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By Lacey Gardner

Wiser’s Wramblings-Poetry With Grace


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

One of the topics for today’s Wrambling’s will be about a new poetry event coming up at the Grace United Church on November 3rd. I will provide a little more information nearer the end of today’s Wrambling’s.

More on the recent spate of this round of Covid as it is still present among us. I guess it’s something that, like the Flu and the Common Cold, will now be in our lives “cyclically” forever. I have it “on good information” that the symptoms and ailments from Covid can linger for several weeks. I guess that’s what the Covid variation called “long Covid” means. After the initial onset, certain conditions including “cold like” symptoms of coughing, and congestion etc. can persist.  For a person that enjoys the pure taste of any food or drink, the loss of taste could be the worst of all of those conditions to linger.

And that thought prompts my Wrambling on, to a related thought concerning your “senses.” Common sense, unfortunately, is not considered one of the typical medical “senses.” For me, the most critical of those human senses is that of taste. That being the case, one of the silliest things one can do socially when enjoying a beverage or two, is the “shooting”, or “doing shots.” A shot is typically a small glass of  “liquor,” typically not something like beer. A typical drinking invitation that is non-sensical to me is hearing the invitation…” Let’s do shots.” As with eating, on those now rare occasions when I consume an alcoholic beverage, as with any food or drink, I like to taste it. What is the pleasure of throwing booze down your throat so quickly that you surely can’t taste it.

As my mission in life is to help educate, I researched the term “Shot.” Once I got beyond any reference to guns and ammunition, I discovered at least one interpretation of the term. In the days of the Wild West, a .45 caliber gun cartridge cost about 12¢. A small glass of whiskey, at that time, costing the same, so a dusty traveler would trade a bullet for a “shot” of whiskey. I wonder if that’s where the other common phrase “I wouldn’t take a shot…” came from. Side note: “Cost” is a challenging word to “tense” properly for me. Never can decide “cost”, “costs” or “costing.”

Sticking with the theme of words and terminology, one term which used to have a single meaning has now proliferated its way into use on any other number of holidays other than the original. As I was writing this article a sales event ad popped up on my secondary reference resource Kindle Fire mentioning “Black Friday”. Modern day interpretation of the term, until recently, referred to the Friday following Thanksgiving Thursday. It was presumed that retail establishments operating “in the red,” or the non-profit region would see such a rush of shopping that their sales totals would grow from “in the red” to “in the black. This occurred after the holiday as people would rush out and spend gobs of money buying gifts for the upcoming Christmas holiday. That designation of that particular day will no longer be unique, as many retail establishments now use that term for any, and every, “Sales” event, that they have.

Another source of the term reflects back to a stock market crash on Friday, September 24, 1869, when two ruthless Wall Street financiers schemed a get rich quick plan.

They collectively bought up as much of the nation’s gold as they could, hoping to send the value of gold “sky high” and they could make a financial killing by then selling it for astonishing profits.

Quoting from the article on a History Channel page; “On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free fall, and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.”

More on words…Have you ever wondered where the term hiccup comes from. I’m a slow learner and also my aging results in questionable forgetfulness. I may have forgotten but, that physical reaction to whatever causes it’s onset, just happened to me and the audible sound that came out sounded exactly as if I was saying “hick up.” The next time you have that phenomenon you may think back to that “wiser guy” that made you aware of it.

Writing or implying being “wiser” more wisely, may not always be a wise decision. As you may have noted, With some Wrambling’s, owner/editor Andrew Harris occasionally uses a photo of my vehicle license plate instead of my personal dapper looking picture. During a fit of vanity several years ago, when my vehicle registration came due, I wanted to use a variation of my last name Wiser as my plate “identification.” As you request wording or numbering for your vanity plate, and request a certain number or word combinations, the challenge is not unlike trying to create a “password,” where you have to include both “upper and lower case” letters, a number, and a special character. This typically makes your password nigh onto impossible to remember. Any variation and configuration I came up with for my vanity plate was rejected as it had previously been used. I didn’t think there were that many “wiser people” in New York State. I finally was able to successfully come up with the IM-Wiser “tag” with the NYS logo separating the IM from the Wiser. I get a lot of comments in the parking lots, as people notice the plate. I also get an occasional “thumbs up” from a driver or passenger from a car passing me from behind, giving me a “thumbs up” gesture in passing. I have also gotten, or heard, some other comments. One such comment was overheard when I was slowly passing through a NYS Trooper check point with my driver’s side window opened enough to hear a comment made from one trooper to his partner when he said “I’ll bet he isn’t.” Surprisingly it dawned on me right away what he was referring to.

