Saturday, July 22, 2017


    SATURDAY, JULY 22ND., 2017

   We haven't been getting around quite
as much as usual over the past eight weeks.
    So last night my wife and I loaded the
car with two of our grandkids and headed
out "to the old ballgame."
     The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders
are leading the International League even
though a lot of their players have been
called up to the New York Yankees.
      It was a great night for a ball game.
In addition to some great plays there were
French fries, ice cream, and soda to be
enjoyed while we watched the players and
a whole lot of little princesses who turned
out for Princess and Pirates Night at the
      I brought my trusty glove along to
catch any foul balls that came our way.
But all the batters, probably realizing I
was there, managed to steer clear of
our seats.
      I didn't spot any peanuts or Cracker
Jacks but there was no shortage of foods
to please most everyone in the crowd.
     Best of all we finally got to see
fireworks! Oh we've heard plenty since
the 4th of this month. But since Pocono
Downs dropped its display in favor of
funding the one in Wilkes-Barre there
has been nothing visible from our house.
     They have them every week at the
ball park so we may be going back
because they're a real "blast" there!
      By the way we did root, root, root
for the home team and it won!
      Hope those guys keep winning
and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


   FRIDAY, JULY 21ST., 2017

   I know people don't use the mail as
much as they used to.
   Emails and on line options are now
more common than letters and
postcard greetings.
    Still, our mail box is filled with
correspondence nearly every day.
And most of the envelopes have
one thing in common. They are
     We're used to them and we
realize it's our responsibility to
"pay the piper" for the services
we receive.
      You know. Things like
fuel oil for our furnace, Since
we're on a so called "Budget plan"
the home heating bills keep coming
even though it's 90 degrees outside.
      There's the telephone bill. Yes,
we still have a "land line" telephone
in our home.
       And the Electric Bill. People
keep telling us we can lower that
one by switching from one
provider to another. I'm waiting for
one to offer it for free. Then I'll
        In any case we pretty much
know how much we owe each of
our providers. So there's usually no
big surprises. Until Thursday!
         That's when we received the
Hospital Bill for my wife's open
heart surgery!
          At approximately $475,000
it suddenly makes our Cable bill
look pretty reasonable!
          Fortunately, until the government
completely goofs up Health Insurance,
we're covered. I'm so glad. I'd hate to
have to send her back to work!
          Hope your bills are low and
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


    THURSDAY, JULY 20TH., 2017
           WHERE'S THE BEEF?

   Now to be perfectly honest with you
I knew exactly where the beef was.
    It was the likes of bagels, English
muffins, juice, soda, and popcorn that
had me a bit confused.
    We've been shopping at our local
Walmart for many years, In fact we
were customers at the much smaller
store the corporation originally
operated about a mile south of its
current location.
      We liked the smaller store. But
we knew our favorite workers would
be moving along with the store so we
followed them.
       After a year or so we began to
appreciate the larger store since it
included a nice grocery section that
seemed to meet all of our weekly
        Then. a couple weeks ago, I
set out to find an appliance bulb for
our stove. (Editor's note: You should
consider buying stock in an appliance
bulb manufacturing company since
these fixtures are apparently designed
to burn out as quickly as possible,
requiring users to purchase replacements
with great frequency!)
       The Light Bulb section was not
where I last left it! And when I did
stumble across that department there
were no appliance bulbs to be found.
       On my next visit I found the
bagels and muffins had found new
shelves, as did the popcorn, juice,
and soda.
        For some reason I still can't
comprehend the inventory is being
shifted from aisles familiar to me
to other locations.
        I'm thinking about bringing
my GPS inside on my next
shopping trip! At least they haven't
moved the beef. Yet.
          Hope they don't move the exits
and that all your NEWS is good.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017


     WEDNESDAY, JULY 19TH., 2017

    Tuesday marked 8 weeks since my wife's
open heart surgery. Although her recovery
continues the formal "structured recovery
period" is now over.
      Certain restrictions that had been in
effect have now been lifted. She can ride
in the front seat again. In fact, she can drive
if she wants.
       And although she should not be bench
pressing 200 pounds, the 10 pound lifting
restriction has also been....well....lifted!
        The initial weeks were made a little
easier by our family and friends. Folks at
our church, for instance, provided meals
that I could actually heat in the microwave
and serve to my wife.
         We got a lot of great dinners, especially
after I threatened to serve a steady diet of
Spam! The one can I actually had on hand
just sat on a cupboard shelf.
         As the days went by my wife seemed
to get stronger and stronger. Quarter mile
walks around the neighborhood grew into
two mile strolls on the local levee system!
          As I said, complete recovery will
be an on going process. But that 8 week
milestone has now been reached.
          So we celebrated at dinner.
          My wife had some left over
General Tso's Chicken!
           Me? I finally had the Spam!
           Hope all you NEWS is good!

