Category Archives: Columnists

Roy Hodge

Hodgepodge: May 5, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

Not that I’m trying to forget them or anything like that, but I was taken back to my accordion days again this week when my mother-in-law sent me a clipping from “The Wall Street Journal” – a review of a book called “Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America” by Marion Jacobson.

In his review, author Ken Emerson noted, “Too low brow for classical music and too cornball for rock – not to mention too white-bread for jazz – the accordion gets no respect. So you’d think that a book devoted to the instrument would be as flat as a boxed set of Lawrence Welk’s ‘champagne  music.’

“But,” he continues, “Marion Jacobson’s ‘Squeeze This!’ bubbles over with fascinating information and intriguing insights.”

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Light In The Darkness: May 2, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” — Romans 8:28-29

John Piper says, “No promise in all the world surpasses the height and breadth and weight of Romans 8:28.”

Properly understood, I believe that is absolutely true. Yet misunderstanding has sometimes led to even greater heartache for those who are suffering.

Because mankind gave dominion to the Devil, there are truly bad things that happen in life. Awful, tragic things that drive us to our knees.

God is not saying that He somehow makes those things good. Such painful tragedies result from mankind’s fallen state and are part of the death which came upon the human race in the Garden.

As such, they too, will cease when death is cast into the lake of fire.

So, God has not promised that He will turn every tragedy itself into a blessing. He has not said that what is bad can now be called good.

That may be fine for the Fairy Tale but it is not what God has promised.

What He has promised is that He will weave every painful experience, every tragedy in our lives into the tapestry of blessing He has for those who love him.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News

Poetry Corner: Apple Blossoms

by Jim Farfaglia

They smile from slender branches,

happy to have survived the winter,

their sweet joy perfuming the air

whenever the wind happens through.


They drop off one by one

and gather on the new-green grass:

a fruit tree’s lucky coins,

tossed on a backyard wishing pond.


They look back at their yellow stars

still clinging to those limbs

and pregnant with the season’s harvest –

such a noble reason for a blossom’s falling.

Jerry’s Journal: April 28, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remembers Harper’s? Apparently I didn’t a couple of columns ago.

It was a women’s clothing store on South First Street in our old downtown and Jean Prent was the efficient young woman behind the counter who took your money when you made a purchase or when you wanted to pay on your account.

She called me recently to remind me that I hadn’t included Harper’s in my list of stores from urban renewal days.

I can’t believe I left it out! It was one of my favorite places to shop! I don’t know when it first opened or when it closed for good, but I bought dresses and outfits there from the late 1950 right up to the early 1980s.

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Hodgepodge: April 28, 2012

Roy Hodge

by Roy Hodge

I started having a major problem a few weeks ago the minute I started thinking about what my favorite food might be. I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to come up with an instant, definite, no-doubt-about-it answer on the spot.

I get myself into these fantasy situations often, but I knew that a lot of thought was going to have to go into this decision.  Probably weeks, if not months of intense study and research would be necessary.

And, there couldn’t possibly be just one category to work on. In fact, as I thought more about it, I was sure that I would never be able to narrow my choice of favorite foods down to one.

After all, there is breakfast, lunch and dinner for starters.  There are snacks — mid-morning, mid-afternoon, before supper, before bed time, and don’t forget the middle of the night snack and the “I-can’t-sleep” snack.

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Poetry Corner: Groundhog Negotiations

by Jim Farfaglia

Before we begin another season
sharing this space I call my backyard
and you call
Jim’s All You Can Eat Garden Salad Buffet
let us make a pact:

I promise to fence in my vegetables
with the finest grade chicken wire,
if you promise to not find
ever creative ways
to chew through, dig under or scale over it.

You also agree to not burrow
yet another passageway under my shed
that will lead to your, no doubt,
quite comfortable one room bungalow,
if I agree to not use gravel, plywood,
broken cement blocks and old railroad ties,
attempting to barricade your existing routes.

You also have my word
that I will no longer
repeatedly rap on my kitchen window,
trying to scare the bejesus out of you,
if you, in turn, stop telling
more and more of your relatives
how great this place is
and they really should pack up and join you

since there’s plenty here to eat and –
other than some strange window-tapping guy –
the neighbors are real friendly.