Saturday, March 31, 2018


     SUNDAY, APRIL 1ST., 2018

     There was a great movie staring
Jimmy Stewart called "Harvey." It was
all about a good hearted gentleman
named Elwood P. Dobbs whose best
friend was an invisible rabbit named
       Elwood saw Harvey everywhere
although no one else did. Most people
thought he was crazy!
        Remembering Elwood I was a
little hesitant to mention the fact I've
been seeing rabbits all over the place
over the last couple weeks!
         Unlike Elwood though I wasn't
the only one. My 2-year-old grandson
spotted one while visiting the Laurel
Mall in Hazleton with me.
         They immediately struck up a
          The next one, or maybe the same
one for all that I know, showed up at
the Plains Lions Club Easter Egg hunt.
The grandson and his sister as well
cozied up to him, or here,,,I can never
be sure, and stayed that way for a
          Before we knew it we were at
as Easter party at the Super Bounce
in Wyoming Borough.
           Sure enough there was the
buddy posing for pictures and sharing
high fives with kids and parents alike!
             There were a few reluctant kids
here and there but, for the most part,
children seem to take to the bunny much
faster that to Santa at Christmas!
              He, or she, seemed a very
pleasant critter but I'm sort of hoping
it won't be a common sight once the
holiday is over!
              Happy Easter! Hope all your
NEWS is good!

Friday, March 30, 2018


     SATURDAY, MARCH 31ST., 2018
                   GOING HOME!

    My wife and I hosted our two-year-old
grandson for a sleepover Friday into
    I thought it might be a good idea to
give him a taste of his heritage so I
headed "home."
    In my case that involved a trip to
    We began with a stop at the Laurel
Mall although, in all fairness, it wasn't
a part of my growing up. That's because
I pretty much grew up before the mall
existed. But the mall does have
escalators and since the Leader Department
store, where I first road the moving stairs,
is long gone this visit gave him a glimpse
of the ride I came to enjoy.
      I drove him past the home in which
I was born although I'm not sure it made
much of an impression.
      The same could probably be said
for my elementary school. Since he's
not yet in kindergarten the neighborhood
school tradition isn't exactly in his blood.
       But there's one taste of my old home
town that clearly was a success. We
stopped at Jimmy's Hot Dogs for lunch
and there's no doubt it's one tradition
that may well extend to this next
       It's nice to leave a legacy of
good taste!
       Hope he learns to hold the
onions and that all your NEWS is

Thursday, March 29, 2018


     FRIDAY, MARCH 30TH., 2018

     Well, in my case, what happens in
Florida has to be shared with all my blog
      Most of you have already see some
of my photos and read a few of my stories
about our family reunion trip to the
Sunshine State. I've got a few more
pictures to share but you don't always
have a camera on, aimed, and ready
when things happen.
      Like the time we were driving
along the highway and saw the Pig!
      You're used to seeing animals
by the road when you're from
Pennsylvania. It's usually a deer or
a dog or a cat. But this is the first
time I've seen a pig, an especially
large pig, standing there as though
waiting for a  ride!
       It's hard to describe the size
except to say it was large enough
to accommodate a saddle and
rider were one available! There
was a lot of bacon standing there!
       Then there was the Bingo game.
The placed was packed and it
was very appearant a lot of these
players were fanatics! Many
played 6 to 8 cards at a time! They
had their own collection of Magic
Markers to check each number
called. You got the impression
you'd better limit any conversation
to between games!
        I noticed a lot of the regular
players brought good luck charms!
If they didn't win there was a good
chance their "lucky charm" would
be replaced with something else.
         I don't think the charms
were especially effective. We
didn't have any and lost just as
many games as them!
         One of the most unexpected
happenings took place in Disney
World. I was waiting for my wife
and sister-in-law when I met a
very pleasant gentleman from
Argentina. His English was very
limited but he was able to tell me
he was there on his honeymoon.
            Moments later his
beautiful bride joined us and I
offered my congratulations to
which she kissed me on my
cheek. We all chatted, as best
we could, for a few minutes then
I wished them the best of luck
as they were about to leave. To
which she kissed me on my cheek
          They had walked just out of
sight when my wife and sister-in-
law returned. Too bad they missed
the exchange.......I think.
           Perhaps we should visit
Argentina some day. People they
are obviously very friendly!
           Have a great day everybody!
Hope all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


   THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH., 2018

     We were looking for some sights to
see on our return trip from Florida. Since
the morning air seemed a bit cool in
Virginia my wife suggested we go where
it was a bit warmer. Shenandoah Caverns!
54 degrees year round!
     This giant cave was discovered in 1884
by two boys who noticed cool air coming
from a hole in the ground. They climbed
down a 275 foot twisting shaft into a
wonder world of mineral formations
that has become a major tourist attraction!
     It's the only cavern in Virginia that
has an elevator access! That makes those
275 feet down a lot easier these days.
But there's still about a mile of pathway
inside that has to be traversed and that's
all by foot.
      You're cautioned about keeping
your head down as you make your way
through narrow passage ways. I still
managed to tap mine twice.
       There's specialty lighting that
highlights the minerals in the
crystalline formations. As we moved
along out guide switched off the
lights behind us. Those sections got
dark pretty fast!
       There was an echo too. I found
myself wanting to shout out for
Becky Thatcher to see if she might
be out there in the darkness somewhere.
If you don't know Becky you should be
reading a lot more!
        There were formations that look
just like bacon which got these caverns
a mention in National Geographic. You
should know, however , they don't taste
like bacon. That's what I was told. I
don't know first hand. You're not
allowed to touch let alone taste the
Stalactites or Stalagmites!
        Five of us and our guide made it
in and out in about an hour. Perfect
timing. As we came out a bus full of
elementary school students were
just headed in!
         Hope they know, or learn, about
Becky and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28TH., 2018
                  ON THE TRAIL!

     We've been stopping along the way as
we return from Florida to "smell the roses."
Actually it's to see some sights.
       Our Tuesday journey took us high into
the mountains of Virginia as we abandoned
some of the Interstate for the Blue Ridge
        We were limited as to how far we
could travel as a Federal section of the
popular road remains closed after a snow
storm hit the state last week. The feds don't
maintain their section of the Parkway in
the winter. Why am I not surprised?
         At over 2,000 feet you can see for
many miles. Usually!
         Unfortunately we found a pea
soup like fog coating the top of the
mountain ridge which limited our
visibility to just a few spots here and
there. What we did see, however, was
both impressive and a bit scary!
        Many trees along the ridge were
coated with ice and a strong wind was
blowing frozen chunks onto to the
road and our car! Coupled with that
fog and mist it seemed like we were
driving into a Stephen King story!
         The twisty road that eventually
took us  back to civilization was a
challenge and a good test of both my
steering and our car's brakes!
          It was a neat adventure which
ended in a small town restaurant where
he enjoyed some fried chicken before
retiring for the last leg of our journey
back to northeastern PA.
         It's been a wonderful trip and
I'll be sharing some pictures and
stories over the next few days.
         Thanks to Karl for watching
the house  while we've been gone
and to the rest of you for coming
along by reading this log....or blog!
          Hope all your NEWS is good!

Monday, March 26, 2018


          TUESDAY, MARCH 27TH., 2018

    We stopped on our return trip from Florida to
take a trolley tour of Savannah, Georgia!
     The place truly is like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you're going to get. Or,
in this case, see!
      The city is filled with beautiful historic
buildings. Many look exactly the same as they
did when Savannah was the cotton shipping
capital of the south.
       It's hard to believe that, when formed, this
community had some very strict rules.
       No Catholics. No drinking. No slavery!
That last one truly surprised me until I learned
it was a neighbor to the north (North Carolina)
that pressured Savannah into changing the
regulation in the name of commerce!
       And let's get back to that "box of chocolates."
The tour company with which we traveled has
a number of notable people step on the bus during
you trip round the city to add some "spice" to
the trip.
        Our group was especially happy to have
Forest Gump (or a reasonable facsimile) board
the trolley to say hello and offer some of his
sound advice. It was appropriate since the
scene where Forest is sitting on a bench
waiting for a bus and telling his stories was
filmed in Savannah! And the feather you saw
falling at the end of the movie was dropped
from a church steeple in the downtown.
         After the tour a fine dinner at a local
pub joined by my wife's sister. All in all
a really great day!
         That's all I have to say about that!
Hope all your NEWS is good!


   MONDAY, MARCH 27TH., 2018
           HEADING NORTH!

    My wife's family reunion has finally
ended so she and I and one of her sisters
loaded up the car to begin our trip north!
     We probably could have covered a
lot of miles were it not for the fact there's
a place called Disney World just about an
hour from the place where everyone got
       It seemed like a stop there might
really add to the great week we all
enjoyed. So we did!
       We've been to Disney several times
over a number of years but things don't
change there a lot.
        It's still filled with magical attractions
and entertainment that make you feel like a
kid again. It's also still filled with people!
Thousands of them with a few extra
thousands thrown it just now as College
students enjoy their spring break!
         It wasn't unusual to wait in line for
45 or 50 minutes for some of the attractions!
Fortunately for me my wife thought to bring
along a cane that opens into a small seat so
I could help myself along and take a rest
while we waited!
          The fireworks show is still the best
we've ever seen and a special light show
using Cinderella's Castle as a "screen"
proved a great way to close what was a
rather long day!
            We'll start on the next leg of our
trip back to reality today. We're looking
forward to seeing the kids and grandkids
for Easter services and a family dinner.
          Hope you've warmed it up just a
bit back home for us and that all your
NEWS is good!

