Category Archives: Columnists

Light in the Darkness: March 13, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

Speaking of many of the great men and women of faith who have passed, the writer to the Hebrews said, “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”  — Hebrews 11:13-16

This passage refers to those who had turned from the world and its illicit pleasures in favor of a life of faithful obedience to the Lord. They followed the same path Moses did, who “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time”, (v. 25).

This speaks to us, today, for it is both the same and only path for those who want to know that “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”

Those who choose this path do not long for the “country they came from.” They do not long for the old life and its ways. They may experience its tug from time to time, but they know that such desire comes from the flesh which is weak and is constantly at war with the Spirit (Galatians 5:17).

They understand that that old way of life is a way that leads only to destruction and death and so they resist such temptation in the Spirit.

It says clearly that if they had longed for it, they “could have gone back.” God does not remove our ability to make choices even after we set out hearts to obey Him. He never does that.

How are you doing, dear Christian? Are you faithfully and confidently looking forward to dwelling in that city which has been designed and built on eternal foundations by God Himself?

If so, you know the joy and sense of security that comes from a faithful relationship. You have the assurance that this city is being prepared for you and you have your eye set steadfastly upon it.

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

Household chores

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

My mother used to tell me that there was a day of the week for every household chore.

I don’t remember my mother ever singing it to me, but while looking for information I found a song called “Monday’s Wash Day”:

“Today is Monday, Today is Monday,

Monday’s wash day. Everybody happy?

Well, I should say!

Today is Tuesday, Today is Tuesday.

Tuesday’s ironing day, Monday’s wash day.

Everybody happy?  Well, I should say!

That little ditty goes on to tell us that Wednesday is cleaning day, Thursday is for baking, Friday is for “fiii-sh,” on Saturday we shop, and Sunday is for church.

Everybody happy? Well, I should say!

This seems to be the original “Wash on Monday” routine:

Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday (I don’t know what happened to the fiii-sh), Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday.”

From Laura Ingalls Wilder of “Little House on the Prairie,” speaking of weekly chores while she was growing up: “For Ma and other pioneer women, each day had its own proper chores.

“Washing the family’s clothes was often done on Mondays, and took an entire day. Water was heated in a metal boiler; when it came to a boil, soap shavings were added and the clothes were dumped in.

“First the whites were washed, then the colored clothes, then the heavy work clothes. After the clothes boiled for ten minutes, they were removed, rubbed with homemade soap and scrubbed on a washboard.  After all the clothes had been washed the tub was filled with fresh water and the clothes rinsed.”

I do remember my mother’s wash day and I think it could have well been on Monday. Like the wash day that Laura Ingalls Wilder remembered, I’m sure it could have taken most of the day.

Mom sorted the clothes by colors or whites and put them in the old washing machine, which was like a big tub, added water and soap and let the machine’s “agitator” swish them around for a few minutes.

Then the load of clothes was rinsed in the large cellar sink, then put through the machine’s “wringer.” Now they were ready to be lugged up the cellar stairs and hung up to dry.  We had clothes lines that stretched from one side of the backyard to the other side. The clothes were fastened to the lines with wooden clothespins and left to dry.

When the laundry was hung on the clothes lines, it tended to come a little too close to the ground. But my clever grandfather had an answer for that.

Grandpa, with a saw and me in tow, went over to a nearby wooded area and found some just the right height saplings topped by forks to keep the clothes lines from dragging on the ground.

During the winter when the clothes couldn’t be hung outside they were hung on lines in our small, unfinished basement, or on the backs of chairs in the kitchen. After it was dried, the laundry was neatly folded, ready for ironing.

Back to Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Tuesday, “Ma would iron the finer clothes. First she would starch them with starch made by boiling grated potatoes. An iron was heated over a fire or stove. The item to be ironed was spread out, sprinkled with water and then the heated iron was used to iron it.”

I think maybe my mother spread her ironing chores around a little during the week. I can remember her “sprinkling” the clothes with water from a Pepsi bottle with a sprinkler top. Then she rolled them up and wrapped them with a towel, and ironed them when someone needed something.

