Monday, November 30, 2015

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch!



         Each year on Halloween night Peanuts
Character Linus sits in a pumpkin patch
awaiting the arrival of The Great Pumpkin!
He's been doing it since 1959! So far, the
Great Pumpkin has failed to show.
           The best-known quote regarding Linus
and the Great Pumpkin, made famous by the
annual TV special, is: "There are three things I
have learned never to discuss with people:
religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."
             Linus has also suggested the reason
for the "no show" is because he's failed to find
the most sincere pumpkin patch.
             I realize I'm a month late. It's December
now. But I believe I may have discovered the
very pumpkin patch Linus has been for. It
happened last week as my wife and I were
out for one of our "no destination in particular
            We were in the area of Forks in
Columbia County when we spotted what looked
like a sea of yellowish-orange! Two fields flanked
the road and in each, were thousands of pumpkins.
I would estimate between 5 and 10 thousand!
             Since Halloween had already passed
and Thanksgiving was too close to allow for a
harvest I have to believe these plants were
being left to become fertilizer for whatever crop
will be planted in these fields next year.
             Still, that's a whole lot of would-be
pumpkin pies! Wish I would have come by on
Halloween! I suspect I just might have caught
a glimpse of the Great Pumpkin! Seems pretty
sincere to me!
             Hope Linus reads this Blog and that
all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, November 29, 2015



          CIDER MONDAY

   Before you go on line to order
Christmas presents or to let me know
I've mistitled today's Blog, please
be aware that this really is "Cider
    It was originally conceived by
some independent bookstores in
New England  as a direct and
delicious assault on the Monday
after Thanksgiving known as the
infamous "Cyber Monday."
    Participating stores offered
cups of cider to customers who
preferred a good book, or books,
to hours spent shopping on a
    Supporters of this alternative
tradition also point out that cider
comes in various forms including
a "hard variety" which can prove
to be very relaxing! Seems like a
good selling point to me!!
    It's a perfect day to participate
in Cider Monday whether it be in
a book store, the library, or your
own living room. You see November
30th is also "Stay at home because
you are well Day." Instead of
calling in sick, you're suppose to
call in well!
     Hope you get away with it and
that all your NEWS is good!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

He's Everywhere!



   Santa came to my town yesterday!
Escorted by Police, Fire, and local
Emergency crews the jolly old elf
made his annual stop in Plains Twp.
He has already been to Wilkes-Barre
and Scranton. Now he's here!  
    Our local Lions Club, which also
provides the community's Christmas
light decorations, arranges for the
visit. A couple hundred kids and
parents waited in a light rain to greet
Santa. Most of the parents like to get
photos of their children with Saint
Nick, although there's always a couple
of youngsters who look like they'd
rather eat asparagus than sit on his
lap! But whether there are smiles or
a couple tears all the kids get stockings
filled with goodies packed by the Lions
Club members.
     I try to shoot video each year. I tell
the club members I like to help them
out. And I do. Of course, should the
opportunity present itself to talk with
Mr. Claus about some of the items on
my list.....well......why not?
     I think I even saw him smile a little
bit. He even laughed! Unfortunately
he did so just as I was explaining how
good I have been. Probably just a
     Hope so, and that all your NEWS
is good!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Family Forest Fun!



