By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
Writing this will be a challenge physically as my laptop is “in the shop” for repairs, and I am using my “old” desktop. Data entry is difficult but I can use my skills, still remembered, learned in my high school typing class at Friendship Central School. Mr. Palis or Paleorus (sp) was the teacher.
I served as an Election Inspector again yesterday and was blessed, for the most part, to be doing my duty in Friendship. My aging body cannot tolerate the standard 5:30 to 9:30 day so they let me work a half day, working from 9 AM till 5 PM. That in and of itself is physically demanding, especially as I was suffering significant leg cramping after I finished and returned home. I was just glad that it happened before I retired for the evening, at which time those cramps usually rouse me from a deep sleep and force me to try and climb out of bed to be able to “walk it off”.
It was my good fortune to be able to see Tom Talbett and his wife Marley and Betty (Rogers) Hall and a few other Nile and Friendship area friends during the day. Compounding the grueling physical demands, it is also tiring “mentally” as you cannot just sit or stand around watching as many people prepare and cast their ballots. It is surprising how many people lack knowledge about how to work the process or even, especially who is running for what, and what is the “Proposition” they are voting on. Feeding the ballot into the voting machine is also somewhat puzzling to many people as well. I guess they treasure their vote and are very cautious that their ballot gets into the system properly. I cringed at the comment made by one voter as he expressed his belief that; “His ballot was now on its way directly to Russia.”
When asked by the Board of Elections managers if I had any preferences for my assignment I asked to be stationed in Friendship and was hoping I would work with the same people that I had worked with before. I was pleased that both things happened. We are sorely in need of elections “Inspectors” so if you are in retirement and looking for occasional part time employment, they are always looking. This is a minimum wage, paid, activity, but they pay for mileage and for any training hours. It is also a much needed and very important public service.
One lighthearted conversation was held Tuesday during a lull in the voting activity, at Friendship. There weren’t many of those. When I first went on duty, I noticed one of the smaller colorful wheelchairs parked just inside one of the entrance doors. Later, in my innocent, with a wink, manner, I asked one of the fellow inspectors if that wheelchair had been there when they arrived or had someone walked out and left it. “Yes”, he replied, “the voter came in being wheeled in the wheelchair, voted, and walked out fully healed.” I advised that I would write about the story in my next Sun article but wouldn’t give any names. I won’t, but if I did, it would just be another “bump” in the road.
Now back to my Wrambling’s, which were skipped last week out of deference and reverence for our departed friend Lawrence J. Muscato. RIP LJ.
Earlier Scanner calls : One early morning a few weeks ago there was a “pre-dawn” call for SP to investigate someone wandering around a local cemetery shining a flashlight. Another call reported a domestic regarding damage caused to property by a neighbor’s goat. Trust me, it wasn’t Hogan’s Goat as written about a few weeks ago.
Staying on the scanner theme and prompted by another outdoor fire report, it must be the result of the dry spell we suffered earlier this summer, as we hear about, almost daily, brush, field, or woodlot fires toned out in many townships. The ever-popular emergency dispatch/scanner site, Irons Road, was the scene as I wrote this last night.
As happens every year at this time, the Odocoileus virginianus are in a rut. Yep! The local whitetail deer are out and about, looking for amorous encounters, all too often crossing the road. I happened upon one on Vandermark Road between Scio and Alfred, that had just been hit by a car, as I was on my way for my weekly Barbershop Chorus practice.
WANTED! Singing groups everywhere are in want, or need, of singers. If you recall previously having sung in a formal singing group, and think about the enjoyment it brought you, then in this time of public and civil unrest, perhaps it could once again be a soothing, relaxing diversion for you. I could easily name at least 20 local people whom I personally know and sang with, so I know they and others are out there. Locally we have the Genesee Valley Chorus, The Maple City Barbershop Chorus, and any, of the many churches that have a choir. “Music soothes the soul.”
One day last week my wife, who professes to not be interested in my columns, asked if I kept a record of the topics I have mentioned to avoid re-writing on the same topic. I told her that I had pretty good recall of what I had written, and even if I did forget and repeat a topic, it would assist those who also had forgotten the topics along with me.
At the “Wake” for LJ Muscato a couple of weekends ago, many of the family members, and other friends of his as well, thanked me for writing all of those memories about the adventures of “TLC” (Tom, Larry and Chuck), and related some of their own, many of which involved camping at Deer Run Campground. I advised that recalling those memories inspired me to do a second chapter, or follow up, and I will. What once were likely called “wakes” are now called Celebrations of Life. The tradition of a traditional mourning and somber funeral is gradually being replaced by small intimate family affairs only, with friends and distant relatives later invited for the celebration of that person. I rather like that approach myself. That is not to say that others aren’t saddened at the loss but we tend to relish the better memories, with storytelling and much laughter, as we recall the good things and times shared with the deceased. This does not mean that we don’t lament the loss, but rather choose to see the brighter side. After all, the ascension to a better place should be “an uplifting” event for all concerned.
I was honored to have been able to write of those memories and to share the past of, and with, my departed friends, and was humbled by the gratitude and the many “thank you’s” that I received. I quoted my “mantra” and preface statement many times. I do write from my heart, perhaps too gushingly at times, but I do… “Write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels.”
