Well, these odds and ends are important to me, at least.
They’re events that I don’t want to forget. And, since I cut out and save columns as do some of you, I’m recording the events right here. Hey, giveme some slack! I’m old and I forget things fast.
The most important recent event was Wolf and Mary-JoMerk’s Annual July Fourth/ Wedding Anniversary/Wolf’s Birthday Party, which began on Sunday just as clouds cleared away and sunshinebrightened Fly Creek. About 50 people milled on the Merks’ side lawn among decorated tables that were almost going bow-legged from the food piled on them.
We were first told that Wolf wouldn’t be coming down for the party. Still waiting for a liver transplant, he was really tired and needed to stay in bed.
But not so. Halfway into the party, someone shouted, “Here’s Wolf!” and everyone stood, whooping and clapping, as Wolf stepped out onto the patio. When the noise abated, he eyeballed the crowd and showed his unique wit.
“HEY!” he shouted with mock outrage. “YOU PEOPLE GET THE HELL OFF MY GRASS!” My best buddy is still at the top of his game.
Another wonderful party had Anne and me at our neighbors down at the east end of our road. Janet and Victor Erway’s spacious back lawn was half covered by a big tent that shaded a splendid buffet and eight tables surrounded by happy eaters. And happy listeners, too. For ona small stage also under the tent was Mary Dougherty and her guitar, joined a drummer whose serene pleasure in playing was infectious, and by a guitarist/fiddle player.
Calling that man a fiddleplayer underrates him. He’s a true violinist who’s completely at home in R&B, country music, and blue grass.
As Mary sang, he often followed her melody with a perfect descant that hovered angelically a third or so above it.
And Mary! I’d heard her at the Farmer’s Market the previous day and had marveled at her own compositions. I surely don’t have a critic’s knowledge of music theory, but Mary’s chord progressions were so unexpected, but beautifully apt that my jaw kept dropping.
All that skill, seemingly so artless, was in her playing at the Erway’s, too, backed up by those other players.
Then, for their second set, their organizer, Scott Anderson, joined “Jellyroll”. His mellow baritone complemented Mary’s soulful alto to perfection. Oh, thanks, Erways! What a treat you gave your friends and neighbors.
Still another happy event took Anne and me to Canada for the marriage of Cheryl Probert, her dear cousin and my dear cousin-in-law.
I had bonded at once with Cheryl’s Brian, a bright, warm, truly zany man and a talented musician. Their wedding took place right next to Lake Ontario and on a dockside promenade.
Brian Shedden, mind you, sang his beautiful bride down the aisle to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Beautiful,” accompanying himself on the guitar. What a guy! Could you do that? Not me! I’d have better luck juggling five bowling balls. Flaming ones.
The other high point of the wedding was something that would have brought most brides to tears. Before and during the reception we’d all been admiring the wedding cake, stunning in its simplicity. Three tiered it was, the tiers graduated in size, and two and three raised on delicate Doric pillars. The thick white icing had been painstakingly dimpled with, I imagine, a small spoon, giving the surface slight depths that picked up light and shadow from every direction. Oh, and between the pillars and around each layer’s edge were full-blown pink roses. An astounding cake!
But, as it turned out, structurally unsound. Literally moments before the cake cutting, two of the top layer’s pillars must have sunken deeper into the thick icing. That layer tipped, then slid, then dropped onto the floor with a horrifying PLOP! Its dimpled, rose-laden top was face down,of course.
Disaster, you say! Not all the kings horses and men couldhave put that cake together again. Oh, woe!
But no. The smiling bride stepped through the upset folks squatting to clear up the mess, picked up the plate that had held the late layer, daintily sampled a smear of icing, and nodded her head enthusiastically. What a girl!
Next, Cheryl and Brian, arms around one another’s waist and together holding the knife, cut into the second layer, now promoted to first. All smiles and laughter. What a pair!
Finally, friends, a great addition to Fly Creek dining, especially if Cooperstown places (including the stellar Bocca Osteria!) have lines out the doors.
You know that, for lunch out here, we’ve had delicious quick fare at the General Store (right at the blinker light) and at the Fly Creek Cider Mill (not a half mile north of it). And for a more leisured lunch, there’s Harmony House, with great food and as comfortable an ambiance as you could imagine.
But now a large banner outside Portabello’s announces “LUNCH.” And lunch indeed it is, indoors or at the umbrella tables outside. A special lunch menu offers a dozen selections, none over ten dollars.
