By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see, and my heart feels.
Through the course of the week prior to beginning to write my Wrambling’swhich happens either late Wednesday the day before or “day of,” I mentally arrange the sequence and formulate a plan of attack. If I wait until Thursday morning to do the writing, the real planning takes place in the waking hours of the day before I stumble out of bed. I start “composing” in my mind and each topic or segment begins to take shape. This morning the topic that will follow my Prologue was the last to make my list of topics as it was triggered by an observation made at the beginning of Tuesday night’s Genesee Valley Chorus “Lenten Performance” practice session.
Prologue: As I recall past events I guess my mind has catalogued my history into five basic chapters. They are: Childhood; Military Service; Air Preheater Co. (APCO) employment; Alfred State Teaching; and Retirement. At times during each of the last three I would often ponder what the last one would offer, or would I even get to that stage. The last part of that statement might sound a little morbid but it is actually prompted by the “way too early” passing of my mother at the very end of my APCO days.
I have noted in prior writings that my mother passed away shortly after reaching her retirement age. My retirement goal is to draw from the retirement fund long enough to make up for her not being able to. Sadly on a related note, I may be writing more on the Social Security topic again in the near future as the politicians seem prone to want to mess with that system of entitlement. Through their activities many years ago “stealing” OUR money, the days of its sustainability are numbered.
Ok, Wrambling back “on point.” During the beginning of my retirement years starting in 2008, I was joyfully able to get back to an earlier age of enjoyable reading. The 24 years of teaching preparation prohibited any “reading for pure enjoyment.”
One of the first people I encountered in my early visits to the David A. Howe Library in Wellsville New York was Melody (Mel) Fanton. I had known Mel from my APCO days as I would cross paths with her and husband Dar Fanton at various APCO social functions. Mel had started employment at the Library around 1986 as a “Desk Clerk.” She would share those duties with others but I always looked forward to her assistance when looking for a particular book or author’s series. She would easily direct me to the appropriate section or area of the library like a traffic cop directing wayward travelers. Later in her career there, and until her retirement in 2011, she served as the Desk Supervisor. I lost touch with Mel after that and would only occasionally cross paths with her in one of the Wellsville shopping areas, but she always offered a smile and a warm greeting that brightened that day.
When I rejoined the Genesee Valley Chorus (GVC), there again I ran across Mel, in her role as…You guessed it…the GVC Librarian. At first her activities were not apparent to me. When starting a changing “singing season” we were given a music folder and a handful of music. Later I became aware that any new music could be found in the box full of mailing type envelopes noted with my number 31.
That wasn’t always obvious, as typically when the director added or changed a song, Mel would pass among the members handing out the new music and collecting the old, or replaced copies of the music. At times the chorus membership reached close to 50 Singers so Mel would have to pull the music from the archives, typically around 12-15 songs for each performance season, and distribute the music in each of the members folders. New season, rewind and repeat. The hours spent doing this are normally spent behind the scenes, oblivious to the members. This is not the proverbial “Thankless” job as the members do recognize the efforts put forth by Mel and occasionally will give her a round of applause when the chorus president reaches out giving her our collective thanks. I’m not sure all of the members give a whole lot of thought to what is going on behind the scenes however, and that is why I decided to reach out to Mel, and give the public, you all, an idea of what a blessing, and how valuable she is, to the chorus and indirectly to anyone enjoying our performances.
The Genesee Valley Chorus will be performing its first 2023 Concert at the Scio United Methodist Church celebrating the Lenten season at 2:00 PM April 2nd. The Concert is titled after one of the songs to be performed “Come Walk With Me”.
The Chorus’ annual Spring Concert this year will be presented Sunday, May 21st at the Trinity Lutheran Church at 2:00 PM. The concert will be dedicated to the memory of former Director Norma Bartlett, and the theme will focus on Music and Love. Norma was a charter member having joined in 1976, in its fledgling year, and for the past several years was its Musical Director, and much more. Norma was truly the heart of the chorus.
Picking back up on the theme in the Prologue, My retirement days have so far been a blessing and pleasant surprise. Two of my childhood dreams, or at least hopes for the future, are being realized. I am doing one in what you are now reading albeit not in a national publication (No offense Andrew). My poetry has been published in my own book of Poetry “Wiser’s Words of Love, Friendship and Inspiration” and has also been used for the lyrics in several published songs with music by Dave and Peg Dunbar. My singing, maybe not necessarily for the enjoyment of others, but certainly pleasing to me, is happening by singing in the Choir at Grace United Church in Wellsville, as a “Barbershopper” with the Maple City Barbershop Chorus in Hornell, and with the aforementioned GVC. I am living my dreams! My wife has been the true blessing of my life, and I would not be where or what I am today without her support.
Grammar re-visited. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the word “resigned” when talking about word oddities. That word popped up yesterday and briefly caused some consternation. In a Buffalo Bills update on the player Jordan Poyer, the line read something like: “Poyer has resigned with the Buffalo Bills.” My first reaction was that “he had resigned rather than resigned.” The only distinction between the two uses of the same word is the use of an accompanying “preposition.” If a preceding word is “with” it’s good. If the preceding or following word is “from” it is bad. I was relieved. Poyer has a new 2 year contract.
Reading a couple of Social Media posts yesterday made me wonder how good Facebook can be, or how bad Facebook can be. If family members are “Friends”, or present on Facebook via “friends of friends.” Some posts can be extremely pleasing or distressful. Imagine reading on Facebook that a close loved one has passed away, been arrested or something else not pleasant. That more than offsets the pleasure of reading anything positive or good about them.
Someone mentioned to me the other day some of the historical “Blue Laws” or practices. One of which was the closings of business establishments at noon on Wednesday. Nothing more upsetting than needing something from the store, bank or other business establishment and realizing it is 1:30 PM on a Wednesday. You didn’t want to run out of beer on a Saturday night after store closings or on Sunday either. I may pick up on this topic with other typical local or national “laws” at a later date. I will add this to the mental list that is now already several pages long with the other topics I put off till later.
My “Sweet Tooth” appetite was satisfied the other day. I can’t recall the last time I had eaten a “Jellybean.” Whilst walking through Walmart I noticed a display of Jelly Beans and it made my mouth water. Upon investigation I noticed that they were the “fruit flavored” variety. To me, those aren’t Jellybeans. Upon further searching I did find the “Spiced” Jellybeans. They are everything I remembered from the days of my first ones, especially black/licorice and cinnamon. I realize you can now buy bags of black or cinnamon only but some of the other flavors mixed in merely enhance the experience.
One more plug for a local activity and I will sign off. The Grace United Church, and the David A. Howe Library are jointly sponsoring a Photography Contest. The theme of the contest is to think of an inspirational quote or saying and to take a photograph that is inspired by that saying. My photo shown last week is an approximate example of that theme. My picture was a composite of a picture from my Wedding Album and a Poem “With This Ring I Thee Wed,” I had published. It didn’t completely fulfill the spirit of the competition, in that I had not taken the original photograph but I am working on completing that component with ongoing “negotiations.” I already have three submittals but this one would be the ”icing on the cake.” I guess now I could take a picture of a cake as it would exemplify that “old sage”.