February 28, 2006. Celebrating birthdays today are Evy Lysk, Rick Posey and Gary Ritter.It is Shrove Tuesday, better known as Mardi Gras, a day of preparation for Lent. The name "shrove" probably came from the word "shrive" or confess. It takes place on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (which happens tomorrow, the first day of Lent). The tradition in the church of having pancake suppers and the secular tradition of just plain partying comes from the practice of feasting before the fast.
Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras go hand in hand. "Gras" is French for fat and "Mardi" is French for Tuesday. The annual festivities start on January 6, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, when three kings were supposed to have visited the Christ Child. The climax comes on Fat Tuesday, which always occurs on the day before Ash Wednesday. Parties and parades continue until Lent begins at the stroke of midnight tonight. Mardi Gras is scheduled to occur 46 days before Easter. Since the actual date Easter occurs changes yearly, Mardi Gras can happen on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9.
The word "carnival" comes from the combination of the Latin words "carne" and "vale," meaning "meat" and "farewell." Mardi Gras carnivals are a farewell to meat before Lent begins.
And for the Germans of the area, we can't forget "fasnacht, "a yeast-raised potato pastry that's deep-fried like a doughnut. Fasnachts were originally made and served on Shrove Tuesday to use up the fat that was forbidden during Lent. They're diamond-shaped and often have a slit cut down the center before frying. They first appeared in Pennsylvania, though there is some argument whether the actual origin is German or Dutch.
I thought the age for fun was youth
When I was young and sporty,
But now I'm hoping it's the truth
That life begins at forty.
How many readers can remember back to 1948 when...
• Radio station WLTR went on the air in Bloomsburg from studios in the Hotel Magee? The station was owned by Bloom Radio, Inc. The stockholders were Harry l. Magee, James G. Law and Ralph McBride.
• The Benton Auction Company brought in prices of $22.50 to $28.50 for calves; chickens 22¢ to 30¢; eggs, 49¢ to 52¢; and potatoes $1.75 to $1.80.
• Otto G. Little and his son, Miles, began operating their planing mill, which was formerly the T. C. Smith Mill. The mill whistle was being reconditioned when the opening took place, but soon took a position of prominence at the mill. The town knew that it was time to call off labor when the noon whistle at the planing mill blew.
• Lawrence LeRoy "Larry" Spencer, 4, son of Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Spencer, Mill Street, drowned in Fishing Creek while a five-year old companion was saved from the icy waters by his father, who was summoned by a five-year old girl. It all happened about 60 feet south of the former Reading railroad bridge where the three had been playing on the ice. Sheila Harrison--now Sheila Thompson--ran about a quarter of a mile to the Hill Street home of Mr. and Mrs Harold Ackerman. Harry Ackerman, Jr. clung to ice in Fishing Creek for an estimated 20 minutes until help arrived. The accident happened about 1 PM and it was not until after 3:30 in the afternoon that a boat manned by A.J. Hartman, Charlie Knowles and Elery Hess found the lifeless body of the Spencer boy.
During the rescue of Harry Ackerman, Jr., his father fell into the icy waters, too, as he attempted to free his son. Following the sounding of the alarm in Benton by police chief, Arley Meeker, hundreds assisted in the search and recovery. Dale Smith and Otto Little plunged into the icy waters in an effort to break ice to get to the water.
If you could remember 1948, you should be able to remember November, 1946, when a fire of undetermined origin caused at least $2,500 damage to a Market Street house owned by Ben McHenry and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Evans and their three children, Joyce, Bruce and Carolyn Sue. The fire started in the attic and was not discovered until it had gained a lot of headway. Mel was reading on the first floor when he was informed of the fire. When the fire alarm was sounded, "three lines of hose were put to it," according to the Argus.
Kenneth B. "Ken" McCahan, 92, (Aug. 23, 1913-Feb. 27, 2006), a former management analyst for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, died Monday morning at his 462 Ridge Road home. Born in Harrisburg, he was a son of the late George C. and Jessie E. McCahan and was a graduate of Camp Curtain High School, Harrisburg. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. Ken was a past member of the Benton Area School Board, a past president of the former Frank Laubach Memorial Library in Benton and instrumental in making the Frank Laubach Memorial postage stamp a reality.
Surviving is his wife, Elizabeth "Betty" (Dressler) McCahan, three sons: Keith E. McCahan (Lynn), Wilmington, NC; Duane D. McCahan (Debbie), Selinsgrove; and Dean E. McCahan (Debbie), Riverside; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Captain Marlin Eugene McCahan, a pilot who died in the Vietnam War, and by twin sister, Virginia Phillips, and by additional siblings Clara Mobley Ruth Helf, Dorothy McCahan, Anna McCahan, Russell McCahan, Emory McCahan and Bob McCahan. Funeral services will be Saturday at 10:30 AM at the Benton Christian Church. Burial will be in the Waller Cemetery with military rites accorded by a joint veterans group. A viewing will be Friday from 6 to 8 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc.
--from Tuesday's Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary is available
An article about people who collect stuff appeared in the February 25 issue of the Wall Street Journal and got us thinking. For those who didn't read the article, we'll quickly summarize the absurdities of some people (while thinking all the time of Thoreau and Pogo, "I have met the enemy and he is me."
Out in Ohio, a man had a collection of 5,000 pencils, mostly never used. What is going to happen to that collection? Will they make a coffin out of them and bury them with him? Will his children use them to attempt to write to him? Another man had a collection of 35,000 used instant-lottery tickets. Another man collected the last editions of 79 daily newspapers that closed down since 1963. His children don't want the old newspapers, which fill a closet, preferring instead " greenbacks and stock certificates."
The sad fact is that young people generally have little interest in what the older generations collect, with the exception of some local items. Our toothpick holder collections, our Lydia Pinkham bottle collections, our airplane engine collections frequently aren't loved by the younger generations. Our fate is to enjoy our collections, and we should plan to die with them and have little expectation of what will happen to them after that. We need to plan for the future of our collections, not assume that others will keep, love and enjoy our accumulations.
The things we collected in childhood, like baseball cards and comic books, we tend to still collect. In fact, most collectors are over the age of 50 while the kids of today are listening to their MP3 players and absorbed in their computer games.The oddball items we collect could go down in value over the years if future generations of collectors don't materialize. We need some enthusiasm out there for our doll houses, our matchbooks, our crystal, our Michael Jordan autographed basketball shoes, our 78 rpm records. In West Chester, the founder of the National Toothpick Holder Collectors' Society gives away toothpick holders to young people. The U.S. Mint has a web site with cartoons and computer games to entertain kids about the thrills of coin-collecting and it appears to work as children have shown considerable interest in the state quarters program.
Right in our backyard, Benton Coins and Collectibles at the intersection of Market and Main Street is the largest coin shop in the area, and that includes the entire Susquehanna and Wyoming Valley. The weekend trade of that shop is extraordinary, as coin collectors arrive to invest their after-tax dollars, or to acquire a piece of American history.Appreciated collectibles are often an overlooked source of charitable assets.
Please consider the safeguarding of collections to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center in order that future generations of residents can see and enjoy local history. Donations of Fritz Pottery, McHenry Whisky memorabilia, local milk bottles, Long Wagon Works items, flour bags from local mills, McHenry House calendars and other memorabilia, postcards, glass souvenirs, A.R. Pennington and Pennington & Seely items, and items from the Elmer Lyons Machine Shop are appreciated, These items should be kept in the local area for the enjoyment of future generations.
February 27, 2006. Today is the 93rd birthday of Ora Karns and Lynne Watson turns 38. Prayers are needed for Dr. Ken Cross' father, Gary Cross, an ICU patient at the Geisinger Hospital. And keep the prayers coming for Glen Baker and for the family of Ken McCahan. Ken passed away this morning about 1:30.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) in Pennsylvania can be very proud of some local high school students who have won the Keystone Degree, the highest state-level FFA degree. The award represents the culmination of long years of work, and a long application process. More FFA Keystone Award winners came from our area than from any other area school. They are Reese Smith, Lauren Brace, Justin Yistat, Cecile Houseweart, Mike Strevig, Amanda Showers, Russell Hack, Austin Wary, Brian Wilhite, and Travis Lamoreaux. Rep. David Millard presented certificates from both the Senate and the House of Representatives to honor the award winners. Doug McCracken is the local FFA leader.
Each student had a long list of qualifications that they had to meet in order to be eligible for the Keystone Degree. They had to have received the Chapter Degree; completed two years of instruction in an agricultural education program and must have been an FFA member for two years; and they must have earned and invested at least $1,000 by the member's own efforts or have worked at least 600 hours or had a combination of the two. Students had to demonstrate leadership ability, demonstrate competency in an agricultural occupation and have a certified, satisfactory scholastic record.
The Benton High School Alumni Association wants to keep current on alumni addresses. If you have changed your address, please let them know at alumni$bentonsd.k12.pa.us. (change the "$" to a "@" before sending)
The Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie opened in the spring of 1891, with a Tchaikovsky concert. It quickly became known simply as "Carnegie Hall" in recognition of the industrialist and philanthropist. Names like Caruso, Casals, Heifetz, Horowitz, Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Toscanini and the like were common on its stage. On Sunday, March 12 at 8 PM ET/PT, the Grand Ole Opry visits the stage of Carnegie Hall and you can watch the goings on via GAC television.
Didja hear about the man who walked into a computer store and told the clerk that he was looking for a mystery adventure game with lots of graphics, something really challenging. The clerk looked at the man and asked, "Have you tried Windows XP?"
The Benton Fire Company served breakfast to 338 hungry people Sunday. The firemen thank each and every one of them for their support and hope to see them again at the next breakfast March 26.
Speaking of firemen...
. the group has an Atlantic City bus trip to Caesars coming up March 19. The Gallagher's bus will leave from the fire station at 7 AM and will return at 10 PM. The cost is $32 per person, and everyone has to be 21 or older. Upon arrival in Atlantic City, the participants will receive a $17 coin rebate and a $5 food voucher. To sign up for the trip, call 925-6185. All reservations must be received by March 5.
. the group has a pork and sauerkraut dinner at the fire station March 11. We'll tell you more about that later. Other activities include a craft show coming up May 20, a flea market and chicken BB-Q on May 27 and the monthly breakfast May 28.
Vernon McDormand, 83, slowly made his way to the front of the Benton Christian Church Sunday, carefully balancing by placing his arm on the back of each pew as he approached the pulpit. Rev. McDormand knew the walk by heart. After all, he was the minister of the local church from 1983 to 2000. and had been serving God since he was 18 while still in high school when he was "sent to a country church where they needed a minister. They got me."
Rev. McDormand began his sermon thanking the congregation for inviting him back while Rev. Diehl was on winter vacation in Florida. Rev. McDormand slowly looked at all of his friends in the congregation and reminisced a bit, recalling about the time when he had a "spell" while preaching at the local church. Nurse Joyce Keller and others got him "comfortable" on the floor of the church, and called 9-1-1. Rev. McDormand recalled lying on the floor, looking up at the concerned congregation looking down at him on the floor. Years later he jokingly speculated which lady of the church would want to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The minister remembered that he was very happy when the Benton Volunteer Fire Company arrived on the scene and EMT Barry Lewis knelt down and whisked him away to the hospital before "mouth to mouth" was necessary.
Rev. McDormand recalled how he spent the next three years after his retirement from the Benton church filling in at the Hobbie United Church of Christ until that congregation selected a full-time minister. He recalled that he had a "spell" while at Hobbie, too. In that case, nurses in the congregation laid him on his back on the floor, removed his tie and shirt and rubbed his chest. Vernon asked the Benton congregation, "Now I ask you, if you were having a spell, which church would you want it in?"
The white haired Man of God wore a black tie and suit Sunday, his face pink with the flow of adrenalin that comes from being back before his congregation, his eyes tilted to peer through the bifocals in his large glasses at the written material he had collected on the podium. He didn't sing with the congregation, but stared intently at the material on his podium as a student might cram for an examination. His gaze led observers to think that his eyesight was not as good as it once was. He began reading slowly, thought about some sentences and then reread them as if either the words needed additional emphasis or he hadn't been able to accurately read them the first time..
When the actual sermon began, he planted his hands firmly on the pulpit for balance and reassurance and lifted his head toward the congregation. He delivered his Transformation Sunday message clearly and without reference to a single note. Never smiling, his voice was filled with authority and knowledge. He spoke to his congregation much like an attentive grandfather might speak to an appreciative grandson. His eyesight might be failing him, but his memory and delivery were not.
His wife, Noreen, 86, didn't feel that his eyesight was Vernon's biggest problem. She said, "if I can get my eyes fixed and he can get his legs fixed, we'll be in good shape."
Vernon began his career in 1940 at the Winger Church of Christ, Ontario, Canada, while serving in the Canadian Army. He attended the University of Toronto, Toronto Bible College, Lexington Theological Seminary and Eureka College and did student ministries at Rutland and Flanagan, Illinois. His churches were in Gibson city, Illinois, Chattanooga, Mt. Sterling, Illinois, Monessen, Pennsylvania, and correctional facilities in Greensburg and Pittsburgh. He came to the Benton Christian Church in 1983, and retired in 2000. He currently carries the title of Minister Emeritus of the Benton Church.
February 26, 2006. Happy birthday to Michelle Karns.
The Boy Scout sponsored spaghetti supper at the Benton United Methodist Church Saturday night set a record for attendance, up about 50 from last year to 300 people this year. Proceeds from the meal will help send kids to camp: Camp Lavigne for the younger boys and Sea Base in Florida for the boys 14 and older. The Florida trip will take place April 9-16. We hope to send a digital camera along and as a project one of the boys will share his diary with the readers of the Benton News.
This year maple sap tapping came very early for Jeremy Hess and for Owen Hess. They started tapping trees in the third week of January and were done by the second week of February. Sap hasn't run good since then so they pulled their taps. They are hoping for a second run.
