Category Archives: Columnists


Hodgepodge: November 12, 2012

by Roy Hodge

A few days ago I thought I had finally answered a question that I had asked much of my life. When I was very young and it was raining outside, my young inquisitive mind asked, “When it is raining, where does it stop?”

Everyone I asked looked down at me with a bewildered gaze, but no one had an answer. As I remember, some of them asked, “Why in the world would you ask that?”

A few days ago I was upstairs in my house when it was raining outside. Looking out the window that faces south it seemed to be raining hard and a lot of rain drops had accumulated on the outside of the window.

The scene was much the same looking towards the street outside the front window, which faces west.

Trying my best to be an impartial observer I hurried to the room with a north facing window. The road below was wet and I knew it had been raining, but from the window, with the trees blocking much of the view, I couldn’t tell how hard it was raining at that point of time.

Curious, I hurried downstairs, put on my hat and coat and headed outside.  Sure enough, outside the door on the south side of the house, it was raining, not too hard but steadily. The rain continued as I walked up the driveway and around the front of the house.

As I walked toward the corner and turned, the rain seemed to have stopped. As I walked further, there was rain dripping from the trees, but away from the trees there was only a slight misty rain.

I continued walking to the back of the house, back to the driveway and the door where I had come out of the house a minute ago. It was still raining steadily on that side of the house.

After all these years I had the answer to my question: When it is raining it stops when you turn the corner in front of your house. Why did it take me so long to figure that out?

Now I can work on a different problem. Where are all those missing socks, and why is it that I never lose the ones with holes in them?

*  *  *  *  *

I received a note this week from Patrick LeClair of Somers, N.Y.  He noted that this month will mark the third anniversary of the passing of his father, Alton “Al” LeClair.

From Patrick’s note: “You may find it of interest that my father never finished high school, however he had one of the best mechanical minds I’ve ever encountered. My Dad took a back seat to no one. With the exception of some brief coaching in his late 20’s, early 30’s by a local expert, my Dad was self-taught.”

In this column the week Al died, I wrote: “Al was my friend, and in recent years, the caretaker of my collection of antique clocks. Al was a skilled clock repairman and always seemed to know what to do when one of my clocks stopped ticking, tocking or chiming as expected.

“A trip to Al’s shop for one of my brood was not unlike a trip to the hospital. Many times after a quick look at the clock, Al knew exactly what the problem was and could fix it immediately, but suggested that I leave the patient with him for a couple of days so he could check it more thoroughly and make sure it was running properly.

“When I went back to Al’s shop to pick up the repaired clock it was no quick exchange. Sometimes Al would wrap the clock securely and place it carefully in a cardboard carton for the trip home.  Other times the process seemed more like picking your child up from the day care center. Al would bring the clock carefully out to the car and place it on the seat.  Then he would wrap a towel around it and fasten it with the seat belt.  And there I was, ready for the trip home – in the driver’s seat with my seat-belted passenger behind me in the back seat.

“My clocks and I had a friend in Al LeClair. He will be missed.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Jerry’s Journal: November 10, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Veterans Day is upon us, which prompts me to tell you about a decorated World War II veteran by the name of Alfred “Al” Myhill, who has been designated Fulton’s Veteran of the Year

Al shared with me last summer his large collection of memorabilia from his wartime experience with the 2nd Hospitalization Unit, 53rd Field Hospital. I had put it aside, however, to write about it at this particular time.

Thus, I was pleased to learn that the local Veteran’s of Foreign War, the American Legion and the Veteran’s Agency will bestow on him this well-deserved honor at a ceremony on Veterans Day — tomorrow, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at city hall.

It was a young Mr. Myhill who went off to war back in the day when I was just a little girl watching the newsreels at the State Theater with my parents and listening with them and my grandparents around the radio in their living room.

Al was only 17 when he enlisted in the Army in February of 1943 and had to wait until his 18th birthday in April to begin serving. He was then “picked” to attend specialized training to become a nurse – “the same thing as a nurse,” he said during a recent phone interview. “The training was for five or six months.”

He eventually shipped over to England, where his platoon “bivouaced” (set up a camp of tents) until D-Day June 6, 1944 arrived, when Allied troops landed in Normandy, France to fight the Germans. His unit followed to treat casualties. “We set up portable hospitals, he said.