There are the salads, hamburgers, and steak sandwiches that you’d expect, but nice surprises like littleneck clams, pulled pork, and a special Buffalo chicken, bacon and Provolone sandwich that’s spicy enough to call for a sip of iced tea with every bite.
And so, if you need to escape the madding crowd (yep, that’s spelled right), flee to Fly Creek. The livin’s easy out here.
Well, these odds and ends are important to me, at least.
Film examines Lance Armstrong's fall
There's nothing more heartwarming than someone overcoming impossible odds and achieving the pinnacle of success. The last thing you want is for that story to fall apart. When it happens to an icon like Lance Armstrong it's even more difficult to accept. He is someone you'd want to admire since he was both a champion and a do-gooder. How does the public react when it all comes crashing down?Continued ...
Taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone
I never thought that I would be trapped in so many whirlwinds of stressful thoughts about where I'm taking my life. There are so many different options to choose from, and so many decisions that have to be made. I feel like I am falling into an endless pit, awaiting my final decision that will inevitably lead me into the unknown that is my future.Continued ...
Denmark meeting expectations
Hej! My name is Max Ofer, and I am in Denmark through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. I live in a small town called Hjallerup, consisting of 3000 people, in the northern part of Jutland, the main peninsula of Denmark.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around The Globe: Settling in and having a smooth transition
Oi! I'm spending my junior year as a Rotary Exchange student in Brazil.Continued ...
Teen Talk: Getting working experience has had its bumps in the road
Stepping into the working world has proven to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.Continued ...
Getting to attend a journalism and media conference
What has social media got to do with journalism? Why does the media focus on the topics it does, and how does that shape public opinion?Continued ...
Local Voice From Around the Globe:Thinking, 'How can this be?' all over again
I have at last bid farewell to India, and come home. However, the thread of my story did not stop at the departure gate, but continues on uninhibited, having only changed course.Continued ...
There is good, there is bad and then there is high school
Looking back at all my endeavors since freshmen year in high school, I realize that life moves on in a blink of an eye.Continued ...
Getting to know a man called 'Ee-yah'
Hughie Jennings died in 1928, but I feel like I know him well.Continued ...
Local Voice From Around the Globe: Keeping Thai while re-entering America
As I've begun my American life again, spending time with friends, holding up a job, etc, I've been able to stay above the tide of reverse culture shock and the sort of post-exchange despair that is common at this time for exchange students by meditating on some Thai-inspired thoughts.Continued ...
A new kind of racing is turning a dream into reality
There are really no words to describe getting on a race horse, getting behind the starting gate and taking off full speed at a trot. All I can say is it is a bumpy ride that gets the cheeks bouncing and your helmet pushing back in the wind.Continued ...
Fight to keep chicken alive has taken several attempts
I agree with the narrator of Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" that good fences make good neighbors - most of the time.Continued ...
'Read My Lips' may not be a memoir for everyone
Sometimes an actor or actress can be defined by a singular performance. Everyone remembers Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind," but most people would be hard pressed to name any of her other films (I can name one, "Caesar & Cleopatra," only because I saw it for a class in college).Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: It's been a year of inexplicable joy, struggle, hilarity and triumph
Recently I went with my host mother to travel through a central province of Thailand called Kanchanaburi. Here, I was able to sit among and pet sleeping tigers at a temple that serves as a tiger reserve/zoo.Continued ...
Attack on Sacket's Harbor
Sacket's Harbor, near the beginning of the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario, was the principal American naval base on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812.Continued ...
Once again, hope springs eternal ...
We are happy to report that although Mother Nature did her best to thwart the annual Upper Pioneer Street Block Party, she was not successful.Continued ...
Local performs costumed recitations of Casey at the Bat
Since 1996, I have had the privilege of doing costumed recitations of Casey at the Bat as part of my job at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Iâ€™ve performed the poem an estimated 2,000 times in 22 states, at ballparks, conferences, classrooms, Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies, weddings and other events.Continued ...
E-readers come in handy when traveling
I recently took a trip to California and it was the perfect time to make use of my e-reader. While I'm still devoted to actual books, I must admit that traveling with a thin, lightweight computerized device beats dragging along one or two bulky hard copy titles. The only issue is finding the right e-books to take on the airplaneContinued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Arriving at the last bend in the River
The month of May is the height of the summer in India, a time best spent indoors with a good book and a sliced mango for company.Continued ...
Cooperstown election and law
On Tuesday the 18th inst. [May], the following persons were elected officers for this village for the ensuing year: --Continued ...
- Film examines Lance Armstrong's fall