Down in Bloomsburg in 1891, riders could catch a train and be off to see the world. The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad advertised that they burned hard coal and there "is no smoke." The July 1, 1891, schedule for trains leaving Bloomsburg for New York, Philadelphia, Pottsville and Tamaqua was weekdays 11:45 AM. For Williamsport, the train left weekdays at 7:35 AM. For Danville and Milton, the train ran weekdays at 7:35 AM and 3:20 PM. A run through Catawissa took place weekdays at 7:36, 11:45 AM; 12:21, 5:00 and 6:11 PM.
Every year about this time we ask readers to help. We are looking for names of covered bridges in Columbia County--the names of the ones no longer used as bridges. For example, does anyone know the name of the former covered bridge spanning Fishing Creek via Market Street, Benton? Can anyone help?
We were reading the issue of the Benton Argus from this week in 1900, and found some interesting items, including . The yearly subscription for the paper cost $1; Dr. J. D. Weaver was the "Prop'r" of the Benton Drug Store; Lydia E. Pinkhams' Vegetable Compound fixed "backache and womb troubles."
. Residents of the town of Central were excited about the chair factory "about to start up," expecting it to employ "a number of hands."
. A letter to the editor came from Kansas City, written home with obvious tongue in cheek, stated: "Most of the streets are paved, the grains of corn being used for cobblestones, while the cobs are hollowed out and used for sewer pipe. The husks when taken off whole and stood on end make a nice tent for the children to play in. It sounds queer to hear the feed man tell the driver to take a dozen grains of horse feed over to Jackson's livery stable. If it were not for soft, deep soil here, I don't see how they ever would harvest the corn, as the stalks would grow up in the air as high as a Methodist church steeple. However, when the ears get too heavy their weight presses the stalk down to the ground on an average of ninety-two feet; this brings the ear near enough to the ground to be chopped off with an ax."
. An advertisement for Geo. B. Crossley, Centre Street, read "General Smithing of all kinds, at short notice and in the best manner. Horse shoeing given particular attention and made a specialty. A share of the public patronage is solicited."
. And if you could believe the headline advertisement, "SALT RHEUM CURED BY Johnston's Sarsaparilla in QUART BOTTLES," there was little reason to read the "fine print."
Outside of Back Home in Benton, PA, our favorite Pennsylvania towns are Wellsboro, Lewisburg, Jim Thorpe, Bellefonte, Hershey, and Lititz.
We don't seek an argument here, but our rationale is as follows
. Bellefonte: we love the Big Spring, the 11,000,000 gallon a day water supply for the town, next to Talleyrand Park with its gazebos and footbridges. We loved walking through the town a few years ago when a stranger asked if she could answer any questions. We had questions and she had answers, especially as relates to the Mills Brothers (whose ancestral home was in Bellefonte) and about the Underground Railroad. She even took us into an attic in a brownstone in town, where escaping slaves hid. How did she know so much? She was the mayor and she felt she had a duty to make us enjoy her town. We'll never forget the nice gesture or the nice town. Bellefonte is 95 miles west of Benton via I-80 and route 26 south.
. Hershey: we always loved the hill climb and the roses in the Hershey gardens and the zoo and the rough/tough ice hockey, and the smell of the chocolate and the theatre where the clouds in the ceiling seemed to move and the fact that the town was planned as a company town and that orphans might have a chance at life if they could get into the Milton Hershey School and that each student is given a computer. Besides, we have always been partial to Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and semi-sweet chocolate. Hershey is 99 miles from Benton traveling through Centralia and then south on I-81.
. Jim Thorpe: this town is a real find, a slice of someplace in Europe in our own state, with narrow Victorian streets and steep steeples and funny gables and a wonderful train that goes right through the town. We have always been amazed that people speed through that town and never stop to find out why it is such a special place. They never go into the Asa Packer museum where strange things are so close that some dogs will not even go into the well-preserved building. There are grand buildings and the Jersey Central Railroad Station dating back to 1888 and the Carbon County Courthouse and Millionaires Row and the Switchback Railroad and most of all we remember all those who entered our area so many years ago after a float down the Lehigh River and then had to resort to the belly-wrenching rides of covered wagons starting in what was then called Mauch Chunk (we are repeating ourselves from Friday to see if you were listening!) as they bounced along various turnpikes to make a new life on the "frontier." These were often our forefathers. Jim Thorpe is 60 miles east of Benton via route 93.
. Lewisburg: We're partial to Victorian and to brick and to period street lights and to farmer's markets on Wednesdays and to any town along the Susquehanna River and the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University and to anyplace that is a center for arts and crafts. We also like to eat and to shop and the Country Cupboard solves both of those problems at the same time without denting the pocketbook too badly. Lewisburg is 38 miles from Benton via routes 254 from Maple Grove, then south on route 15.
. Lititz: who wouldn't like a town where most every weekend one could enjoy a band concert in the park, can stroll down a beautiful Main Street eating a pretzel made in town and munch on a Wilbur Chocolate product? There are lots of bed and breakfasts and it isn't far to Strasburg and Marietta, two other charming Lancaster County towns. Lititz is 132 miles from Benton, just north of Lancaster.
. Wellsboro: try driving up to Wellsboro from Jersey Shore, up along the winding and beautiful Pine Creek, through Cedar Run where the lovely inn beckons and the trout are jumping just feet from the shoreline, up the 50 miles of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania while at times being 1,000 feet down in the canyon and end up in a town of wide boulevards, gas lights, stately old maple trees and well-kept lovely homes. Sit in front of The Green which locals call their town park and stare at the bronze statue called Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Then try to tell us that Wellsboro isn't near the top of your list of favorite places. Wellsboro is 98 miles from Benton via route 15 north.
February 25, 2006. Happy birthday today to Paul Franklin and Bob Sands. Bob is 84 today and looks forward to some sun in the fun in Florida in the near future.
Congratulations to the Benton Boys Basketball team and coach following their 60-47 win Friday night over Mansfield in the packed Montgomery Area Community Center. Harry and Nathan Schlichter had excellent nights: Harry dropped in 24 points and Nathan sunk 23 points--the exact number of points scored by the Mansfield boys. Benton will take on Lourdes in the district semifinals Tuesday--possibly at Danville, although that is to be determined. Benton is to be commended as one of the top four teams in District 4 Class A.
In local wrestling, Tony Carl won by a pin at 103, Darren Verosky lost by a decision, Eric Younkers lost by a decision. In quarterfinals, Tony Carl was pinned, Corey Lear won by a decision, Billy Pasukinis lost by a decision, Rich Clocker pulled it off at 152.
Ron Wing, the colorful and talented artist who owns, lives in and operates his studio from the former Coles Creek Mill and who "illustrated the pages of novels and magazines such as Life and Reader's Digest while working in New York City for almost half a century" is highlighted in a Press Enterprise article Saturday morning.
Edward Chapman has been selected for promotion to Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, effective March 1, 2006. Edward is the son of Charles and Kay Chapman, Benton. Ed graduated from the Naval Academy in 1996, with a degree in Ocean Engineering; received his wings in '98, served aboard the carrier, U.S.S. Constitution, for two tours in the Persian Gulf. He returned to Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, in 2002. After three years at Pax River he transitioned into Active Reserve at the same station. Ed is married to Melissa Spangler Chapman who was raised in Mechanicsburg. Both Ed and Melissa are finishing their master's degrees this year. Ed is currently working for Booze, Allen, Hamilton as a consulting engineer working part of the time redesigning the next generation of his own plane, the E2C "Hawkeye." Melissa is an Elementary teacher.
The March, 2006, issue of the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society Newsletter has been distributed. If you didn't get a copy, you can stop at their headquarters at 225 Market Street, Bloomsburg, or call them at 784-1600, and sign up for membership in the organization. We betcha you'll get one then. If you do sign up, you would also be eligible to attend the annual meeting--complete with family style turkey dinner--on April 8. Instrument maker and musician, Thomas Jolin, will perform a number of traditional songs from the Civil War Era.
Old tuba players never die, they just blow away...
It used to be, as we were growing up, that when a parade went by we trained our eyes on the majorettes. As our minds move from passion to pension, however, we train our eyes on the tuba player in the parade and not on the pretty girls. We would analyze that a bit, but we are afraid of what we might find, so we'll just make the comment and move on...
There is just nothing like the largest member of the brass family making a good old-fashioned "oompah" to set the heart racing, to make ears twitch, to watch the formations fall into place as the base sound vibrates the entire body.
We remember after a concert in which the Rev. Al Lumpkin and his wife, Jeanne, played, we told him how much we enjoyed the bluegrass that he had so skillfully delivered. It almost sounded like he flicked a switch and wonderful music was transferred to the audience, not a note out of place, not a sour note delivered. Rev. Lumpkin looked me in the eyes and straight forward told me how many hours he had practiced to deliver his music so flawlessly. It was astronomical!
We remember Jim Calkins, a former band teacher at the Benton schools, now deceased, who spent hours trying to make me understand how to play a saxophone. As a marching band, the way I played music it was a good thing that we kept marching! I played Southern music so differently that people would put cotton in their ears. No Marine sergeant ever pushed his recruits as hard as Mr. Calkins did us or as hard as Jennifer Welliver pushed her county band Thursday night for the concert or as Rev. Lumpkin pushes himself to prepare for a musical session or as hard as Mike Milnarik pushes to be the best in the country with his tuba.
Most of us will never know what it is like carrying a 44-pound tube in a driving wind or during a freezing football or soccer game or during the annual Fireman's parade where secretly the tuba player worries about a half-filled balloon getting lobbed into his open horn. Many of us locally have heard Mike Milnarik play, most notably at the Richard Martin Memorial Concert.
For all the problems associated with making a tuba sound like music, Michael S. Milnarik, director of INNOVATA and a Benton Area School System graduate, is always a smash hit with an audience. There is just nothing like the tunes "Tiger Rag," "Ain't Misbehavin', "76 Trombones," Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and "Amazing Grace," to name a few, that Michael Milnarik belts out with his group, INNOVATA.
The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center is considering arranging a concert featuring Michael Milnarik and INNOVATA. If you feel that you would support a concert by Mike, please contact a member of the Board of Directors of the Center. The concert can only take place if we have community involvement and participation. Let us know what you think...
Didja know that Jim Thorpe was not only a football hero, but a baseball, track and field, and Olympic hero? Thorpe had a Fox and Sauk Indian heritage, with traces of French and Irish blood. The amazing Indian who once played for the Carlisle Indian School was often called the "world's greatest athlete" following his smashing triumphs in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics. He was also first in the 200-meter dash and the 1,500 meter run. Russia's Czar Nicholas was so impressed that he sent Thorpe a silver model of a Viking ship. He was later stripped of his medals and returned the gift after he admitted that he played professional baseball in 1909 and 1910.
When the IOC stripped Thorpe of his medals, they violated their own rules, which stated that any protests against an athlete must be made within 30 days of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. The newspaper which broke the story did so over six months after the ceremonies. In October 1982, the IOC reversed its decision, restored Jim Thorpe to amateur status, and re-awarded his medals posthumously.
The 1912 Olympics were notable in that they included women, although only in diving and swimming. American athletes won 13 of a possible 28 gold medals in 1912. By way of contrast, in the 2006 winter Olypmics now ongoing, American have won 8 gold, 9 silver and 23 total medals as of Friday afternoon.
After the games, Thorpe lead the National Collegiate Championship with 25 touchdowns and 198 points. He went on to play major league baseball with the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves. When he died in 1953, his widow asked the state of Oklahoma where he was born 66 years before, to built a memorial for him. The state declined and Pennsylvania came to the rescue. The floundering former coal and rail centers of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk organized a "nickel-a-week" fund to raise money to honor the athlete.
The town of Jim Thorpe is one of our favorite state destinations. Put it on your list to visit this summer.
February 24, 2006. Happy birthday today to Donald Rabb, Darl Dressler and Madge Hinchcliffe. Isn't it nice to see robins in the back yard so early.
Is the time on your computer a little off? It is easy to fix, just follow these directions:
1. On the right side of the taskbar, double-click the time.
2. To set the date, click the correct day, month, and year.
3. To set the time, enter the correct time into the box.
4. When you are finished, click "OK" and you are all set.
Leader does not understand how good he has it with me. I woke him this morning when the garbage truck arrived, I chewed up the bills last night after Mother brought them from the post office, I protected Leader from a nasty cat, I keep him fit by taking him for a walk three times a day, and I keep other people away from him by jumping on people who get too close. I can make Leader smile when I get my Bichon Buzz or when I chase the little red light or when I lie on my side and pretend that I am running full speed. I often take blame for things I didn't do, like the spot on the blue couch in the living room, the bottle of dog shampoo that somehow drained out when it fell on the floor, the two chairs in the television room that fell over and broke the flower bowl.
Earlier yesterday, Leader read some words to She and I that Rose Hack had sent to him and told us what they mean. The word "sniff" is an example. It is the way that we greet other dogs, somewhat like the custom Leader follows when he exchanges business cards with someone he just met.
"Garbage Can" is a container used to test my ability to stand on my back legs and push the lid off to get at margarine wrappers, beef bones and moldy bread. A "leash" is a strap that is attached to my collar so I can take Leader or Mother where I want to go. A "dog bed" is a flat, elevated surface like a white bedspread in the guest room or the blue couch in the living room. Once, when no one was home, I made the mistake of lying down on the dining room table and somehow I didn't hear Leader come home. I won't make that mistake again.
"Deafness" happens to She and I when Mother calls to come in and we want to stay out. Running the other direction or finding something that we need to sniff is very much like deafness. "Thunder" and the "fire alarm" are signals that the world is coming to an end. Because of my superior intelligence, I know these things and warn Leader and Mother by trembling, panting and walking one step behind them everywhere except for the little room at the end of the hall. There are some places that even dogs won't go at times!
A "wastebasket" is a dog toy filled with things to investigate like paper, newspapers and candy wrappers. Wastebaskets are easy to get things out of, but really hard to get things back into.