Monday, July 17, 2017


      TUESDAY, JULY 18TH., 2017
         RAIN,RAIN, GO AWAY!

    My wife had two appointments
Monday. One at 12:30. The second
at 3:20.
     The sky looked a bit dark as we
went to the first. But the rain held
      As the time approached for the
second appointment that dark
turned to black and rumbles of
thunder seemed to be coming from
       My wife told me I was not to
follow my usual procedure of
opening her car door. As torrents
of water poured from the sky she
insisted it would be "every man
(or woman) for him or herself!
        I tossed on a small rain jacket
and a hat I keep that doesn't have
any special meaning to me and made
my dash for the vehicle.
         It's amazing how wet one can
get in 20 to 30 seconds! Without
diving into a pool or the ocean that
         I was able to pull close to the
door for that second appointment so
she could get inside quickly. I waited
in the car while the rain started, then
stopped, then started again.
         At least we were safely back at
home when the hail began to pelt our
car and the porch roof.
          Plenty of lighting and thunder
too. Enough, I think, for a week or so
          Hope it's over for awhile and
that all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


   MONDAY, JULY 17TH., 2017

  Well it's finally come! Yellow Pig Day!
  It's observed every July 17th. Although,
for the life of me, I can't seem to find it
marked on any of our numerous calendars!
   According to Yellow
Pig Day is a mathematician's holiday celebrating
yellow pigs and the number 17. What those
two thing have in common, if anything, is
totally beyond me!
    Anyway, the day has been celebrated annually
since the early 1960's, primarily on college
campuses, and primarily by mathematicians.
    My late brother was a mathematician. He
taught Math & Computer Science at Wilkes
University for years. But he never told me
about Yellow Pig Day!
    Maybe you have to be in some secret
mathematicians club?
    On campus, Yellow Pig Cake and Yellow
Pig Carols are tradition.
    You're also suppose to spend the day
thinking and working in multiples of 17.
    Ironically, even though I'm terrible in
math, the number 17 does mean something
to me. My Birthday is on September 17th
so, I'm two months away today.
    As far as a Yellow Pig is concerned, I've
never seen one and don't expect to!
    And whether I think about it 17 times or
not....none of this Yellow Pig Day adds up
to me!
    Hope you know a couple Yellow Pig
Carols...and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, July 15, 2017


  SUNDAY, JULY 16TH., 2017

    Nothing terrifying here gang!
Just a notice that this is "National'
Ice Cream Day! And that makes
today almost like Christmas!
     You are, of course, expected to
celebrate by seeking out an ice cream
stand and consuming some of the
tasty treat! The trick is to find the
best ice cream.
     Now in that respect I'm a
little like Will Rogers. I never met an
ice cream I didn't like.
         Oh there have been a couple of
flavors I never completely understood.
To me, for instance, Cotton Candy
belongs on a cardboard holder at the
circus. Not as an ingredient in an ice
cream cone!
         We've found plenty of great
Ice Cream Stands. Of course our
search didn't begin this year. We've
been looking for many years.
         "Incredible Edibles" in
Nescopeck is probably my
personal favorite. I haven't found
any other place that offers as much
high quality ice cream for such
reasonable prices! It's also a pleasant
top down drive on a hot summer day.
          But right here at home, Plains
Township, there's no question I
enjoy our stops at "Curley Cream."
Of course part of my enthusiasm
stems from tradition. I don't know
how it got started. But at this stop
my wife used to stand in line and bring
the ice cream to me! And often
that line is long!
          Lately though I've given in and
ordered for the both of us which can
get confusing, at least for me, when
she wants something that isn't
exactly on their main menu.
          Hope you'll enjoy a
cone or two from your favorite
stand and that all your NEWS
is good!



Friday, July 14, 2017


  SATURDAY, JULY 15TH., 2017
          MOOVING DAY!

