Category Archives: Columnists

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: September 29, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I sacrificed the early goose season so that Sweet Thing and I could go to Sammamish, Wash. (just a ways east of Seattle) to visit my son, Ben, and our daughter-in-law, Meghan.

We spent a wonderful couple of weeks getting reacquainted with the sights and sounds of Western Washington.

Last Monday, I watched Green Bay play the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t just the final play that was goofed, there were poor calls or no calls all through the game.

That didn’t have much effect on our trip; I just thought I’d mention it since it seems like everyone else in the U.S. has done so, including the president.

This is the dry season in the Northwest – no, it doesn’t always rain in Seattle. We had one day of light drizzle, but for the most part it was sunny or partly overcast.

Washington desperately needs some rain, but the weather patterns don’t look promising. They have some huge forest fires in the Wenachee Mountains that had burned more than 140 square miles the last time I heard, which was about four days ago. They were not overly optimistic about getting them under control right away.

In the meantime, we took advantage of the tourist type weather to visit Pike’s market, where we picked up some smoked salmon and some fruit and vegetables. We bought some of the best peaches and mangos that I have ever tasted. The peaches were from Washington; I think the mangos were from Honduras.

We also visited the precinct office that my son works out of as a Seattle policeman. This is his seventh year on the force, which about makes him a veteran. Seattle has its own problems just like any city, but I feel pretty safe there, especially walking around with a policeman as a guide — off duty and in plain clothes, of course.

Ben’s wife has some relatives who are big time pheasant and duck hunters and I wanted to get to know them. I saw some of their bags from past hunts and they were impressive.

On one hunt, they limited out with just green head mallards. I’ve done that a few times, and they remain very memorable hunts for me. They also get quite a variety of birds at times.

In their pictures, I could easily identify pintails, widgeon, shovelers, ring bills, blue wing teal, cinnamon teal, mallards, and wood ducks. I am hoping I might be able to finagle myself into a hunt or two with those guys.

They hunt pheasants in Eastern Washington, which is a big grain growing section of the state. Mostly the farmers grow wheat, which doesn’t make for really fat birds like corn will produce, but they are good eating all the same.

They had all cock birds in their pictures, but I don’t know if they are the only ones legal or if they just pass up hens.

Of course, when you are near a fish hatchery, you just have to visit it, especially if the fish are running. There is a salmon hatchery in nearby Issaqua and the king salmon had started showing up, so we went to have a look. It isn’t quite the state of the art hatchery like we have in Altmar, but it does raise and release a lot of king and coho salmon.

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


Hodgepodge: September 29, 2012

by Roy Hodge

Following a visit with grandson Marcus a week ago (his mom and dad were there, too) I noticed that I wasn’t too frisky for a few days during the following week.

Marcus likes to run, to chase and be chased. When we are walking, it is great fun for him to get a few steps ahead of me, wait until he hears me catching up to him, then run way in front again, laughing all the way.

Marcus likes anything on wheels, but right now it is trucks that he really likes. He loves trucks of all sizes, including the little ones he pushes around on the floor, and the big construction vehicles that Daddy takes him up the road to see.

Adam said Marcus was especially fascinated recently by a huge Harvester that even a fully grown climber would need two step ladders to get into the cab.

I think Marcus leans towards red as his favorite color, not just for trucks, but for everything – but he pronounces the word purple as well as any of us adults present could have while he was playing with his newest toys.

He kept himself busy for a long time pushing his little trucks back and forth while making some very impressive “brmm-brmm” motor sounds – and for added excitement he happily discovered that his slide made a perfect mountain for his little trucks to maneuver.

We received a picture recently of Marcus proudly helping Daddy show off the large bass that he had caught.

Being two is sure exciting.

*  *  *  *  *

Over the weekend I picked up the little book of some of Muriel Allerton’s writings put together in the 90s by her son, Paul.

There is humor, of course:

“I don’t know about others of my gender, but I must have at least 20 pocketbooks ranging in age from one to at least 33 years.  They are stowed in a big box in my closet, and occasionally nostalgia will move me to explore their contents and use them again.

“All of the scraps of life – chewing gum, Tums wrappers, notes on the back of supermarket receipts, plus passages from books that I wanted to remember, were still in many of them.

“There was the scribbled joke about the man who was sick of life and went into a monastery where he took vows of poverty and silence. His assignment was to work in the fields without a word for a year after which he was told that he was entitled to two words. His first year’s utterance was ‘Food bad.’ At the end of the second year he said, ‘Bed bad.’  The following year, after his stint in the fields, he said, ‘I quit.’  The priest in charge then replied, ‘Good. All you’ve done is complain since you got here.’”

There’s information:

“October reminds us that it is time to hunker down. According to a wonderful book, ‘All About Months,’ by Mamie R. Krythe that I picked up at a garage sale years ago, October means ‘eighth’ in Latin, but then the Romans changed their calendar to make it the tenth month. The Romans liked it and refused to change it to conform to accuracy, no matter what.

“In northern European countries, October was known as wine month because that is when the grapes were harvested and the liquid confection made. There were rains and some snow in early New England Octobers called ‘squaw winter’ followed by ‘Indian summer.’ It was then that the natives could hunt and lay in more food for the winter.”

 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: September 29, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remember these guys? Their football lineup appeared in “The Fultonian” — Good Old Fulton High School’s yearbook — the 1950 edition. Wow, that was 62 years ago!

Actually, it was 1947 when I was a freshman that I went to my first football game and I went all by myself. I’m not sure why; I guess I was just curious to see how the game was played. I loved basketball so I though football might be fun to watch, too.

Our footfall field at Recreation Park was about where the Pop Warner kids plays these days. Who remembers those old wooden bleachers there; “the grandstand” as they were called which, for many years stood tall and was a visible landmark from West Broadway.