Leader gets jealous when I roll in something good and he uses the "bath" to get even. I get even with him then by shaking the water off my body when he turns his head or when I get close to furniture. I have found that the blue couch in the living room is a good way of drying off.
"Children" are short humans who make good petting. When running, they are good to chase. If they fall down, they are comfortable to sit on. "Love" is a feeling of intense affection, like waging my tail or wiggling my butt or carrying my toy in my mouth. Humans all seem to love me in return.
February 23, 2006. Dick and Janet Kriebel celebrate their wedding anniversary today and Bill Bailey, Jesse Young, Geraldine Laubach and Jimmy Laubach celebrate their birthdays. It is also the birthday of baroque composer George Frideric Handel, born in Germany in 1685. The Messiah was probably his most highly esteemed work, entirely written in an intense twenty-four day period in 1741. A year ago on this date, Dayne Kline, Bob Keller and Pat Boyle were in the hospital--and we're happy to say all three are perking in 2006.
Following severe fighting on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, the flag was raised on Mount Suribachi on this date in 1945. As the flag was being raised, Navy Secretary Forrestal stood on the beachhead and when he saw Old Glory waving in the breeze, he reportedly said "The raising of that flag on Surabachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years." This day has special significance to School Board President Dennis Threlkeld, whose father served on Iwo Jima.
Buster asked us to remind readers that it is not man's ability to use language to communicate that makes us the dominant species on the planet. Buster concludes that it is our ability not to be afraid of the vacuum cleaner.
Here are the results from the Karaoke Contest at Motorama last weekend: 1st place - Mike Mengel, Lititz; 2nd place - Wade Wetzel, Lenhartsville; 3rd place - Jerry Laubach, Benton; 4th place - Jim Lewis, Teleford; 5th place - Bill Hellenthal, Berwick.
When I think back to my hunting days, I remember December at Painter Den hunting for deer, or hunting ducks when even the decoy somehow got away, or the days when pheasants were in almost every corn field, but I think that the most fun came about in the winter in pursuit of the snowshoe rabbit. The long-eared haunter of the white openness of snow-covered woods wears a pair of snowshoes and can traverse the snow as easily as we can whip open the doors to Wal-Mart.
The rabbit wrinkles its nose at humans when all other woods life maintains its silence. Known as a "varying hare" to the hunters of today and as "wabasso" to the American Indian, this critter alters his seasonal coat from a tawny color in summer to snow white when winter arrives.
We have seen accounts where hunters "claimed" to have shot as many as 500 in a day and we have hunted for the animal in years when we didn't see a single one--which reminds us of the story of the hunter who saw a sign that said, "Bear left," so he went home.
The rabbit normally lives out his life in a very small amount of land, rarely getting away from land it really knows. From its litter days when it and three or four brothers and sisters first enter the world, the critter may never go out of the swamp in which it was born. Its meal ticket isn't punched with much that sounds good: it munches on bark from willow, poplar and birch, as an example.
He hugs the protection of the earth in the summer and the snow in the winter and he does it not as we change our hair color from black to silver to white, as an example, but he does it simply as a molt of one coat and the growing of another. The change is unusual. In winter when his coat is white, a loss of hair is replaced by new hair, but it would grow back in in the color needed to get safely through the summer season. Conversely, if hair is lost in summer, the hair that grows back pure white.
The feet of a white rabbit are larger than a normal rabbit's feet and its toes are splayed wide. As winter approaches, new white fur begins to grow on the feet of the animal and by the time of the first snowfall the feet are "feathered" into pods that will let him zoom over drifts and powdery snow. He will be able to get around in the winter where even our white-tailed deer can't go. And if the occasion would call for it, his feet work great as paddles if swimming is what is needed to keep him alive.
A white rabbit has his enemies. Hawks, coyotes, owls, dogs, lynx and fox have all developed a taste for rabbit food. Man is an enemy, and parasites can trim the rabbit population.
Many will recognize that the varying hare has a similarity with the non-migratory white-capped chickadee who also loves the sub-zero temperatures and the deep snow. The chickadee who builds his nest in the birch tree probably has part of it lined with some warm fur from the white rabbit.
February 22, 2006. Happy birthday today to Bill Bennett.
The Benton Area School system is sponsoring a pep-bus to the Boy's Basketball Playoff Game Friday evening. The game is being played against Mansfield and will be held at Montgomery High School's Gymnasium in Montgomery, about 50 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, via I-80. The bus is being offered to students on a first-come first-served basis. Interested students should sign-up in the high school office by noon on Thursday. We hope that the entire community will turn out to support Matt Aten, assistant Tom Dougher and volunteer assistant Chris Mitchell, and the outstanding 2006 team to remember.
We get all sorts of spam, but we are having trouble figuring out whether the following email from a "hacker" was real or not. The email read, "Buenos Dias! Jou ha yust receive a Mehican birus! Since we not so technologically adbanced in Mehico, dis is a manual birus. Please delete all the files on you hard drive jourself and sen dis email to eberyone you know. Tan jou por yelping me." The email was signed "Julio Manuel Jose Rodirguez Garcia, Mexican Hacker."
Clair Bittenbender, 87, (May 2, 1918-January 5, 2006), a graduate of the Benton High School Class of 1936 and a resident of South Haven, Michigan, recently passed away in the South Haven Community Hospital. Clair was born in Benton to Harry and Bertha Bittenbender. Many will recognize Harry Bittenbender's name from the Benton News, since we include several pictures of Harry at his post on the old Bloomsburg and Sullivan Railroad. "Bitt," as Clair was known in his adopted home of South Haven, married Nina Smith on September 4, 1948, in Waterford, Michigan. Nina was a graduate of the Benton High School Class of 1937. Clair served in the U.S. Air Force as a Master Sergeant for 25 years retiring in 1965. He served during World War II, and during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Clair loved to fish and took a yearly fishing trip with his sons to Minnesota. He liked to tool leather, was a "bee" farmer and raised chestnuts.
Clair was preceded in death along with his parents by brothers Max and Lyle Bittenbender. Three sisters--Lois Herbert, Mildred Anderson and Eileen Smith Reese--also preceded him. He is survived by his wife Nina Louise (Smith) Bittenbender, South Haven. There are two sons, one of whom is Harry Clair "Skip" Bittenbender, Ph.D, (Donna Ching), Honolulu, who lists his occupation as Extension Specialist for Coffee, Kava and Cacao in the Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department of the University of Hawaii. Dr. Bittenbender is one of the developers of the Farmer's Bookshelf, and calls himself the "western most Bittenbender in America." There are two other children: Michael David Bittenbender (Lori Howland), Ann Arbor, Michigan and Carolyn Mulhern (Jack), Gambrills, Maryland. Three grandchildren and two great grandchildren also survive.
Memorial services were Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006 at the Casco United Methodist Church. Burial took place at McDowell Cemetery, Casco Township. Military Honors were presented by the American Legion and VFW Honor Guard.
Harry Clair and Michael David Bittenbender lived briefly in Benton with Harry Bittenbender's wife, Bertha, in the spring of 1964 while Clair was setting up a home in Hahira, Georgia, his last Air Force posting before he retired and moved to Michigan. The Bittenbender home was on Park Street, later occupied by the Paul Shannon family and currently by the Frank Edson family.
February 21, 2006. Happy birthday today to Jeff Watts and Bridget Hauber.
On this date in...
. 1927, Erma Louise Fiste entered this world. She became a columnist for the Dayton Journal Herald after graduating college, soon changed her last name to Bombeck and became a full-time mother. When her three children were in school, Bombeck returned to the Herald at the age 37 because she "was too old for a paper route, too young for Social Security, and too tired for an affair." She wrote the best-selling novels, The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank and If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits? Bombeck, 69, died April 22, 1996, in a San Francisco hospital after undergoing a kidney transplant.
. 1931, Alka-Seltzer® was introduced. It came in glass tubes until 1984. Alka-Seltzer® contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When you drop the tablet in water, the acid and the baking soda react and a fizz results. Alka-Seltzer® is compressed baking powder with a little aspirin.
Congratulations to local Lutz Real Estate Multimillion Dollar Producer Dolly Hollinger, Top Producer and Top Listing Agent in the Benton office, and Million Dollar Producers Ted Fritz and Pam Thomas. In addition to being good real estate agents, all three are a pleasure to know.
We are traveling north today after spending the night with friends Max and Lorraine Hartman, Clayton, North Carolina. North Carolina remains one of our favorite states. For those who don't know, North Carolina was Indian territory until 1629 when King Charles I of England, a first-class land snatcher, declared that all land south of Virginia belonged to the British Empire. Settlers moved into the state in the 1650s around the Albermarle Sound area. England formed a separate state they called North Carolina in 1729 and six years later boundaries between what is now North and South Carolina were established, although the formal survey didn't take place until 1815.
North Carolina was a big producer of tar, pitch and turpentine. During the Civil War, North Carolina troops felt they had been let down by a regiment carrying the colors of another state and carried chips on their shoulders when they pulled back from the front after the battle. The weary North Carolinians were taunted with "Any more tar down in the Old North State, boys?" The Carolinians replied, "Not a bit. Jeff Davis bought it all up." The troops were told that Davis is "gonna put it on your heels to make you stick better in the next fight." General Lee, when he heard of the incident, remarked, "God bless the Tar Heel boys." The nickname stuck.
I don't have time to peck out an article for today after Max and I spent much of Monday trying to trouble shoot a motor home electrical problem, so I'll relate part of a story about an eventful trip I once took with Max in my motor home. We were in Death Valley, California, with two other friends. I'll pick up the story from January, 2003.
"There is so much in Death Valley, California, to remind the visitor of the reference in the 23rd Psalm about 'the valley of the shadow of death.' Death Valley is so dry that men have died from the lack of a drop of water. There is almost no relief from the relentless sun and as Simon and Garfunkel put it, the "sound of silence" is everywhere. The valley gets an average of about 1.68 inches of rainfall per year and the mesquite tree needs to put down a tap root almost 100 feet into the ground to survive. Heat in the valley rose in 1913 to the second highest temperature ever recorded in the world--134°--and the same year dropped to a cold 15°. The valley floor drops to 280 or so feet below sea level at a place called 'Badwater,' the lowest dry land in the Western hemisphere, where temperatures at your feet can approach 200° in the heat of the summer.
"Fifteen miles away on the western flank of the valley, Telescope Peak soars 11,000 or so feet above sea level and ever since 1848 when prospectors looking for a shortcut to the California gold fields finally started up the Western slope of the valley travelers have looked back and called it 'Death Valley.'
"The most interesting part of our trip, in my opinion, was our journey out of Death Valley. Picture this. We are in a motor home weighing about 32,000 pounds plus or minus depending on whether we had eaten one or two baloney sandwiches, and we had a Jeep tagging along behind, and we had four people. We slowly drove through the village of Stove Pipe Wells and started up the western side of the valley on route 190, watching through the side windows as the salt planes got smaller. We realized how out of place we were here in this beautiful valley, how we could not survive even a day if something failed. But we were leaving and nothing could let us down now.
"The multicolored mountains of the Panamint Range lay ahead of us to the West, and we ticked off each thousand of feet of climb through the remains of the ice age. We could look down on what is called the Race Track, where 600 pound boulders can be traced as they move across the desert during a rain storm unaided by any human being. After what seemed an eternity, we reached the top and we could see the mountains many miles to the west of us, mountains that contained the national parks of Yosemite and Sequoia and King's Canyon. We started down, our Jake Brake engaged, our six-speed transmission in second, our nervous fingers gripping the steering wheel. We were soon to escape Death Valley, unlike so many early pioneers.
"The driver of a passenger car would not get to see much going down. The driver of a motor home and Jeep caravan almost 60 feet long gets to see nothing on that trip. The road is advertised to be six miles of a minimum 6% grade, with few places that go more than a hundred feet or so before doubling back. Some short grades approached the Red Rock mountain steepness. We quickly went to the red line on the engine, we gingerly applied the brakes, we nursed the caravan around the hairpin curves, we started smelling brakes, we watched the tachometer bouncing off the stops, we felt the motor home lunge as it upshifted to keep from taking the pistons through the top of the engine, we heard the wind whistling on the windows, we quickly double checked our seat belts and made a promise that we would not miss Church come Sunday. The hot smell of brakes filled the coach. And then suddenly the obstacle lay dead center in the road!
A California Highway Patrolman parked in the exact center of the road, waving for us to stop. Fat chance! We ka-zoomed to his left side through the road block about 45 miles an hour, our airhorn shattering the peacefullness of the valley, my first experience at "running the law"! We soon realized the reason for the blockade. Directly in front of us were about 40 large 18-wheeler vehicles parked in the right lane and on the narrow berm. The trucks were part of a movie studio filming in the area. We made a nervous two-second glance to our right and we saw the film crew and the actors with the beautiful mountains as the background for the scene being filmed. We brought the movie production to a halt as we roared through their set. Actors and technicians headed for the side of the road. The trooper apparently thought that we had learned our lesson, and didn't even bother to come to the bottom of the mountain and give us a ticket or a lecture. The rest of the trip was calm compared with this."
Our trip North from the Tarhill State will be a piece of cake today, compared with our trip out of Death Valley.
President's Day, February 20, 2006. Lorraine Feola has a reported herniated disc and is seeking further medical advice. Glen Baker is in the hospital and needs your prayers. Glen's bad fall on the ice two years ago has created huge problems for him. Bob Keller, Dotyville, is recovering with minimal injuries following an accident Saturday on route 239 near Raven Creek Road. Bob hit a patch of ice and his truck overturned. Happy birthday to Carl Stoltz.
On this date in 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, flying aboard "Friendship 7." Happy birthday today to the U.S. Post Office, created on this date in 1792. On this date in 1839, Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia. On this date in 1981, the space shuttle "Columbia" cleared the final major hurdle to its maiden launch as the spacecraft fired its three engines in a 20-second test.
