Category Archives: Columnists

Karen Abbott

At The Fencepost: May 23, 2012

Karen Abbott

by Karen Abbott

Early Monday morning I drove up to the front of a local thrift store, intending to drop off some items I didn’t need in my new apartment.

The whole sidewalk in front of the building was covered with litter: torn black garbage bags, boxes, furniture piled at odd angles. A large truck was backed up to the far right-hand side.

For a moment, I thought it was a garbage truck picking up the trash strewn across the storefront. Then I realized it was a donation truck, there to pick up the larger pieces of furniture for transport to another location.

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Poetry Corner: The Gauchos

by Jim Farfaglia

The Gauchos

Memorial Day Weekend, 1968.

A 9 year old boy leans against his bicycle,

waiting in anticipation,

just across the street

from the Nestles parking lot.


He watches them prepare for the parade:

tuning their horns,

strapping on their drums,

shining their wooden rifles,


then follows them through their whole route:

first to the cemetery,

where their Taps echoes through gravesites,

then to the Sealright Parking lot,

over to City Hall

and on across the Broadway Bridge.


He listens to tune after tune:


Lawrence of Arabia

Oye Como Va

and their crowd pleaser

Blueberry Hill


which brings them to the War Memorial,

where all of them stand tall

in black bell-bottomed pants,

white shirt and gloves, red cummerbund

and atop each head, a sombrero.


And the boy imagines himself

someday wearing that uniform,

of someday belonging to that family:

The Ambassadors For Our City.

The Pride of Fulton, New York.

Andrew Henderson

Laughing Through Life: May 23, 2012

Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

The Major League Baseball season is now in full swing and the St. Louis Cardinals are the defending World Series champions.

Life is good.

As you are probably aware by now, I am a huge baseball fan and I especially enjoy the history of the game.

I enjoy reading how past ballplayers from the lates 1800s to early 1900s jumped trains from one city to the next to play for teams such as the Brooklyn Superbas, Grand Rapids Shamrocks, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and the Jersey City Skeeters.

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Roy Hodge

Hodgepodge: May 19, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

As I often do, I was playing a little mind game with myself recently as I was looking at the list of column ideas I have covered since I started writing for The Patriot in 1979. I decided it might be entertaining (to whom I don’t know) if I chose a topic of an earlier column and without looking at that column I could write a column on the same subject today.

The article I chose was one I wrote for the April 24, 1979 issue of The Patriot.

The topic was “Men’s Fashion.”  Okay, I’m sure that I’m as much an expert on that subject today as I was back in 1979.  That statement, loosely translated and explained, means that I didn’t know a lot then and I don’t know a lot — maybe even less — now.

Here, without first reading the 1979 article, is the column I wrote this week on the subject:

I guess I could be considered as a “conservative dresser.”  Although I do have some colorful, even “splashy” sports shirts, my wardrobe is usually a little laid back. I am retired now so I dress in the casual, maybe even a bit sloppy, fashion most of the time.

Back in 1979, if I was writing about men’s ties, I would probably mention that I wore one several times a week. I would probably say that back then I preferred a modest, not splashy tie, that I liked stripes and subdued not bold colors. I might have mentioned that I was quite casual, especially as the day wore on, loosening and re-loosening my tie.

Now, I would say that my taste in neckwear hasn’t changed much — except I hardly ever have to experience that taste. I still like modest stripes or solid colors. I prefer an in-between tie width, not really narrow and not wide enough to cover my shirt front. My tie-wearing experiences are quite limited these days.

In 1979, at work, I probably wore light colored short-sleeve shirts in warm weather; long-sleeve stripes or solids, often with sweaters over the shirt, in winter.

I have always enjoyed wearing sweaters during three seasons of the year. I used to wear sleeveless sweaters; I don’t wear them now. I have always preferred sports jackets to suits, but 10 or 15 pounds ago I had both.

Now that I don’t work my first choice is almost always a comfortable shirt or sweater, or both, in winter; in summer, a colorful sports shirt for dress-up and a T-shirt around the house and yard.

