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"Trapping Brook Road" by Chris Mattison

Wiser’s Pre-Christmas Wramblings

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

I have been asked how I keep track of my random thoughts or ideas for topics for my column. My memory recall, if left alone to just that, isn’t that great. Thus, as I have an idea I have to write it down. These notes, for the most part are transposed from a “white board” in a prominent location in the kitchen. One foot from the waste basket and three feet from the door. My plan for this Christmas week is to compile my current “wramblings” herein today and then present a Christmas Special (at least to me) of poems and music resulting therefrom

As a follow up to last weeks medical musings I would like to add one additional “shout out” to Dr. Sale. There is a common “side effect” to the “Vagotomy-Pyloroplasty” surgery that Dr. Akman bestowed upon me. I first noticed it within weeks of that surgery. It was first explained to me, without a name, erroneously as it turns out, as a phenomenon caused by the stomach distending, and making contact with the vagus nerve. It would raise its ugly head every few months and was never much of a problem with only a feeling of weakness and profuse sweating. A few minutes of rest normally took care of it. Recently, a couple of months ago, I had a more severe episode where I became confused, disoriented, and it scared the hell out of me (and my wife). It lasted only a few minutes and as I recovered, I was thirsty and had strong craving for candy. Diet Pepsi or Coke solves the thirst issue and a few pieces of Carmel M&M’s cures the candy craving. Having posted a mention and describing the symptoms of my episode via “Social Media”, Dr. Sale, now a Facebook friend, having read the symptoms I described, suggested that it might be “Dumping Syndrome”. Upon checking with my current Primary Care Physician, that diagnosis was verified. At this point knowing what the ailment is, I know how to avoid the problem and/or the remedy to offset the results. The cause and symptoms are similar to Hypoglycemia aka “low blood sugar”. Although not diabetes, there are similarities in that it is related to the insulin levels in your body.

At 3:30 AM Wednesday as I started writing this, I decided that I ought to eat breakfast after finishing my writing. I wondered about the history of the word breakfast (“etymology” if you want a fancy word for word histories), and my research confirmed my suspicion that it meant “breaking fasting”, or the first meal after “fasting” or going without food while sleeping. “Breakfast” actually replaced the former word “Morgenmete”, meaning “Morning Meal” used in the early 15th century. Of course, given our tendency to warp the use of our language, we do not pronounce it as if it were “break” with an “ake” sound, but rather as if it were “breck”. There are some history suggestions that the term has religious overtones such as being the first meal “after fasting prior to morning mass.” Our typical breakfast was also called Disner in the 1500’s in some cultures, as “Disner”,  meaning dinner, was the main meal of the day. The uses of that word, along with lunch vs dinner and dinner vs supper in some households is tied to when the main meal of the day occured, especially stimulated by “farming family” habits, and when the “main” meal was eaten.

And, I “Wramble” on. Vying for “Protocol 36” scanner time these days, are the multitude of calls to 911 about a vehicle’s “failure to maintain lane” and driving erratically. I have mixed feelings on this one. I myself,  have been forced to pull over to the shoulder of the road by tractor trailers (semi’s) as they drift into my driving lane. As we continue to travel in the same direction they do tend to wander and I have been tempted to call in to report it. I have listened as drivers intentionally continue following erratic drivers, even departing from their own intended route, to give 911 dispatch directions of travel even as the erratic drivers exit the interstate and continue on local “surface” roads. That is a common journalistic term used for local, ground level, not elevated roads, like the Interstate road.

I won’t judge the initiative of reporting these as I think some might be minor incidents. Some truly do justify being reported, especially if driving while impaired, or if medical problems are suspected. I do hope, however, that the callers are not distracted by illegally using their handheld cell phone to call, and continue to maintain contact with dispatch over numerous miles and “surface roads”

Shooting in a different direction, I can give, and have given,  injections. I can take injections without hesitation, and thus have been vaccinated and “boostered”, unlike too many in our county. I do not however like to watch as someone else is getting injected. It used to bother me when it was common for TV advertising to feature feminine hygiene products on TV during the dinner hour. That now has been replaced with the frequent showing of people actively getting shots. That also happens all day long and is upsetting and seemingly unnecessary, to me

I wish people would list Covid in their obituary as the ailment that caused their “passing” if applicable. It might help to “personalize” the result of the rampant infection spread in this part of New York State. I wasn’t going to say anything (more) about Covid but my visit to the Olean Walmart and local Wellsville stores yesterday changed my mind. About a quarter to a third of the shoppers were unmasked. I guess, despite a mandate from our State governor, a certain politically  led element in our local counties can just choose to ignore an “executive” order and do whatever they please. That’s OK, nothing serious going on is there? Professional and College sports schedules are all screwed up now due to the many cancellations due to widespread Covid infections. Schools have had disruptions. That’s OK I guess as long as we don’t inconvenience anyone asking them to do the responsible thing. Christmas gatherings are coming. Be safe!