In 1800, not Los Angeles, not New York, but Philadelphia was our largest city, a distinction it held until 1830. The top five were Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Boston, and Charleston, SC. What were the sixth and seventh largest cities of the United States in 1800? A clue: both cities were in Pennsylvania. Answer at end.
It has been a pleasure for the two of us to leave the frigid north and head south for the annual convention of the American Longevity Association, where wives never lie about their age--they just say they are the same age as their husbands and then lie about their husband's age. All good things must come to an end, however, and we have begun our trip Back Home to Benton, PA.
Operating under the premise that there is only "one more shopping day until tomorrow," Marcia Kay is making a stop when she sees any sign that says "antiques." We haven't a clue where we'll put anything else in our motor home. I left town thinking that I was getting away from it all and now I find Kay is bringing it all back home. You can always tell a man who has everything--just look at what he unloads from the car when he gets home. A month in Florida made me feel good enough to go back to work--and poor enough to have to! Sand, sun and surf were great fun, but now I feel bushed, burned and busted! I suspect that by the time we get home, I'll have to go to the same place that I went last year for a vacation--to the bank for another loan!
The sixth largest American town in 1800 was Northern Liberties, now part of Philadelphia. And seventh was Southwark, now also part of the present Philadelphia.
February 19, 2006. Jamie Rabb and Frank Conrad celebrate their birthdays today and Ray & Jean (Getz) Foust, Benton, are celebrating 49 years of marriage.
Tomorrow we honor presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, born on February 12, 1809, and February 22, 1732, respectively. Since 1971, Presidents Day has been celebrated on the third Monday in February.
Merck Medical Manual Home Edition at www.merckhomeedition.com/ provides comprehensive medical information written by nearly 200 leading medical experts on the health issues that matter most to you. Also available is a comprehensive search engine to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
You know you are from Benton if...
February 18, 2006. Please join your friends and family at the Cabin Fever concert tonight.
"To be womanly is the greatest charm of woman."
Anyone who regularly reads the Benton News knows that we enjoy bluegrass music, some of which will be played tonight at the high school in the "Cabin Fever" concert. One of the benefits of attending bluegrass events, like the annual O.A.T.S. Festival or the MerleFest, is the people we meet. We'll tell you a story from April, 2003, by repeating part of an article from the Benton News written in that timeframe.
"It isn't clear what the Finnish man thought had been said to him. Words spoken in English were like words from the Almighty to him! He had worked three jobs for ten years to pay for the trip to the United States from Kokkola, Finland, and Kari Makinen was suddenly not only in this country but he was a celebrity, if only a local celebrity. He was the big man at the WFD, the Wilkesboro Fire Department. Kari was the man who waited ten years to meet Arthel "Doc" Watson, 80, the legendary man of bluegrass music. Kari got his chance to meet Doc when he walked into a general store near Deep Gap, NC, where Doc lives. There in the corner was a blind musician, the man Kari came from Finland hoping to meet. Taking a deep breath, he walked up, introduced himself, and asked if he could sing the song that he wrote and recorded in Finland, "Singing Doc Watson's Way." He pulled up the guitar that he had taken years to build, tried to calm his jitters, and started singing. His limited understanding of English got in his way at times, like the pronunciation of "harm-mon-a-key." Doc listened to the song, then heard his story. Doc autographed Kari's home-made guitar, which as Kari put it, made it "priceless." Doc took one of the ten copies of the CD that he brought to the United States, and that was that. Doc moved on to other things.
"Back at the WFD later, it wasn't clear if the Finnish man knew what the fireman said to him or not. "Tell us a-bout hit," the fireman asked again, referring, of course, to meeting Doc. Kari had taken his savings of ten years, had left his wife and two teenaged daughters behind, and bought a four-day pass to the MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA. To make a long story short, the WFD donated a camp site to him, and picked the singer up at the Charlotte airport. The fire chief, Michael Testerman, personally drove to Charlotte to pick him up, and took him back to Charlotte when the festival was over.
"Kari hoped that he would do well in the storywriter's competition, but regretfully only about half of what he sang was understood by the all-American, all Appalachian panel of judges. He did much better in the guitar completion where talking was not a critical issue, but decided to strum three chords at the exact moment he was being introduced and drowned out what was being said about him. He was off to a bad start, knew it and then faltered over a total of three notes in the competition--three notes more than some of the boys in the contest had trouble with! He watched as the fireman lit the "far" to keep off the dampness off the night chill, and thought only of his meeting with Doc Watson and his "priceless" guitar with Doc Watson's name on it.
"He thought back to the lull in the competition when the judges were tallying up the scores in the guitar competition and Kari thought it would be a good time to tell the 500 or so observers about his visit to the United States and his one-on-one meeting with Doc Watson. Although not the way the event sponsors planned it, they didn't interrupt as Kari in his uneven English told his story, and they simply slumped in their chairs as the crowd leaped to their feet to honor Kari for his ten-year effort. The speech didn't change the judge's minds. They awarded Kari third place in the guitar competition. In Kari's mind, he had achieved the American dream--Finnish style."
We'll now leap forward to February, 2006. I received an email in Florida from Kari who had found the Benton News website when "friends in our guitar-making club talked about it." Kari wrote that "They asked if I'd saw that article, and I didn't. They told to me the place and address where I can find it, and so I found it." I assume that Google had a lot to do with the search!
Kari is returning to the MerleFest again in 2006. He wrote in his halting English, "I'll think you maybe know that Fire dept campground are going raffle again one guitar of mine this year. They raffled one piece last year and so they'll do this year."
Kari is doing well in his native Finland, and through an agent asked Doc Watson if "I could use maybe one song what we pick together." Kari and Doc actually recorded a song together "with my minidisk at Doc's home in 2004." Doc Watson, who strums with the greatest in the bluegrass world, emailed back to Kari, who explained, "after two days came one email from Wilkesboro, and Doc had said greetings to his good friend Kari to Finland, and he gave to me 'free hands' with all music what we made together." We could visualize the tears welling up in Kari's eyes as he continued writing about his idol, Doc Watson. "And he wish good luck with recordidngs (sic) and all with CD of mine. That was other time when I cried. I couldn't believe that. But it was thruth."
Kari's CD is complete, except for some minor mixing, and includes three songs Kari sings with Doc. Kari has promised me a copy which I'll pick up at the MerleFest.
Kari signed his last email, "Your friend from far......Finnish Watson......Kari Mäkinen"
February 17, 2006. Happy birthday today to Pastor Howard Leh and happy anniversary to John and Zane Unbewust. Stop at the N4C thrift store today or Saturday and say "hi."
We travel with fresh basil, parsley and cilantro plants, setting them in the sun daily. One way to keep parsley fresh is to wash the fresh parsley and let dry most of the way. Then wrap the barely moist parsley in a dry paper towel, wrap that in aluminum foil, place it in the freezer. Unwrap the packet and chop the parsley with a sharp knife to use. Then re-wrap and place it back in freezer. This works with basil also. In the fall, we often cut ferns just before the first frost and stick them in the freezer. When extracted, they look exactly like when they went in, but will only last as part of a bouquet for a few days.
The Benton Lion Club is going to be holding their annual Over 80's dinner, April 22 at the Waller Hall for any resident in the Benton Area School Disrict who is 80 or over. If any resident that meets these requirments has not been contacted by April 15 or knows that they aren't on the mailing list, please call Gary Strauch, 925-6610, or Alan Harvey, 925-1018.
We are in Palm City, Florida, Thursday visiting with Bill and Loretta Hiscox. We remember back to February, 2002, when the Stuart "News" newspaper featured Benton resident eLee Remley photographing a B-17 Flying Fortress. The Collings Foundation's 2002 Wings of Freedom Tour brought the World War II bombers to Stuart. The Wings of Freedom Tour honored veterans and educated younger generations.
Palm City is a delightful Florida city, filled with great nightlife and wonderful stories, like this one. A well-dressed gentleman in his mid nineties, hair well groomed, great-looking suit, flower in his lapel, smelling slightly of fu-fu juice, presenting a well looked-after image, walked into an upscale cocktail lounge. Seated at the bar was a relatively younger looking lady in her mid eighties. The gentleman walked over, sat down beside her, ordered a drink, took a sip, turned to her and said, "So tell me, do I come here often?"
Group singing was popular with American colonists, in church and out. At the end of a tiring day, families sat around for singing lessons or for just singing the popular tunes of the day. The fiddle was a popular instrument and a good fiddler could always assemble a group of people who liked to dance. Most musicians had no formal education and didn't even understand musical notation. We always loved the story of the local man who was asked if he could read music. He replied, "Yeah, but not enough to hurt my singing."
With black slaves came the banjo from Africa--or at least the knowledge of how to make a banjo--and hoedowns and spirituals became part of our musical heritage. In fact, the only original American music of that era came from the Negroes. White men who wrote music only took an imported tune and put words to it, as Francis Scott Key did in 1814 when he wrote The Star Spangled Banner.
Early instruments like the piano simply stretched strings on wooden frames, much like a harpsichord. It was not until 1800 that a Philadelphia piano maker, John Isaac Hawkins, added metal strips to his frames which lengthened the range of the keyboard. Hawkins built the first upright piano with strings that stretched from the floor upward using a cast-iron frame that could take the stress.
I remember a concert at the Kennedy Center that I once attended where I casually asked a woman seated next to me before the music started about what she thought the sound would be like that came from a 160-year old piano. With a slightly dazed expression on her face, she replied, "nobody will know."
We have always loved our music. When some smart entrepreneur discovered that people would actually pay to hear music, concert halls and opera houses began appearing in the larger towns and slowly began popping up in the smaller ones. Our local area had a number of opera houses, including the opera house in Benton that later became the town hall. That building stood as a monument to the community following the disastrous fire of July 4, 1910, and most pictures of the community following the fire show either the Presbyterian Church or the opera house in the background.
The wealthy took up the flute or the violin, or even the flute, violin or pianoforte, and music from Europe was popular with this set.
Even if you couldn't be on key if you sat on a lock, you can continue the tradition of listening to fine music this weekend--Saturday, February 18, at 7:00 PM--at the Cabin Fever Concert at the high school. as a country and bluegrass concert takes place featuring the Tim Johnson Band, the local group known as Raven Creek and Pat and Al Hess. The concert starts at 7 PM in the Benton High School auditorium. Admission is $10.
February 16, 2006. It is the birthday of Lori Andrysick and Richard Jost. We are writing today from Palm City, Florida, where today the Stuart News announced that home prices are up "21%" while sales declined 13%.
Gas prices on the East coast of Florida, specifically from the West Palm Beach area north to the Palm City area, are running in the $2.439 range for regular, unleaded, a little higher than we found on the West coast in the Fort Myers area. Meanwhile, Back Home in Benton, PA, prices Wednesday were $2.079 and $1.999.
Randy Hess, son of Pat and Al Hess, has a new business, a music download site at www.burnlounge.com/hummingbird . If you like to download music, try this site. In the next few months, the site will be available to download movies, books, ring-tones, TV shows, movie and concert tickets.
Tyson and Kristen DePoe are raising funds for Tyson's third trip to Senegal, Africa, March 13-24. The church that they attend in Port Orchard, Adventure of Faith Presbyterian Church , has adopted the Wolof people in Senegal, one of the main ethnic groups in West Africa, concentrating on rural villages. They reach the people by telling the story of the Bible through a series of 52 chronological stories in the Wolof language.
The Wolof have a long history of being part of the Muslim society in their heritage and religion, so it is a big step for them to become a follower of Christ. They face isolation from not only their family but their communal sense of village life.
The Wolof put a lot of emphasis on developing a strong relationship with new visitors. The church has raised funds for devices so they can listen to scripture in Wolof and treated mosquito netting to help prevent malaria, projects such as fish and poultry raising and personal garden patches, teaching the importance of personal hygiene and other health programs.
Kristen has not yet made the trip to Africa, but is planning to go in October. Kristen and Tyson got their first taste of being short-term missionaries in high school with the agency Teen Missions International . They first experienced the generosity and support of our community when they attended Raven Creek Church. At that time, Tyson went to Honduras and Kristen went to Israel. Donations of support would be greatly appreciated.
This Saturday and Sunday is the Karaoke Contest at Motorama at the Harrisburg State Farm Show Complex. If you see the contestants or have contact with them, wish them luck! The contestants are:
The incident with the second-term "lame duck" president's "please duck" vice president just won't go away. While we generally support the president, the qualities of the Vice President--experience, loyalty and absolute discretion--are currently hurting Richard Cheney, 65. Cheney's accidental shooting of lawyer Harry Whittington is worse fodder than his earlier encounter with former Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby in divulging classified information or of Lyndon B. Johnson picking his pooch up by its ears, Jimmy Carter coming head to head with a rabbit on a golf course or Gerald Ford's stumbling or his bean ball on the golf course and will do little to improve public feelings about the president.
Cheney fields the criticism as part of his job, just so much water off a quail's back, as Dan might say. Writing in Newsday, former Representative Robert Walker (R-Pa.), was quoted as saying "Clearly it's something that he sees as part of his role of being the loyal second-in-command, and he's not likely to change that." Walker is the husband of Benton High School graduate Sue Albertson Walker. Sue is the daughter of former school librarian and English teacher, Sara Albertson. Walker served with Cheney in the House.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
February 15, 2006. Prayers are needed for Martin Arsenyevictz, Stillwater. He is a patient at Geisinger medical center. Jacob Vincent turns 10 today--even though father Chris Vincent thinks it is Feburay 16 and that he turns 11.
The country and bluegrass concert this weekend will feature the Tim Johnson Band, the local group known as Raven Creek and Pat and Al Hess. The concert starts at 7 PM in the Benton High School auditorium. Admission is $10.
