Several years ago, two friends from Richfield, Tiger Goodale and Rootie Marriot, came up the drive with what they thought was a good story for me to write.
They had been in the Genesee, one of the local watering holes, when this guy came in and told how he or some other one-legged man — they didn’t make it clear — was up in a tree, building a stand for hunting, when his prosthetic leg fell off and landed on the ground right under the nose of his Saint Bernard.
It sounded like a good story. It reminded me, in fact, of celebrated writer Flannery O’Connor’s tale where a man romances a woman in a hay mow just so he can run off with her wooden leg. When I pressed them for details, they told me I had better get them straight from the horse’s mouth and gave me a phone number to call, which I did, but there was no answer, so I just left my name and number on the answering machine.
210 YEARS AGO
Education – Mr. Bond offers his services to the
inhabitants of Otsego Village to give Lessons in a new and fashionable style of Dancing. Mr. B. proposes to give his first Lesson on Friday Evening next, at Stephen Fitch’s Hall in said village, where he solicits the patronage of the Parents and Guardians of Young Masters and Misses who may wish to encourage this accomplishment. Satisfactory references will be given by applying to Mr. Isaac Williams. Terms Three Dollars, to be paid at the close of the School.
November 23, 1811
The amount of information regarding COVID in children and the risks and benefits of vaccination is overwhelming and as reported even varies from country to country.
There is no clear-cut consensus on anything in the younger age groups other than that the risk of developing a case requiring treatment, hospitalization, or leading to death is lower if the patient is younger. Still, the risks of vaccine complications in the very young have so far been trivial, with no deaths or hospitalizations in pre-clinical studies reported in the United States.
Definition: An intrepidly bold and daring willingness to appreciate even the smallest things of life in the face of difficult circumstances.
When I write guest editorials for this newspaper, I typically write as Julie, the Executive Director of LEAF. When I was asked to write this one, I decided to write it as just me, Julie. I am a wife, sister, dog-mom, public speaker, problem-solver, musician, photographer, and a woman in long-term recovery from addiction.
It is that last part of who I am that taught me about the wonders of audacious gratitude. I will tell you that there were times in my journey that if just one more of my recovering peers told me to write a
gratitude list, I would have been tempted to throw the nearest solid object at them. Fortunately, I never did that. There was a lesson to be learned in the sage advice of those who cared about me.
It’s not just a crossword puzzle, it’s a Merl Reagle crossword puzzle.
Mr. Reagle stole the show — unintentionally, I’m sure — in the 2006 movie “Wordplay.” It’s a documentary about crossword tournaments and the people who compete therein; The New York Times crossword editor and NPR star Will Shortz take up a lot of space in the movie, which also features former President Bill Clinton, Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Mussina, and comedian Jon Stewart waxing poetic about their love of the Times crossword.
But it’s Merl Reagle who outshines them all, constructing another masterpiece puzzle from scratch using only a blank grid, a pencil, and his uncanny wit. We meet him when he’s driving past a Dunkin’ Donuts.
“Unkind Donuts,” he says. “You just take the ‘d’ from the beginning of the word and move it to the end.”
I’m delighted that beginning this week, and exclusively to our print editions, The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta will publish a puzzle from the giant stack of Mr. Reagle’s “best-of.” Sadly, he passed away in 2015; mercifully, his puzzles remain, filled with zip and fun and humor. Sometimes tough, but always entertaining.
I didn’t want to think about politics last week. My wife and I were on a brief vacation, planned long before the opportunity arose to join the staff here at The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.
We kept our plans — it was a drive to Cincinnati to see Fiona the Hippo at the zoo (really — look her up, because it’s a very sweet story and who knew that hippos were so entertaining?) and to see Bob Dylan in concert. Both were magnificent.
Oh, but New York’s political scene doesn’t give much rest to those of us who find some sort of interest or odd entertainment value in its inner workings. It’s when the inside baseball spills out into the public that it becomes far more serious than “entertainment value.”
I wrote last week about the kerfuffle to come in the Democratic primary for Governor and touched on the equally important race for Attorney General. The office of New York’s ‘AG’ — an abbreviation sometimes expanded as “Aspiring Governor” — assumed a far more public policy leadership role back in the days of Eliot Spitzer. Andrew Cuomo rehabilitated his flagging political career when he took the AG post in 2006; Eric Schneiderman was well on his way to greater political office until his career imploded in the wake of scandal in 2018.
Last week a friend told me a story that should have surprised me, but unfortunately I was inured to. In fact, you could say I had been immunized to the situation.
