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In These Otsego Hills

July 3, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: This and that ...

It is with sadness that we note the passing of Tom Harris. Those of us long-time residents of Upper Pioneer Street claim Tom as one of our own as he spent a great part of his youth as a resident of the street. In fact we knew Tommy before we actually moved back to Cooperstown as he would come over and play with Christopher when we were visiting during the summer. But we perhaps remember Tom most for his absolute dedication to the football program at CCS where he served as manager of the team. And even after he graduated he would attend the football game, cheering the team on.

In fact, one our most touching, as well as most wrenching, CCS football moments followed a game in Waterville which, had CCS won, would have broken a very long, and ultimately record setting, losing streak. Alas it was not to be. Our heart broke for the players as well as for Tom, who was so visibly upset by  yet another loss. At the time itwas most difficult to think of the loss as another character building moment. And yet, if Tom was any example, build character it did. We shall miss him. To his family, especially his mother Barbara, and to his friends we extend our deepest sympathy.

We note that the Cooperstown High School Class of 1936 recently held its annual reunion at Jerry’s Place. Three members of the class attended, Homer Osterhoudt of Cooperstown, Frances Foster Smith of West Winfield, and Rodney Ingalls also of Cooperstown.

The members were joined in the celebration by Rodney’s wife, Betty. Our congratulations go to the class on their 76th reunion.

We heard not long ago through the grapevine that there have been several incidents at the elementary school where students have been told that the lunches that the parents had packed and sent to school with their children were deemed to be inappropriate by the powers that be at the school. This is most definitely one of those stories that, when we hear it, we hope it is not true, but is actually a result of some sort of misunderstanding. To think that it might actually be happening is, we think, rather distasteful. And we cannot imagine what the reaction of the parents must be.

And, we must admit that had there been such food police when our son Christopher was in elementary school, we would have been one of those parents sending our child to school with an inappropriate lunch. Each day we dutifully packed into his Incredible Hulk lunch box a thermos of Tang, two slices of white, as in Wonder, bread held together with Miracle Whip, two slices of American processed cheese still individually wrapped in plastic, an apple and two Double Stuff Oreos. We would not have had a prayer.

However, had the lunch been questioned, we are reasonably certain we would have arrived at the school in a less than calm mood, announcing in no uncertain terms that school personnel were to keep their mitts off my child’s lunch. But, with age comes wisdom and we think at this point in our lives, we would have take a somewhat different approach. Instead of sending the child to school with his lunch, we would now arrive at school at the appointed lunch hour with the aforementioned packed lunch, take said child out of school and let him eat his lunch in peace in the car after which we would take him back to school.

We are of the opinion that after about a week of this, the school would get the message that we feel that it is the parent who is charged with the responsibility of deciding what the child can and cannot eat for lunch. We were of that opinion then. And we are of that opinion now. If the school is truly concerned about any lunches coming from home, it should contact the parents directly and not expect the student to bring such a message home.

And finally, we willingly admit we were not, and still are not, looking forward to the 2012 election season.

Every issue seems so divisive with little attempt to reach consensus on anything.

Therefore, we found a recent get together to meet Jim Blake, who is mounting a run for the NYS senate seat in the 51st district, to be most refreshing.

We were definitely intrigued by the wide array of issues brought up by those in attendance, including jobs, economic growth with the need to grow local economies in the areas of energy and agriculture, business development, government regulation, education reform, parental rights, gun control, energy costs, property taxes, school mergers, the cost of government, term limits and, of course, natural gas.

We were heartened to realize that it is possible for a group of people to get together and discuss issues in a rational fashion even when there was not agreement on those issues. We found it was possible to have a lively, and civil, discussion.

And we thought this to be most encouraging. It is indeed something we hope is present in other discussions we might encounter on the issues of the day.

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by e-mail at

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In These Otsego Hills
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