By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
Before I get to my weekly Wrambling’s, I would like to share this notice of the memorial service for an area racing legend that I wrote about a few weeks ago. For those of us who followed stock car racing in the 50’s and 60’s, Lawrence “Larry” Dye was best known as a renowned track announcer at many area tracks. Larry got his start as a local driver but soon gave that up and headed to the broadcast booth or platform or hillside from where you could hear his amplified voice loudly, passionately, but coolly saying things like “…And they come out of turn four headed for the flag two abreast, and the winner by a fender is… .”. In later years he was better known by most in the area as the owner of Lawrence Dye Inc., selling home, auto, business and renter’s insurance. My step- brother Rolly Miles, former owner of Schenk and Miles Insurance agency often talked about how helpful Larry was to him as he embarked on his ownership of an Insurance agency. RIP Larry.
I will defer my main topic till the end of my Wrambling’s to allow me to clean the slate of some of my typical tidbits first.
I’m getting more and more tired of the continued onslaught of Spam calls. Before you suggest that I get on the “Do Not Call List”, I already am, and it doesn’t do any good. I have blocked dozens of calling numbers, and even when blocked it still rings in, even if only once. Almost as annoying is the “announced” message that the call is a “Spam Risk.” The phone still rings. The other day my wife and I were wondering how they determine which numbers are Spam Risks. I don’t know, but I do have a theory. In our area the phone numbers start with an area code 585 or 716. That is followed by an “Exchange” of 593, 596, 268, 928 etc., followed by your distinctive 4 digit number. I wonder if the “Spam Doctor” detects a mis-match between the Area Code and a matching Exchange number and if it isn’t the right combination it is diagnosed as “Spam”. I suspect that someone not liking the taste of “Spam” picked that moniker for “distasteful calls”.
Scanner Calls: There seems to be a spate of “missing plates” on local vehicles. I know that no one would knowingly drive around with no plates on their vehicle any more than they would drive with a driver’s license that was revoked two years ago or a vehicle that had not been registered, insured, or inspected for a year or two. Those Scanner calls must be “fake news”. Domestic calls continue to dominate “911 call ins” as well, and while some are downright humorous, others are heart rending.
On August 13th I celebrated the 59th anniversary of my enlistment in the United States Navy. August 13, 1963 I rode the bus from Hornell to Buffalo, NY where I was sworn in and put on a train to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Oddly enough when people were starting to get drafted to go to places like Viet Nam, I was discharged prior to my 21st Birthday which was the requirement since I joined when I was 17 years old. I don’t recall any focused efforts to recruit me to re-enlist and the oddity of that was that I was serving in a job specialty that dealt with the Armament and Attack/Defense component of the ships I served on.
One of these days I may write about some of the adventures I experienced during my 3 ½ year stint in the Navy. When I do, one of my co-conspirators, partners in crime and lifelong friends will play a major role. David Cummins, a fellow “Nile Guy” was not only a neighborhood friend but ended up being a shipmate and “Navy Buddy”. This is how, and I will provide you the mind-numbing numbers and let you ponder the odds of what happened, happening.
We both grew up in Nile, NY, population 125 people. I was stationed on a ship with a crew of around 300 sailors or so. One night while standing the Mid-Watch (Midnight to 4 AM) I watched as a “boarding sailor” tentatively made his way up the “gangway”, saluted the flag and the quarter deck, and announced himself, asking permission “to board”. I was speechless. Given the hundreds of thousands of sailors and the small numbers from our hometown, and numbers aboard that ship, what are the odds that the sailor was Dave, and we would end up on the same ship, at the same time, counting the fact, that I had the watch the night, and time, he came aboard.
Believe it or not, it is a true, unbelievable, and nostalgic, pleasant, story.
Onward ho… My extra weekly column posted Monday was hopefully to enlighten and entice voters to show up and vote in the unusual “dual election”, Tuesday August 23rd. In addition to a Republican Primary election the general voting public in the 23rd New York Congressional District convened to elect a “fill in,” replacing Tom Reed who stepped down prior to the end of his term. Despite Reed’s stated reasoning of acceptance of a new job offer, that was not likely the primary motivation for vacating his elected position. But I will leave that for others to judge.
As an Election Inspector I was assigned to the election in Friendship, NY. This was a “special” election for me, as Friendship, and it’s “big brother Nile,” was/were, my hometown(s). This assignment was also appealing to me, as my assigned hours were 11 AM till 7 PM. Most Inspectors work a 16-hour day from 5:30 AM till 9:30 PM. This is a grueling, long, sometimes deathly boring day, whether working in the Town of Ward, as I have a couple of times, or in the largest voting districts in the county. I have been allowed to work half days as the full 16-hour day, given my arthritic physical afflictions, is a little too much for me to handle, or recover from. I truly admire, and respect, all the other Inspectors who endure the entire, full span day, of the election inspection process. If you happen to know any of these inspectors, give them a hearty “Thank You!” We are compensated, but at minimum wage.
There weren’t many of my era still active and voting in Friendship Tuesday, but those that were filled my heart with re-acquaintance joy. A few were 1963 classmates of mine at Friendship Central School, and a few of the more “senior” voters, were young adults there when I was a High School senior.
One of the underlying themes expressed, was the questioning by the voters as to just what the election was for, and why were two ballots required. One each was needed for the Republican Primary, and an additional one was required for ALL voters as they voted to select the Congressman. There was some grumbling, but most accepted the slight inconvenience and went about their voting duty with a smile. Before I could even thank them for voting, they thanked me for working and helping them through the process.
A few things surprised me, or perhaps just reminded me, of how naïve or inconsiderate some people can be. I guess some of them presumed I, or we, shared their political viewpoint, and as they ranted about specific, currently serving political people, from our State Governor to the President. Based on the limited number of people who received only one ballot form, not voting as well in the Primary election, it was obvious that Friendship is a notoriously predominant Republican town. That really isn’t a surprising statistic for this area. The expressed feelings of a few weren’t held back much. The only ones that I really felt uncomfortable with, were those who asked my political affiliation or expected me to share or accept their political beliefs. Whether I did or didn’t, I just changed the subject, or if there was anyone else party to the conversation, I just went on with my duties dis-engaging from the exchange.
I believe I have mentioned in my articles before that I do not support any, particular, political party, or philosophy. There is much of each that I like and support, and there is an equal amount of each, at times, that I don’t agree with or support. When I choose a candidate to support, or elect, I look primarily at their “character”. Are they a “good person”? Are they compassionate, considerate, respectful, and cordial with others? Can, I ask, is this the person I can be proud to have represent me and make life choices for me? Because I am somewhat ambivalent on most societal, or political issues, not being rabid on any of them, I can be “sold” or convinced, on an idea or action that I agree, best represents what is best for me, or my town, state, or country.