Sunday, November 30, 2014

After The Turkey!

   So...what do you do after you've filled up
on Thanksgiving Turkey, stuffing, corn,
sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and, probably
pumpkin pie?
   Well, if you're like us, you join hundreds of
others celebrating the holiday weekend by
heading to Unityville to eat!
    Each year the Volunteer Fire Company in
this tiny Lycoming County community raises
money by hosting a pancake and sausage
dinner that runs 24-hours-a-day for the three
days leading up to the opening of deer hunting
    I'd like to see them go for a month!
    It's an "all you can eat" feast and the
servers, usually the wives and kids of the
firefighters, keep the food coming!
    Each year I go, intent on making a severe
dent in their supply of sausage, pancakes,
beans, and potatoes. Each year I fail!
    The never ending trays just keep coming
out of the kitchen!
    Servers tell me people show up at all
hours although the crowds certainly thin out
between 1 and 4AM. Maybe I'll go back
and take on those supplies again!
     Hope you get there too and that all your
NEWS is good!


Saturday, November 29, 2014


   It was me against the elements, against
attacks, against wild beasts, and the wild
man of the mountain!
   It started out innocently enough.
   Several family members invited me to
come along as they went out to pick their
perfect Christmas tree.
    I assumed it would be more difficult
than my yearly trip to the shed to put out
our artificial, yet traditional tree.
    Perhaps, I thought, we'd drive up to one
of those road side lots where live trees are
stacked up against 2 by 4 planks to give
you a good look. I was wrong.
    I learned we were headed for some sort
of Tree Farm where customers hike into
the woods to pick the tree of their dreams.
    It wasn't until we actually began to
walk that I realized these trees were not
only in the woods....but planted high atop
what seemed to be a mountainside.
    We hiked through the snow and up hills
so steep I was certain we were about to
come across a sign reading "Welcome To
Everest!" The further we got the more I
worried we had somehow stumbled onto
the route used by the Donner Party.
    Then came the attack! No. Not Indians.
It was a snowball. Deliberately tossed in
my direction. Accurately I might add!
     Minutes later I spotted the huge bear.
OK. So it turned out to be my grand
daughter's Golden Retriever. Hey it could
have been a bear!
     The wild  man of the mountain showed
up next. He did look a bit short. That's
when I noticed it was my grandson in
a beard-like wind protector designed by
my wife.
     While the gang looked for their trees
I contemplated the return trip and
wondered if Life Flight could land
anywhere near me. Since there didn't
seem to be a landing zone I began my
descent and, fortunately, remanded
upright throughout the trip.
    By the way, the others tagged their
trees for retrieval in a few days.
     I'd come along. But I expect to be
hauling our tree out of the shed that
     Hope you're ready to decorate and
that all your NEWS is good.

Friday, November 28, 2014

You Can Go Home Again!

     Years back my wife, children, and I
often joined my brother's wife and family
at their home on Thanksgiving.
     I lost my brother 9 years ago and a few
years later my sister-in-law moved and
put the house on the market. It's been
empty for awhile but, earlier this year, it
was my daughter and her
     And so, yesterday, our family once
again shared Thanksgiving dinner in the
dining room where we used to gather!
     Everybody pitched in to make the
dinner a success. My 13-year-old grand
daughter even did some of the baking!
     Somebody, however, must have
miscounted! It looked as if we had
enough food to feed the 109th
Field Artillery unit!
     My plate was totally filled by the
time the serving plate of ham reached
my position! Figuring they were from
the same food family I simply placed
mine on top of my kielbasa!
      I assume the turkey tryptophan must
have kicked in by the time the deserts
became available because I don't exactly
remember what I had....or.....what, if
anything, I missed.
      Three family members were unable
to join us this year. While we missed
them their absence does not account
for the vast quantity of food packed into
take home containers that are likely to
sustain us for another two days.
      My brother would be pleased with
the gathering! Hope you had a great
Thanksgiving with family and friends
and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Days Of Old!

