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Baby Black Bear by Chuck Wiser

Wiser’s Wramblings-Sentimental Season, is September


Labor Day nostalgia and do you remember the Friendship Flyers ?

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

As each week wends toward its end, my “topics list-table of contents notes accumulate and my plans for writing evolve. At weeks end of the previous publication week, I wonder if I will have enough to write about, thinking that this might be the week I skip a Wrambling, taking what my editor calls “a well-deserved break.” Missing a paycheck isn’t a concern because there never is one. My compensation comes in the form of the occasional comment from a reader thanking me for the articles and for writing about the things that they often think about or wonder. I received two very nice comments after last week’s Wrambling and received permission to mention them by name but have decided not to do that. My hesitation is out of concern that others might hesitate to pass comments on through the editor or in response to my published email address, if I remember to add it at the end of my article.  

The month of September is annually a transition month that only hints at the onset of fall and winter. Nonetheless, it has a profound emotional and psychological effect on most of us. As I started this paragraph, two happenings occurred. The September theme was validated as I heard a flock of geese flying over announcing their departure beginning (or continuing) their migration. The second event was hearing the sound of a train whistle carrying over the river from the tracks beyond. I’m guessing, or as my wife reminded me, that the whistle was from a small maintenance vehicle approaching, or working at, the crossing on River Street, the beginning of Knights Creek Road. Still, it is a sound not often heard anymore, and is a sentimental thought trigger.

In my youth, September saddened me to some extent as it signaled the end of summer and a return to school. Our Labor Day was always spent at Rushford, NY at their parade and carnival. There was always a baseball game, usually featuring the Friendship Flyer’s, possibly due to their dominance in the Town Team league consisting of many teams from Southwestern NY and even from Pennsylvania with the perennial power Crosby team. My wife’s father Bill Hills used to umpire games there in the 50’s and early 60’s, and my brothers, Dennie and Rollie Miles both played on the team in the 60’s. My Mother, Fran (Wiser) Miles, and Cousin Bill Miles brought the month to a close with their late month Birthdays.

It doesn’t bother me at all now, as the highest summertime temperatures lately make re-opening my pool this year rewarding, as the otherwise unheated pool temperature of 80 degrees is still very refreshing. In my youth, it always seemed that our nicest summer days had to wait until we were called back to daily attendance in school. The Labor Day celebrations were always a little bittersweet given the thoughts of returning to school the next day.

Grammar/Office Word note: I finally got tired of having auto correct suggest alternate words to replace my Wrambling term every time I used it. I recalled that when the term was hi-lited there was a suggestion to add it to my Dictionary. I did and can now continue Wrambling to my heart’s content.

I’m getting pretty tired of walking through spider’s webs which seem to have greatly increased in quantity and location lately, nearly always ending up somewhere in contact with my skin or hair.

As long as I had to pause my Wrambling to listen to the scanner anyway, I might as well add my scanner comments at this point. Another scanner call to a business establishment in Friendship just happened. A parent (or observer) called emergency dispatch 911 needing assistance, as they cannot control their child. Another situation resulting in a local 911 call from last week involved a male who was walking around naked or “scantily dressed” revealing his “male parts” which were hanging out and on display. Multiple observations and reports were made. Not to be too graphic, but people would have to walk around with magnifying glasses to be offended if I did that.

I must add “coincidence” to my list of favorite or special event happening triggers. I often mention irony as to how it affects something happening. I don’t recall ever using the term Karma, but I certainly am attuned to the frequency of “coincidence.”

At the exact same time that I started a paragraph where-in I was going to write about the “anticipation that dancing dots brings,” my incoming message notification that automatically appears in the lower corner of my laptop popped up. Seeing that it was an incoming message from Dave Toot, I opened the window to see what he said or what the message was about. Since the message was in the process of being written the dancing dots “···” appeared. I tried to make them dance herein but that feature is beyond my limited expertise. I anxiously awaited Dave’s incoming message as the dots continued to dance. I had to give up my wait and return to my writing so will go back later and check out what the message included.