Last week’s Walmart Wednesday trip brought smiles to our faces in a “Got ya! Moment. Not sure about everyone else, but I expect maybe a majority feel as we do when having been passed by a speeding motorist going much faster than the technically illegal but tolerated speed limit. We were locked on cruise control at 68 MPH when a car flew past us. I commented to my wife that I hoped SP were sitting at one of the couple of places they hang out in the west bound lane of I86. As we approached the Hinsdale exit, there he, the speeder, was pulled over by one of New Yorks finest. It was all I could do to refrain from honking and waving as we went by.
I admit. I was young once, and in my youth received some speeding tickets. I’ve only ever had three of those. Unfortunately, they all came in a two-week span in the summer before my discharge from the Navy in 1966. On my way home driving my black ‘61 Chevy convertible, I was hell bent to get home in a hurry and told myself that if I got caught I would pay the fine but would have made it home in near record time. The State Police stopped me for going 90 in a 50 or whatever it was back then on route 17 (now 417) between Erwins Corners and Addison. Learning even at that age to be a pretty good negotiator They let me off without a fine but the ticket did count. While on leave, I was taking my then girlfriend, now wife, my cousin Bill Miles and his girlfriend, to the movies in Olean. As we approached Olean, I went to pass a lady poking along and as I drew beside her to pass, she decided she didn’t want to be passed so sped up, all the way to 45 miles per hour. Nearing the knoll and running out of the passing lane I raced by her and was pulled over for going 48 in a 45 mph zone. It must have been the shiny black convertible I was driving, as I was dispensed another ticket. Didn’t have to pay that fine either but the points counted. While still home on that leave, I decided to put some oversized tires on my car and they looked “pretty cool”. A couple of days later I was traveling to Cuba driving along what was then route 408, at what my speedometer said was 50 mph, the posted speed limit. I don’t recall if I noticed the State Police before he came up from behind me or not but with lights and sirens going, he pulled me over. He clocked me at 63 MPH. Despite my trying to convince him that my speed was legal as per my speedometer, the fairly new phenomenon radar proved me wrong. I explained that I had put oversized tires on and maybe that threw my speedometer reading off. After signing off for the ticket I asked if I could go through his radar one more time at a slower speed to see what registered. When I went past him, turned around and went back to where he was parked on the side of the road, he advised that my speedometer read 13 mph less than his radar showed. This explaining the speed difference. Despite my convincing him that according to my car I wasn’t speeding, he still let the ticket stand. He took, or sent me to, Town Justice Ernie Wadsworth in Cuba, and given the circumstances and my military service status, no fine once again, but the points counted. When I was discharged from the Navy in December of that year, shortly after arrival at home, driving the Chevy, the State Police visited my house and left with my license in hand. It took over a year to get my license back. Nothing more humbling than to have your new wife as your chauffer on your honeymoon.
Tonight’s Public Service Message is directed at those not yet having a polio vaccination. Polio reached the US in 1952 and began spreading at an alarming rate. Jonas Salk is credited with developing the vaccine that was so effective at preventing the disease, it became a requirement for all school age children, immediately reducing the number of cases among children from 29000 in 1955 to less than 6000 by 1957. Polio is a devastating, contagious, incurable, crippling disease that was literally declared eradicated in 1979. Cases are alarmingly on the rise again, especially in populations where immunizations are spurned or denied based on religious or cult doctrines. We cannot afford to go down that road again. Measles, while not nearly as devastating as Polio, is also on the rise again, for the same reasons.
I have to thank a Fed Ex truck, going in an opposite direction on Rte 31 yesterday, for my cracked windshield. As the stone struck with a BANG, it caught me off guard with its sudden impact, so my mind didn’t register whether he had drifted onto the shoulder of the road kicking up a rock first or not. As we progressed to Olean the “crack kept creeping.” (say that 3 times fast). When we emerged from Walmart the crack had multiplied and now there are two.
Grammar Groan. Try and say meter reader so that it doesn’t sound like meter eater. I had used that phrase the other day and was surprised by the closeness of the sound unless you really stress the “D” in “reader.” Choral directors blanch and certain enunciations, especially a certain few that end singing phrases. The clergy isn’t immune either as they frequently say “Let us spray.”
Auto correct comment: I have questioned the placement of the sentence punctuation versus the placement of the quote marks when they are used to indicate “air quotes.” Most commenters and grammar purists or those claiming to be, felt that the punctuation should be within the last quote mark. To me it always looks like the period or question mark should follow the quote mark. To me it just looks better. I have been trying to use “their” method but now my auto-correct signals that it should be done my way. Go Figure 😊
Mind challenge to the readers…I always thought it ridiculous in my FCS high school English classes when Mrs. Stout would read, or have us read, a poem, and then ask us what we thought the writer really meant. My youthful myopia couldn’t quite understand why the writer didn’t just write what he meant. Surprise! At a very young high school age I was already writing without realizing what the better known writers were also doing. When searching Wikipedia and other sources for what this is called it didn’t seem like the word Metaphor described it and some reference is made using the word Metonomy, but I’m not pleased with either of those. When you read this 6 decades old poem of mine, one of the earliest published I might add as you can see from the “newspaper look”, Think about my words in the context of a few of my recent topics.
“I am in search of a hearing aid or device that can also record speaking heard, selectively, to assist me not only in hearing, but in remembering, what has been said.“
Thank you so much for reading my words, and for sharing your comments with me recently.