Saturday, March 24, 2018


  SUNDAY, MARCH 25TH., 2018
           BARGIN HUNTING!

    Our last full day with family in
Florida included a full schedule. And
it started early!
    My sister-in-law told us this was
the day to hit the yard sales and
recruited my wife and another sister
to make the rounds.
     There was no objection to my
coming along probably because there's
always a chance someone will buy
something heavy. Otherwise men are
not a usual accessory for these type
shopping trips.
     I generally just watched over their
shoulders as they scanned the clothing,
kitchen ware, and odds and ends set
out on card and snack tables.
     We didn't need our check book.
It was 50 cents here, a dollar there,
and any good offer on our part was
quickly accepted.
      That's when I spotted the small
Digital camera. A Sony with all of
the cords and chargers. It was marked
$15 but the seller was OK with my
ten buck offer so now I've got a small
pocket sized camera and I feel like a
real yard sale shopper!
     Next we hit the pool! The sun got
really hot so this was a perfect place
to relax for a short time. Much more
than a short time and my dermatologist
would probably have to clear his
summer schedule just to check and
treat me! Too much of a good thing
can be bad!
     We capped the day off with a
chicken bar-b-q at the development
where we've been hanging out for
the past week. The food and company
was great but, somehow, our 50/50
ticket number wasn't drawn!
      Still we came away winners
with a week full of family fun
and togetherness!
       Hope we get to do it again and
that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, March 23, 2018


   SATURDAY, MARCH 24TH., 2018
             DRESS FOR DINNER?

      Maybe it was our visit to the warm
waters where he saw giant Manatees and
all kinds of fish swimming near them.
      Maybe it was our visit to a nearby
       Whatever the reason someone in
our family reunion group suggested we
have fish for dinner. That immediately
prompted someone else to tell us "The
Fish House" was a "must see attraction"
during our visit to Florida.
       Pictures of a very plush and likely
expensive restaurant flashed through my
mind. I wasn't dressed for a fancy place
but that turned out to be no problem!
       The Fish House turned out to be a
sort of Hot Dog Stand featuring seafood!
Everybody around these parts knows it
well but tourists tend to drive right past
never knowing it's great reputation.
       You choose your dinner or sandwich,
take a number, then pick your picnic table
to wait for your number to be called.
        The menu was impressive and the
food was really great! We got there just
in time to beat the afternoon lines that
show up every weekend and especially
on Fridays!
         Several in our gang enjoyed
scallops while I feasted on a Catfish
dinner! It was a real treat and sort of
proved the old saying "Don't judge a
book by its cover."
          Glad I didn't bother to dress up!
          Hope you don't miss those nearly
hidden treasures and that all your NEWS
is good.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


  FRIDAY, MARCH 23RD., 2018

    Well it finally happened! Our family
reunion in Florida went to the dogs. The
Dog Track that is!
     I had been alerted the day before that
the Thursday plan included a visit to the
dog racing track in Sarasota.
     I've never been to a dog race before.
I tried to imagine just how tiny jockeys
would have to be to ride a dog!
     Turns out they don't have riders! The
dogs, Greyhounds like the ones you see
on the sides of those busses, chase this
mechanical rabbit around a track to see
which one can cross the finish line first.
     Much like a horse race you are
encouraged to place monetary bets on
the K9 you believe will win the race, or
come in second or third.
      My attempt to bet on the mechanical
rabbit was rejected. Too bad. It's the only
bet I would have won. I did think I had a
sure bet in the final race but my hopes
were dashed when Dog # 5 failed to win,
place, or show. In fact it came in last.
Unfortunately there are no door prizes.
       My wife and a couple of her siblings
had better results although no one walked
away able to buy the Maserati I saw
parked just outside. I assume it belongs
to the guy who owns the track.
        Oh well. My Blog readers are still
first with me! Hope you're all winners
and that all your NEWS is good.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