Among the many pleasures, memories, and continuing rewards from my earlier teaching days at Alfred State College is hearing from former students. It is especially rewarding when they acknowledge something specific that I taught them (**), and even more so when they publicly thank me for having passed along a “lifelong learning lesson” to them. The following message was received from one such student, John Day. I am likewise thankful for social media platforms such as Facebook, for allowing this intimate, albeit remote, opportunity.

John Day (**)

Professor, I’m just trying to impart the knowledge of the elders into the young and untrained every day. As a Producibility Engineer at Lockheed, I’m responsible for reviewing every initial release and revision for every program that touches water, so I’m lucky enough to have had good teachers both in school and industry. Glad to continue the tradition of passed down knowledge and hope to have an impact on the educational side someday as well. Appreciate all that I learned from you and the rest of the A-State faculty.

John (**) was referring to the use of the “Engineering bible” The Machinery’s Handbook. I preached and harped on the students having to cajole them into buying that book. As a former student I recall professors “mandating” the purchase of several books, ofttimes never even getting to, nor using, the book in the course. I told the students that the only book that I absolutely needed them to have, and which WAS required, was the Handbook. AND, when, not if, they sold their books back to the bookstore or another student, they keep the “bible” as they would be able to use it throughout their career even as updated versions came out. When I retired, I was teaching from the 27th edition. My original 16th Edition copy disappeared. My oldest now is the 20th edition.

On a related engineering reference topic, and what added to the past topic was my use of said handbook as I researched pipe sizes being in the process of doing some “water closet” maintenance in my bathroom. The terms that I was familiar with; NPT (National Pipe Tapered) and NPS (National Pipe Straight), were related to two traditional piping standards. Thumbnail background: Tapered pipe is used in fluid flow conveyance such as with gases, liquids or even air. The tapered thread typically eliminates the need for pipe sealing or “doping,” as the “joint” is self-sealing due to the taper. Straight pipe, and its fittings are typically used in non-fluid conveyance or if used in that situation requires gaskets or sealing compounds to prevent leakage.

Lately, as with everything else these days, the nomenclature and terminology has morphed away from the traditional. NPT and NPS letters are now used for other things and pipe designations use other “standards” terms as their designation.

The wonder of having been born in the 40’s has blessed me with the opportunity, but also the challenge, of not only history and tradition, but also the open-mindedness to evolve with changing technology. I could not have asked for a better time to have been born, and thankful to allow me the blessing of the present.

Grammar word search. My inquiring mind, love of our language, and even related comments from readers mentioning my grammar and word usage, is motivation to pursue such questions and topics when using certain words. The other day I read, or dreamt of, a sentence wherein the words minion and opinion were both used. What is the significance or etymology of the suffix “inion” I wondered. The meaning of the words opinion and minion are easily found. Wondering if “inion” was a suffix, and if so, what it meant I searched for the term and the result was:

in·i·on [ˈinēän] NOUN ANATOMY

  1. the projecting part of the occipital bone at the base of the skull.

Stymied there I entered the Bing and Google search engines with the question: “Are the words opinion and minion related?” The answer that I received was:

Sorry, no results for “Are the words minion and opinion related?” in the English Dictionary.

I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask. At least the reply didn’t start out “Sorry dummy…”

As a closer and tying back to mention of research sources, I have come to rely on Google and Bing and others for quick research. Despite that, my 20th Edition of Machinery’s Handbook resides in a coveted spot on a shelf in the garage and my 26th and 27th editions are on a bookshelf in my office. I still often satisfy my age-old curiosity, and love of reading the written word, by referring to the handbooks from time to time.

Special thanks to John Day for reminding me about the topic, and for his kind words, and to Dave Toot for ···. The ··· notation does have a usefulness and is used to imply that “more words follow, or more recently watch for them and you will (may) be rewarded.

Please feel free to add comments, criticism, corrections, or suggestions for future topics to me directly at my personal email address

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