Category Archives: Columnists

Roy Hodge

Hodgepodge: June 2, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

After I read Andy’s column last week, I wanted to find out more about Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s famous routine, “Who’s on First?” So I Googled and discovered that by the early 1930s a “Baseball Routine” had become a classic burlesque bit, and that Abbott performed it with another actor before he did it a million times with Costello.

Abbott and Costello never claimed to have invented the routine, but they certainly made it very famous.

After Abbott and Costello teamed up, they performed the sketch regularly; in 1937 as part of a vaudeville routine called “Hollywood Bandwagon”; in 1938 for the first time on national radio on the “Kate Smith Hour” program, at least two times in the movies, many times on television, as well as radio, and several times for President Franklin Roosevelt.

A golden record of the skit is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where a video of it is played continuously. In 1944, Abbott and Costello had the routine copyrighted.

There’s a “Who’s on First” board game and “Time” magazine named it the “Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th Century.”

The names given in the sketch for each position’s players: Who is on first base, of course. What is on second, I Don’t Know on third, Why is the left fielder.  Tomorrow is the pitcher, the catcher is Today. The shortstop, I Don’t Care or I Don’t Give a Darn, is not identified until the end of the routine, and the right fielder is never identified. In order to make the board game work the right fielder is given a name, Nobody.

I read all the way to the end of the Google article and found this: “During the 2007 season the Los Angeles Dodgers added an infielder named Chin Lung Hu.  After Hu singled in his third at bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sept. 23, Dodgers announcer Vince Scully said, “Okay, everybody all together…Hu’s on first.”

*  *  *  *  *

I enjoy this time of year – being able to get out in the yard and getting a good look at what’s growing.

Like everything else, a visit to the garden uncovers good and not so good things. There are plants which seemed to be flourishing after the lighter than usual winter and others which missed the heavy snow cover.

The many squirrels which travel in and out of our yard throughout the year were busier than usual over the winter this year. There are many “mystery” plants that were moved to different places, and there may be others which we “borrowed” from neighbors’ yards courtesy of the squirrels.  There will undoubtedly be the usual “nut trees,” the result of the many acorns the squirrels have buried in the yard.Those busy squirrels don’t spend all their time busy at work in our garden. There is plenty of leisure time, too. They obviously have a busy recreational schedule and do a lot of visiting throughout our neighborhood.

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

Light In The Darkness: May 31, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” — Galatians 5:25

John Piper said, “The great problem in contemporary Christian living is not learning the right things to do but how to do the right things.  The problem is not to discover what love looks like but how to love by the Spirit.”   In other words, we need to learn to walk in the Spirit. This is not something we can do in our own strength.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to do so, and He is absolutely indispensible in our walk. Just as a toddler needs to learn to walk on legs he has but has not yet learned to use…so we too, when we come to Christ, must learn how to walk in the Spirit…for the Christian life is nothing less than that.

When we walk in the Spirit we are actually fulfilling the prophecy made in Ezekiel 36:26-27 where God said, “A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you…I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes.”

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

Poetry Corner: 33 1/3

by Jim Farfaglia

33 1/3

Today’s digital music holds nothing

compared to how I once held

those timeless vinyl discs,

each with a tiny hole that fit them

so neatly atop my turntable


where they slowly ran in circles

and where I gently set upon them

a diamond needle

and listened


as my favorite tunes

rose from those grooves,

each song just about three minutes long –

long enough to learn about life

or hell raisin’

or how to mend a broken heart.


And the records I loved over and over?

They wound up with crackles and skips

that became a part of those songs,

flaws weaving into each story

like my mishaps wove into mine.


And whenever life got boring

I could flip them upside down

and try out side B,

inviting those songs into the circle of my life,

letting them revolve around my world

thirty three and a third times

per minute.

Roy Hodge
Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

After living in Fulton for more than 32 years, I now live back in Syracuse not far from the street where I grew up. It’s close enough that I drive past my old street many times a year. And that’s what I do — drive by.

The last time I went that way I decided to take a short detour and drive down Wiman Ave. As I approached my old street I thought of the words of a song: “Who says you can’t go home?” it starts, and continues by saying, “There’s only one place they call you one of their own.”

