Category Archives: Columnists

Light In The Darkness: July 5, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm! God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne.” — Psalm 47:6-8

In anticipation of our Independence Day celebration in 2012, I found myself wondering what hymns and songs were popular or at least in their infancy in 1776.

What did our Christian forefathers who forged ‘one nation under God’ sing in church? We know that many were believers and that their faith in the God of Scriptures greatly influenced their thoughts and decisions as well as the laws they passed which closely follow the precepts of scripture. They attended church and not a few were pastors. Here is what I found.

One of the popular hymns of the day in the American colonies (especially within the Methodist movement) was Charles Wesley’s hymn, “And Can it Be.”

Mr. Wesley wrote the words to this powerful hymn in 1738. He sang it with his brother John  shortly after John’s “Aldersgate experience.” It was first published in 1738 subtitled,  “Free Grace.”

It was widely sung in churches at the time of the Revolution as it still is today. Each line expresses the awe the believer feels at the realization that God would choose to love us. “Died He for me? Who caused His pain. For me? Who Him to death pursued?”  How can it be?

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Hodgepodge: June 30, 2012

by Roy Hodge

Last week, before we were scheduled to visit grandson Marcus on the occasion of his second birthday, I brushed up on what to expect from two-year-olds.

I remembered that two-year-olds like to move quickly from one activity to another and then come back to the beginning.

They will play with a toy for a few minutes and then move on to another one.  When you are two, ripping wrapping paper from a present and the box the toy was packaged in might be more appealing than the gift itself. The ribbons are a lot of fun, too, and they taste good.

Two-year-olds walk, jump, run and climb. A great deal of time is spent exploring, pushing, pulling, filling and dumping.  They cry, and then very quickly they are laughing and giggling.

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Poetry Corner: A River Runs Through Us

by Jim Farfaglia

Most days we don’t give it a thought,

our cars traveling over it so swiftly.

But if you ever get the chance to walk across

– either bridge will do –

you can almost hear its history

flowing beneath you:


The Iroquois, enchanted by its waters,

listening to its message

and living by it, peacefully.


The European explorers, passing through,

finding its churning life-force

and finding good reason to stay.


The mills – flour, paper and woolen –

its industrious waters turning wheels,

turning this settlement into a city.


The locks, bringing in the big boats,

bringing young and old to its banks,

where they watched in wonder.


The parks, havens beside its waters,

fishing in summer, skating in winter;

a pause in life’s busyness.


This mighty river,

how it moves us through time.

How it reflects our lives.

How it stirs our spirits!

Karen Abbott

At The Fencepost: June 27, 2012

Karen Abbott

by Karen Abbott

I’ve been doing a lot of quilting lately and it feels great. I put it off, sometimes, even though I know I enjoy it once I get started.

I think it’s going to be tiring or hot or take energy I don’t have. It gives back, though, like all good hobbies do.

I just finished up a quilt for my older daughter’s graduation. I had made one for her sister, so it’s a bit of a tradition now.  With my second child leaving the nest, though, it feels a more bittersweet.

I now know what it feels like to hear about milestones many weeks after they occur. Stories about the new boyfriend, the big cantata, and the road trip with best friends sound different, like trying to hear the nuances of a loved one’s voice on speaker phone from the next room. You recognize the voice, but syllables are dropped here and there.

You’re not sure if you’re saying “Oh, that’s wonderful!” at the right time. The immediacy that gave living under the same roof all its drama also gave it charm and solidarity. We were family.

When I went to college, I moved in with my aunt and grandmother.  So it wasn’t such a distinct rite of passage for me. We lived just up the hill from where I’d visited my great-grandmother in my youth.

I find myself thinking about her a lot as I quilt. She was a quilter, though I didn’t know it until college. My aunt showed me a trunk that had some of her quilts in it, just like something from Little House on the Prairie.

I wasn’t a quilter at the time so the value and skill of her work was lost on me.

In those college years, my aunt and my grandmother and I would sit around the radio Sunday evenings, listening to Paul Harvey and eating popcorn and homemade fudge. Though great-grandma had died when I was in seventh grade, the folks were just getting comfortable talking about her.