    THURSDAY, MARCH 22ND., 2018

       Before we started up Chopper 22 we
had to make sure no one was standing
close to the rotor blades. It was a
procedure that began back in the days
when airplane engines had to be
started by someone yanking the
propeller very quickly, hoping the
motor would catch.
      You yelled "Clear!"  That is "stay
away lest you be in trouble."
       I have been attempting to follow that
advice as my wife, her sisters, and
brothers reunite in Florida this week.
       Things happen very quickly with
this gang. It's almost as though they were
planned and yet there's no obvious
planner! It's like the first one that shouts
an idea gets followed.
       On Wednesday, after an hour or so
on my own with a friend who happens
to live in this area part of the year, I
found the siblings seeking shelter from
the bone chilling 53 degrees. They were
looking for an indoor activity.
       Someone  said "Dominos."
What I heard was "Clear!"
        I last played dominos with my
grand mother who passed away when
I was in 4th grade. I liked playing with
her but the only time I've really enjoyed
dominos is when I see someone set up
elaborate rows of them which are then
toppled in a somewhat artistic fashion.
       I sought shelter on a nearby couch
but, eventually I found the "excitement"
of the contest was putting me to sleep.
So I took a nap!
      I awoke about the time their board
game ended and they migrated to the
house where I had been resting.
      That's where someone saw and
yelled "Oh there's a new puzzle here."
       I heard "Clear" and quickly
sought the protection of my laptop.
       The next events were dinner and
a movie which seemed perfectly safe
so I joined in.
      I've already been told there's more
"fast action" just ahead. I'll try to be
ready to recognize whether it's an
exciting and interesting activity or
a cautionary yell of "Clear!"
      Hope you're "clear" when you have
to be and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018



   You'll find a lot of things in Florida.
There are Palm Trees, oranges, and even
some old friends.
    On Tuesday we saw Judy Woodring,
a Pennsylvania native who graduated with
my wife just a "few years" ago.
     She was immediately shanghaied,
I mean welcomed. by her old classmate
and the brothers and sisters who are
gathered here for a family reunion.
       After scanning my wife's treasured
scrap book from those school days Judy
and I accompanied the crowd to a gourmet
meal of hot dogs and beans at the
development clubhouse.
        We were then drafted, I mean
invited, to join this crew in a game of
Shuffleboard. Both Judy and I offered
to do something else like count stones
around the parking lot but our efforts
to avoid this geriatric classic were
ignored and we found ourselves on the
court. That turned out to be a good thing
for those appointed as our team mates
since both of the teams to which we
were assigned won!
          We were able to avoid the
playoffs thanks to a severe thunderstorm
and tornado warning that had buckets
of rain pounding the homes here for
several hours. I, and I believe Judy,
were never so glad to hear thunder
as when we were standing there with
those shuttle board sticks in our hands!
         We spent the next several hours
in pleasant conversation as each of us
took turns trying to balance an egg
on it's top (or bottom), a feat rumored
to be easy during the Vernal Equinox.
Don't believe everything you hear!
          After several games of charades
Judy was able to escape, I mean had
to leave, to head on home. I, however,
am still a prisoner, I mean guest, here
at the "ranch."
          Seriously though, I believe
everyone had a very enjoyable day,
especially having survived the
heavy storms that roared through
this part of the "Sunshine State."
Like I said, don't believe everything
you hear!
           Hope we see Judy again soon.
That she brings more peanut butter
brownies, and that all your NEWS
is good.

Monday, March 19, 2018


   TUESDAY, MARCH 20TH., 2018

    Generally speaking I like games.
Baseball, football, I'll even get into a
board game of Battleship with my
grandson Jason. He likes card games
but those are definitely not my favorite.
      Last night I was recruited to join
our vacationing gang in one of the two
games most often associated with
geriatrics. Those games are Shuffleboard
and Bingo.
       By a stroke of luck I was able to
avoid Shuffelboard. I was not as lucky
when it came to the Bingo tournament!
       The development in which my
brother-in-law, his wife, and my sister-
in-law live features a Bingo game every
Monday night that attracts people from
all around the area.
        I was cautioned, in advance, that
a quiet demeanor would be appropriate
and that no alcohol would be permitted.
After seeing the plans for the games I
really could have used a stiff drink!
        Those of you who remember
traditional Bingo may well recall a
card with the letters B-I -N-G-O
printed on top and columns of blocks
below with numbers in each block.
        As the letter and numbers were
drawn you covered the ones on your
card until you had filled in a straight
row. When you did you had Bingo!
         We ended up with many cards
on our table. But in this new version
you're required to form diamonds, or
small sets of blocks, or something
similar to win your game.
         I couldn't help but notice that,
unlike other games where crowds
cheer for the winners, it's the losers
in Bingo that raise up a roar!
        When a winner calls out "Bingo"
everyone else moans because each of
them believe they were just one or
two numbers away from getting the
prize for themselves!
          It was truly delightful to spend
some more time with family. As for
Bingo, I think I'll take up cards!
          Hope you got all the right
numbers in your game, whatever it
is, and that all your NEWS is good.