The name Michael Curtis Reynolds, 47, isn't well known locally since most never heard about his plan to blow up his parents' house years ago, but his name would have made national headlines if what he planned had come together. Prosecutors say that Reynolds, who recently lived in Wilkes-Barre, was planning an attack on America and Back Home in Benton, PA, was one of the places where Reynolds planned to hit. The FBI connects the man with Al Qaeda and lists Benton as one of the places where Michael Reynolds was plotting a terrorist strike. The attraction was not the buckwheat cakes, the Benton dam, the friendliness of the people--it was the transcontinental gas pipeline that climbs the ridges just outside of town.
Federal prosecutors have accused Reynolds of trying to aid al-Qaida's effort He allegedly hatched the plan and was sharing it through email with someone he thought was an al-Qaida operative but who was really a Montana woman who searches the Internet for terrorist communications. Agents of the FBI arrested Reynolds when he showed up at a hotel in Pocatello, Idaho, to collect $40,000 he had requested from the "terrorist" to finance the plot.
Reynolds was apparently trying to terrorize America and wreck the national economy by blowing up the TransContinental Pipeline outside of Benton and oil refineries in Perth Amboy, NJ and Wyoming. Reynolds is currently in the Lackawanna County jail as a result of a prior charge of possession of an unregistered explosive device--a grenade found in a duffel bag at a Wilkes-Barre home where he lived last year.
Two URLs worth noting...
On Wednesday, we plan to head East across Florida where people burn their yards rather than mow them, kids take siphon hoses to show and tell, and houses have complete sets of salad bowls all inscribed "Cool Whip." Hurricanes hitting the area can do $100,000 worth of improvement. A little north of where we'll be is Arcadia where the word "LIMPICKS" (noun), is used as relates to the Olympic Games.
Want to quickly close several programs at once? On your keyboard, hold down the Ctrl key. Now, select the programs you want to close by clicking on their buttons located on the taskbar (at the bottom of your screen) When you have selected all the programs, right click on one of them, and click "Close." Release the Ctrl key
Google has a free tool that lets you search through over 1,300 different mail order catalogs: http://catalogs.google.com/ . The folks at Google didn't just compile a list of mail order catalogs, they scanned every single page in every one of those catalogs. For example, Google's entry for Lands End shows you all pages from the most recent Land's End catalog. Free. If you would like to browse, Google's catalog site also lets you browse the catalogs by category--Apparel & Accessories, Electronics, Toys & Games, and so on--or even browse a complete list of all 1,300 catalogs in Google's database. That last feature--"Browse complete list of catalogs"--can be found in the bottom right corner of the Google catalogs page.
Quotes for Today...
"The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said, 'If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down.'"
"The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher."
Kristie's Kafé, 3694 Route 487, Suite E, Stillwater, will open their microphones Friday night from 6-8 PM, so participants can sing or read poetry or discuss the weather. You need to sign up today or Thursday at 925-2222.
On our travels, we chatted with Robert Megargel, Morristown, New Jersey, who is staying at the Island Wind Condominium in Ft Myers. Bob is the uncle of Gloria Miller, Orangeville, the youngest son of Marjorie and OB Megargel. He graduated from Bucknell and met his deceased wife there and never came back to Orangeville. He is staying in Ft Myers during February and March and we could feel his smile over the phone when we told him that niece Gloria had to walk to work in 12 degree weather.
February 14, 2006. It is Valentine's Day and the wedding anniversary of David and Carolyn Diehl and Bill and Elaine Rogers. On February 12, 1899, snow fell in Ft. Myers, FL, and 107 years later we almost had it happen again as the temperatures fell to the freezing marks last night here in South Florida.
Question: What is the difference between sleet and hail? (Answer at end of message)
Have a happy and romantic Valentine's Day! Valentine's Day is like Armistice Day--a day some couples declare a truce. One wife wrote saying she wanted a card for Valentine's Day, and she mentioned something about American Express. A man in an adjacent motor home told me that he liked doing things for his wife on this special day, and he gave an example of opening the door on the washing machine door. Another man told me jokingly that he wired some flowers for his mother in law, but that she found the fuse. For those readers who are single, remember that Cupid is a terrible shot but if you and your significant other are in love, take a shot! However you celebrate the day, we recommend that you men make it the first day of the rest of your wife.
Here is a Valentine's poem from an unknown writer who called it "If You Carrot All for Me."
Cabbage always has a heart;
You've been the Apple of my eye,
Now, something's sure to Turnip,
Don't Squash my hopes and dreams now,
I'll Cauliflower shop and say
This weekend--Saturday, February 18, at 7:00 PM--is the Cabin Fever Concert at the high school. All refreshments are going to be donated and served by two groups at the school. The Key Club is doing most of the serving, and the Home Economics classes as well as some sponsors and teachers are baking cookies. The admission price benefits the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
Given names (what we call first names) are generally "given" to a child at some point after its birth. The website at www.behindthename.com/ looks at the etymology (i.e. the linguistic origin, or meaning) and history of all types of given names.
Try looking up the derivation of your name. For example, "David." The site tells us this: DAVID (m) "friend" or "beloved" (Hebrew). David was the second and greatest of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC. Several stories about him are told in the Old Testament, including his defeat of Goliath, a weight-challenged Philistine. Jesus was supposedly descended from him. Other famous bearers of this name include the 5th-century patron saint of Wales, two kings of Scotland, empiricist philosopher David Hume, and explorer David Livingstone. This is also the name of the hero of Charles Dickens' semi autobiographical novel David Copperfield.
Everywhere we go, people meet and like our two Bichon dogs, Buster and Chloe. They get fan mail, asking them to write about what is happening to them here in Florida, but they are a little ashamed from an episode that happened in 2002 on this date. The incident happened at Tropical Palms RV Park, Kissimmee.
It all happened when Kay and the two dogs returned from a walk, Kay accidentally walked near a squirrel, which the dogs call "mousies." The dogs immediately broke the hold Kay had on the retractable leashes. Off they ran in full pursuit, leash handles flailing about, plants flying, sand spraying behind them like a flume. Closer and closer they came to their prey, over electric lines and water lines, until the handle on Buster's leash wrapped itself around a one-inch water line that stuck vertically out of the ground, just below the cut-off valve.
I was inside the motor home while all this happened. I remember electricity going off, everything outside going completely white, a loud whistling sound, Kay screaming my name. I leaped outside in what seemed like a strange, unusual rain storm in this dry state. By the time I got to the back of the motor home, past the satellite antenna now laying prone on the ground, I saw a column of water at least twenty feet high, drenching the motor home in back of us and ponding water at an alarming rate. Buster, in the meantime, was wrapped around the exhaust pipe of another motor home, his leash still pulling a one-foot section of PVC with a cut-off valve.
I immediately reported it to maintenance, but apparently lots of others did too, since so many were without water. The last I remember, just before we decided to "take a ride," two maintenance men with very puzzled expressions were digging a huge hole in the sand, while the flume of water continued to soak them and everything within twenty feet.
Sleet is partially frozen rain, measuring less than 5 mm (0.2 inch) in diameter. Hail is a round piece of ice that usually falls during thunderstorms. Its average size is 0.25, or 1/4, inch in diameter, although hailstones weighing up to seven pounds have been reported.
Voris Sterling Miller, known to scores of Benton-area residents as the plant manager of the former Benton Shirt Company, locally called the "shirt factory," and a familiar figure at the Mill Race Golf Course, died Saturday at Geisinger Medical Center. Miller (Sept. 1, 1927-Feb. 11, 2006) was born in Nescopeck, served in the U.S. Navy, and spent his working life in the garment industry, beginning at the Berwick Shirt Co., then moving to the local shirt factory and then back to the Berwick Shirt Co. under the ownership of Milco Industries, where he continued as plant manager until his retirement.
February 13, 2006. Happy birthday today to Nancy Kline.
Betty Lou Stoneham came Back Home to Benton, PA, Saturday following her hospital stay. She had a little setback Friday with a bout of pneumonia and she faces six weeks of healing before she begins rehab on her hand. Betty Lou is right handed and her doctor said she would have use of her left hand. Husband Dan knew "she would be ok when she sat up in bed and played paddy cake and read books with Granddaughter Lizzie in the hospital, and on arriving home she said doctors told her to keep busy. She made a circle around the house and started to fold a basket of towels." Betty Lou thanks everyone for all the caring and concern they gave to her and her family during her hospital stay.
We suspect that few readers have enjoyed a taste of Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake, but many have read about it in Jan Karon's "Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader" or have read about it in "At Home in Mitford." For those who don't understand what we are talking about, Jam Karon felt that she needed someone who would be a great cake baker as a character for her books, since "that is just the way it is in a small town." Esther Bolick became the special baker and Karon thought of her favorite chocolate cake, but felt that was too tame. She realized that what she would most like in a cake would one made with orange marmalade, and that is how this fictitious cake was born, and became Esther's claim to fame.
Readers wanted a copy of the recipe, but there was no recipe. The cake was fiction. In 1997, Victoria magazine invited Jan Karon to become their writer-in-residence. One of her first acts was to have the recipe created by a famous chef, Scott Peacock. As Uncle Bill would say, they "noodled their noggins," and bingo the recipe was born.
Want to know more? Join the Village Reading Group when they meet again on March 15, at 7 PM at the United Methodist Church, to discuss In This Mountain.
Andy Borowitz writes that Dick Cheney revealed that he shot a fellow hunter while on a quail hunting trip over the weekend "because he believed the man was the fugitive terror mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri." The man the vice president sprayed with pellets on Saturday was not al-Zawahiri and the mistake was a result of "faulty intelligence." Cheney apparently believed that al-Zawahiri had infiltrated his hunting party. Borowitz writes that President Bush defended his vice president's shooting of a fellow hunter, saying that the attack sent "a strong message to terrorists everywhere."
Quotes of the Day...
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
February 10, 2006. Happy birthday today to James Francis Durante. We have the first bit of encouraging news about Caleb Hoyt today. His temperature has dropped from 104 degrees to 99 degrees. Your prayers are still very much needed. The Saturday weather forecast for Ft. Myers is a low of 56 degrees, with a high of 76 degrees.
We don't plan to provide a Saturday or Sunday edition of the Benton News, so we'll mention in advance that Lisa Curtin celebrates her birthday Saturday along with Thomas Alva Edison right here in Ft. Myers, Florida, where the city absolutely love him and Henry Ford.
Jimmie Dale Johnson, 74, New Bern, North Carolina, died Wednesday, February 8, 2006, at home. He was a graduate of Benton High School. Jimmie was in the U.S. Air Force and active Air Force Reserve for a total of 28 years. As a meteorologist, he worked for several federal agencies. From 1988 to 1992, he was the station manager of NOAA’s Weather Satellite Command and Data Acquisition Station at Wallops Island, Virginia. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 11, at 1 PM at Centenary United Methodist Church Chapel. The family will receive friends following the service at the church. He is survived by his wife, Rosa Chance Johnson; two daughters, Anita Croom Harris (Bernard), New Bern, and Virginia "Ginny" Croom Gambino (Joey), Alpharetta, GA; one brother, William Johnson (Sharon), Pottstown; one sister-in-law, Marjorie Johnson, Akron, Ohio; one nephew, Steven Johnson; and three grandchildren, Joseph S. Gambino, Angela Gambino and Laura Rosalynn Harris. He was preceded in death by his brother, Ralph Sterling Johnson Jr. and his parents, Ralph Sterling Johnson and Hilda Camp Johnson. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 930B Wellness Drive, Greenville, NC 27834; or to Centenary United Methodist Church, 309 New St., New Bern, NC 28560.
As we sit under a cloudless sky in Ft. Myers, sipping a sweet tea, our head tilted back and our feet lifted so that our body forms an almost horizontal plane devoid of forward motion, we glance at a television set that somehow disturbs our otherwise peaceful afternoon and we notice that snow is forecast for Back Home in Benton, PA.
We remember snowy afternoons and evenings as a kid. We hate to admit it, but this time of the year as we grew up we watched the weather forecast to see if school was cancelled so we could get on our Lightning Guider sled for some good old-fashioned fun. We should also mention that everyone we knew in Benton pronounced it "glider."
The Standard Novelty Works of Duncannon, Pennsylvania, helped contribute to a lot of those good times. They made the famous Lightning Guider sleds from 1904-1990. Millions of these sleds left this historic factory that now houses the Old Sled Works, an antique mart of about 125 dealers.
The thought of snow snaps us back to the days of our childhood, days when we met on Hiscox Hill to ride our toboggans and our sleds. When conditions were right, sledding was a ritual as soon as we got out of school. We remember, for example, a toboggan ride where we began at the top of the hill near where Bill and Lorena Bennett now live, riding straight down the hill so we could jump what was then called "Grant Brink Road," now called Sunny Hillside Road. Once a high school classmate whooshed down the hill on his Lightning Guider and drove it between the front wheels of a car arriving in the driveway of the house where Chuck and Kay Chapman now live. Somehow, injuries were minor.
Many don't realize that Lightning Guider was a Pennsylvania product, manufactured until 1990 in Duncannon, about 15 miles northwest of Harrisburg. The factory where the sleds were produced is now a large antique mart, but remnants of the Standard Novelty Works remain. The Standard Novelty Works produced millions of the sleds and the building houses a museum where the history of the company is recounted.
And when you stop at the Old Sled Works factory, you can sit at a marvelous working Old Time Penny Arcade and Soda Fountain, browse the Sled Museum for a look at some of the early Lightning Guider sleds and other items produced for 85 years in this old factory. You can climb the Duncannon Tower, a restored 110' old forest fire lookout tower which gives a wonderful view of the Susquehanna River.
The Old Sled Works has been unusual on New Year's Eve as a 12-foot-long illuminated metal replica of a Lightning Guider sled coasts down a wire from the top of a 125-foot tower. It can actually be seen from across the Susquehanna River. Oh, sure, it is cold there, but in true Pennsylvania tradition, the antique shop dispenses hot dogs and sauerkraut,
The Benton Boy Scouts will hold a spaghetti supper Saturday, February 25, at the Benton United Methodist Church from 4 PM until 7 PM. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for kids from 6-12. Under 6, there is no cost. The menu consists of spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad, cake, coffee and ice tea. Take outs are available.