  Thanksgiving Day is filled with traditions.
  Many of them, of course, are centered around
the menu for the day. And stuffed Turkey tops
that list. (I'm not totally sure why you have to
stuff them.....the one we got wasn't empty!)
   But one Turkey Day tradition is pretty much
   "Back in the day" local High Schools used to
meet on the Gridiron for a sort of "king of the hill"
Football game!
    In my case the rivalry was between Hazleton,
my home town, and West Hazleton.
    Most everybody went to those games.
    In 1957 5,500 fans showed up in a steady rain
at Harman Geist Stadium for the big Thanksgiving
Day game!
    I was there too......right on the field.....sort of.
    As I've written before, I was a "Manager" for
the team.
    Now  before you get me confused with the likes
of Joe Maddon, the term "manager" in my sense
meant that I and my fellow managers hauled and
packed the uniforms , carried the water buckets, and
quite often, hoisted the stretcher as we carried
injured players off the field. Often through the mud!
    Though it was only my sophomore year I "retired"
from that prestigious position and joined the Stage
crew the next year. Everything we did there was
inside and dry!
     Still, in many ways, I miss those Thanksgiving
Day games!
     Hazleton did very well during my High School
days. We beat West Hazleton in 57, 58, and 1959!
     But the game isn't the only thing that's disappeared!
     My Blue & White "Mountaineers" have become the
Red, Silver, and White "Cougars" as part of a merger that
united Hazleton and West Hazleton High Schools! Guess
it's a lot more colorful now. Even our photos were in
black and white!
     Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg (South) seem to
be the last two teams in our area to continue the
traditional Thanksgiving football rivalries.
     And I say good for them!
     I, on the other hand, will continue my own rivalry
as I take on the bacon wrapped turkey!
     It hasn't got a chance even with its wishbone
formation! I'll just do an end run around the table!
     Hope you're enjoying your own traditions and that
all you NEWS is good!



  Back in the day.......


HHS  1957

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tie One On Day!

     I got pretty excited when I came
across this unusual "holiday."     
    After all snow is expected pretty
much all day, it's cold, it's nasty, what
a better day to sit back and "tie one on!"
     I was about to check out our wine
supply when I discovered this special
day has nothing to do with drinking!
     National Tie One On Day is always
observed on the day before Thanksgiving.
      It celebrates the humble apron and the
spirit of women of earlier generations who
donned the universal symbol of home,
family and mothering as the uniform of
their daily wardrobe!
      There was a time when you'd be hard
pressed to find any Mom in a kitchen
without an apron.
      These days you're more likely to find
them on the guys hovering around the
back yard grill while they're burning the
hot dogs.
      I suppose a few of them will be put
back in service today as preparations for
the big Thanksgiving feast get under way!
So, if you're in charge of those fixings....
go ahead and Tie One On!
     Hope you don't spill the gravy....and
that all your NEWS is good

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


  Christmas is exactly one month away.
  Snow is expected tomorrow into
Thanksgiving morning.
   But..........yesterday........the temp
during my morning walk was already
at 64 degrees. And the sun was still
   I had two TV interviews scheduled
in Scranton and a meeting with some
honor students in Kingston researching
the 1972 Agnes Flood.
   I was tempted to pull the cover off
the Miata. You're suppose to resist
temptation. So I did....for about 4
minutes! Well....maybe 3.
   Then I folded the cover and headed
out for the Electric down!
You don't get many chances like this
once November comes around so you've
got to "make hay while the sun shines!"
    I got a few "Heys" on the trip,
especially when I passed a lot of school
kids just dismissed for the day.
    By the time I met the students for my
Agnes flood discussion the sun was going
down and the top was going back up.
    I know the chances aren't great. But
let's hope we get a couple more surprise
days like yesterday, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cat On A Hot...Vinyl....Roof!

   My annoyance with cats that have invaded
my neighborhood is well know by most. I've
written about it before.
    Some well meaning people feed them, then
just let them roam to howl at night, use yards
like ours as a litter box, and reproduce. If cats
could pull sleds we'd have enough around here
to throw our own Iditarod!
     Though I'm not pleased with all the felines
my reaction to their presence has been limited
to a quick yell..."Get out of here!" It's enough
to get rid of the cats if not their mess.
      But a couple of  these cats are about to put
their 9 lives on the line!
      One or two of them have taken to rest atop
my Miata when it's sitting in the sunshine.
Fortunately for me, and them, my car is
currently covered to prevent weather damage.
       Were it not I'd be adding a Red Rider BB
gun to my Christmas list the first sign of
scratches on its paint job!
        Why can't cats be more like birds and
so south for the winter?
        Once again I'll issue my plea. If you
want a pet, more power to you! But take care
of them and, please, be a good neighbor!
         Hope my cover holds up and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where's Wonka?

