Tag Archives: Roy Hodge


Hodgepodge: July 14, 2012

by Roy Hodge

In the middle of a period of intense summer heat here, I am to bring you just enough Fulton winter weather and snow information to perhaps cool you off a little but not so much that you have to get your snow shovel out of the basement.

Here is something I wrote in February of 1994 when Fulton was in the middle of a typical winter, and I was wondering if it would ever end:

I know that I am not alone but at this point of time I feel like a refugee of a winter that will never end.

My snow shovel became a wasted pile of wood and plastic about 100 inches of snow ago.

There is a path between my house and car but it is now about two feet higher than the top step of my porch.

I now have to stick two fingers into the middle finger space in one of my gloves because the finger next to that has a big hole in it.

My car doesn’t have one of those electronic voices but if it did I know it would be saying to me, “Go back inside, stupid, it’s 20 below zero out here.”

I don’t know what to do; my nose is running, but everything else refuses to.

I am so embarrassed to sit down in front of people and put plastic bags over my feet so I can get my boots on.

With all the snow we have piled up there could be a couple of very tall people alongside all those Christmas trees in our snow piles.

My snow brush has lost so many bristles that my toothbrush would do a better job clearing my windshield.

I am trying to think of clever answers that can be repeated in a family newspaper for all those people who keep asking, “Cold enough for you?”

I think I would finally appreciate the long johns that I used to hate receiving from my grandmother every Christmas of my youth.

Does anyone really care that Oswego or Syracuse may have received more snow than Fulton?  (For the record though, I’m sure neither one of them have.)

There is enough salt on my car to keep a large herd of cows happy all summer long. (Do cows still lick those things?)

Why, in the middle of a nasty winter, do we have to tolerate Punxsutawney Phil? Why doesn’t someone put him in a cave where there are no shadows?

I would also like to find a special place for the news commentator who reminds us that in past years we have received an accumulation of snow in April, May, and yes, even June.

Do I care that there are 34 more days until the official beginning of spring? (That translates into about 816 hours, or 48,960 minutes or about three to four more feet of snow.)

Yes, I am a refugee of winter.

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


Hodgepodge: June 7, 2012

by Roy Hoge


Once the end of the school year became official, the day we received our report cards, Wiman Ave. became a hub of activity.

We typically ran ourselves hot and sweaty all day long on hot summer days and splashed in the wet street and in puddles following the frequent showers.

In my memory, every summer day was a nice day. Even those summer showers provided good times. But even on those idyllic summer days of my youth there were frequent thunderstorms.

I remember an especially electrical electrical storm. I was sitting with my very reluctant grandmother watching the rain and lightning outside the big front window in her living room. We were both trying valiantly to put on a brave front to hide the fact that we were both “scared to death.”

Suddenly there was a very loud explosive noise – much louder than the constant thunder – from just outside the window and Grandma and I ended up screaming in each other’s arms. Lightning had hit a transformer on a nearby pole.

When we weren’t running and sweating, or taking a break during thunderstorms, we were spending much of every day in “our swimming pool,” which wasn’t a luxurious one in someone’s backyard, but the crowded, noisy and wonderful part of our summer also known as the McKinley Park swimming pool.

During the hottest days of summer we were at the pool — a short distance from our homes by the way of shortcuts — mornings, afternoons, and most days, after supper.

An important part of summer was enjoying our dripping popsicles every day while sitting on the stoop in front of Steve Gilbert’s corner grocery store. In between the popsicles, we found plenty of time and space for the goodies in the bell-ringing, music-playing ice cream trucks that visited the neighborhood.

Spending time with my best friend Tucker was a big part of my summer. He spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house, which was next door to us, but usually lived in an apartment away from our neighborhood with his mother.

After elementary school, we never went to the same school at the same time.

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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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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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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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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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 

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