        I think the late Manny Gordon
would be pleased! After enjoying a
fantastic pancake and sausage dinner
at the Unityville Fire Company Co.,
my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and
three of our grand children decided
to spend what was left of our day in
the forest!
        It's amazing, and very pleasing,
to watch kids when given a chance
to put away their IPhones and IPads
and set loose in the woods!
       These particular woods are part
of Worlds End State Park in Sullivan
County. The kids immediately began
exploring, walking on fallen trees
across a small stream, hiding along
the creek's banks, then gathering fire
wood. My participation was limited
to taking pictures. That's just as well.
It probably would have been hard
to lift me out of the water had I tried
to pull a "Wallenda" on those trees!
       Not far from the Ranger
Station there are covered pavilions
build by the Civilian Conservation
Corps years before even I was born.
Inside each is a large fireplace. As
the sun set behind the deep forest
trees we used the ferns and berries
we were able to find to decorate the
fireplace mantel in a Christmas like
       Then we simply sat around for
awhile enjoying the small fire we
build in that fireplace. No power,
no phones, no games. Just a short
story or two and great company! 
       We did, as Manny used to say,
"Enjoy, enjoy, the great outdoors."
Smokey would be pleased as well.
We made sure that campfire was
out before we headed out in the
dark of night to find "civilization."
         The visit was short. The
memories, I think, will last a long
time! Hope that's the case, and that
all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

They Didn't Stand A Chance!



    The table was set and ready for our family
Thanksgiving gathering early yesterday
afternoon. It looked like a scene out of one
of those fancy magazines. The plates were
all in place and the silverware all set out.
Soon they would be flanked with platters
filled with turkey, ham, potatoes, beans,
stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, and other
goodies too numerous to mention.
      The main courses arrived separately.
A Turkey weighing in an just under 30 lbs.
and a Ham checking in at just about 20!
       Growing up back in a time when all
kids were admonished to clean their plates
because "little children in Europe were
starving," I suspect our bounty could have
handled at least one small town over there!
        The attack was swift. Just after grace
the goods were passed around the table as
we all dug in! Within a half hour or so it
became apparent there was just more food
than our squad of 16 could handle. (We
did all save a bit of space for dessert!)
        But the family women, having
envisioned this scenario, brought along
containers of all sorts and sizes so the
plentiful supply of leftovers could be
sealed up to feed the guests for the next
week of so! Europe will have to take care
of itself!
        Hope one of those containers has
pie and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015



          HOLIDAY HOURS!

     More and more business places
seem to be hauling their employees in
on the holiday to begin their Black
Friday on Thanksgiving. That may
make them the biggest Turkeys out
there today!
        I've decided to go "old school"
and spend the day without work and
with family! Therefore, my Blog is
Closed for Thanksgiving!
       From all of my family to all of
yours, hope you have a wonderful day
and that all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015



              I MADE IT!

     Following up on my Tuesday Blog
I am happy to report that I did make it
to the Happenings Magazine Luncheon
honoring businesses and services
labeled "The Best".... as selected by
the readers of that publication!
      Somehow, perhaps accidentally,
my Blog got one of those awards! I
found myself dining with some very
impressive company!
       Happenings magazine will have
a full list of those honored in its
December issue. But, just to give you
an example, winners included the
Radisson as Best Hotel, and La Festa
Italiana as the Best Festival in the
        I was seated with some very nice
people, including members of the
"Dearly Departed Players" who offer
historical tours of local cemeteries.
I expect that's just a coincidence. My
Blog is alive and, if the votes are
accurate, well!
         They watered and dinned us
(there was no wine) and provided some
great entertainment offered by some
elementary school singers!
         I'm really glad the staff was able
to track me down even though it was a
day before the ceremonies! I gave them
my email too. Hope they'll keep it
handy (in case I get lucky again next
year) and that all your NEWS, like
mine, is good!    