   Somehow, we snuck into the Candy
Factory without a Golden Ticket!
   Of course a couple thousand other
people got in too! Maybe Security
was on break! Probably eating
    We were all looking forward to
doing that!
    Every other year the Willy Wonka
of northeastern Pennsylvania, David
Hawk, opens his factory to the general
public to show how Gertrude Hawk
candies are made and packaged.
   Every so often along the tour route
his Oompa Loompa's....I mean his
employees, whose work stations are
decorated with some sort of theme,
hand out samples of the popular
chocolate products!
    I've gone through before and always
enjoyed the treats! But this time I was
   Regulations require all visitors to
wear hair nets in a factory where food
products are manufactured. I expected
   What I didn't expect was the secondary
net that was required because of my
moustache! When I put it in place I
realized it also covered my mouth!
    You can't eat Smidgen's through a
net! Or chocolate covered raisins! Or
chocolate peanut butter treats!
    My grandson suggested I could
pull the elastic band just enough to
get some candy in! Kids know their
candy...and how to get it! The plan
worked and I was able to nibble
just enough to neutralize the calories
I burned walking through the factory!
    Hope I saved a couple pieces to
snack on today...and that all your
NEWS is good!



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ducks On The Pond!

   I know! I know.
   Ducks on the pond is a baseball term.
It means there's players on the  bases
waiting for a hit to bring them home!
   But I don't think real ducks play
   Still there they were. On the pond.
Well, just off the pond. Or, in this case
the Susquehanna River!
   I heard the unmistakable sound of
ducks or geese while I was on my walk
   I stopped and looked towards the sky,
fully expecting to see that traditional
"V" formation of birds making their
annual fall flight to warmed climates
somewhere down south.
   But the sky was empty.
   The sound, as it turns out, was coming
from the river bank in West Pittston.
    And there they were. Just sitting, or
squatting, whatever it is birds do when
they're not doing anything. Lots of them!
     It was certainly cold enough to encourage
birds, or even people, to head south. But
they didn't seem anxious to go anywhere.
    Maybe they heard about expected
warmer temperatures next week. Or maybe
this flock is from Buffalo and just needed
a rest stop.
    Maybe they're from Buffalo and thought
this was Florida!
    What a bunch of turkeys....I mean geese.
     Hope their presence means sunny days
and that all your NEWS is good!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Where There's Smoke!

     Just in case you missed it, yesterday
was "The Great American Smokeout."
     The American Cancer Society
began the annual Smokeout campaign
back in the 70's. The idea was to try to
encourage smokers to drop the habit
for a day in the hope they'd recognize
the health and financial benefits and
quit completely!
    A lot has happened since those
early smokeouts. Many smokers have
been "encouraged" to stop smoking
by paying high taxes on cigarettes and
by finding fewer and fewer places
where they're allowed to smoke.
    But despite death rates and other
 smoking related illnesses the latest
 studies show more than 42 million
 Americans are still lighting up.
    I have found myself standing all
too close to a few of them. Somehow
they always find a way to stand
upwind from me so the toxic fumes
from their exhaled smoke can quickly
find it's way towards my nose.
   I'm just thankful I'm not one
of their kids strapped into the back
seat of their cars while they are lighting
up...up front!
    I spotted  some young women
"observing"the Great American
Smokeout near the Wilkes-Barre
Career Technology Center yesterday.
I think they may have misunderstood
the whole thing though. "Smoke-Out"
does not mean to smoke "Outside."
    But these devoted addicts gave up
their warm school building to stand
in 20 degree temperatures so they could
burn tobacco and inhale the fumes.
   Maybe they didn't get the memo.
   Hope your air is clear and all your
NEWS is good!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thinking INSIDE The Box!

   We're all encouraged to think "Outside
the Box" these days.
   Last night the challenge was to think
"Inside the Box!"
   My wife, daughter, two grandsons, and
one of our grand daughters joined over 20
other volunteers at our church hall to pack
shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
   The idea is pretty simple. You fill a shoe
box with items for kids for Christmas. The
boxes go to an area distribution center and,
from there, eventually to a warehouse where
they're shipped off to kids in need somewhere
around the world.
    The church and many of its members have
been gathering things to put in the boxes.
But that's where the challenge comes in!
    You see the kids who will end up with
these boxes vary in age from 2 to 14 or so.
Then, of course, some will go to boys and
some to girls.
     A three year old girl somewhere might
love a little doll. But an eleven year old
boy might not be as impressed!
     Our challenge was to try to match the
items in the box with its possible recipient.
Well, there was one other challenge. That
was stopping those of us doing the packing
from playing with the balls, tops, and other
toys so readily available!
     Hey, you have to test things don't you?
     In spite of all that "testing" we managed
to get a lot of shoe boxes filled with goodies
for some kid who will have a better Christmas
thanks to those efforts.
     And they'll know those toys are in good
     Hope you're thinking in and outside the
box and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finding That Gettysburg Address!