That last statement may have been true, but only for a few years. There were no familiar faces as I turned the corner and drove down the street. Visiting the neighborhood I grew up and stayed familiar with for another 30 years was a strange thing.

I drove down Wiman Ave., which I had done hundreds of times over the years, and something in me expected to see the same people, doing the same things, the same kids playing in the street, even the same flowers in the same yards.

We who lived on Wiman Ave. always say Ave., not Avenue, (or just plain Wiman) when we call the street by name. I don’t know why — that’s just the way it is.  Maybe it’s because it’s easy to pronounce Ave. If you try to pronounce St., the abbreviation for street, it comes out Saint.

Wiman Ave. is a one-block street between two other streets, which start one block from what is now Route 81 and work their way west. When I was young it was always a pleasant tree-lined street. It was far enough from the closest streets that had buses and headed towards downtown that it was a nice quiet place to live.

During my recent visit to Wiman Ave., there were school buses on the street. We never saw school buses on the street when we lived there. When I was in elementary school I walked back and forth twice a day to McKinley School, which was a mile or so away.

Later I walked to Roosevelt Junior High, which was closer, and after that to Valley High School, which was further.

There have been a few changes on Wiman Ave. The most obvious and the one you notice first as you turn on to the street from Newell St. is that Steve Gilbert’s grocery store is gone — not just closed but gone. There is a nice patch of green grass in its place.

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

Jerry’s Journal: May 26, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

The Green and White Diner was a familiar landmark in old downtown Fulton. It had a prime location on South First Street. It sat just off Oneida Street near the foot of the Lower Bridge.

Stories about its origin and early life abound. One accounting says it came on wheels, which couldn’t be removed, and were cemented right into its foundation.

It was a conventional kind of diner with a long countertop and stools where customers sat to eat. A prominent local business man, Dick Baker, was its owner.

It was called “Augie’s” after Augie Graziano who ran it.

Thus it was so for many years until the post World War II era when it was closed. Then, with the dawning of the 1950s, the diner was refurbished, a dinning room was added and it was up for grabs to lease. Enter Andy Butler.

Andy was a young man working at the Volney Paper Mill. The Volney was on the opposite side of Oneida Street. Andy’s hours were long and the money wasn’t that good so he began looking for something else to do to earn a living.

Why not try the restaurant business, his friends urged. After all, he had experience dating back to when he was 16 and worked for the Ma Tuttle Pie Company in Syracuse. Ma Tuttle sold and delivered pies to many of the area’s restaurants. “They tasted just like homemade,” Andy will tell you.

So Andy took the plunge and leased the diner and named it the Green and White because of its fresh, new coat of green and white paint. He then became its proprietor and chief chef until the early 1970s when urban renewal came to town and the old dinning car diner was torn down.

I had a very enjoyable phone conversation with Andy Butler just recently. But I will set  it aside for now and set the scene for my next column about Andy, his wife Gladys and their seven children, with excerpts from a letter written by Joanne Vant Fadden Horrell.

She is a member of the Vant family out Volney way and a retired school teacher who now resides in Hannibal.

Joanne worked for Andy Butler summers and holidays from 1964 to 1968 and the spring of 1971. Her sister, Bernice, also worked there in 1966. Joanne said she always joked that working in the diner was the best psychology course she ever took!

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

Light In The Darkness: May 23, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” – Romans 13:1

This verse is usually called upon to remind us to be submissive to authority. It is a reminder we need for it is easy to adopt a wrong attitude when we see men and women in authority having little or no fear of God. It is good to be reminded that God tells us those in authority hold their respective positions because He, Himself placed them there. In Daniel 2 we read, “He removes kings and sets up other kings.”  Thus, to be in submission to those over us is to be in submission to God. There are time, of course, when we are not to submit (Acts 4:19) but all this is for another time.

Today I want to address how these passages also speak to those who are in positions of authority.  You hold a position that was established by none other than God and He says that He has specifically appointed you to serve there. Thus, you do not simply hold a position of power and authority, but you have responsibility to God.

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