Just about everything but the underwear needed to be ironed eventually in those days before “wash and wear.” (I remember my mother telling me that she knew women that even ironed the underwear).

Mend on Wednesday: “Pioneer women spent evenings and free time mending clothing. Ma mended everything from Pa’s shirts to the sheets on the bed.  Ma did all her sewing by hand until Pa bought her a sewing machine.”

I can’t remember my mother doing much mending. She crocheted and em- broidered, but I think my grandmother got to repair the holes in socks and the rips and tears.

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

Trophy hunting

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Recently, I was invited to go on an African safari, and I had tentatively agreed to go, because it is one of those things on my bucket list, but after much thought and soul searching, I decided not to go.

My cost would have been very reasonable and even after factoring in the other things I had in the hopper, I still could have swung it (and Sweet Thing even said it was okay with her), but it was when I asked myself what I wanted to get out of the safari that I began back-peddling.

I love to travel and I’ve never been to Africa, but that’s not the purpose of a safari. Unless one is on a camera safari, the major object of the adventure is to shoot one or more animals whose heads would eventually grace the hunter’s walls.

I knew that any animals I might shoot would become welcome protein for hungry natives. But while the meat might not go to waste, Sweet Thing has never wanted animal heads hanging in our living room, so what would I do with their heads? The fact is I’m not much of what people think of as a trophy hunter anyway.

When I was in my teens, I used to keep the tails off grouse and pheasants. I kept the little spikes from the first deer I shot. I kept all kinds of souvenirs or trophies from the animals I shot or trapped, and I cured and mounted fish heads and tanned a few hides.

So I understand the allure of collecting trophies, but over the years, my own urge to shoot the biggest and the best and then display parts of them has greatly diminished. That’s why I could not persuade myself that I would be comfortable shooting animals I could not use, much less enjoy doing it.

Humans have been keeping trophies from their hunts ever since they began killing animals and eating meat. Trophies have served as visual testaments to the skills of the hunter as long as there have been hunters.

Pictures drawn on cave walls with charcoal by cave dwellers might be more of the same. After all, hunters today probably take more photos of the animals they have shot than they do of their family.

Trophy hunting is the poster child for the anti-hunters. They have vilified hunters who pass up animal after animal, waiting for that special one. Somehow they see that as worse than just shooting the first animal that comes by.

They imply that the trophy is shot merely for its horns or whatever, not recognizing that for the hunter the outstanding rack or whatever is merely the icing on the cake.

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

Hello, Dolly!

Bodley-RothrockKate_Wby Kate Rothrock

It’s show time! The Quirk’s Players drama club has been hard at work preparing for this year’s spring musical.

“” will be presented Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 8 at 7:30; and Saturday, March 9 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

The seniors from the cast and crew of “Hey, Dolly!” will be recognized Saturday at the 7:30 p.m. show.

Seniors from the cast include Alexis Pawlewicz, Danni Kline, Amanda Trombly, Laura Perwitz, Katelyn Caza, Krista Vann, Mikaela Houck, Mitch Lalik, Robbie Lagowski, Yann Taddei, Steven Mcdougall and Christina Teetsel. Seniors from the crew include Devyn Viscome, Maranda Mattaccio, Maureen LaGrou, and Joe Mcdermott.

These seniors and the other cast members, crew members, the orchestra and many more have worked for months preparing for these shows. Congratulations for all the hard work everyone has put into this show and good luck to everyone involved.

If you can, go see the show! It’s going to be great.

This past Saturday was the seventh annual High School Invitational Art Show. Students from Fulton, Hannibal, Oswego and Phoenix school districts entered artwork into a competition to be judged. First place, second place, and honorable mention ribbons, as well as best of show and views choice awards were given in each category.

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

Light In The Darkness: March 6, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” — Hebrews 11:7

Noah believed God when he was told of things that had never happened before and then did everything exactly as God instructed him. He chose to trust God rather than his experience.

He believed God even though it could not be confirmed by anything that he could see around him. He did not permit his own reason or intellect to trump what God had said. He simply believed and obeyed.

