Category Archives: Columnists

Poetry Corner: Garden Report

by Jim Farfaglia


No sign yet.


Just the mound of dirt I dug up,

slipped you into,

sprinkled with rain water

and proclaimed your home.


I stop by every day,

say my version of a prayer

and pull a few jealous weeds

snaking toward you.


You are nothing yet but my hope –

which means you are everything.

I gladly dream of the day

I will stop by and see


your first tiny hand

waving hello,

your green

all the riches I need.

Roy Hodge

Hodgepodge: June 16, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

I never reminisce about my earlier days at The Fulton Patriot without thinking about my good friend, Eleanor LaPointe.  Eleanor came to work at The Patriot sometime in the 70s and from her first day forward I would venture to say that there was never a dull moment.

I was thinking about Eleanor when I wrote the following column Feb. 1, 1994:

“Eleanor LaPointe warmed the seat next to mine in The Patriot’s production department for many years. I spent many hours immersed in Eleanor’s good humor, trading barbs, sharing stories, and once in a while getting a little work done. Aside from working together for almost two decades, we became close friends, also sharing a devotion for Dixieland jazz and good times wherever they might happen.”

I continued by re-printing a column I wrote in 1979:

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

“Those words of wisdom are printed on a sign prominently displayed over Eleanor LaPointe’s work space at The Fulton Patriot. Eleanor saves herself a lot of time by pointing to that phrase frequently during the week.”

I could have easily added this to Eleanor’s sign:

“I know you think I know what you’re talking about, but I think you’re saying and I’m hearing two different things.”

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Paul McKinney

A Little Of This And A Little Of That: June 16, 2012

Paul McKinney

by Paul McKinney

Let’s see, where did I leave off? Oh, right! It’s now the end of September and I picked my still damaged car up to start my 1,400-mile trip to Florida.

Twelve weeks ago I was in that nasty fender bender and I have been driving a rental car ever since then.

The trip south went without a hitch as long as you don’t count the anxiety level of wondering if the rear end might fall off at 70 mph.

The day after returning safely, I called my insurance agent to find out who he would recommend to have the audio system repaired.

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Light In The Darkness: June 13, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel  without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” — Philippians 1:27-28a

The admonition to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ is always timely for followers of Jesus.

Adam Clarke, a British Methodist pastor and scholar who lived from 1762–1832, wrote a Bible commentary that has served the church well for nearly two centuries. He understood  nuance and the cultural meaning of phrases used by the New Testament writers. He knew how the original readers understood certain words and phrases which we do not. He brings out a meaning in this passage that should lift our spirits on wings of joy. It also serves as an important reminder as we struggle to understand our dual citizenship as Americans and as Citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Pastor Clarke writes, “The apostle considers the Church at Philippi as a free or imperial city, possessing great honors, dignities, and privileges in the Kingdom of Heaven and he exhorts the believers there to act, worthy of those honors and privileges they possess as free inhabitants of Christ’s imperial city, the Church.”

Thus, a lifestyle worthy of the gospel of Christ is one worthy of a child of the King.

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

Karen Abbott

At The Fencepost: June 13, 2012

Karen Abbott

by Karen Abbott

My daughter and I finally got down to the river about a week ago. We got our fishing poles, gathered our gear in a backpack, and walked on down.

The sounds of the early evening welcomed us: lawn mowers buzzed, radio tunes wafted up from the boats tied along the canal, sirens rang and dogs barked. The village was astir.

We felt free and adventuresome, like little kids allowed to stay up past their bedtime. She laid out for me what she was expecting.

“Now you’re doing the worms, right?”

I pretended to play dumb.

“I brought the worms. Did you want to put your own on the hook?”

“No, you put them on for me,” she replied shyly. “I don’t want to see the…you know…“

“Guts?” I offered. She nodded.

“And I don’t want you to kill any fishies. I want them to go free back into the water.”

“Yes, well, that’s the plan. But you know, sometimes things go wrong and one of them doesn’t make it.”

“I know,” she sighed. Silence.

I chuckled. My earth-lover has such a big heart.

“Well, if you don’t want to hurt worms or fish, that pretty much rules out fishing, doesn’t it?”  I kidded with her.

“Mommy…” she scolded.

It wasn’t long before she had a small school of bluegills tapping on her halfsie. She pulled up one after another, swinging them over my way to “Hurry and unhook him, Mommy!”

I’d wipe my hands on my pants and pick up my pole again, only to have her squeal and whirl another in my general direction. I resigned myself to unhooking and baiting, and savoring an evening with my daughter.

I’m sure that’s what my dad went through for us kids, growing up on the river in Fulton. We spent many an afternoon walking out along the concrete retainer to the end, where the churning water lured larger fish.

I think I knew, after awhile, that I could very well bait my own hook. But I still liked to have him do it for me. Maybe it’s the outdoorsman’s version of opening a door for a lady.

One day, I hooked up with a fish that had some serious pull-power.

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

Roy Hodge

Hodgepodge: June 9, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

In the 50s, our version of  “fast” food came not from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s or Arby’s, but from Heid’s or Bill’s Inn.

Bill’s Inn was my family’s favorite. My father would go to the little white building in Syracuse’s Southside/Valley section near our home often, bringing home plates full of fish sandwiches or hot dogs, wrapped in white paper. The smell left by the fish sandwiches as they entered the house with my father was welcome, but we didn’t much care for the leftover fish fragrance in the car during any after dinner trips.

Other times the family would drive over to Bill’s. We would sit at the counters in the small restaurant on the round stools with the red seats, or go outside or sit in the car to eat.

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Jerry’s Journal: June 9, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Ten cents for a cup of coffee — that’s highway robbery! — was the response Andy Butler got from his customers at the Green and White Diner when he upped the price of a cup of coffee from a nickel to a dime.

“I thought they’d run me out of town,” he laughed during our phone conversation a couple of weeks ago.

Andy was proprietor and chief cook of that old eatery that once graced South First Street in downtown Fulton. He began leasing it in the early 1950s and was there until the 1970s when urban renewal came to town. I contacted him per a suggestion from his daughter Jody (Rinker) who called me from North Carolina. She had read my column when I first wrote about it. Jody’s phone call was soon followed by an e-mail from Andy’s stepson Ted Romas, who lives in Oregon and who also read that particular column (The Valley News sure gets around!)

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