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Wiser’s Wramblings-If You Ain’t Got a Penny, a ha’-penny Will Do

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

After my column publishes each Thursday, I start collecting my thoughts, notions and topics for the next weeks Wramblings. If I’m at home, I keep a note pad by my chair so I can jot the items down not trusting my memory or recall. If I am in the vehicle on the road accompanied by my wife, I assign her the secretarial task of writing the idea on a small notebook I keep in the car just for that purpose. When I get ready to put “pen to paper,” as they say figuratively, what I thought would make a good idea for a topic sometimes fades from brilliance. If you are reading about prescription bottles, one such thought for which I am ambivalent made the cut and I decided to briefly revisit an item I have previously mentioned.

This topic was triggered by the recent discarding of several emptied outdated prescription bottles. We likely discard several every other month or so as scripts are refilled. We don’t actually dispose of them but rather put them into the recycling bin. I would guess that millions of these suffer the same fate every day across the country. It seems a waste to me that they couldn’t somehow be reused. Each pharmacy could have and use a small sterilizer unit of some kind making re-use practical and safe.

Sharing my birth month in December with many of my friends and acquaintances, it seemed to me that this month might be the most common birth month. Curious, I looked it up. It’s not (pardon the chuckle as I contemplate that music director’s cringe producing word combinations), despite my belief that December, being 9 months away from the romance laden month of April. Climatologically, the opposite, with those months 9 months away from the typically coldest months of the year being the most common birth months. That would make August and September most popular in the Northeast. For those of a religious persuasion, December is the holy month, and very likely, to them, the most important. December begins the winter solstice with the 21st being the longest night. My mother swears that the 20th was the longest, at least for her, as that was my birth night.

One of New York’s finest had me scratching my head the other day as I traveled back to Scio after an Olean visit. On the “old four lane” Rte. 16, I passed two cars in a row which were going just slightly less than the posted speed limit. I was just over at the “generally acceptable” 60 mph in a 55. The Trooper who had been parked on the opposite side of the road pulled out after I was well past and followed me for a couple of miles. He did not have, nor turn on, his headlights, despite the fact that it was raining, not hard, but steadily. I assume that because I passed two cars, he wanted to pace me and check my speed. I didn’t let up nor speed up and after another mile or so he did a “U”-Turn and headed back the other way. I was a little puzzled that he didn’t have his headlights on. I thought that it was legally required to have your lights on while driving in the rain. Oh well…”do as I say, not as I do.”

The Olean Times Herald’s (OTH) lack of mention of a Buffalo Bills successful and fortuitous weekend history has me a little baffled. Following the Bills win over the division foe Patriots on Thursday, that followed, by Sunday losses of both Miami and Kansas City, handed the Bills the division and conference leads. Apparently, that wasn’t significant enough to even warrant a mention in either Monday’s or Tuesday’s editions of the paper. Tuesday’s paper did make brief mention of the Miami vs Buffalo game time change but nothing of the previous weekend’s activity. There was a significantly sized article about the Pittsburgh football team, however. I guess the parent publishing company, being out of Bradford, PA must have been of some influence. I figured one day could have been due to a conflict with other duties but two seemed a “bit of a” slight.

A mistaken impression, due to my ignorance, gave me the opportunity to learn something else new. Speaking of the OTH, I read a news story wherein the term “false personation” was used. My initial reaction was that they meant to say “false impersonation.” Having seen the former term quite frequently lately, I decided to look it up. Indeed, there is a separate meaning for each term and not a mistake. Meanings are similar but not identical. The most serious “criminally” is False Impersonation which actually includes “Personation” as a sub-group, if it involves providing information with implications of impersonating a government or law enforcement agency person. An example of the most common form of False Personation would be that of a person giving a false address or identification to an official to avoid arrest or charges from an arrest.

A local, or county wide hot ticket item lately has become the issue of financial support for the Medical Transport Service, whose base is in Scio. Initially the company was founded for the purpose of providing non-emergency transportation for people needing travel help for visits for medical services. Over the years several new “medical services” have spun off the original services and MTS is now a vital part of the Emergency Response teams supporting or replacing local volunteer medical response services. For the most part, it seems to me, MTS serves as backup for areas without medical services or when a local medical service team cannot gather a crew in a timely fashion, in order to respond to a medical emergency. Volunteer emergency response teams are facing the same difficulties as most other volunteer groups in that people are not willing, interested, or able, to “volunteer” their time in support of these groups. That shortage is not limited to just volunteer efforts, even paid professional agencies are having difficulty with staffing. Just check out the number of Help Wanted signs or advertisements that are listed lately.

MTS now provides a vital service not only county wide but also overflows in the support of Pennsylvania needs and “out of county” assistance elsewhere. They are helping us, so we should be helping them. Municipal financial support is needed.

Following on, and related to, that topic is the Scanner Scatter I often mention. As usual there have been “humorous or interesting” reports that come across our, “24 hour on” scanner. A number of other “non-humorous” scanner calls involve multiple repeat calls to the same locations. For whatever reason, many individuals call 911 Emergency Dispatch repeatedly, asking for medical services. There are several locations, like Irons Road, technically in Amity but centrally isolated between Amity, Friendship and Scio, where scanner calls are very frequent, and often to the same exact “lot number.” A response is initiated, regardless of the supposition that it may be frivolous, or otherwise unnecessary.

This is my shout out to MTS, and all volunteer agencies and personnel.

During a conversation with one of my most recent friend acquisitions, an old time saying was used. It reminded me of my intention to include a segment herein on that topic. Unfortunately, neither he, nor I can remember the exact saying that was mentioned but if it pops up in the list that will follow, I will have an “aha moment.” In composing a list of said “sayings” in my mind it seems that many are derived from the topic of currency, and many seem to historically revert back to our emergence from British (and Irish) roots based on the “penny” as the source of reference. The following is a list of sayings, and for today I will start with those that relate to currency and frugality. Where the meaning is not obvious, I may add an explanation or clarification. The first is in that category and is taken as part of a song lyric.

If you don’t have a penny a ha-‘penny will do. (From the History literary and TV source). The term “Penny” was once in its infancy used to denote any amount of currency, and thus its common use in the phrases that follow. The actual original “penny” was introduced as a British coin, made entirely of silver, and its value was established based on its equivalence in other “valuable metals.” That explains the use of the term penny despite the value involved. Over the years the metal content varied and changed to copper and eventually copper colored substitutes. The ha-penny or half penny served as half the amount of a penny.

A penny saved is a penny earned” Benjamin Franklin

Penny wise and pound foolish” Same explanation

Don’t step over a dime to pick up a penny

A fool and his money are soon parted”, “A penny for your thoughts

Those who are born to pennies never make it to pounds” (New to me but found in research)

A bad penny always shows up” My guess is value vs counterfeit was checked by weight or test.

If I had a penny for…” Add your own ending as MY mother often did.

George Carlin quoted: “When someone asks you A penny for your thoughts, and you put in your two cents what happens to the other penny?

A penny from heaven…” Look this one up on Google as there are many spin offs.

Sitting Bull quote: “What white man can say ‘I never stole his land or a penny of his money, yet they say that I am a thief’

Jack Nicholson quote: “I’ve been too many places. I’m like a bad penny

Not a penny more, not a penny less” Related to comparison of worth or cost.

Another Ben Franklin: “A penny saved is two pence clear” Pence is historical plural of penny.

Other historical currency values related to penny/pence” Farthing 1/4; Three Farthings 4/4 (1);

Sixpence or Tanner 6;

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