Monday, November 23, 2015




      It was yesterday afternoon.
About 4 o'clock. I fired up my laptop
to check Facebook and found a message
which had been sent just 15 minutes
earlier. It was from a young lady
representing Happenings Magazine.
She was writing to tell me I had won
an award for the BEST BLOG! I
assumed she had the wrong guy. But
no. She was looking for me!
She included a phone number to call
for more information.
     While honored, I was stunned!
First I had no idea there was any
contest in which my daily blog had
been entered! Secondly, when I
called the telephone number, I got
a recording telling me the Award
Luncheon was today!
       Since I knew Happenings
Magazine was involved I checked
on line and learned that reservations
for the luncheon were due nearly a
week ago! But I didn't know I won
a week ago!
       I left a message on the machine
as well as on my Facebook message
with my telephone number in the
hope someone might call and tell
me what was "happening."
       A representative did respond
and admitted that, although I won
the award, no one knew how to
find me! That probably shocked me
as much as winning! I'm on ECTV
everyday. I'm on Facebook everyday.
And, my name and number are, and
have always been, in the telephone
book! I may be the easiest guy in
this area to find! 
        I happen to think the world of
Happenings Magazine! It is a great
publication which represents our
area in an impressive format with
highly professional standards. That
said, I do think the staff should get
a telephone book!
       Apparently the contest in which
my Blog was named was one in
which readers submitted the name
of their favorite businesses or, in my
case, favorite Blog. So I've got you
to thank! Of course I'm not sure exactly
who "you" are or how many of you there
are. I know my wife didn't vote for me!
       But I do thank you although you
may have just set the "art" of blogging
back a few years!
          Hope I find out "what's happening"
a little sooner in the future...and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Talking Turkey!


           TALKING TURKEY!

       I must have stuck out like a sore
thumb yesterday. Our Pastor asked
the men in our congregation if they
realized the process of thawing a
frozen turkey had to have begun if
we expected to serve that bird on
Thanksgiving Day. I knew that! But
I think I was the only guy who raised
his hand.
        I've learned a lot about turkeys
over the years. Even worked with a
few. I knew we'd need a big one this
year. We've got a lot of family getting
together on Thursday. The one we
found weighed in at just under 30
pounds! I wasn't sure the shopping
cart could handle it. It looks like
a small VW!
      I know we got a healthy bird.
According to the label it has never
had antibiotics and was raised on
vegetables! It must have had a lot
of carrots and potatoes!
     It's heavier than my three month
old grandson and not built to be carried!
I managed to get it inside which pretty
much takes care of my responsibilities
until I get to the dinner table!
      My wife will handle all the cooking
preparations. I'm still not sure why she
has to stuff it. I don't believe it's hollow!
We certainly won't be once we've
consumed it.
       Hope it thaws in plenty of time and
that all your NEWS is good.

Saturday, November 21, 2015




   I joined my friend Mark Marek on
his "Coal Region Connections" radio
show yesterday as he talked about
the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Mark likes to talk about the "good old
days" and Thanksgiving, in those days,
used to include a regional rivalry
Football game! 
  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!
Seems those Thanksgiving Day games are pretty
much gone now. There are a few across the country.
But it's nothing like those old local games that
once were as much a holiday tradition as stuffed
     I will continue my own rivalry as I take on the
turkey this Thursday!  It hasn't got a chance even
with its wishbone formation! I'll just do an end run
around the table!
     Hope I knock the stuffing out of the opposition
and that all your NEWS is good!
                     (Hazleton 1959)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ready, Aim, Fire!


          READY, AIM, FIRE!

    Some of you laughed when I wrote
of my recent water gun purchase to
chase stray cats away from my valuable
car cover. I have no intention of harming
the critters. But, plain and simple, I want
them away from my cars, our bird feeder,
and off the grass.
     So, when I spotted one doing, well you
know, in the back of our yard I grabbed
my new red and yellow Tank Jr., air
pressure powered squirt gun and opened
fire from the advertised 26 foot range.
     If not right on target I was close enough
to let the feral cat know it was not welcome
and it took off for parts unknown.
     Last evening a neighbor called to tell
us another critter was spotted walking
between our two cars. I quickly loaded my
trusty water gun, primed the pump and
went out shooting!
      Since I didn't see the intruder I
simply opened fire in several directions.
But, alas, the target had disappeared
before I could respond. That might
be just as well. The neighbor wasn't
reporting a cat. She was warning us about
       I'm not sure how a bruin would react
to the blast from a water gun. Hope I
don't find out....and that all your NEWS
is good!