Once again, I marveled at the oddities or coincidences surrounding my medical prescription pill consumption or even just taking Ibuprofen. Three things are related to that. Once a week I fill my pill dispenser for the daily (or nightly) doses. I dump/pour the number of pills into my hand to place one in each of 7 open compartments of the dispenser. It is amazing how often a random pour will result in exactly the correct number of pills falling into my hand to fill each “pill dispenser compartment.” If I don’t get the exact number of pills needed, more often than not it will be within one pill more or less.

Sticking with the medications dispensing, two other characteristics are notable to me. First, if you dump your pills on a flat surface, despite the pills shape, round versus oblong or oval, the pills will land and stay on the narrow edge rather than on the larger flat surface. And, when they do that, it is amazing how far, and how fast, they can roll off, to and over, the edge. If they land on a hard surfaced floor, they can disappear, rolling away only to be found several feet away, or under something, as if they are knowingly hiding from me.

One of my favorite Newspaper reads or radio listening, when I am lucky enough to dial surf to it, is by Ray@Cartalk. A recent newspaper article of his that I read included a topic wherein a “72 Ford Gran Torino” was being discussed. That brought back somewhat bittersweet memories of my ownership of a rather nice looking green two door model of that exact auto, which became impractical (*) as our family grew. I had also gotten tired of having issues with rotating tires on the car as is suggested. When I tried to do that on the Gran Torino I could not get the wheels from the back to match with the lugs on the front hub. Try as I might they just wouldn’t “swap.” The bolt pattern didn’t match. I went back to the Lester Chevrolet dealership in Wellsville, NY where I had bought the vehicle and their maintenance guy said that “Yes, Ford did that, for some reason, on purpose.” That was absolutely baffling to me. That episode finally resulted in my also having a separate pair of “winter tires” mounted for seasonal use. For the younger folks reading, the term “Winter Tires” is probably a head scratcher. (*) or “unpractical.” 😉

I will Grace-full-y now return to an upcoming program slated for the Grace United Church in Wellsville. The church currently has an ongoing program theme of GraceFull Arts. On November 3rd at 7:00 PM there will be a publicly open “Poetry Slam” where participants will submit and read some of their works of Poetry. The complete details including a set of conditions or rules and requirements, I believe, will be published in The Sun(s) in the near future. I am particularly thankful that this event is being held in the first place, and for me, the timing is fortuitous in that it is a few months removed from other Poetry contests and events conducted during the National Poetry Month in April, in which a few of us already participate  

Briefly summarizing the rules, which will be published in full elsewhere:

Each Poem must be of the poet’s own creation; group poems may be offered but rules govern their specific “group” use; Poems may be read and need not be memorized; Each Poem will be allotted a 3 minute time slot (+ 10 second grace period). Extending beyond that will be penalized by point deduction; No props, costumes, or pre-recorded music or use of instruments will be allowed. Singing, tapping or leg slapping a rhythm will be allowed; Phones cannot be written about and then used as a prop; Poems may NOT include sexist, racist, homophobic or transphobic comments. Appropriate personal emotions such as anger or frustration, can sensibly and legitimately be used. Scoring is as follows: The poet will receive a number score “out of 10,” awarded by five randomly selected judges. High and low scores will be dropped with the middle three adding to a total “out of 30” possible points.

I will be participating, and it will be very difficult for me to select just one of the many poems I have written and published. I started writing poetry in my young teenage years. Some were published in the Friendship Volunteer newspaper when I “staffed” there in the early 60’s.

I may have a completely new poem as Dan Jordan (Jordan Photography) continues to inspire my poetic emotions with his plethora of inspiring Eagle, and other wildlife, photographs. One of Dan’s recent eagle pictures has a poem bubbling around between my heart and my head, even as I write this.

One of the earliest poems that was published by Marilyn Lester, as Editor of the Friendship Volunteer in the early 60’s is included as a cap to this Wrambling.

 I cannot go on, nor neglect mentioning, the teacher from that period in my life that most inspired and encouraged my poetry and writing. Kathryn Toporas, my Freshman year English teacher, was taken from the earth way too early in her life. Her passing left an enduring void in our lives. RIP Mrs. Toporas.

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