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Wiser’s Wramblings-Music to our Ears and in Our Hearts

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

Sadly, another formerly local renowned musician has played his last earthly notes. The news of the passing of Galen Stout, once a resident of Hallsport, NY, was announced the other day. I will write more on Galen as information becomes available so won’t go into detail at this point. I will add, and probably repeat, that his songs will live in our hearts forever.

The good news on the weather front is that cold, blustery, snowy winter weather has seemed to bypass us so far this year. The bad news is that warmer, dreary, drizzly days are the replacement. I am a fan of winter “only when I can play in it.” By that I mean I don’t necessarily like the cold of the winter months but will endure them if there is snow on the ground, and it is a result of even a modest amount of snowfall that allows me to go out and shovel or plow it. Despite the next day’s resultant follow up suffering with the pain generated in my severely degenerated spinal discs, I enjoy anything related to moving snow around. Even the heavy wet snow is OK “by me,” as I just take it a little slower and take smaller “shovel bites” to offset the weight of the snow. I especially like running the tractor/plow with the snow blade doing the pushing.

In my youth, living in the hamlet of Nile, NY, once a thriving metropolis of 125 residents living primarily in the “One Block” town 3 miles outside of Friendship, my good friend John Clark and I welcomed the snow. We would grab our shovels and go around the block from house to house, whose residents were mostly older folks, and unasked, shovel their sidewalks. We didn’t ask for, nor expect any pay for doing this as we enjoyed it and enjoyed being able to help others.  

Talking about the rainy weather brings to mind another pet peeve that I have mentioned before. Drivers that pass by you on the “four-lanes,” and then immediately pull back into the driving lane seemingly less than a car length ahead in front of you.They are the bane of other drivers. I’m not talking about those that swerve out in front of a car approaching from behind them to avoid turning off their cruise control. That’s bad enough. I’m talking about open road, otherwise empty lane driving. It’s not necessarily as much of a nuisance when your wipers are on, or supposed to be anyway, while it is actively raining or misting. But, on those days when it is no longer raining or misting, but when the road wetness lingers following other precipitation that has let up, it approaches what I put into the category of “inconsiderate driving.”

I’ve been in the market for a second vehicle for awhile now and so have been keeping my eye, and my “search engines,” open. This whole process has had many head shaking moments. For the most part, the people I have dealt with have been friendly, helpful, and understanding when I moved on from their particular “branded” product to select something else. Gone are the days of the old-fashioned barter system. For the most part, dealerships will not respond (favorably) to an inquiry of: “Will you take less for that?” Personal, between private citizens transactions, often will still have a component of that. I made a note to add to that thought in next week’s article.

One dealership in general has a hard and fast policy of NOT negotiating at all. I have purchased several vehicles from the various Simmons-Rockwell group and their answer to the “take less, or “reduce” question is: “We post the price that is the best that we can, or will, sell the vehicle for.”

Their prices are fair and typically are not the highest nor lowest. I am now on a first name basis with a few of their salespeople and, for the most part, have been very happy with my choices.

The vagueness that follows is intentional. One recent negotiation with a close by “out of state” car dealership introduced me to a salesperson that had somewhat of a personal connection. When he gave me his phone number, seeing the 585-area code, I asked him if he was from the Wellsville area. Yes, he replied, I live in a small rural Pennsylvania community but I went to school in Wellsville so I could play a particular sport. I said, I’ll bet you were recruited for your athletic ability weren’t you. “Yes” he replied, and I loved it. We were very successful in the state competitions.” I obtained a little better vehicle deal for what I was looking for elsewhere, so didn’t buy from him, but I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with this salesperson.

My love of singing has certainly been rewarded lately, and especially so, following the Yuletide seasonal music and performances. Most of these “public” singing groups like the Genesee Valley Chorus, which is a four part mixed voice chorus out of Wellsville, NY, and the Maple City Barbershop Chorus primarily centered in Hornell, NY, openly advertise “Singers Welcome.” Little did they know that this was a welcome mat to me, like it or not. Over the years since the early 70’s, my participation has fluctuated between active and inactive given 0ther commitments and obligations. Currently I am active in both of those, as well with the Grace United Church choir, in Wellsville, NY.