As a result, he, “received the righteousness that comes by faith.” Noah is an example of how any of us are declared righteous by God today. It is never by the works that we do. Though it may seem a fine line, Noah was not  declared righteous because he built the ark.

He was declared righteous because he believed God had said to him and building the ark was simply the natural expression of that belief.

Noah is an example of what James tells us in the New Testament when he says that faith and works cannot be separated.

Had Noah claimed to believe God but gone about his normal life without ever building an ark, he would have shown that he did not truly believe.

It is the same for us today.  True faith is demonstrated by the way we live. The one who has faith will “walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6).

Our obedience to what we hear from heaven proves that we truly believe and is the faith that leads to God’s declaring us righteousness.

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  (I John 2:2-4).

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

Before Computers

by Jim Farfaglia


“w” was never that special a letter –

just one of 26, more or less;

not leading the way, in triplicate,

for some newfangled kind of address.


And when it comes to addresses,

what postman back then ever knew

how in the world to deliver a message

to “com” or “org”… or “edu?”


Google was just a misspelled goggle,

and nobody’ d heard of  “Wikipedia.”

Things weren’t just believed on the spot –

no, we relied on our encyclopedia.


Text wasn’t something you did,

it was a book you learned from in school.

And “cut and paste” meant it was time for fun,

so we’d get out of scissors and glue.


No, our world didn’t revolve ‘round

the click on a screen, big or small.

It was still there when the power went off –

in fact, those were the best times of all!

Corner grocer

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

When I was growing up on Syracuse’s south side, there were two grocery stores within walking distance of our home. Steve Gilbert’s store was at the end of our block, and one corner away there was a smaller grocery – Mather’s.

The close location to each other of the two stores wasn’t unusual back then. Thinking back, I can count at least five corner groceries between our house and McKinley Elementary School and that didn’t include Mather’s Store which was in the other direction.

Steve’s was the destination whenever we were sent to the store by my mother, and also any time we craved a soda or some ice cream. But there were many times when our appetites were moving us towards what quickly was becoming an oddity of the moment – “penny candy.”

It was a heavily polished glass paneled cabinet which attracted us to Mr. Mather’s little store, and it wasn’t by happenstance that we would be found staring into that cabinet at what seemed to be hundreds of boxes full of “penny candy.”

As we entered his store, Mr. Mather would grab one of the little brown paper bags that he had on his side of the candy counter, just right for our daily candy purchase. Some of the many choices were one penny each while others were “two for a penny.”

The selection process wasn’t an easy one and it usually took several minutes to trade our nickel or dime for the little bag of candy. There might not have actually been a hundred choices in that cabinet, but picking out the best and tastiest ones was nonetheless an important job, and took a lot of serious thinking.

There were “Mary Janes” and “Bit O’ Honey,” chewy goodies wrapped in colorful waxed paper that wasn’t easy to remove from the sticky candy.

There were “jawbreakers,” which we thought could easily live up to their name as we put our hearts and souls, and teeth and – yes, even our jaws – into biting, chewing and crushing that little round ball of candy into bits, pieces and “smithereens.”

There were many different varieties of licorice candies – little twisted ropes, licorice in many different shapes including pipes, cars and animals, and candy-coated licorice squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. There were little wax bottles filled with a sweet, syrupy liquid.

There were little colorful candy buttons attached to paper strips, chocolate nonpareils, ribbon candy, tootsie rolls and Necco wafers packaged in smaller than usual rolls so they could fit in with the other penny candies.

There were also candy necklaces, bubble gum with cartoons printed on the wrappers, cellophane wrapped caramels and root beer barrels.

While writing this I thought of another whole source of childhood candy: the movies. As I remember, along with a box of buttered popcorn, a Saturday afternoon treat at the movie matinee at one of our neighborhood theaters inevitably included a little box full of – Good and Plenty, Hot Tamales, Juju Fruits, Boston Baked Beans, Dots, Red Hots or Mike and Ike.

All that candy – no wonder we were good friends with the family dentist.

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