Her friend who she had worked with frequently over the past few months, came up to her smiling and announced that he had finally “bit the bullet” and had gotten vaccinated against COVID. He had refused up to that point because of concerns he heard about, mostly from the internet. My friend was a bit shocked because the other person had previously told her that he was immunized when they first started working on a project together several months previously.
When questioned about that, he said that he was sure that she would insist on wearing masks and even working remotely from each other if he told her that he weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. He really hated wearing a mask and wanted to work together. He was immunized, just not against COVID. He had, after all, been immunized as a child against measles, mumps, chicken pox, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. He finally acknowledged that he knew he was misleading but insisted he had made a true statement.
You may have noticed the opinion pieces I’ve shared recently (thank you AllOtsego for sharing community voices!). Springbrook is a diverse organization with many talented leaders. This month, I asked The Springbrook Foundation’s Director of Development, Stacey Grady, to share her perspective with the community. Her contribution is below.–Patricia Kennedy, CEO Springbrook.
When I arrived in Otsego County as a Hartwick College freshman, I never imagined I would find my forever home. Yet, I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. And it’s here that I have found a community filled with kind and generous people. In my role at Springbrook, I have the opportunity to see this generosity each day — from the parent who makes homemade cookies for the staff of their child’s on-campus residence, to the local businesses that create opportunities for the people we support. As we move into the giving season, I do what I can to set time aside to reflect, practice gratitude, be with family and friends, and support those in need. While living here, I have found so many opportunities around me to commit some of my time, knowledge, and care in giving back, some of which I’d love to share with you.
135 Years Ago
Notice: Removal – The hop business of D. Wilber & Son has been removed from Milford to Oneonta. Office room has been secured in rooms opposite Brown’s Hardware on Main Street, where we will be pleased to see our friends. All letters intended for D. Wilber & Son should be addressed to Oneonta instead of Milford, as formerly.
The following are excerpts from previous badgers pertinent to an event which ended 50 years ago this month.
The murder trial stretched out… The defense attorney’s request for a change of venue was turned down by the judge… the newspaper called the request “BOSH”… the defense wanted the body exhumed… Two hundred prospective jurors were named… members of the media crowded into town… More than 70 witnesses would be called… The District Attorney’s outline of the crime was called a “fairy story” by the defense… Photographs of scenes of the crime were called “trick pictures” by the defense…
Several years ago I received a wedding announcement from my cousin Francine who lived in the town of Savigny Sur Orge, which is a 20-minute train ride from Paris, France.
She said that her son Ben had finally married his girlfriend whom he had been living with for ten years. The girl, Isabelle, is a doctor and comes from a small French village where there hadn’t been a wedding for 17 years, so theirs was a grand occasion where almost the entire village population attended. Ben and Isabelle worked for Doctors Without Borders and had made friends in many countries from which about 130 people came to attend. Francine wrote that the wedding party walked along cobblestone paths accompanied by musicians who played instruments dating from the middle ages. The reception was held at an old castle and because a majority of the guests were from Latin America, much of the music was from Mexico and Brazil.
210 YEARS AGO
Theodore Pomeroy, having opened an Office two doors east of the Druggist Shop of George Pomeroy, offers himself to the inhabitants of the village of Cooperstown and its vicinity, as a Practitioner in Physic and Surgery. Having furnished himself with Trepanning Instruments and all others necessary in common operations, he holds himself in readiness to attend to calls with the most rigid punctuality.
November 9, 1811
You might have heard or read the poem which Robert Frost wrote more than a hundred years ago, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference. “
Has someone ever asked you for advice? Should they move from this company to that one? From one career to another? From one city to another? A dear friend of mine has these questions looming large. Thinking about her choices at 3 a.m., suddenly I remembered several forks in the road I had taken. I had not known what they would mean. But they made all the difference.
I thought about the decisions I made that I did know would change everything. Emigrating to New Zealand would make all the difference, I just didn’t know how. I knew leaving the morning paper in Wellington to be a TV/radio reporter was a turning in the road. I didn’t know what difference it would make.
As we transition through fall, I’m reminded of the spirit of community that is such a vibrant part of our lives in Otsego County. This sense of connection and shared values that sustains us through good times and challenging times is why “community matters”.
Six weeks ago, I wrote about a new drug called malnupiravir from Merck that was a game changer in the treatment of COVID-19. When taken in the first few days of infection it was 50% effective in the prevention of hospitalization and death. While not as good as monoclonal antibodies this was considered an amazing result and the study was terminated early in order to immediately ask for emergency approval. It was recently approved in Great Britain and large supplies were purchased by Britain, the United States, and other wealthy countries.