We understand that gas prices Back Home in Benton, PA Friday were $2.099 and $2.129. In Ft. Myers, Florida, the cheapest price we could find was $2.37. The lowest price we paid between Benton and Florida was $2.169, so maybe prices are falling a bit.
Didja hear about the mechanic who worked out of a shop at the rear of his home, a man who had a dog he called "Mace." Mace often had an upset stomach because he would eat too much grass, so the mechanic usually kept Mace in the house. Eventually, the grass became overgrown and the mechanic dropped his wrench in the tall grass and lost it. One night, Mace got loose and ate all the grass in the backyard. The next morning the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench gleaming in the sunlight. Realizing what had happened, he looked up to the sky and proclaimed..."A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound, that saved a wrench for me!"
|February 9, 2006. Kay Emily Kline celebrates her birthday today. Keep a number of people in your prayers, including Betty Lou Stoneham who messed up her left hand in an accident with her Suzuki SUV Monday when her car apparently hit some black ice. During the accident, the car slid on its side and injured her hand. Betty Lou has pins in two of her fingers and she lost part of her middle finger. She will have a lot of hard work ahead of her.
A gun and outdoor show begins Saturday at the Benton Volunteer Fire Co. fire hall at 150 Colley St. Guns, knives, ammunition and other hunting gear will be available from 9 to 4. Admission for adults and children 12 and older is $4. Children under 12 enter free. The firemen will have their well stocked kitchen open for food and drinks.
And speaking of the weekend, have you bought your tickets yet to see "Oklahoma?" Those who saw the musical Wednesday night were very enthusiastic about it.
Kristie's Kafé, Stillwater, is officially wireless for those who want to access the internet and sip a Starbucks.
Jimmie Johnson passed away sometime after midnight February 8 at his home in New Bern, North Carolina. His address is 2607 Cherry Tree Drive, New Bern, NC 28562. Memorial seervices will be held Saturday, at the Centenary Methodist Church, New Bern. A complete obituary will be provided when available.
We learned a new word yesterday, the word "Fall," used as a verb, meaning "to submit," used as a verb. We heard it used here in Florida in the question "Ju fall yer texas yet, Ernest?"
Word of the Day: scrapple.
Many will remember eating homemade scrapple, souse, bologna and sausage made by Myron C. Davis, owner of Davis Self-Service Market, Lightstreet. The memory of a fresh batch of scrapple cooling in the refrigerator is still fresh in our mind. Davis got his scrapple recipe came from the late Rev. D. L. Bomboy, whose family knew meats and operated meat markets in the area. Rev. Bomboy, originally a butcher, officiated at many weddings and funerals. Rev. Bomboy's souse recipe came from his mother.
At first, Davis wholesaled his scrapple and eventually turned out 40 tons of scrapple a year, although that figure declined in his later years. Mr. Davis and his daughter Lots Hirleman worked in the store to the end, and we can still see the frail body of the sausage meister leaning on his shopping cart for support and we'll always remember the taste of the smoked sausage from Davis Self-Serve Market. There was none better.
Scrapple is a processed meat product made from cuts and pieces of meat which for one reason or another are not made into meals in themselves, like parts of the face, head, and chest cavity of the common hog.
Geraldine Laubach claims that the "best scrapple made your side of the Mississippi" came from Charlie Hess via Charlie's meat market. Geraldine goes back a few years and remembers standing in front of his window seeing a line of filled scrapple pans. She remembers "When my father was young he helped Charlie Hess drive cattle from Lopez down Red Rock mountain to Benton to the meat market. Daddy (Frank Yost) learned to make scrapple from Charlie." Geraldine, an advocate of "any scrapple is good scrapple," then told us that "The next best scrapple is from Country Store. Whenever I get to PA, I take some back to New Mexico, even our Navajo friends like scrapple." We know that others feel that Jim Vance made the best scrapple.
Quote of the Day:
February 8, 2006. Please keep Calib Hoyt in your prayers today and Ken McCahan could use some prayers, too. His wife, Betty McCahan, is having her share of problems, too. She fell Tuesday morning and spent last night in the hospital, but hopes to be home tomorrow. Connie Fulton, is back in the hospital, after a week home. Betty Lou Stoneham, 57, is in Geisinger Hospital after she wrecked her car Monday morning in Fishingcreek Township. She goes back into surgery this morning as she turns 58 today. Pass those prayers around, please.
Ken McCahan and his family need your prayers now.
Kim Notestein, Central, escaped serious injury Monday night when she and a Sweet Valley driver had an automobile accident on Route 118. Kim was taken to the Bloomsburg Hospital by ambulance, then treated and released. Her two daughters, Emily Terri Marie and Rachel Ida Mae Notestein, were not injured. The other driver, Steve Lunger, was taken to the Geisinger Hospital and released. Both drivers were wearing seat belts.
Kim's deceased husband, Greg Notestein, was Musical Director of the B & S Connection, a popular barber shop group and he sang in the Susquehanna Valley Chorus where he sang with Bernie Shultz, Lynn Watson, Gerald McHenry, Evan Thursby, Joe Goode, John Herbert Laubach, Bob Benton, and Bob Alleger.
Greg Notestein met a tragic death in an automobile accident and we are very happy that this accident was not worse.
We often think of the upper Fishingcreek valley as extending back in time for eons. But consider Florida about this time of winter in 1539--467 years ago--when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto arrived in Florida with about 600 men. They spend the winter like true snowbirds and when spring arrived they started north looking for gold and silver. They searched through Georgia and both North and South Carolina, through the Great Smokey Mountains spreading into both Tennessee and Alabama. On May 21, 1540, they crossed the Mississippi River. De Soto died later that day after he caught a fever.
De Soto had been so ruthless against the native Americans that his troops sunk his body in the river so the Indians would not desecrate it. His army continued without de Soto and in 1541 they reached the present-day Mexico and named it New Spain.
The building at the south corner of Center and Main street, Benton, has fallen on hard times today, but over the years it has housed...
What is the most interesting building that you can think of in Benton?
A man yelled frantically into the phone: "My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart!" "Is this her first child?" the 911 operator asked. "No, you idiot!" the man shouted back, "This is her husband!"
Quote of the Day:
|February 7, 2006. Happy birthday to Tammy Posey and Rep. George Hasay. Hasay is currently chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Dean of the Northeast Pennsylvania Legislative Delegation and a member of the House Policy Committee. Hasay previously served as chairman of the House Federal-State Relations Committee and Conservation Committee.
Please put Calib Hoyt in your prayers today. He is still undergoing a difficult recovery in the Geisinger following heart surgery. He has developed an infection and is having a difficult time.
Marcia Kay and I wanted to spend the winter in a friendly country, but we couldn't find any. So we came to Florida where it is cold this winter, but I don't care. I wanted color and I am getting it--blue! We are getting lots of wind, too--Monday we got 50 miles to the gallon with the motor home. We shopped Monday afternoon and saw one store selling bikinis with matching gloves and earmuffs. We considered buying some Florida real estate--a three-bedroom house, but we discovered when the tide went out that it really had four bedrooms. There are so many tourists. One woman told us Sunday that on her last trip she went around the world. Then she said that on this trip she was going someplace else. It is difficult to respond to comments like that! Floridians don't seem to be rude by nature. They just don't want to be taken for visitors.
Since we have been in Florida, we have seen both a hissie fit and a conniption, we have had the words "yonder" and the term "right near" used when we got lost and asked for directions, we have been called "sugar," we've eaten redeye gravy and drunk sweet tea and learned that "sweet milk" isn't buttermilk.
Christine's Karaoke will be at Kameeo's on Friday from 9:30 and at the Jamison City Hotel on Saturday from 9:30 PM.
The Raven Creek Trading Post currently has 143 dolls that need a good home. For many years, one of the Trading Post's charity drives has been for St. Joseph's Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota. St. Joe's takes children from abusive homes and homes where there is alcohol and drug abuse and provides them with a safe, loving home environment. They have K-12 schooling and a lifetime help resource center for these young children. St. Joseph's Indian School said they would welcome the dolls if the Trading Post cleaned them, clothed them, and made them presentable again. The Raven Creek Trading Post is desperately in need of doll clothes and help getting them ready to go to their new homes. If anyone out there has any doll clothes that are not currently being used or would like to take home a doll (or two) to work on, the Trading Post personnel really appreciate the help. For information, please contact Sheila Thompson, 925-6529, or Katherine Starr, 925-6994.
From the files of the Argus in 1946...
. Robert Vincent, Jr. and Richard Bender met on Main Street--while traveling in opposite directions. Both cars "were considerably damaged."
Congratulations to the Super Bowl Champions
Pittsburgh Steelers, the winner Sunday
over the Seattle Seahawks
February 6, 2006. Just a few years ago, in 2002, freezing temperatures in the area were a problem for more than 5,000 trout and all of the breeding stock at a Northumberland fish hatchery. Closer to home, the Fishing Creek Sportsmen's hatchery at the Mill Race Golf Course was frozen over.
The Benton Women's Club meets either Tuesday or Thursday of each month, from March through December at the L.R. Appleman Elementary School library. (During the summer months, a picnic, ice cream sundaes and covered dish get-togethers take place at member's homes). If you are looking for a place to benefit the community, meet some new friends and share your talents please call acting president, Lorena Bennett, 925-6861.
We sometimes have a little free time on our hands and we throw back our shoulders on the couch and wade into a column in the Press Enterprise called "30 Seconds." We don't exactly know what the title means, but we presume it means that telephone callers have "30 seconds" to dictate a verbal message for transcription into newsprint. We would think that would be an excellent way to sell newspapers, but we know it would be a foolish way for us to get our point across. We don't seem to be able to do anything in 30 seconds any more.
A favorite topic of the call-in feature is education. Many writing in "30 Seconds" think it is being accomplished poorly--or too expensively. Our thought is that parents should teach their children what life is. It isn't simply breathing, moving, playing, sleeping. Life is a battle, a battle between good and evil--and it all starts in childhood. Good influences draw us up while bad influences sink us. Parents need to cultivate the good side of living, and the job of the educators and education will be much easier.
There are many ways of learning, including observation, reading, conversation, memory and reflection. Memory is often overlooked and is so mysterious. Take, for example, a glass of water. Fill the glass until no more will go in, so that the glass is full. This is not the way that the mind works. You won't be able to fill it full of knowledge in one lifetime. Pour in all you want, and it still thirsts for more.
Teach the children in your life to be useful men and women. Teach them when they are young that above physical courage, as so many insurgency members are taught in Iraq, which only leads to a devastating future--and above wealth which leads to accumulation of physical things but little else--is moral courage. That courage will make them stand fearlessly, frankly, firmly for the right. The kids that can stand for what is right will become the students who go the greatest distance.
Old Doctor: No, sir. I never have a patient die on my hands--never.
Q: Was the Benton Store Company where Benton Antiques, Etc. is now located?
Q: Where was the McHenry House? And where was the Ikler Hotel?
Here is a simple exercise for smokers. When you get up each morning, Take your cigarettes from the pack and toss them on the floor. To smoke a cigarette, reach over without bending your knees and pick one up with your own two hands. If you haven't the breath or energy to do this, you didn't need it to begin with.
Audrey M. (Hummell) Welliver Fritz, a retired employee of Wise Potato Chip Company, passed away Friday. Fritz, 69, (March 21, 1936-Feb. 3, 2006), 319 Sones Hollow Road, Benton, was born in Williamsport, a daughter of the late Kenneth Paul Hummell and Blanche (Johnson) Hummell Dayton. Surviving are her husband Kenneth L. Fritz; daughters: Nancy R. Long (Dorman), Berwick; Susan D. Hallowood, Altoona, FL; three grandsons; a brother, Raymond Hummell (Arlene), Mays Landing, NJ; a sister, Joan M. Gilbert (Keith), Waller. Her parents and her first husband, Eugene M. Welliver, predeceased her. Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., with viewing preceding and with burial in the Waller Cemetery, Jackson Township.
February 5, 2006. Happy birthday today to Walker Rilk and Allison Cross. We hear that it is Allison's big Four Oh this year! Ken and Allison Cross also celebrate their wedding anniversary today.
We strolled into an antique shop yesterday, one of the many that Marcia Kay has raced into with high hopes and great expectations. I nestled into an old rocking chair where I thought that I might be able to stare at the back of my eyelids for a second or three without anyone noticing. I quickly snapped back to reality when I heard my name from a far-off corner of the musty Florida antique shop, uttered in a pitch slightly higher than when I do something that isn't approved, a "come hither" pitch that I immediately recognized. I instinctively reached to my backside as if to guard my wallet.
When I returned to the antique rocking chair, I marveled at how comfortable it was. The chair conjured up a vision of a favorite distant relative, a woman we called "Aunt Esther," in her 80s when I was only a child, a relative who lived along the tow path of the North Branch canal in Beach Haven, a woman who always kept hard, salty pretzels in a glass jar in a sunny window knowing that the German in me would beg my parents to drive to see her on a Sunday afternoon. Her pretzels and her rocking chair had a lot to do with that.
Aunt Esther's rocking chair may have been inherited by Mother in later years. As I sat on the rocking chair in the poorly lit antique shop, I could picture each woman sitting on their chair. Both women had enough cares and troubles in their lives that only a rocking chair would sooth them. The chair was old sixty years ago and the rockers were almost worn out from an entire family rocking on that chair. The chair made a creaking sound as it rocked, but it was music, not noise. The chair was just high enough that young children could rest their heads on the caring person who held them.
The chair was different from the chair in which Father sat. Mother's chair had more gentleness, more tenderness and held more grief when we did something wrong. When we were wayward, father scolded but Mother cried. The chair knew all the old lullabies and all the wordless songs that mothers know to sing to their sick children--songs that combine all the compassion and pity and sympathy that mothers can muster up.