   No. We're not actually moving. I
just wanted to point out the importance
of this special, although somewhat
unique, day.
    You see July 15th is "Cow Appreciation
Day." I suppose a few of you have been
celebrating since dawn.    
     Some proponents of this "holiday"
suggest you go out and give a cow a big hug
and/or a kiss. While it might sound like fun,
you don't have to go to extremes to enjoy this
special day. It can be as simple as pausing for
a moment to think about cows, and all that
they do for us.
       I started the observance a bit early by
enjoying some cheese while I wrote. I'd
love to cap the day off with a huge steak
but I'm not sure if that qualifies as
"appreciating" the bovine!
        Hope there's milk in the fridge and
that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, July 13, 2017


   FRIDAY, JULY 14TH., 2017
          A PLUG NICKEL!

   Although I can't remember ever having
seen one I do remember hearing the phrase
"It isn't worth a plug nickel."
     I looked it up.
     Some early coins were made with a
small silver piece added to the center to
increase the value to equal its face amount.
      But sometimes, when people got
change, they found that center disc, or
;plug'  had been removed! So, in the case of
a nickel, it wasn't really worth 5 cents.
      I discovered another definition for a
Plug Nickel yesterday!
      I took my grandson to the mall to
ride on a couple of those small amusement
devices designed to capture kid's attention
and grandparent's quarters.
      There's not a whole lot to choose from.
It's not a Knoebels! Still, my grandson
enjoys the 90 seconds or so he gets aboard
a rocking train with a figure of Barney
sitting along side.
       There's a merry-go-round-like horse
the kids can mount too.
        But at least three of the attractions
were inoperable! In each case someone
had plugged the quarter slot with nickels
which could not be removed by hand!
        Plug Nickels if you will!
        It worked out OK for us as both
Barney and the horse ate up the
quarters and my grandson was happy.
        Oh, by the way, the change
machine was working perfectly.
        Hope the nickels come out and
that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017


    THURSDAY, JULY 13TH., 2017

    Much like a movie producer checks
the best locations for his feature film
my wife and I have been checking
various walking trails throughout our
area as she continues her rehabilitation
following open heart surgery some 7
weeks ago.
     We never realized how many choices
there are close to home.
      On Wednesday we found ourselves
on the levee system along the Susquehanna
River walking south from the Borough of
      Our starting time proved to be a poor
choice! The heat and humidity around 1pm
was probably similar to that in the Sahara
      A group of young children passed us
as we got started. Each on his or her own
motorized scooters! I wished I had one
long before I got to the one mile marker!
      Still, the route was pleasant enough.
We watched a helicopter land, successfully
by the way, at the Wyoming Valley Airport.
Another larger plane came in too. Each
close enough to watch without being too
close for comfort!
       It was also neat to see a trio of men
casting their fishing lines into the river
in the hope of making that big catch!
       We've walked a couple of the
levees now and we enjoy them. Although
we find ourselves wishing for some shade
trees every now and then,
       There's also the realization that rain
could prevent us from using those trails.
       A friend suggested we join her and
others who do their hiking at the mall.
Of course she also suggested we join them
at 7:30 or 8am. Regular readers already
know I don't recognize those as official
times of day unless there are extraordinary
       Later might work for us if we can
stay on the path and out of the shops!
Hope they're not too crowded around
Noon and that all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017


    WEDNESDAY, JULY 12TH., 2017

     I met my buddy in the parking lot of
a local Walmart.
     The exchange was quick! I gave him
the money and he gave me my package.
A brown box carried in two plastic bags.
      I wondered what people who saw us
must have been thinking? And what they
might think if they knew that brown box
carried merchandise from Cuba?
       Perhaps Cuban cigars? Or something
restricted by the existing regulations?
       Oh wait a minute! We're all thinking
about Cuba the country. This package
came from Cuba, New York! The
        And while there were no prized
cigars inside my package did contain a
treasure! A two pound block of Extra
Share New York Cheese!
        My buddy's Mom, who just
celebrated her 99th Birthday, lives in
Cuba so I asked him to bring me a
supply of the cheese when he
returned from her party.
         He brought me some after his
last visit and, in our house, it lasted
exactly one week!
         Hope he visits his mom a lot
and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, July 10, 2017


   TUESDAY, JULY 11TH., 2017
          THE GREEN MILE!