Al was in the Battle of the Bulge as well. He said they were “setting up on a high spot” when they were told to “get the hell out of there!”, as the German’s had broken through the lines. It was the bloodiest combat of the war.

Following that horrific battle with casualties in the eighty thousands, and as the Allies slowly inched their way across Europe in victory after victory, his unit was sent to Holland, then Belgium, and onward, right into Germany. His outfit was but 20 miles out of Berlin, he said.

When the war was finally over, Al returned to his hometown of Fulton, married his long-time sweetheart Marion — whose picture he had carried with him all across the battle zones — and settled down to a new era in the US that offered help and funds (the GI Bill) to buy homes or go for higher education — opportunities never before seen in American history. (I think that’s when the “middle-class” was born, and raised high hopes that each new generation would have a better life than the one before.)

Indeed, Al and his wife, along with their daughter Joanne (Hicks), and sons Terry and Paul, were able to partake in “The American Dream.” Al received apprentice training to become a machinist and a good paying job at Dilts and stayed there for 46 years, and he and his wife were able to buy a nice home on Utica Street and enjoyed family life until she passed away a couple of years ago. Today, Al lives part time at home and part time with his daughter in Waterloo.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Poetry Corner: November Time

by Jim Farfaglia

November Time


The days arrive later,

the sun breaking through the long night

to shine on frosted backyards.


From his highest perch

a songbird waits for daybreak.

Deep into the morning, he finally sings.


Leaves count down the days,

falling toward winter. They pile up,

the world a giant hourglass.


The clocks have been turned back

and we inch forward,

to a quieter time, a resting time.


Bodley Bulletins: November 7, 2012

by Kate Rothrock

Seniors, can you believe it is that time of year? Approaching faster than you think is the deadline for college applications.

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to be thinking hard about college and starting the common application and essay.

Don’t forget to get your teacher recommendations and pick up scholarships in the guidance office! Don’t forget to buy a yearbook! After Christmas, the cost increases from $50 to $60.

Want something great to put on your college application? Model UN is for any student interested in learning more about world affairs and having a voice in the world theatre. If you are interested, see Mrs. Hallatt in room 117.

If you are hungry at the end of the day, stop by the Raider Den! It is open for anyone with a free bell eighth and ninth. There is a lot to offer such as candy, cookies, Gatorade, Pop-Tarts, water and more!

So come grab a snack or drink for the end of the day or before a sports practice or game.

There is also school apparel for sale along with lanyards and water bottles.

The blood drive was a success. Students gave 73 units of usable blood and six people gave double red. Thank you to all who took time out of their busy school schedule to help or donate blood. The next blood drive will be held On Thursday, March 28.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397


Hodgepodge: November 3, 2012

by Roy Hodge

If you’re a football fan, you might think the phrase “Who Dat?” originated with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and their chant, “Who Dat?, Who Dat? Who Dat dey say gonna beat dem Saints?”

Those football fans may be partially right. That two-word question probably did originate in New Orleans, not with the Saints but over a century ago, and was popular with minstrel shows, vaudeville acts, jazz and big bands throughout the Big Band era, and U. S. soldiers during   World War II.

A common minstrel show tag line was “Who dat?” answered by “Who dat say who dat?”

The Marx Brothers had a “Who Dat?” routine in their 1930s film, “A Day at the Races,” and in the cartoon musical, “Spring Wedding,” caricatures of Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Ethel Waters and the Mills Brothers portrayed frogs in a swamp performing minstrel show jokes and jazz tunes while repeatedly asking “Who Dat?”

“Who Dat?” lyrics from 1937:

“Who dat up there, who dat down there…Who dat up there sayin’ who dat down there…When I see you up there, well who dat down there…Who dat inside, who dat outside…Who dat inside singin’, who dat outside…Who dat up there, who dat down there…Who dat up there singin’, who dat down there…Who dat?

“Who Dat?” made it to Bourbon Street, but probably not for the first time, after the Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game in the Superdome in 2010. “Who Dat,? Who Dat,? Who Dat in the Super Bowl?” they chanted. The Saints defeated the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 to more “Who Dat?” chanting.

“Who Dat?” became popular as a chant for football fans cheering on their favorite teams. It may have started at Southern University or at high schools in New Orleans or in Patterson, La. In the late 70s, fans at Alcorn State University and Louisiana State University were using the cheer.

