their residents — even large fish.

The high water can, and often does, carry stream life far away from the stream itself and ends up depositing them where they cannot get back to the moving water that has been their home.

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