    My wife and I both walked the
green mile Monday. Unlike the movie,
however, the only thing waiting for us
at the end of the line was our car.
     In our case the green was provided
by the steep hills of grass that make
up both sides of the Flood Protection
levee in Kingston.
      The levee provided an interesting
and entertaining venue for our walk.
       There was a Softball game underway
at the Third Avenue Recreational Complex,
a combination Cheerleading and Football
Camp on the soccer fields nearby, and
the roar of a train as it passed overhead
on a long bridge that carries rail traffic
over the Susquehanna!
         And you never felt alone. Other
walkers, joggers, bikers, roller bladers,
and roller skaters were constantly
passing by.
          We saw a couple of dogs and a
groundhog. But there was no sign of
Mr. Jangles.
          By the time we finished we had
done two miles. One out and one back!
          Hope to go back again soon, and
that all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, July 9, 2017


    MONDAY, JULY 10TH., 2017

      July 10th is National Blueberry
Picking Day!
      Over 90% of all blueberries are
grown in North America.  In 2012,
the U.S. harvested total: 564.4 million
pounds of cultivated and wild blueberries.
       But I have the Blueberry blues!
       Several years ago I bought a
blueberry plant for my wife. She planted
it in the backyard.
       We've enjoyed a fairly good crop
of the delicious berries every year since
       But last year my wife decided the
bush was growing just a bit too much.
So she pruned it.
      Apparently it didn't work. I can't
find any prunes on the bush!
      I couldn't find a lot of blueberries
 either! In fact I only found one as I
checked the bush Sunday. And it was
       Blueberry's medicinal benefits include
improved memory and brain health. So, as
my regular readers know, I could use a
big batch!
       Fortunately the Farmer's Markets
have started to open and we each have
vouchers that can be used at one of
       Think I'll use mine to pick out some
blueberries. And, maybe, some prunes!
Hope your bush is filled with berries
and that all your NEWS is good.


Saturday, July 8, 2017


              SUNDAY, JULY 9TH., 2017

     Some of the family traveled to Country
Cupboard in Lewisburg Saturday for a
informal Birthday celebration for our
daughter Missy (July 11th) and our
grand daughter Jenna (July 12th.)
       We just ordered from the menu. But
we were delighted to learn that, at 23-
months-old, grandson Anthony qualified
for a free Buffet dinner!
        He did well with the carved roast
beef and the baked corn. So, of course,
he was allowed to get some desert as
       The cake he and his mom selected
looked really good. The only problem
was the fact  he didn't want anyone
to feed him! Every time his mon tried
to give him a piece of cake on the
fork she held he made it very clear
he wanted to do it himself!
       So, the decision was made. He
had his cake. Let him eat it!
        And he did!
        He made at least two attempts
with fork in hand and hat on his head.
Then he got down to business!
         The hat came off and the fork
went down! His hand reached out,
grabbed the cake and he ate it, as
Frank Sinatra might have put it,
"My way!"
         Me? I just snapped the
pictures then got him some
ice cream which, by the way, he
allowed me to feed to him!
          Hope he doesn't get soup
next time, and that all your NEWS
is good!

Friday, July 7, 2017


        SATURDAY, JULY 8TH., 2017

     Well I kept the light on our front porch on
for you until Thursday night.
      That's when I noticed that little bulb, with
the twisty glass that was suppose to help save
the world and last pretty near forever, had
burned out after about three years. Still not a
bad run.
      I actually noticed it going the other night
when it seemed to flicker with every cherry
bomb the neighbors were setting off. So, in a
sense, its demise was not unexpected.
      It had also grown dim. At least I think it
was dim. Some sort of residue, probably the
ashes of two or thee thousand moths covered
the glass fixture through which the light was
suppose to shine.
     In any case the bulb needed to be replaced.
     Imagine my surprise, and delight, when I
found light bulbs at the market just like I used
to buy! No twisted bulb! Just a regular good old
fashion light bulb! It was just like I remembered.
Except for the price! They've gone up a bit since
I last bought one at the Dollar Store, thinking
they were going to be banned forever.
      Anyhow, a few minutes with the screwdriver
and a wet cloth, to clean the glass, and I was in
business again.
      The porch is bright and, as usual, I'll be
keeping the lights on all night! Even if I don't
save the world!
      Hope the moths stay away and that all
your NEWS is good!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


