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Wiser’s Wramblings-Run, Walk or Ride-There is a Proper Side

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

As the days of April fade away, may warmer weather greet us in May. Springtime activities have blossomed, and the social calendars are filling rapidly. For me, tonight will afford me the opportunity to present some poetry reading once again, hopefully for the pleasure of the listeners at the David A. Howe Library (DAHL)

April is National Poetry Month and there has been a plethora of related activities. One of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make recently involved picking just one poem to be read to the “judging audience.” Each poem that I have written conveys a message. The message may be as a tribute to a person, sadly, who has left us, but not always. Most of the poems have been inspired by some sensory reaction to a word spoken, a “seen scene,” or just a momentary thought that meanders through my ever-active mind. The poem I read tonight at 6 PM in the Monday Room at DAHL is representative of most of my recent poems. My friendship with the Eagle Whisperer Dan Jordan has taken wing and his eagle, and other wildlife, pictures have been the inspiration for quite a few. Since each picture “is worth 1000 words,” I will fall short of that lofty goal, but the words are intended to paint a picture in your mind or heart, and by that I hope to succeed.

Dan’s pictures and the memory of a “lady of the arts” Joanne Allen, who personifies the arts in general, and poetry, will be my inspiration for tonight.

Staying on the theme of Poetry Month, the 25th was the entry deadline for the Olean Times Herald (OTH) Poetry Contest. For some reason these, and other, contests have what I consider a lopsided division of categories. The contestants are placed in 3 or 4 groupings based on age. The age group that “adults” end up in is the “19 and over” group. In years past I had reached out to Nichole Finnerty, OTH Circulation Manager, and convinced her to add a category more fairly dividing the adults into two separate groups by adding one to include “seniors.” This put what is likely the most prolific entry group by themselves. Nichole is no longer with OTH, or at least out of the Circulation role, and the contest entry rules fell back to that previously used. I have now discussed this with the new Circulation Manager, with hopes that next year a change will be made. My rationale as previously conveyed, and again this year presented, is to make the contest a little more convenient, and fairer, for those in the 19 year and beyond group. Contestants 65 years or so old, would be in a separate grouping.

My Wrambling’s title reflects a combination of observations made through the years and renewed once again given the seasonal increase in pedestrian traffic. I’m not sure if it’s part of any law, but pedestrians walking along a public highway are directed to walk on the side of the road that faces oncoming traffic. Note: I said “side of the road,” Not “in the road.”

From the walker (or runner) vantage point it is safer to be facing traffic so as to be able to see what is coming up to you for any number of reasons, one of which would allow you to step further/farther off the road if it’s a wide or wandering oncoming vehicle. From the driver’s perspective, especially after dark, it allows you to more clearly see the pedestrian, with a face and other moving body parts more visible.

On that note, it is advisable, but under-utilized, that the pedestrian use reflective clothing or devices to be more readily seen. Runners are pretty good about this I notice.

Bicycle riders on the other hand, by law, are supposed to ride their bike as if they were operating a motorized vehicle, especially, on the streets of towns and cities, and to obey ALL vehicle traffic rules, including stop signs etc. All too often I see bicyclists riding on the sidewalks darting and weaving around pedestrians. This is discourteous and potentially dangerous.

That was my Public Service message of the week.

Wildlife in our backyard has picked back up and we are receiving our usual number and variety of nocturnal visitors. Under the category of “I leaned something today,” what we commoners commonly refer to as Possum, actually aren’t. That’s right. What we have here in North America are technically “Opossums.” Over the years the common phrase “possum” has become the standard and even some reference sources list both in their description. The Opossum is the only variety of marsupial residing in North America. The Possum is native to Australalia.

Product Complaint! A few years ago, they came out with a product called Flex Seal. I tried it and immediately fell in love with it. You can buy it in colors of Black, White or Clear. The first few jobs I used it on brought very successful results, I built a large 6-sided bird feeder with sloping roof, copying and enlarging the design of a smaller commercial model we owned. I coated the roof with the white Flex Seal. They also make the product as a “stretchable,” stick to itself rubberized tape which works well for sealing tubing-like ductwork like a flexible rain downspout extension. I have since used several applications in numerous places.

Why my complaint? Despite following the directions to thoroughly reseal the opened container that is only marginally successful. If you re-open the container after a fairly short time duration, all is well. If, however, a couple of years pass by between uses…Forgetaboutit! Upon opening the tightly resealed container you are likely to find a rock-hard lump in the still nearly full can. I now have cans of each color (2 black actually) that are useless. Ok! I said to myself, buy a smaller container like a tube that they have. The $14.87 price is the same for all their packaging options. You can’t, at least that I’ve been able to determine, buy a smaller amount.

Upon reading about the 36th Annual Wellsville Elks Spring Day Track and Field Invitational conducted on May 13th, I reflected on my high school days and an annual Track and Field event that I always looked forward to.  As a student at Friendship Central School (FCS), I was on the track team for all my high school years. Unfortunately (for me), you could not participate in high school sporting activities, as students now can, until you are in high school. One of the highlights of the track season was the Wellsville Spring Day invitational track meet bringing track teams in from a locally wide geographical area.  

My high school days occurred from 1960 to 1963. Well over 36 years ago, I guess the event “timeline” changed when it was championed or sponsored by a different organization. I have no complaints at that and applaud the continued running of the event and its sponsor. I do lament the “shortening” of the timeline as it goes well beyond 36 years as an event, even if not “sponsored” or “championed” by this worthy organization.

My participation in the earlier Spring Day event afforded me the distinct pleasure of meeting an unforgettable High School track official by the name of Sid Miles. I am not aware of his professional role or affiliations back then, but suspect he was involved with the Wellsville Central School Athletics system, or some “Officiating” organization. His presence and impact on my life came in the form of mentoring, coaching, and teaching anything related to my sports participation. “Sid” would take me aside after the conclusion of an event I participated in, and there were many, and give me pointers and suggestions on how to improve my performance. There was plenty of room and opportunity for improvement as I was the “Utility” person for FCS track. Depending on where we needed an entrant, I would fill that role. I wasn’t always, or maybe even “often” a winner, but I was always competitive. My spectrum of events included: 100- and 220-Yard dashes, Pole Vault, High Jump, Broad Jump and the shorter distance Relays.

I was tempted to start this week’s Wrambling’s with the topic that I will close with. Despite it’s possible in-appropriate usage or topic, the age-old argument of the proper orientation of the “Men’s Reading and Thinking Room Media.” Will end this session as it does many other similar sessions.

I have conducted exhaustive informal research regarding the proper way to install the “media” and my results can be seen in the accompanying illustrative photo. The photo depicts the two possible results in the removal of the media from its storage vehicle. One orientation, more often than not, resulted in inefficient and ragged removal of the media. Not only unsightly, but the ineffective method often resulted in a mis-fire when attempting to receive a full supply of the product on the occasion of its next use. I will let you draw your own conclusion based on the graphic nature of my results.

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