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From Fly Creek

May 8, 2014

Replanting has taken root

Lots of boxes still to be unpacked and stuff to be put on shelves and into closets, but Anne’s and my shift into Cooperstown is almost done. We’re securely replanted at 24 Delaware St.’ and already feeling at home.

What made us pull up stakes in Fly Creek was not the grand old post-and-beam house and its history, or the barn and outbuildings or the spread of woods and fields or the frontage on Oaks Creek. And it was certainly not that splendid, quirky little hamlet, so rich with people of warmth and wit, so seasoned with some splendid eccentrics and a bona fide wacko or two. What a great place to live.

Nope. What made us pull up stakes was Parkinsonism, pure and simple. I’m past the time when I could really maintain, much less enjoy, that blessed place, mine for 37 years, my home for 22, Anne’s and mine together for the last 15.

On Cooperstown’s Delaware Street, the new house has almost the same square footage as our Fly Creek home; but the downstairs floor plan and doorways are wide, a bathroom’s in place, and a side den can easily become a bedroom when steps are beyond me.

The big move was done by old friend Howard Reiss and his yeomen, notably Billy and Joe; and by a dozen friends who helped us out of Fly Creek and into Cooperstown.

Among those friends, Rich McCaffery stood especially tall. Despite his normal load of good works for others, he took on helping Anne stage both departure and arrival. (Blue and I, largely incapable of more than moral support, tactfully stayed out of their way. These days, when it comes to practical things these days, we’re both all paws.)

If you know Richard, you can imagine he found time for acerbic side comments to me. A sample:

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From Fly Creek
  • A banner time for Jim Atwells Tim Wiles urged me on. "You'll get a column out of it," he said.

    August 21, 2014

  • Spangled with debate over anthem What fun! Cathe Ellsworth and I are back to playing badminton, lobbing columns back and forth across the Crier's net. My serve:

    August 7, 2014

  • From word to phrase to sentence As usual, Dennis Savoie started it. Old friends, we long ago discovered our mutual interest in oddities of words and language usage. His most recent challenge to me: Is our flag properly called "spangled" with stars?

    July 24, 2014

  • 'They were out of step but Jim!' All right, skip the drolleries about the headline. The quote is actually the title of a 1918 song by Irving Berlin, who, with George M. Cohan and other songsmiths, was producing patriotic pieces by the dozen as the Yanks were going "Over There!"

    June 19, 2014

  • Replanting has taken root Lots of boxes still to be unpacked and stuff to be put on shelves and into closets, but Anne's and my shift into Cooperstown is almost done. We're securely replanted at 24 Delaware Street and already feeling at home.

    May 8, 2014

  • There's reason to hope I hadn't planned this piece for my April column, but something happened that was impossible to ignore. Within a week, three different friends (count them, three!) from different parts of the country emailed to say they'd come across an old Crier column that they'd saved for twelve years and had sent to many friends because it meant much to them.

    April 17, 2014

  • Let not thy left hand know That headline's a Bible allusion, trenchant advice not to preen when doing good: "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." Amen, I say.

    March 6, 2014

  • How good to be back! "Tis I, the Spirit of a Thousand Columns Past, back after a twelve-month silence to talk at you again in the flesh!"

    January 2, 2014

  • Mammon Triumphs in Turkey Bowl Editor's Note: We're thrilled to announce the return of our columnist, Jim Atwell, and his legendary column "From Fly Creek." Jim's column will be an occasional feature, when he is able to write or he has something he wants to contribute. We celebrate his return with one of his classic columns.

    December 5, 2013

  • Rolling toward a stop I’m slowing down, friends, rolling toward a stop for this column. The best way to describe my reason is through an analogy: I want you to think of me as a horse-drawn wagon and driver â€" not just as the driver, but as the whole shebang.

    December 27, 2012