In the 1980s, the cheer became so popular among fans that the Saints organization officially adopted it and Saints players recorded a version of “When the Saints Go Marching In” that incorporated the chant, “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”

There have been at least 10 recorded versions of “Who Dat?’ and many hip hop renditions including one in 2012 in which New Orleans’ G. Easy raps “livin’ in New Orleans where dem people holler ‘Who Dat.?’” In recent years the phrase “Who Dat Nation” has become a popular term for the entire community of Saints fans.

Enough of Dat.

*  *  *  *  *

I was told during a phone call by someone who had read about our recent trip to New Orleans, “You ate an awful lot.” My response to that observation is “Yes, we do eat a lot, that’s one of the things we plan to do when we go there.” We think it would be silly not to; there are so many good things to choose from. We also walk a lot.

By the way, I should also add to our food list: several cups of coffee au lait, and another New Orleans special brew, coffee with chicory, which is how coffee comes in New Orleans, and a couple of Abita, locally brewed beers.

(Note: From the dictionary: Chicory is a perennial plant; its root is used roasted and ground as a substitute or additive for coffee.)

Life style is a bit different in New Orleans. One thing you’ll notice if you haven’t already tucked yourself into bed, is that some drinking establishments are open 24 hours a day and drinking (out of plastic cups) is allowed on city streets.

The city of New Orleans is not required to close its bars at any particular time.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: November 3, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

The first time I ever visited Niagara Falls was when Sweet Thing and I went there for our honeymoon way back in 1961. To say I was impressed and enjoyed myself immensely would be a huge understatement and the falls were nice, too, when we spent time enough to look at them.

Sweet Thing will probably whack me up alongside my head when she reads this, but it is true that we were too much in love and too lost in each other to really appreciate the beauty and magnitude of one of New York’s greater natural wonders.

So it was with great pleasure that we visited Niagara Falls again last month from Oct. 18-21 for the Annual New York State Outdoor Writers Association Conference.

Other than the NYSOWA board meeting, awards banquet, and annual membership meeting Sunday that always closes our fall meeting, we were free to enjoy the offerings of our western jewel pretty much at our leisure. Our hotel room was fantastic — a far cry from the dinky room Sweet Thing and I stayed in back in 1961, which was on the third floor above a wax museum in a building I believe has long since disappeared.

This trip we were very comfortably ensconced in the Four Points Niagara Hotel (in New York, not the one by the same name across the river in Ontario, Canada). The accommodations were luxurious, the kind of room where Sweet Thing is so comfortable that she sort of hates to leave it. But leave it we both did each morning, she to explore the sights and boutiques with some of the other spouses of outdoor communicators, and I with those communicators to sample what the area had to offer for sportsmen.

If one was lazy or only had a few minutes to kill, it was possible to step out of the rear of the hotel, out onto the large dock on the Niagara River, and cast for willing bass, but mostly we hearty writers rose early and went in various directions to partake in fishing and hunting adventures.

Other than the fun that comes with each pursuit, we hunt and fish that we might soak in and assimilate the essence of each area we visit, in order to be better able to convey the picture of the outdoor offerings in various sections of our state awaiting our readers.

Some of our members hunted deer with a bow a couple mornings. There are plenty of deer in the farmlands and woods not far from Niagara Falls, and the hunters saw some, but nothing that came by was able to fill the bill for them. I guess they were looking for a great buck, not just venison for the freezer.

Some hunters went to the Feathers and Tails hunting preserve to watch bird dogs work the tall grass and goldenrod as their noses searched the air and ground for the heady odor of pheasant.

Yours truly did that one morning and I shot two beautiful roosters which I enjoyed a second time as they completed their journey on our dinner table.

Feathers and tails is located in Newfane, N.Y., about 40 minutes from Niagara Falls. Because of the quality of the cover and the walking required to find birds in front of the dogs, the experience reminded me of hunting the Three Rivers Area in Baldwinsville. Every hunter from our group who went for pheasants got at least one.

Most of the other writers fished at least one morning for bass or muskies; although, some were happy to drive north the short distance to Lewiston to fish for salmon, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout that were moving into the river from Lake Ontario.

The fishing was a big hit with the writers. Bass and trout were plentiful, but the crowning achievement came on Saturday morning when three writers fished the Upper Niagara and hooked four muskies, three of which they got to the boat for pictures before releasing them to fight another day. The largest fish was about 25 pounds. That’s a great day of fishing in anyone’s book.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397