I was sitting in a chair like this, one like Aunt Esther and Mother had used, but this chair wasn't rocking until I sat in it. What a pity it would have been had I tossed my head back and rested without reflection. This was a chair of power--it didn't deserve to be banished to an attic or a garage. Oh, pshaw, I thought, this is a rocking chair than hasn't been loved in years, this vacant rocking chair.
That chair spoke volumes. It whispered, It spoke. It wept. It mourned. It prayed. It reminded me of the passage that I believe went like this: "Thou shalt be missed because thy seat will be empty."
When we last met over the morning coffee, we talked about older houses and we'll conclude today.
Many of our older houses have higher ceilings than houses built today. Many of these have doors with transoms over the doors. The ventilation helped cool the house in the summer and helped keep body and fireplace heat trapped inside the room during the cold months. During the mid 1800s, the average man was something like five feet, eight inches high, and so we often see door knobs mounted slightly lower than they are today.
We have often talked about Mountain Springs Lake and the ice that was cut and transported to markets many miles distant. Most readers of the Benton News have seen the ice houses in the Borough that burned during the July 4, 1910, Benton fire. Readers have told us of cutting ice from the Benton dam. At one time, many local houses had their own iceboxes, wooden chests with a block of ice. Potatoes were often buried in the barn and covered with straw to keep them from sprouting.
Houses in the country often had a bell mounted on a pole. When the Missis rang the bell during the day while the farmers were in the field it meant that the fixins' were ready to eat. If the bell was rung during the night it meant there was an emergency and a "neighbor helping neighbor" series of events kicked in. Neighbors helped neighbors in whatever trouble they were in. If the father of the house died, neighbors would help with the harvest gathering and with the children
The farmer's bible was the Farmers Almanac. Most farmers depended on the almanac to plant their crops according to the signs of the moon. Corn planting time took place when the leaves on an oak tree got as big as a squirrel's ear. Many times in the 1800s wagons and buggies were parked in creeks or springs in order to make the wood expand to keep the metal wheel rims tight
Many of the old beds used ropes instead of wooden slats to hold up the feather or straw mattress. Rope beds had a type of key to tighten the ropes. If the ropes became loose during the night it was difficult to get a good night's sleep.
|February 4, 2006. We had a new experience Friday, the first time we had ever been anywhere that received a foot of rain in 14 hours. It all happened here in Pinellas County. Remind us to bring an umbrella the next time we come to Florida so we can cope with this liquid sunshine. Back Home in Benton, PA, we had less rain than that during Hurricane Agnes and we ended up with what became known as a "100-year flood."
A reader asked if we were eating our grits here in Florida. We certainly are; grits are a favorite of ours. We suspect that the reader really didn't like grits. We ordered them once in a Benton restaurant, but we instantly knew that the cook had never been South of Maple Grove! For those who don't know, grits taste like butter if you add butter to them; they taste like salt, if you add salt to them; they taste like pepper if you add pepper to them, they taste like finger if you eat them without silverware.
From the "Let's Get Our Terms Correct" Department, comes this: a menu bar is the top command bar in a window. Choices are usually File, Edit, View, etc. A toolbar is the second bar in a window, has icons to use for the commands, and varies with the program. For instance, in Internet Explorer, the toolbar has Back, Forward, etc., and in your Outlook Express the toolbar has Send/Recv, Create Mail, Reply, etc. The taskbar is the bar at the bottom of your screen and keeps track of open folders and running programs by listing their names. Your Start button is in the taskbar.
For a time we were distressed over our inability to send email to AOL subscribers, but then we read that the money grubbing characters at AOL plan to phase out their enhanced whitelist service and replace it with a taxation model that will bill senders a fraction of a cent per email delivered to their subscribers (if you're qualified enough to be certified). This means delivering to AOL will drastically raise our email delivery costs. It is probably a ploy to get people to sign up with AOL in order to stay in their close-knit little community. We are done fighting with AOL. Following what a great general once did, we declare victory and withdraw from battle with the company. We have long thought that AOL had the personality of a traffic cop with heartburn and we'll make no further effort to communicate via AOL with anyone.
Quote of the Day:
Term of the Day:
We might as well have another lesson in English. Lets try similes and metaphors. They are both comparisons, but similes always use the word "like" or "as." An example is "Her eyes are like pools." The comparison in a metaphor is more direct. To emphasize a point, something becomes something else, as in "Her eyes are pools."
We chatted a bit yesterday about how life once was, and we'll continue with that discussion today. We were basically talking about houses when we broke for coffee yesterday, so we'll pick up there today.
The early log cabins in this area were one story simply because the builders didn't have any efficient way to lift logs to a second level. Cabins were mostly one room and were built in a square or rectangle so they could have an apex roof. They were frequently a one-room structure. We heard a comedian once tell his audience that five in his family slept in one bed as he was growing up. Then, he recalled, one of his brothers got married and they slept six in a bed. In any event, the early houses of the area were small and cramped. The larger homes and the amenities that came with them came later as farmers became more prosperous and townspeople became more affluent.
Water was plentiful, but created a difficult problem to get into the house in a useable way. As a result, most didn't bathe very often and when they did they followed a pecking order that usually began with the father, probably the person who most needed a good dosing. Others would then use the bath water, ending up with the person who had the least seniority--the baby of the family. We suspect that the mother held tightly to the lil'l one. Under the water, the little tyke would probably not even be seen, the way that the old saying "don't throw the baby out with the bath water" came about.
Some readers may have heard of the "chamber pot." I have one in my bathroom in Benton, as an example, at the ready with wonderful reading material for when I want to sit nearby and ponder. In some families, the chamber pot went by the name of "slop jar." By whatever name or whatever its intended use is today, the pot was usually a large porcelain bowl with a large handle and a lid. It became the transition from the one-holer to the indoors toilet. It was the first indoor toilet, a staple in the bedroom for use at night as needed. The pot was emptied and prepared for evening duty each morning.
Many early houses had few closets. One explanation is that taxes were levied on the number of rooms in a house. Depending on how hard up the municipality was for tax income, some houses taxed rooms with doors, which a closet might be considered. The old timers didn't have as many clothes as we have today. The man's work clothes were used daily and he might only have two pairs. All his work clothes hung on the back of the door--at the ready in case of emergency, or in case a hurried walk to the one-holer was needed in the middle of the night when the chamber pot was otherwise occupied. His Sunday "go-to-meeting" clothes were used one day a week and served double duty for weddings and funerals.
The American society pays big money now to get wavy, bubbly glass, but that is all many early settlers could get. Often windows extended from the floor to the ceiling, a convenient way to exit the house and access an outside porch.
Critters were always a problem, and one of the worst was fleas. "Ol Yeller" would be brought in from outside and allowed to spend the night. The theory was that the fleas would jump on the dog, then he would be left outside for a certain cold death to the fleas.
Some of the older churches had two front doors, designed so men would enter through one door and the women through another. Men usually sat on the right side of the church and the women on the left side. The idea is still in use in retail stores. Items for men are frequently on the right side of the store and the things that women are attracted to are herded on the left side. I can think of exceptions to the rule, but look for tools on the right side and pots and pans on the left of the next country hardware store where you enter in the center of the store.
We'll conclude this discussion in tomorrow's Benton News.
February 3, 2006. There are 45 days until the official start of Spring. Happy birthday to Betty Rabb Helwig, and to Brian and Brad Albertson. Don't forget to stop at the N4C Thrift Shop on Mill Street Friday and say "hello."
An interesting fact regarding the lands in Benton Township and the Borough concerns the establishment in 1769 of one of the famous "manors" of the Penn family. These divisions of land were set apart for the exclusive use of the Penns themselves, and in many instances were the last of the lands in the Commonwealth to be disposed of. The manors in Columbia county were two tracts of 530 acres each and were "situate on a large branch of Fishingcreek, eight or ten miles above the end of Fishingcreek mountain, or about two miles north of the present town of Benton. Under FEATURES, then to the Swartwout story, you can see an 1850 map showing the Manor Lands). In the original survey the name of "Putney Common" was applied to those lands. The first recorded settler in the township was Benjamin Coleman, who bought land from Daniel McHenry and founded what was later the "Laubach farm." Jonathan Colley was another settler who came to this section prior to 1797. The house in which he lived was built near the Swartwout mill.
The house where John and Zane Unbewust live was built in 1876 by Eli Mendenhall, one of the first settlers of the Benton area. It was the birthplace of Dr. Frank C. Laubach. Benton Township was formed from part of Sugarloaf and Fishing Creek Townships in 1850. The new township drew its name from Thomas Hart Benton, U.S. Senator from Missouri, brother of Elizabeth Benton Mendenhall, wife of Eli Mendenhall.
We are often asked why we dwell on the past so much, rather than reporting the news as our web site suggests we do. Today is a good day to answer that question, since we are 1,115 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, and we haven't a clue what the news is back home. So for the next couple of days, we suggest those who want to know what is happening now turn elsewhere, and we'll have to mention events from memory we suspect many readers will know very little about.
Many of the early houses in Sullivan County were thrown together as loggers passed through the area eking out a living. Slab wood made up the sides of the "cabins" in which the loggers and their families lived. Cold, winter air penetrated the buildings, but everyone knew that a year or so later the cabin would be vacated and the family would move on to the next stand of timber--assuming that the cabin didn't burn to the ground before.
In the local area, where farming was more prevalent and people "put down roots," the houses were much more adequate and we'll tell you about these houses, somewhat excluding the higher end houses found in Bloomsburg, Williamsport and Wilkes-Barre and in limited numbers where wealthier people were found.
In some two-story houses, two stair cases made their way to the upper levels, usually one wide and gracious and the second one narrow, functional and generally hidden from view of guests in the house. The idea for the second stairway was to provide a way for servants to access the second floor or keep the sleeping quarters for boys and girls separated.
A "bundling bed" was said to be used during the cold of winter and its use permitted by the family in those cases during courtship when a boy "with promise" needed to spend the night at the residence of the girl of his choice. There was rarely extra sleeping room in a house. In a version of the "Peter Principle," children would crop up so long as there were bedrooms to house them! Momma would put both of the young couple into a bed with a board down the middle. Both would be "bundled" up for warmth, facing each other so they could talk without using their hands. It is rare to find anyone who ever admitted to using a bundling board, but they did exist.
It was not uncommon to display quarantine signs on the front of houses when sickness, such as scarlet fever or other communicable diseases, hit. Members of the household had to live in one room of their house with the shades down for several weeks, fearing that sunlight would damage their eyesight.
In the latter part of the 1860's there was an outbreak of scarlet fever in the upper Fishing Creek Valley that was fatal to the children on the outskirts of Benton. Funerals were of almost daily occurrence and nursing help was sorely needed. The women of Benton never hesitated in this work of mercy and willingly responded to the care of the dead and dying.
One case of scarlet fever occurred in the family of Lowery and Phoebe Cole at Edsons. Three children--George B., Ella M. and Walter E. Cole--died in March, 1870. The children were stricken and all three died so closely together that their little bodies, in three separate coffins, were interred side by side at the same time in one grave at St. Gabriel's cemetery, and despite the fact that the women of Benton, many of whom had small children, had gone among many of these stricken families, it was looked upon as an act of Providence that not one child in the Borough caught the epidemic. The disease stopped in the family of Daniel Hartman near West Creek.
We'll continue with this discussion over a few more days.
Please obey the law, but ignore the "truth" of the email circulating that the Pennsylvania State Police are now ticketing with "hammer force." There is no more truth to this than the Urban Legend that cell phone numbers will be turned over to commercial call centers...
Karen F. Beaver, 39, (Feb. 14, 1966-Jan. 29, 2006), Mountain Road, Catawissa, died Sunday. Karen was born in Bloomsburg, the daughter of Albert Keith Phillips, Lightstreet, and the late Sara Follmer Phillips. She graduated from Benton High School in 1984 and received her associate degree in accounting from McCann School of Business, Sunbury. She is survived by her father and by her husband, Wheeler L. Beaver. Two uncles: Eugene Phillips (June), Orangeville, and Carl Phillips (Mary), Divide, and an aunt, Faith Follmer, Benton, also survive. Funeral services will be Thursday, February 2, 2006, at 2 PM from the Allen R. Horne Funeral Home, Catawissa. Burial will be in St. Paul's United Church of Christ Cemetery, Numidia.
February 2, 2006. Today is Candlemas, originally a Celtic festival celebrating the fact that the days were getting longer and spring was not far off. This lore has grown into a full-blown festival, with Punxsutawney Phil at the center of it all. So this morning, in the small Pennsylvania community of Punxsutawney, Phil, the smallest and furriest weather forecaster known, saw his shadow even with something like 1,000 TV lights and flashbulbs going off and thus we are headed--sob, sob--for six more weeks of winter.
I started writing this from the deep South, in Beaufort, South Carolina, to be exact, where English as we know it Back Home in Benton, PA, has been forgotten. Beaufort, in South Carolina, is pronounced "BYOU fert," by the way, but I'll get to that in a minute, after I start at the beginning.
The first Americans lived in an exciting period as new words were invented daily, as the language as they knew it took an abrupt turn to the right. The "s" form on verbs is an example, as people came up with new words like "has" in lieu of "hath" and "runs" rather than "runneth," Use of words like "thee" and "thou" slowly edged out of daily usage.
As time passed, long Indian words like "raugraoughcun" were shortened into "raccoon." About half of our states have names borrowed from the Indians, shortened, but borrowed. Literally thousands of our lakes, rivers and areas of the country come from original Indian words--and even words we use daily, like canoe, hammock and tobacco, can be traced back to the Indians. The French helped with our language, giving us words like "Illinois," "Detroit," and "Des Plaines." When we head to California, we encounter a new set of problems. The basic Indian names get commingled with the Spanish and a new set of words develop: words like rodeo, avocado, mustang, burro, mesquite, canyon. Some words simply came from the Spanish, words like "hoosegow" and "jug" (from the Mexican word "juzgado") and "rancher." And all that reminds me of the two Indians who met and started to greet each other in the sign language of their mother country. One Indian suddenly stopped and said, "We're in America now. Speak Spanish!"