Thursday, November 19, 2015




    I should have know. Nobody
yelled "Shotgun" when I stopped
at school to pick up my grandson
and grand daughter. When teens
don't battle over the right front
passenger's seat something is up.
    It was a short ride, Not one of
those long days on the road you'd
expect would rattle the kids. My
task was to deliver these grandkids
to their mother's school so she could
get them home by way of a doctor's
   But, as we waited, I heard the two
debate as to who should sit in the
middle. There were voices too,
Unusually high pitched, coupled
with laughs of all sorts.
   It's been a long time since I had
to use that time tried threat..."Do I
have to come back there?"
   But its was all good. These two
great kids were battling for the
attention of their three-month-old
cousin whose safety seat was
firmly placed on the driver's side
back seat. That back seat was packed
with kids....and love! And the
little one seemed to relish all that
     Hope it stays that way forever
and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop Children, What's That Sound?



      Not since Bill Hickok faced David Tutts
in Springfield, Missouri, on July 21, 1865 has
there ben such a duel. Tutts 6 shooter sounded
first. But the loud report from Wild Bill's Colt
sounded the death of his challenger.
      But allow me to back up a bit.
      We are blessed with visits from our various
grand children from time to time. Often these
visits result in challenges. Perhaps a game of
chess, Battleship, or cards.
       Last evening, however, we hit a new high.
Or low. Depending on how you look at it.
       After consuming a full meal, cookies, and
a bag of Pop Corn, my grand daughter found
it necessary to release a rather audible belch.
My wife responded with a boast that she could
do better and immediately proceeded to offer
evidence to support her claim.
      Not wanting to be outdone my grand
daughter reached deep inside and sounded
off again. That, of course, prompted my wife
to respond to the challenge.
      Thus it was I spent the better part of the
next hour listening to point, counter point
offerings from the two combatants. Each
was impressive in their own way. I elected
to ignore the fray as much as possible. I'm
not sure if there was a clear winner. Certainly
it was not I."
     Hope they opt for Battleship next time
and that all your NEWS is good.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Going, Going, Gone!



     Our joyrides usually have some
sort of destination in mind. But I'm
always amazed at what we find
along the way.
      After writing about Joe Spinelli's
elaborate Christmas display in my
Tuesday Blog my wife and I decided
to swing by his house to see if he's ready
for his scheduled Black Friday premier.
      I knew he lived in Newfoundland
(Wayne County).
      I knew you had to turn at the
blinking light and go up to 391 Crestmont
      I didn't know the road went right
by the Fire House.
      And I didn't know there's an Auction
at the Fire House every Tuesday!
      Next thing I did know my wife and
I were inside checking out table after
table to items to be offered on the
auction block. And there were plenty!
Toys, tools, even the kitchen sink!
       Then it got scary! My wife
picked up one of the numbers that
allows you to bid!
       Admittedly there were a couple
of things that attracted my attention.
But nothing I absolutely had to have.
       My wife expressed interest in
two ornamental frogs.  I'm still not
sure why. But, sure enough, they
were in the next lot to be auctioned.
My wife figured a $5 bid might do
it. But another bidder topped her
by $2.50. The auctioneer called for
ten dollars. Fortunately my wife
quit at that point. I probably would
have croaked if the frog bids kept
going up!
       I felt lucky. Not because of the
frogs. It was because we showed up
rather late and missed a mess of items
that could have had my money going,
going, gone!
      Hope I can find another route
for our next ride...and that all your
NEWS is good!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Spinelli's Christmas Spectacular!