I often wore neat, gray slacks or clean, not worn or tattered chinos, to work. At home it may have been the more worn and tattered versions.

In 1979, I would have worn shorts at home or while running around doing errands in the summer. Now I wear whatever I put on in the morning during every season, chinos or jeans in the winter, shorts in the warm months and sneakers all year around.

There was a time — I think it was in the late 70’s — when fashion tastes went berserk and I followed along.

There were striped and plaid pants, outrageous colors, jackets without collars, very wide-legged to very narrow-legged trousers.

I’m glad to report that in a few years my fashion tastes, and almost everyone else’s, returned to normal, whatever that may have been.

Here is the column on “Men’s Fashion, 1979”:

Life was simpler once. For the important dress-up occasions I had a dark suit, a white shirt, two ties, a pair of dark socks and black shoes.

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

Paul McKinney

A Little Of This And A Little Of That: May 19, 2012

Paul McKinney

by Paul McKinney

It was a beautiful summer day, June 30 around 1:30 in the afternoon.

I was riding home from a visit with my orthopedic doctor, having just had my third in a series of three spinal injections for one of those darn sciatic nerves.

My friend Bill was driving since I couldn’t. As we approached the city limits of Fulton, we had to stop adjacent to the Alliance Church on Route 48. A dumpster was ahead down the road making a regular pick up and there were five cars lined up in back of the dumpster and in front of us.

It was just a minute or two after coming to a dead stop that she came barreling from behind at full speed. Looking in the rearview mirror, Bill said to himself, “She’s not going to stop.”

Without saying a word, he gripped the wheel not knowing what to expect. Instinctively, he knew he had to keep the car in the right lane or we would come head on with the traffic-traveling south or hit the car that sat motionless 200 feet in front of us.

Suddenly, we heard a horrendous sound and felt the thrusting impact from the rear of our car. I remember saying out loud, “Oh no.” Next, we saw a mass of metal flying about 10 feet in the air to the right of our car. My window airbag quickly came down, pinning my right hand to the door rest. The car she was driving landed in the deep ditch along the right side of the road.

I could see her car was in tact, that all of the airbags were deployed, and watched as her little PT Cruiser right itself in the crevice of the drainage ditch.

We slide about 100 feet in a straight line (thanks to Bill’s good driving control) finally coming to a complete stop just short of the car ahead of us.

Suddenly from the On Star system overhead, I heard a voice say, “We have information that you have been in an accident on Route 48 in Oswego County. Does anyone need an ambulance?”

“Oh my gosh, I said to Bill,” that On Star thing really works.” “Oh joy,” he snapped back, “what a way to test it.” By the look on his pasty white face and his beet red knuckles, I figured he was as shocked as I was. And who could blame him.

I told the voice above my head to call for an ambulance, thinking surely, the crash lady, was in need of medical attention. And since we were outside the city limits, to call the New York State Police.

Within minutes both pulled up to the crash scene, where many people had gathered around us as the “rubber neck” crowd passed by. Don’t ya just love people at an accident?

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

Light In The Darkness: May 16, 2012

by David Grey

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Yes, it was only last week that I wrote concerning this scripture. In that column I asked the questions, “Where are the leaders, who fear God enough to say publicly that the only hope for our nation is to humble itself before God? Who is proclaiming that the true need in America is to turn from our wicked ways and to plead for mercy?”

Since writing that column I have become aware of an exciting movement within our city.  Pastors and key church leaders have begun to meet weekly for the express purpose of, “crying out to God for a spiritual breakthrough.”

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Karen Abbott

At The Fencepost: May 16, 2012

Karen Abbott

by Karen Abbott

I’m getting discouraged by all the time I spend out-and-about, doing errands.

I make my lists diligently, expecting to do my errand run and get back in a reasonable amount of time. Often, I do. More often, there’s a glitch at some point, either in my time estimation or the “successful hunt” factor.

A store didn’t open when I thought it did, or when I get in, I can’t find the item I wanted.  I return home, irritable in spite of what I did gather, knowing that sooner or later I have to go back out again. I’m tired and I want to stay home.

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