    FRIDAY, JULY 7TH., 2017

  My wife, grandson, and I paid a visit
to the Electric City Trolley Museum in
Scranton Thursday. It's truly a treasure
right in our own backyard!
    We've been there before a number of
times. We've toured the museum and
taken the trolley excursion, a really
great ride that includes a mile long
tunnel! Tunnels are always fun!
     But on our Thursday trip we also
had a chance to visit the Restoration
Shed located at PNC Field in Moosic.
     And that's where I saw it! Car #
324! You didn't get meals on trolley
cars. But, in a sense, you could call it
a "Dining Car."
       You see Car # 324 once rode the
rails in the city of Scranton. Back in
1941 it was stripped of its motor and
wheels and sold off.
       Eventually it was turned into a
diner in the community of Gouldsboro,
not far from the city. But as the diner
grew walls were built around the old
street car and most people never knew
there was a trolley inside!
        Back in 2000 the restaurant came
down and the body of Car # 324 was
acquired by the Trolley Museum. It
looked, quite frankly, like a wooden
        Imagine my surprise when I saw
the trolley in the restoration shop,
looking just like it did when it was
brand new in Scranton back in the day!
        There's still a lot of work to be
done. It doesn't run yet. But in a year
or so the folks at the museum hope to
have Car #324 running back in the
city that was once it's home. It's the
only know surviving Scranton Trolley
car! All the other trollies at the museum
originally ran in Philadelphia.
          Hats off to the restoration crew
for a job so far well done!
          Visit the museum, take the
excursion and, given a chance, check
out the trolley that became a diner and
will soon be an operating trolley again!
           Hope we all get to ride it and
that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017


      THURSDAY, JULY 6TH., 2017

    I joined my wife for a short
"constitutional" along the Susquehanna
in West Pittston Wednesday. I used to
walk there nearly every day till life got
in the way.
    Our path took us past the old railroad
bridge that once carried freight trains
across the river and into the Coxton Rail
     It doesn't anymore. It's not a case of
being a bridge too far. It's a bridge too
    As I glanced across I could see a tank
car on the other side. It looked like it was
on the track approaching the trestle rather
than actually on the bridge itself.
     My imagination carried me back to
a time when trains roared over that span,
much to the delight of any neighborhood
kids who might have been watching.
      I'm not sure how long it's been since
the bridge was used. At least by trains.
      I admit to having walked out along
the tracks a few years back then climbing
on to one of the concrete piers where I
cast my surf rod fishing line into the
water below. I can only remember
catching one fish which, I believe, died
from fright as I reeled it up the approximately
two or three stories from the river to the
top of the pier.
       And even though the rails were rusty
and no train had passed for years I will
also admit to having an uneasy feeling as
I walked along the tracks towards my
fishing perch, wondering if that might be
the day the express came back!  
       The other day I learned that the State
has come up with money to demolish the
old bridge. I can understand why many
folks would just like to see it gone.
        The trains don't run there anymore
and I haven't fished from it for many years.
Still, in some strange way, I think I'll miss
seeing it. Guess it's just seeing something
that old vanish from the scene.
          Have a great day friends! Hope all
your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, July 4, 2017


               TAKE A HIKE!

     The cardiac rehabilitation folks have
been encouraging my wife to walk as she
recovers from her open heart surgery.
      A level area would be ideal but,
unfortunately, even the streets around
our house are on inclines. Still, she's
been getting in two strolls a day that
add up to a mile.
      On Tuesday, we celebrated the
holiday with a short drive to nearby
White Haven where we decided to
hike a bit on a section of the Lehigh
Gorge Park Trail.
       It was nearly as busy at the
Interstate highway!
       It's amazing how quietly a
bicycle can come up behind you
without being heard! That happened
a lot so be began to walk single file
so, if there was a collision, they'd
only get me.
       Fortunately all the riders were
able to get around us without testing
the theory! We were just a bit concerned
about one little kid who seemed to need
the whole trail. But even she rolled by
without incident.
       There was also an abundance of
people walking their dogs along the
old railroad bed. Most of the dogs
checked us out. But none seemed to
find us either dangerous or
        With all the distractions and a
mostly level path I'd say we did a little
over two miles!
        I'd consider it a major victory
except, perhaps, for the ice cream
stand we found just after leaving the
        Hope we still get credit for one
mile and that all your NEWS is

Monday, July 3, 2017


      TUESDAY, JULY 4TH., 2017
            SUNNY SIDE UP!

    Well it's July 4th everybody. And there's
plenty of reason to celebrate!
     It is, of course, Independence Day!
     It's also son-in-law Josh Boub's
Birthday (the real reason for all those
     I knew about both of those big
observances, But there's another I just
heard about.
     It seems that July 4th is "Sidewalk
Egg Frying Day."
     Proponents of this not so well known
"holiday" say the excessive heat often
found at this time of the year makes for
perfect sidewalk egg frying. We've
certainly all heard people say "it's hot
enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk."
      Almost seems a shame so many
people will be wasting their time
starting up grills for hamburgers and
hot dogs!
       So if you're sweltering in
Independence day heat, lite the
fireworks in the yard, put the flag
on the porch, and crack a couple
Grade A's on the sidewalk!
        Hope you remember the toast
and that all your NEWS is good!