I thought I might sit in the stands that day. But when I got there, a lot of my fellow students were lined up by a fence. So I stood, too, and depended on the “experts” around me to tell me how the game was going – because, except for touchdowns, I didn’t know a darn thing about football and didn’t want anyone to think I was “dumb.”

So I listened and learned and clapped and yelled when my friends did and cheered with the cheerleaders and booed with the crowd and got disgusted like they did when a flag was thrown and a bad call was made.

How ignorant was I of such things? Well, when someone said our team made “first down,” I thought they meant a touchdown. But when I heard something about a “second down,” I realized there was more to a touchdown than meets the eye.

I soon got the hang of it, though, at least the bare-bones of it. I found out that a team has to go ten yards to get a first down, that there were 11 players on the field for each team, that the guy handling the ball is the quarterback, and that there were four quarters and two halves in a game and at halftime the opposing bands took to the field and marched. (The following year I played clarinet in the high school band and was myself on the field at halftime!)

You can see that my football education came long before TVs Friday Night Lights were on the eleven o’clock news and I have among my possessions yearbooks from 1946 to 1951.

So, let’s go back to the 1947 and see what that Fultonian has to say about that football season: “The crowd is tense! Line up! Signal! Shift! Hike! The ball was snapped back to the carrier and the football season was underway.”

It goes on to say that “Later in the season Fulton High’s eleven romped over Oswego in the big game. The grandstand went wild.”  (After reading it, I decided the long ago author really didn’t know much more about football than I did!)

The 1946 yearbook also reported our football team soundly trounced Oswego. “The Red and Green banners were waving high and triumphantly after the final whistle was blown…The team played one of its best games of the season to defeat Oswego, 18-6.

 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: Nearly

by Jim Farfaglia



Just shy of full

you turn your face from me

to the deeper darkness.


Some nights the whole of life

is just too much

for even you to illuminate.


A mourning dove calls out,

coming to your defense.

Its well-rounded wisdom travels to you


then back to me:

We try so hard to be all.

Every now and then, let yourself be less.

Light In The Darkness: September 26, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah” — Psalm 46:1-3

I understand that Psalm 46 was a favorite of Martin Luther, inspiring him to write that wonderful hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  Indeed, God is a stronghold and a tower. In Luther’s words, He is, “a bulwark never failing!”

Trouble comes in varying degrees to all of us. Some seem to have relatively little while a few seem to have more trouble than a human ought to be called upon to bear. Some have troubles they have brought upon themselves; they experience difficulties because they violated the principles and teachings of God’s Word and now suffer the consequences

I am not talking primarily about that kind of trouble, but rather about the kind of trouble that comes to us through no fault of our own or because we have obeyed God’s Word and someone out there doesn’t like it.

One thing is certain in this life and that is that trouble is part of it! Job said that, “man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7)

 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

Laughing Through Life: September 26, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

I am not big into the going-to-the-movies scene.

Let me see…the last movie I saw in the theaters was the second “Sherlock Holmes” flick, which came out almost two years ago.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I plopped down 40 bucks for tickets, popcorn, and soda — and that is a good thing, I guess, as far as my wallet goes.

But that might change very soon.

I just watched the trailer to “42,” a new movie about the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in the show.

Okay, I acknowledge that I’m a sucker for baseball movies — even the crappy ones like “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Stretch,” “The Sandlot 2,” and “The Sandlot 3.”

“42” looks like an awesome flick. How could it not? Harrison Ford is playing the brilliant Branch Rickey!

Yep, as I said, I can’t wait for this one to come out. I might have to ask for movie gift cards for Christmas!

Anyway, the “42” trailer — as well as the “Trouble With a Curve” movie now playing in theaters — ignited a spark in my brain. I started thinking about baseball movies and their impact on society.

In my humble opinion, a couple of baseball movies transcend the sport. Everyone loves “The Sandlot.” If you don’t like “The Sandlot” then you might want to move to Canada.

“The Sandlot” is probably the most quoted baseball movie. For example, both baseball fans and non-baseball fans probably know this exchange from the movie:

Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?

Smalls: Some more of what?

Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s’more?

Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?

Ham Porter: You’re killing me Smalls!

I have created a list, in no particular order, of my top favorite baseball movies of all time. For the first time in time and space, I will present them here with a bit of commentary on each of them. Here we go…

• “The Bad News Bears” — I am referring to the original one here, not the most recent one with Billie Bob Thornton. The original was made in 1976, the year that I was born. That makes it a great movie in itself.

“The Bad News Bears” is about a team of Little League misfits coached by the aging Morris Buttermaker, an ex-minor league player. The reason why this movie rocks? Ogilvie, Tanner, and Engelberg. There are three of the greatest characters ever in the a baseball movie. Ever.

• “The Sandlot” — I’ve already noted how this movie transcends the sport. See four paragraphs up. Everyone, both old and young, man and female, has probably watched this flick, which came out in 1993.

This is a movie based on Scotty Smalls and his invitation to play on the local sandlot team with Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter, Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous, Alan ‘Yeah-Yeah’ McClennan, and the others.  Oh, yeah, don’t forget “The Beast.”

This movie might forever be the top three of all-time. For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver!

• “The Pride of the Yankees” — This movie is about the life of Lou Gehrig, one of the greatest New York Yankees ever. Gary Cooper plays Gehrig, also known as “Twinkle Toes.”

One of the most touching moments of the movie is when the doctor informs Gehrig that he has to quit baseball and might not live that long because of ALS, a nerve disease that now bears his name.

Gehrig then informs his doctor not to tell his wife. His wife eventually finds out through a friend/newspaper man. I cry like a baby every time I watch this scene. Pass the tissues, please!

 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