    Seven score and 11 years ago today
President Abraham Lincoln delivered a
speech in Gettysburg Pennsylvania that,
according to his own words, would be
little noted nor long remembered by the
    Boy, did he get that wrong!
    Who hasn't heard or maybe even
been forced to memorize and recite those
272 words at one time or another?
    For kids today it may be one of the
few things they know about Lincoln.
Except that they named a car and a
tunnel after him!
    And "a score" to most is something
they hope their football team will do.
    This may be a good time to clear up a
big misconception about that famous
speech. It was not written in a train on the
way to Gettysburg!
    There are five know copies and each is
written in a steady even script which would
have been virtually impossible to do on a
train back in the Civil War era. Way too
   You kids might want to impress your
teacher with that bit of historic trivia.
   If that doesn't work you can wow
everyone in the class with some important
information I've come up with through my
extensive research.
   If you are ever asked if you know the
 Gettysburg address, the correct answer is
 97 Taneytown Road!
   That's the National Cemetery where
Lincoln made the speech. It's the
Gettysburg address address!
    Hope you're all impressed with my
historical knowledge and that all your
NEWS is good!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Great Turkey Hunt

  We paid a visit to Walmart last night to
get some photos developed. But wait,
there's more!
   My wife uttered those words that
frighten the best of men. "As long as we're
    I immediately feared the worse. I'd find
myself in one of those tiny changing rooms
trying on some jeans or shirts I didn't really
want but somehow needed.
   That fear proved premature!
   This time I found myself on a Turkey
    Thanksgiving, of course, is right around
the corner and we were in need of a bird
for the family feast.
     There was a good supply on hand. But
how do you pick the perfect bird?
      Well, in our case, we needed something
to feed more than a dozen people expected
to join us for the holiday. That meant
something fairly big.
      We dug into the first case looking for
the biggest bird we could find. Of course
you had to lift each one to read the tag.
      They all seemed big to me! They
were heavy! And turkeys don't come with
handles like milk jugs!
       We finally spotted one that looked
like it might be large enough for our
needs. But, after lugging it out of the
freezer compartment, we realized there
was no weight tag attached!
       A man from the Meat Department
just happened to be nearby stocking
steaks. My wife asked him if he'd be
kind enough to check our target bird.
       He must have heard her as he
carried it away, without comment,
probably asking himself why he has
to deal with turkeys...of all sorts.
       A couple minutes later he returned
and confirmed our suspicion that the bird
met our requirements.
       I grabbed a fork lift....all right...
it was really just a shopping cart..hauled
it to the check out, then loaded our quarry
into the car and brought it home where
it has displaced several pizzas and some
other stuff in our freezer.
     My wife tells me we may have to get
another "small bird" to supplement the
prize one from the market.
     I suppose I can skip the weights at the
Y this week!
     Hope the cranberries are light and that
all your NEWS is good!  

Monday, November 17, 2014


   We topped off a busy day yesterday by
taking a little off the top!
    My grandson and I were both in need
of a haircut. So, my wife got out the
haircut kit and set up shop at my daughter's
    You've got to hand it to her! Cutting my
grandson's hair is a little like trying to sheer
a sheep. Except, the sheep doesn't usually
offer an opinion on styling techniques!
    My grandson does!
    After every few passes with the scissors
he'd want to look in the mirror and offer
his "constructive criticism."
    "Cut this part here, see? Where I'm
holding." "Take some more off there."
     He apparently had a "look" or "style"
in mind before the process ever got started.
     He did offer to do it himself. But wiser
heads prevailed after visions of post Apache
massacres entered our minds!
     Those attacks were also brought to mind
as he reacted with yelps to what he insisted
was the intentional use of dull scissors in
the trimming process.
      My turn followed.
      I sat still and said nothing. An old saying
came to my mind. "A closed mouth gathers
no feet"....or bad hair cuts!
      Hope my neck doesn't itch too much and
that all your NEWS is good!