Once I asked my aunt to tell me as much family history as she could remember. She scoffed.  “What’d you want to know that for?” Well, why wouldn’t I want to know? I was the daughter of a history teacher who taught me more about New York State than anyone I ever met. I was taking history classes in college — Russian history, Colonial history, European, history of the Reformation — I couldn’t get enough. Walking past Great-Grandma’s house on my way to classes, I was curious.  I wanted to know more.

 To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Light In The Darkness: June 27, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” — Jude 1-2

Jude’s letter was written not to a particular church or group but to all believers everywhere. It was written to everyone who is in Christ today.

If you know that you are in Christ and He is in you, then this letter is written to you and Jude’s salutation ought to lift your spirits and cause you to rejoice.

Just think what it means to be loved by God the Father! Can the love of any other even begin to compare to being loved by the one who is perfect love?

To be loved by the one who had every legitimate and holy reason to turn His back upon us and leave us to the eternal consequences of our fallen natures.

It is one thing for us to say that we love God. Surely that is a proper response to all He has made possible for us in Christ, but to realize that we love Him because He first loved us is to acknowledge a truth that is nearly beyond comprehension.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397


Laughing Through Life: June 27, 2012

Andrew Henderson

Holy cow, Phil Rizzuto! I have time to write a column!

How ‘bout that, Mel Allen?

This week we are going to continue to look at my all-time-weird-cool-funny-and-any-other-adjective-you-can-think-of baseball team.

Sadly, the last time I wrote about the infielders on my all-adjective team, the Cardinals were in first place. Now, they are in third place.

Here’s hoping that when this hits the streets Wednesday that the Redbirds are back where they belong!

This week, we’re going to take a look at the outfielders on the list.

After much contemplation, I decided to select three outfielders…since three outfielders play in the game. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

My first selection is Kevin Rhomberg, a Cleveland Indian who played just 41 games in parts of three seasons from 1982 to 1984.

Rhomberg was perhaps the most superstitious baseball player in a sport that is known for its chicken-eating, black licorice chewing routines and rituals.

And with Rhomberg, it’s hard to limit it to just one superstition.

Perhaps his most peculiar and brilliant superstition was that if someone touched him, he had to touch that person back, which, as you can imagine, could lead to some odd situations.

If he were tagged out while running the bases, Rhomberg would be compelled to touch the opposing player back. He would wait, however, until the defense was clearing the field at inning’s end. At that point, he would chase down the player who touched him. He did so while grinning and giggling. Okay, that last part is not true, but it would be funny — and scary — if it was true.

There is no historical basis for this, but I got to believe he was the least touched person in all of baseball.

And he probably never experienced the weird and awkward sports-related tradition of having a teammate slap him on his behind!

In addition to the touching thing, Rhomberg refused to make right turns while on the field. The reasoning? Because baserunners are always turning left.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Roy Hodge

Hodgepodge: June 23, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

I made a harsh discovery sometime during the first day of my retirement two years ago. I might be considered to be retired from my job at The Fulton Patriot which I held for over 50 years, but I found out on that first day that I wasn’t going to be fully retired. And, furthermore, I was going to have a boss.

At the same time I was considering that fact, my new boss was greeting me at the breakfast table and politely outlining a few things that I might want to do that day.

One of the rooms could use re-painting. There were a few things around the house, inside and outside, that could use some fixing up. Would you mind taking something to the Post Office for me? And so it went. At least I didn’t have to drive to Fulton.

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Jerry’s Journal: June 23, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Sorrow came in bunches and spread across our community the last couple of weeks with the passing of Ioan (pronounced Yo-an) “Jonesy” Jones, Harvey “Jay” Seymour Jr., Loretta “Laurie” Munger, John “Jack” Walsh and Maureen “Mo” Caprin.

I knew Maureen Caprin because of her long-time friendship with my sister, Denise Roth. Even in later years, the two of them together were like delightful children, texting one another any time of the day or night just to produce a laugh.

Heartbreakingly, it was only 18 months ago that Denise wrote a eulogy for Maureen’s mother and now she has the same sad task for her dearest friend.

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