Many words meant one thing in the old world and something completely different in the new world, words like "hemlock," "laurel," "partridge" and "oriole." In England, a "tramp" takes on the meaning of a "bum" in this country, while in England a "bum" is a "fanny" and sometimes the word means the same thing in both countries. Words are still in transition, words like O.K.," okay," and OK, all deemed acceptable spellings of a word that no one is quite sure where it came from, although we tend to hold with the theory that it came from the abbreviated words "oll korrect."
The Amish of our state helped the confusion along with expressions like "Nice day, say not?" and "Come in and eat yourself" and "it wonders me where it could be" and my personal favorite "throw the horse over the fence some hay."
Some words just aren't sure what they mean--and neither are we. Something we say is "fast" is either moving quickly or it isn't moving at all. A door that is "bolted" is secure but a horse that has "bolted" is moving pretty darn quickly. When you "wind up" a meeting, you end it, but when you "wind up" a watch you start it.
Some local words always seem to be mispronounced. Take Benton for example. Many pronounce it "Ben-en." We once picked up television signals from WNBF in "Bimington, New York." Folks in Gettysburg pronounce their town "Gettizburg," while nearby in Lancaster they pronounce it "Lankus-ter" and down the road in "Balameer "they don't come close to pronouncing it right. We pronounce "ladies" as "laties." We "worsh" our clothes and take things for "grannid." Isn't our English "somepthing" when we talk about a "tagger" in a zoo, or mow our lawns with a "paramour" or head to the "stewer" to pick up our "arnjoos," or when we "daresn't" do something. We love to drop words at the beginning of sentences, forming questions like "You coming?" And "this your car?" We smiled from ear to ear when we recently heard that a person was "still at work." We remember that we once worked with a man who was still at work, too--until he got fired for inactivity.
"Cayo Hueso" here in Florida eventually transformed into "Key West." Beaufort, North Carolina, and "BYOU fert," South Carolina, are something like 406 miles apart, but worlds apart in the pronunciation of their names. Back home we get our subs from either the Sub Shop or the Red Rock Corner Store, but if you travel around our country you best also know the names "hero," "hoagy," "torpedo," "geribaldi," "poor boy," all of which basically means the same thing. The same applies to "soda" and "pop," a baby carriage or a baby buggy, the beach or the shore, frosting or icing, stuffing or filling. But here in the deep South, we just can't tell when someone is talking about "oil" and when he is talking about "all;" "morning" and "mourning" confuse us, as does "fire" and "far," "ahs" and "eyes, and a ton of other similar words. "Vegetubbles" is a word we love to hear.
The discussion of proper grammar and such reminds us of the story about the man who flew into Logan Airport in Boston and was taking a taxi into the city. The man asked the cabbie if he knew a good place to get scrod while in town. The cabbie replied, "Why, uh, yes I do. Only I've never heard anyone refer to it in the pluperfect subjunctive before!"
February 1, 2006. Happy birthday today to Brooke Benjamin and Clint Kline.
The N4C Thrift Shop, Mill Street, will open this Thursday, February 2, 2006, at 10 AM and close at 4 PM. These hours will be repeated on Friday and every Thursday and Friday thereafter. It will also be open Saturdays from 10 AM until 2 PM.
We apologize to all our AOL readers who normally receive the email version of the Benton News. We currently are forced to send all email and uplink our web page via a cell phone. For reasons we don't fully understand, every transmission to an AOL address is returned with the notation "SMTP transmission failure has occurred." We fill up our own inbox every time we send the morning news to AOL customers! We receive incoming emails from AOL with no problem.
How is your reaction time?
Former Benton Area School Board member Bob Marler now lives in Northfield, NJ, about fifteen minutes from Ocean City and fifteen minutes from Atlantic City, where the "same old crooked politics and corruption" exist. Bob tells us that "We live next to the beach; same old washed up dirt and debris. I can no longer go into the water, can't take a shower or bath, or fish next to the water."
The Benton Argus called them "one of the oldest and most distinguished families from this section." Almost completely forgotten today, the family lived at "Pine Rest," the old family home North of Benton. We are talking about the Swartwout family, descendants from an old Dutch Patroon family, who came to New Amsterdam in the latter part of the 17th century. The Swartwouts were of French Huguenot descent on the maternal side. The grandfather was a professor of French at West Point Military Academy. The Swartwout family was considered "upper class," wealthy, not like the majority of the families who had to scrounge a living off the land. John Herbert Laubach once told us about seeing Mary and Katheryn Swartwout walking from Benton to their home in the refreshing shade of their parasols.
Sisters Kate and May lived in the Swartwout home, which later burned to the ground, until shortly before Mary's passing in 1955. We knew that Katharine Swartwout was 92 when she passed away. Of the two sisters, Mary and Katharine, "May" was the worker and "Kate" the overseer.
Bob Sands lived across route 487 when he was growing up in what later was called the "Whitmoyer" house. Bob served as A pallbearer for both of the women.
If you look at a map of 1850, like the Cummings' Map of Columbia and Montour Counties, you can see the "The Two Sister's Curve" in the present route 487 just north of the present golf course. Donald Rabb remembers the curve well, since he was a passenger in his father's car when it hit a culvert on that turn. Consider for a moment the difficulty one would encounter in getting a four-year old boy in need of stitches to the hospital in Bloomsburg in 1926!
The obituary for Mary Swartwout, taken from the Argus, indicated that "Services for Miss Mary Swartwout, 87, born in 1867 and died in February, 1955, were held from St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, at Cole's Creek, with the Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas Heistand officiating. Interment was made in the Swartwout lot in St. Gabriel's churchyard. Swartwout was a member of St. Gabriel's Church, and throughout her lifetime was active in organizations in that parish. The old house in Benton Township which had been in the same family for a century, stands as a mute reminder of the gracious living which took place within its rooms. It was here she was born. She died at the Episcopal Church Home in Shippensburg. There are no survivors."
We'll get into the details of the family, but first lets try to understand the term, "Patroon." The dictionary yields a definition something like, "One who held an estate in land with certain manorial privileges granted under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey (patrons)."
According to http://www.nnp.org/, a "patroonship" was a private farming community. One of the ways that the Dutch tried to settle the wilderness of its New Netherland province was via patroonships. A patroon was akin to a plantation owner. Through the plan, wealthy men in the Netherlands would be given huge tracts of land in this country in exchange for their promise to send at least fifty colonists to settle it. The patroonship system didn't work out very well and had problems from the start. According to the New Netherland Project website, an example of a short-lived patroonships was in the first permanent settlement in what is today New Jersey. In 1630, a patroonship began on both sides of the North River (today known as the Hudson River) just across from Manhattan, at that time the capital of the province. The rich farmland was purchased from the Lenni Lenape Indians.
The term "French Huguenot" is explained on the New Netherland Project web site in case you want to get into any depth on this subject. We'll sum it up by telling you that the Huguenots who left France during their persecutions emigrated to the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox countries of Europe. They went particularly to Germany, Holland, and England. Huguenot settlers later immigrated into the American colonies directly from France and indirectly from the Protestant countries of Europe. This immigration began before 1685 and continued for over one hundred years. The Huguenots settled along almost the entire Eastern coast of North America, but showed a preference for what are now the states of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina.
The ground on which these mills and the Swartwout house stood was a grant from the Penns to Jonathan Colley, who planted an apple orchard at that spot in 1797. But lets come forward to the 1800 tax rolls. Jonathan Colley and his son-in-law, Jesse Pennington, each owned one-half of a saw mill probably on Fishing Creek but available information is too sketchy to be certain. Jonathan sold land to Isaiah Cole, possibly this property. It was not uncommon for saw mills and shingle mills to eventually be converted to grist mills. The original mill was built by Isaiah Cole in 1799 and operated for almost half a century until a cloudburst and flash flood destroyed it in 1848. The mill which became known as the Swartwout Mill was constructed about 1849 about fifty yards below the original and a man by the name of Robbins is credited with having built it. The mill was owned by Isaiah Cole. Later, Bent Cole operated the second mill. "Bent" Cole refers to Thomas Benton Cole, who at one time lived in the stone house next to the present Mill Race Golf Course.
Robert Swartwout purchased the mill and about 150 acres of land in 1858. His brother, John, came from Albany, New York, in 1859 and managed the property.
Swartwout sold the mill to Joseph Follmer and following several sales became the property of the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company, who sold the building to Terrence Smith, who retained the water power. Smith removed the building in 1914, one hundred and fifteen years after the date of the first construction.
--Brad Cole, the late Helen Gammon and the Columbia County Historical Society publication, "Grist Mills of Columbia Country, Pennsylvania, Part Two," were used as references for this article.
In case you ever wondered what it would be like to order pizza
in the year 2010, click here and you'll find out.
|January 26, 2006. David Hilley celebrates his 68th birthday today. The Benton Rodeo Association meets tonight at 7 PM at the Benton Township Building.
Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
Both the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center (N4C) and the N4C Thrift Store are making substantial progress. Individual and corporate contributors continue to support the Center with contributions of museum items and of pledges and cash. Contributors like the Benton Grange, the Benton Foundry and many others are gratefully acknowledged. The Center is making every effort to raise enough money to complete the project and to that end have scheduled a concert in the high school auditorium next month for the general public and are considering a follow-on concert. The N4C Thrift Store is completely outfitted with all shelving and wall units they need, thanks to a reader who told us about a Christian book store in Dallas that was going out of business, contributions from many people anxious to get the store open and operating, and some good purchases from a Bloomsburg store that was going out of business. Additionally, virtually all the shelving units to support the Food Bank when they move to the Community Center have been purchased. The Thrift Store on Mill Street will be open this Friday from 10 AM to 2 PM for drop off of donated items, and will open for business in the near future. Anyone who can volunteer time to help at the Thrift Store is welcome, too.
Are you single? Do you wish you were not? Try a visit to http://www.match.com/localsingles/PA/Benton.html .
The derivation of names of towns and counties in Pennsylvania is interesting. Didja know, for example, that after being a commonwealth for 100 years there were only 12 counties? The other 55 were created later, all in the second 100 years of the state's operation.
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William P. "Bill" Wanich, 85, a retired high school teacher in the Mansfield school system and later an administrator at Mansfield State College, died Tuesday afternoon at the Orangeville Nursing and Rehab Center. Wanich (Feb. 14, 1920-Jan. 24, 2006) lived at 255 Shannon Hill Road. He was 85. Born in Lightstreet, he was a son of the late Carl G. and Anna (Powell) Wanich. Surviving is his wife, L. Jean (Hartman) Hughes Wanich; two children: Karen R. Wanich, Williamsport; Thomas D. Wanich (Marilyn), Harrisburg; two grandchildren: Lyndsey and Michael Wanich; two stepchildren: Nancy Jean Harrison, Benton; Sharon E. Swisher (Charles), Unityville, plus additional grandchildren. His first wife, Ruth E. (Dent) Wanich, passed away May 3, 1988; as did a brother, Jack C. Wanich and a stepson, John F. Hughes Jr. Funeral services will be Friday at 4 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc.with a viewing preceding. Committal services will be Saturday at 11 AM at Tioga County Memorial Gardens, Tioga County.
Pictures are available on the internet which document a storm surge created when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in late August 2005. The remarkable pictures show water overflowing a levee and were taken by Don McClosky, manager of Entergy's Michoud power plant in New Orleans. Mr. McClosky rode out the storm at the power plant. Take a look at http://www.wwltv.com/cleanup/160.htm .
We recently wrote about Jot'Em Down stores, which prompted Dick McHenry to tell us from his warm winter home in Alabama more about Howard Smith, who operated one of the two stores in Stillwater. Dick remembers going into the store on Saturday mornings about the time that "a large lady by the name of Mrs. Fornsbe (spelling) would come into the store and pick up her mail and then get a bottle of Pepsi and 2 dried herrings in a small cellophane bag and have that for her Saturday morning snack."
Dick remembers that proprietor Howard Smith would slice cheese for someone and would always slice an extra piece. "He would take the slice and fold it in half and then fold it in half again and put it in his mouth. He did this every time."
Howard was also a prankster. After World War II, he told Dick there were Germans hiding in the Stillwater bridge knowing that Dick would have to go through that bridge after dark to go to his grandfather Mac Hagenbaugh's farm. Dick said that he "would go through that dark bridge singing at the top of my voice. I guess I thought if they heard me singing they would let me alone."
Howard and Dick's dad, Jack McHenry, would get (nasty) penny valentines. The valentine was on a 8 by 10 piece of paper and had a poem on it. One might be about the clock watcher, another about the nosy neighbor, that sort of thing. One year Howard would address the envelopes and Jack would send them out. The next year Jack would address the envelopes and Howard would send them out. That way "if anyone asked Howard or Jack if they had anything to do with the "nasty" valentines, one would say I didn't address any envelopes and the other would say I didn't send out any nasty valentines. To my knowledge no one ever found out that it was them sending them out and having some fun."
The second Jot'Em Down store in Stillwater was at the bottom of the John McHenry bee store. When Joe Stoddard operated the store he converted an old bus into a traveling grocery store and drove it all around Stillwater, Forks, Zaners and visited the campers that parked along Fishing Creek during the summer months.
Once when Howard was out with his traveling store Dick's mother went into the regular store at Stillwater and was looking in the meat case and saw some kind of ground meat. Dick remembers that "She asked the girl running the store while Joe was gone what it was and the girl only knew it wasn't hamburger. Mom bought some anyway and we all loved it. Mom bought this on several occasions and each time Joe was out with his traveling Grocery store. One day she went in the store and Joe was there. She asked Joe what it was and he said it was ground tongue. Needless to say we never had anymore of that great stuff."