I would like to thank those who have reached out to me regarding my Covid concerns, opinions, and writings. I appreciate the understanding and agreement with my feelings. I would also like to give a shout out to those who do not agree with my concerns and, even if, are strongly and adamantly opposed to them. Although we do not agree, at least you are taking the time to read of my concerns. I realize that the words and concerns of the medical professionals, and especially distrusted politicians are largely unread or unheard, but at least you have read this and good or bad, at least thought enough about it to respond. I hope you are reading to “understand what I said”, even if you disagree. Communication is a big step, sometimes the first step. My Dream is that one day our paths will converge.

Moving to football with apologies to non-football fan readers, I have often been bothered by the “off-setting” penalty rules in football. If opposing teams both are called for a penalty they are “off-setting” which nullifies the down and they replay it. Regardless of the nature of the penalty, that’s what they do. If one team jumps “offsides” it is obvious and will result in an immediately flagged penalty. Play can however continue on with a “free play”, if the other team wants to finish the play out. That means that the other teams play can also continue. It happened in the Buffalo Bills game last weekend, and the quarter back was hit severely, illegally, and could have suffered a career ending injury. The resulting “unnecessary roughness” penalty call, despite being a dangerous play only resulted in “off-setting penalties”, neither team, nor any player, suffered the consequences.

That last statement continues to raise a question in my mind as it contained quite a few quote marks. It has been brought to my attention that I use them a lot. I do, and for a purpose. According to grammar rules quote marks are typically used to indicate spoken words. Punctuation wise if the quote ends a sentence or spoken question the puncuation at the end is included within the quotation marks. As if quoting me, “that is what I said.” Quotation marks are also used to indicate that something is being written sarcastically or using “intencionaly” misspelled words. In this case they are used like “Air Quotes” which a speaker uses for emphasis with arms upraised and fingers wiggled and being turned in to indicate that the phrase or word is sarcastic or needs to emphasize something. I put the punctuation outside the quote marks given the use of “air quotes”. Some members of the Grammar Police don’t agree with that.

If you are a user of Instant Messenger, you may have noticed and been unhappy with, the inability to edit text in a message after it has been sent. When using a mobile device such as your smart phone or tablet, the keyboard and keys are very small. Vowels, as noted in an earlier column, are too close together and it is common to press the wrong key causing a misspelled word. I take pride in my writing and despite still making grammar mistakes, I would like to edit and correct inadvertent errors, especially, after the fact. Sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain and, as in the example of the spelling and meaning use of the differences in the words there, their, and they’re, I sometimes type the wrong one, knowing full well which should be used, but not thinking as I type. Ability to edit after sending to correct known mistakes would be helpful. Most people don’t care. I do.

When the Olean Times Herald discontinued their Sunday paper I would usually purchase (for $2) a Wellsville/Hornell Spectator. The news story emphasis seems to lean more toward Steuben County and Hornell so I should probably write “Hornell/Wellsville Spectator. Being extremely disappointed in the paper’s content, or the lack thereof, I had discontinued that purchase over the past few weeks. It just isn’t worth that seemingly “low” cost for a Sunday paper. I gave in and bought a paper this past Sunday knowing that local Sports teams were active, and I wished to read some results. There wasn’t a single sports team write up to be found. The Classified section consisted of a quarter page, and not its own section as it had in the past. Very disappointing.

I used to tell my students: “Purchase the car of your dreams and move to where you want to live, before you get married, as those opportunities may never be available to you again.” I was being sarcastic, somewhat, and knew that would not always be their case. I would like to have an older model Corvette and live in the state of Virginia. My wife said, “go ahead, but send me a post card.” I thought back the other day and while I have not owned a Corvette nor currently reside in Virginia, I am content. I had my dream car in the 60’s with my sleek black ’61 Chevy Convertible. I have my dream home, right here in Scio, NY, so long as my wife will keep me. And, I have dear friends of a lifetime, many who are closer than family, all around me. I also have a cadre of friends available to me via social media, and that was evident just the other day on my Birthday. I had my “dream job”, although I didn’t consider it work, teaching at Alfred State College for 24 years. And my dream to be a published writer has been realized with the publishing of my book of poems this past summer, and now I am thankful for being afforded the privilege of writing these words to you.

I celebrated my Birthday this past Monday and had my favorite meal, goulash. It was more meaningful that my wife fixed that than had it been Prime Rib or Surf and Turf at a restaurant. David from QVC did have an influence on my meal somewhat by including his Gourmet Goulash in his recent cookbook which my wife now owns. It wasn’t the same as we normally would make it but the thought to do it was priceless.

I share with you now a short poem of thanks updated and re-written from a previous Birthday.

As my birthday comes to its end

I take great joy from all my friends

What you have given just to me

Will in my heart forever be

As days that pass soon turn to years

The hours pass with smiles or tears

My heart is filled with lasting love

from here on earth and up above

Thank you All ❤


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