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March 2, 2012

From Fly Creek: Late-winter hamlet news

— Well, at least I’m “guessing” it’s late winter now — in the winter that wasn’t. But, if not snow, I can provide a flurry of Fly Creek news to share with you, scooping Associated Press, Reuter’s, and United Press International, not to mention all local news services except our General Store.

ITEM: Wolfgang Merk is back home in Fly Creek, with a fully functioning liver installed in him. We’ve been worrying and praying for Wolf for months as his condition worsened without a donated liver turning up.

And then, at the last minute, a liver arrived. I won’t ask that you believe in miracles. But an unknown organ donor had thought beyond his own busy world, and so he saved a truly fine man’s life. God bless that donor, and God rest him.

ITEM: The hamlet has said goodbye to our Four Corners barbershop, “Reid’s of Fly Creek.” (OK, one local paper did mention this, but still no national or international coverage.) Reid has moved his shop to upper Main Street, a few doors above “Taste of New York.” It’s a good move for Cooperstown, since how can it be “America’s Perfect Village” without an old-fashioned barbershop?

And it’s a good business move to Reid, too. His Fly Creek customer base will follow him into the village.

And I’m guessing that a lot of tourist husbands, bored glassy-eyed as their wives slip in and out of all our splendid shops, will spot Reid’s barber pole and say, “Shoot, I might as well get a haircut.”

If Reid holds onto his Fly Creek ambiance, those visitors will find themselves, as we locals have, immediately at home among suitably old magazines, wilting potted plants, and a line of seated gents primed to talk sports and politics. Best of luck, Reid!

ITEM: Breaking news this month — RIGHT HERE, RIGHT IN THIS COLUMN! — of a new restaurant coming to Fly Creek. Dark since its most recent sad closing, Harmony House is being readied to house “Ro-Jo’s Stock Market,” a lunch-and-dinner venue centered on quality beef. Quality beef, that is, grass fed and raised right over in Burlington Flats. Black Angus beef, mind you, from the farm of Rosanne and Joe Pesola.

(Whence the “Ro-Jo’s.”) The Pesolas graze Texas longhorns over there, on Route 51 just a bit off Route 80. But, more to our interest, they’re running Black Angus, too; and that’s  the source of the Stock Market’smeat.

I’ve visited with the Pesolas by phone and in person as they worked on Harmony House; everything they said about their plans will please you.

“We want a place where people on fixed incomes can come for an inexpensive, really good meal,” Roseanne told me and then spoke of her chef husband and what he hopes that I’ll tell our community, and especially our seniors.

“Joe wants to please the community, especially our seniors, and so . . . let them know that, as we get going, we would welcome ideas from people in terms of what they would like to see on the menu, even recipes of their favorite dishes.”

I told her that, if they offered an Early Bird Special, they’d have a stampede up their front ramp of folks with canes and walkers. I’ll be wobbling ahead of them. Joe, who was overseeing changes and the installing of grills and a salad bar, added that he and Roseanne also want to draw on their own garden and to supplement with produce raised right here in the county.

That would give us our first restaurant based in locally produced goods. And I’m sure it will give the Stock Market an immediate market niche. OK, that piece of news won’t get me a Pulitzer, but please remember that you heard it first, and right here.

ITEM: Down in south Fly Creek (the proletarian side of the trolley tracks), my Anne is busy with the Supervisor’s job, Blue continues his Dog Alarm duties every time a car comes up the driveway, and Simon the cat is devoting every hour, awake and asleep, to his winter  hobby of gaining weight. I’ve cut back on his rations, but he supplements them steadily with moles, voles, and barn mice.

Meanwhile, your writer friend is whittling away at a project started, he’s guessing, a good dozen years ago. The work’s subtitle is, “A Book for the Unchurched,” and its premise is undeniable: Thousands of sincere people are wandering along the spiritual path alone; they’ve stepped away from formal religious belief.

These legions are unhappy, hungry for some focus; but instead of positive action, they wander morosely among the ruins of their past beliefs. (In many cases, I suspect, the ruins are of childhood beliefs that were never fed, watered, and made to grow.)

No, your writer buddy doesn’t hope to solve the searchers’ problems. But, after 60 or so years on his own quest, he can lay out a way for them to start the task themselves.

The first step is to step away from the ruins and begin with the starkest fundamentals: the  nature of the Divine and ourrelation to it.

Then, after that — But wait! I will say no more. I’ll want to sell this book. I’m a pensioner, after all.