         I saw the first Christmas themed
commercial on TV a few weeks before
Halloween. The Christmas decorations
have been up in Boscov's for at least
two weeks. And some home owners
have been taking advantage of the
unusually warm temperatures lately
to begin hanging their outdoor Christmas
       But nobody does it like Joe Spinelli!
       When Joe was a kid in Brooklyn he
used to love going to the big Department
Store near his home to see the animated
elves and decorations set up in the front
window! The lights and characters were
a big part of Christmas for him.
        About seven years ago his wife
learned those characters and decorations
were no longer being used. So, she bought
them and gave them to Joe!
        Since Joe doesn't have his own
Department Store he built a series of
trailers, enclosed the mechanical
characters, and set them out in his
front yard for all to see! Now, every
year, from Black Friday through
"Little" or "Russian Christmas" folks
driving around Newfoundland in
Wayne County, have a chance to get
a look at "Christmas Past" as they
drive through a lane Joe has set up in
his yard.
       The lights, moving characters, and
Christmas music attracted an estimated
3,000 visitors last year. And why not?
There's no charge! Joe does it to share
the joy he's treasured from those days
as a kid back in Brooklyn.
       Businesses in the town benefit
from the holiday visitors too and
several have joined Joe as sponsors
of his growing attraction. And speaking
of growing, Joe has just discovered
another collection of old Department
Store Christmas window characters
which he plans to add to his display as
soon as next season!
        Like Santa, Joe labors year round
to keep the antiques in working order.
But, he says, it's a labor of love.
        I'll think about him, and feel
humbled, in a few weeks when I
staple a couple strings of lights around
our doorway and hang a wreath on the
front door. Of course, my electric bill
will be a lot smaller!
         Hope Joe's Christmas Future is
as bright as his lights, and that all his
and your NEWS is good!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Birds


              THE BIRDS

     It's been over a year since our pet
Cockatiel "Sam" passed away. We
initially tried to sell some of the
equipment we used to make him at
home. But it seems there's little
demand for used bird stuff. And so,
for a time, it just sat around taking
up space.
      Meanwhile, just outside our
house, our feeder for wild birds
became victim to a rather large
bear that had been wondering
through our neighborhood. Seems
the term "Bird Feed" has little
meaning to a hungry bruin! We
found pieces of the feeder smashed
along the street.
      After the bear disappeared my
wife decided it was time to try to
feed the birds again. Since the
feeder had been destroyed she came
up with another idea.
        She set up the old Bird Cage
on its stand in front of the house and
filled it with feed. I nixed the idea
based on my thought that no one
tries to get into prison. I suspected
the same would be true for our
flying friends. Why become a "jail
        But my wife, taking a page
from Alfred Hitchock, believed that..
..If you feed them, they will come!
       And they did! They were practically
fighting each other to get into the cage!
       So, it seems, my theory is "For
the Birds."
       Hope the bear doesn't come back
and get in there....and that all your
NEWS is good.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Forgotten Food!


           FORGOTTEN FOOD!
    Welcome to November 15th. Otherwise
 know as Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!
 You know the refrigerator. It's that big box
 in your kitchen that holds up all the magnets!
 You can also use it for storing food!
    Trouble is, sometimes it's stored too long!      
    As it's told in Holiday Insights  "Everything in
your refrigerator was once a fresh, healthy food,
ready for your consumption. It may have been a
tasty leftover, intended for later enjoyment.
Unfortunately, over the course of weeks or more,
things get pushed to the back of the refrigerator
and slowly transform into something impossible to
    No matter what you may have heard, mold on
an over refrigerated apple will not help you to
know which was is North!
    Work place refrigerators are said to be the worst.
Coworkers often share the space but, seldom, the
clean up duties!
    With Thanksgiving just around the corner you
will certainly want to get a heard start on that holiday
by observing this one!
   Be sure the potatoes you placed in your fridge way
back whenever are not growing little trees in that
seldom used bin tucked away on the bottom! Don't
try to age that cheese on your own. Remember that
expiration date on the milk is actually there for a
reason and you don't want to learn that the hard
way! So celebrate the day with a check of all the
food you've been storing in your refrigerator. And
When in doubt, throw it out!
    Hope you're not growing your own penicillin, and
that all your NEWS is good!