Starting with Thanksgiving, continuing through the Christmas and the Yuletide season, and now with the several religious activities surrounding Easter upon us, the music flows. Just around the corner too, is Valentines Day. Many proclaim that Valentine’s Day is a “manufactured” holiday primarily promoted by commercial interests. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day also are cuddled beneath that umbrella. The Valentine’s season, just around the corner gives a singing opportunity, as various Barbershop Groups use this occasion as a fund raiser to financially sustain operations. Singing Valentines are available and are quite popular for many, including young lovers, and sentimental seniors, such as myself. I will also mention more on that next week for a 2nd teaser.

Clean-up time: As the week between Wrambling’s writings goes along, several topics or points of interest (to me) pop up and so I jot them down either on a scrap of paper or a little notebook. I sometimes lose interest, enthusiasm, or room for the topic in the week’s up-coming “writhings,” so they carry over in my notebook. Later when I re-gain interest, or have room for that topic, I will expand upon it and include it herein. Following are some of those items. Please forgive any repeats. I seem to forget things more easily these days.

¨ Have I mentioned Cargo Pockets, primarily used on work clothes, they are now even on casual dress slacks? I absolutely love them, as they give a convenient way to carry your phone, your “pitch pipe,” your Wrambling’s pocket notebook, the glasses case for your glasses that you loathe wearing until you need them, etc. Only shortcoming of that is not being able to find your cell phone as it is playing your obnoxious ringtone in public or whilst your trousers are hanging in the closet and you’ve forgotten to remove your phone from the pocket. The typical “worker” wearing these tends toward a Khaki color. I like the black ones as they are a little less casual.

¨ I continue to receive weekly emails under the name Joanne Allen. While I do appreciate the remembrance, it is annoying. I have tried reporting it; deleting it; blocking it and I cannot get to the source of the problem and stop them from coming in.

¨ I sometimes feel a generational disconnect in the use of our language and the meaning of words to those of a different generation. Words that were typically avoided in my younger days, now, either don’t mean the same thing, or are used, despite their formerly “familiar” meaning. The latest is the craze for the term Bills Mafia. I get it, that the recent interpretation is sanitized to where it is a term of endearment. It now is, but it didn’t used to be. There is also a game which used to be called “Bean Bag Toss” that now uses what, at one time was a very disparaging term, and it is now completely acceptable. I guess re-using “slang phrases” that once meant something else goes right along with not knowing the meanings of once well-known words and our language is now being “compressed” with many people not caring about their reduced vocabulary, and that doesn’t even raise the question of the deterioration of “grammar understood”. Sailor talk is now commonplace.

Our communication skills started out with grunts and groans and pictures drawn upon the cave walls. They are slowly migrating back to that as language skills deteriorate and our automobile buttons and knobs are identified with a little graphical picture, of which, many I still cannot understand. I have a blinking red light on my truck dash display that defies explanation despite poring (not pouring) through the user’s manual.

¨ Just wondering…Off and on the question of the proper orientation of a 120 Volt outlet plug gets brought to the forefront. This topic was again triggered by my inability to plug a device into an outlet, but not in the orientation desired. After all, who wants to plug a Cardinal Nightlight in upside down with the bird on the bottom? When we had some contractor work done several years ago, the contractor put the outlets in the way he thought best. In some instances you have to use an adapter, sometimes removing the ground club prong, to use the orientation that you prefer. I have been offered explanations as to certain logic, but there is no code. One suggestion that kind of made sense was that if the ground plug prong was on top and the plug was partially out of the socket, anything falling on it from above wouldn’t contact the “hot” terminal/prongs. Kinda makes sense in a way. My research (long ago and a few moments ago) revealed this:

“The National Electrical Code (NEC) doesn’t require a certain direction. The NEC allows outlets to be installed with the ground plug hole facing up, down or sideways. It’s up to you, there is no standard electric outlet orientation.”

¨ English is not difficult, nor are Mathematics, despite the numerous explanations and disclaimers that you hear “apologetically. What is difficult is the fact that you have to memorize so many things before you can even begin. 2 + 10 isn’t too bad as long as to have enough fingers and toes to allow counting. 2 X 10 is more difficult since you have to memorize that. Spelling “Piece” vs “Peice,” not even raising the specter of “Peace.” Learning the proper spelling makes you memorize “I before E except after C.” and then they list out the exceptions to that “rule.” I looked up the exceptions and according to one source there were 923 words that “break” the rule and only 44 that follow the “Rule”. One basic difference is the “sound” of the combination either as a “long E” sound or a “long A.” I wonder if they still use the “Long Vowel sound” in teaching English.    

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