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By Craig Braack

Wiser’s Wramblings- Writes of Spring

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Pictured is the late Tom Geyer, native of Bath NY, with tribute poem below

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

Thinking that this coming Sunday was Easter Sunday I had something all lined up for this week. Now that my wife has straightened me out, and that does take some serious unbending, I am following a different path with a “Spring” in my step.

I consider March and November to be the two most emotionally volatile months with the potentially severe mood – altering swings between good and bad weather. April is probably my favorite month despite its occasional back sliding and reminding us that Winter isn’t that far back in our rearview mirror. Being a “romantic” and poetic at heart you could guess why April holds such meaning for me. Coincidently, April happens to be 9 months away from December and its popularity as a birth month so I guess I’m not the only one it has an effect on.

April brings many things, especially unique to the Northeastern portion of the country as we emerge from the harshness of the Winter months. The grass turns green and flowers bloom, aided by warmer weather and Spring showers. We can wear springy colors and white garments again without spousal beratement. Despite some controversy over Daylight Savings Time, at least for me, it brings an extra hour of evening daylight, and is especially helpful for some by extending the golfing hour availability for those who work until 5 PM. For those welcoming outside activities of relaxation and/or outdoor chores, it is a welcome time of year.

When our family was younger and we were into “camping”, April was the month we began preparations, for and even sometimes our participation in, camping with friends and sitting around a warm spring campfire. For others, and for school age children, outdoor sports activities come to life and the sounds of gleeful laughter and spectator cheers fill the air. If, as all too often happens, our weather takes a sudden reversal back to winter conditions, at least we know that it will be short-lived, often losing up to 4 or 5 inches of melted snow completely during the next day or two.

Wrandom Wramblings:

  • Gasoline prices have started “edging” downward, but oddly, not nearly as rapidly as they went up. They most likely won’t go all the way down as far as they went up.
  •  The problem with inflation is that it is a direct result of other things happening which should be good news items, but which are major contributors of inflation in the first place. New jobs are being created. People have returned to work and unemployment is low. Salaries have increased. All of that creates an increased demand for products. The “law” of “supply and demand” is the bittersweet effect of more spendable income but decreased availability of things to spend it on.
  • I had to break down and purchase a new computer in hopes that newer technology, and a better built-in ability to receive and handle my weak internet signal would help. We were growing tired of, and frustrated with, our ill-performing Spectrum Internet service. Having previously been fully provided with the Spectrum “bundled” package of TV Cable, Phone and Internet, and were relatively satisfied with performance and quality. A couple of years ago my reasonable rates skyrocketed, almost doubling, within a three-month period. Spectrum advised that the low rates I had enjoyed were a result of “promotional packages” that had expired. Those rates had been applied when we had re-joined Spectrum following a couple of years of “Dish” TV which we abandoned due to increasing prices and disliking having to get out the ladder to sweep the snow off the dish several times each winter. At their recommendation we switched to “Spectrum Choice” with phone and internet and then added “Roku Streaming”. That is when our service deteriorated. So far, the computer problem is solved but our TV service is still atrocious as “buffering” occurs all too often, disrupting program viewing. It doesn’t bother me until the Bills or Bonnies are playing as that is my ONLY TV addiction. I have missed several critical plays to buffering.
  • Speaking of the Bonnies…In order to watch all, or most, of the televised Bonnies basketball games, you would need CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network (now defunct and replaced with USA Network), ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+. There was even one early season non-league game on Stadium TV. In years past quite a few games were broadcast on Stadium which is included with my Roku package. I can’t justify paying for a year-round Cable Package with more sports programming, as the Bonnies only play for a few months. Through some creative package addition finagling I did manage to get most of the games. One thing that helped me in that was that the different venues were pretty much grouped into batches. ESPN+ was the easiest to deal with as I could sign up for their “App” for a few days, and then cancel it, only paying for the number of days I had the service. Later, I would reactivate it for the next “grouped” run of games. It was a Spectrum representative that steered me down that avenue in the first place.
  • JC Penney online sales have been phenomenal lately. On four recent email advertised sales special purchases I have saved as much as 80% off retail. Latest was a $30 long sleeve St. Johns Bay pullover for $3.14.
  • Disappointing “bird” house building story from yesterday. As we discussed getting deck furniture uncovered and ready for summer use, we noticed one of the Carolina Wren pair, going up under the winter covering of our “patio table” dragging some mossy type of grass. After it left, we checked, and sure enough it had started a nest under the table. Fortunately, albeit still sadly, the construction had just started, and we didn’t create too much of a hardship for its rebuild when we removed the cover. Springtime also brings “nest building”. This was one of a pair that have been around quite a while. I’m pretty sure it will find a better place, but, hopefully, still nearby.
  • Recent spate of scanner calls involving “thefts in progress”: “Stranger walking up road opening people’s mailboxes”; “Strangers entering neighbors houses”; “Drive off from Quicklees after a larceny.” Later determined by NYSP “plate check” to be a stolen vehicle headed North on Rte.19, and others…”

Growing up I often heard witty or philosophical sayings spoken by my grandparents, mother, or other relatives. Later in life and as curiosity struck me, I would often look up the meaning or history of the phrase if it was not intuitively obvious. I now use Google Search and have found sites that list over 100 of such sayings. Very interesting read if you want to surprise yourself by discovering where many of your now commonly used phrases come from. I spent a week one day just looking up common phrases that I often use.

One day while still in teaching mode at Alfred State, we had a short “day after test” review class” during which I had used a phrase that my mother-in-law (MIL) often used. A student asked what it meant, so I explained it and then asked if any of the student’s parents or grandparents had used “old fashioned sayings” that were suitable for sharing. Being a “planned” short class anyway, we spent the remaining time as many shared their stories.

Here are a couple of MIL favorites and others.

  • “You look like the last rose of summer” (self-explanatory…wilted and droopy)
  • “He looks like the wreck of the Hesperus” (Sad looking state or disheveled appearance; from an 1839 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem about a storm pummeled schooner).

…and some others

  • “You’re as messed up as Hogan’s Goat” (Version my stepfather used included a term different than “messed” up. Exact origin unknown but often interpreted as a slight to Irish ancestry describing someone incapable of sensible or rationale actions)
  • “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” (self-explanatory)
  • “A rising tide raises all boats” (kind of like “What’s good for one is good for all”)
  • “As mad as a hatter” (means crazy or looney…17th century hat makers used lead in the hat making process which resulted in lead poisoning and mental problems)
  • “Bite the Bullet” (my source was from early TV Westerns where pain killers not readily available for surgery required the patient to bite down on a bullet to alleviate pain) (not recommended for tooth aches)
  •  “Bury the hatchet” (End a disagreement and move on – Indian lore, where opposing tribal chiefs upon concluding a battle would each bury a hatchet during a “peace ceremony”.

One of the most colorful people I have had the honor of knowing was my departed friend Tom Geyer, who was the oldest of the patriarchs of the “Family of Three”, a close knit, nearly lifelong friendship, of the Geyer/Muscato/Wiser families. The following poem was a “Eulogy” I read at Tom’s funeral a few years ago. The sayings and phrases, as was Tom, are somewhat “colorful” and I apologize in advance if any readers are offended by the colorful language. I have cleaned up a few places, but it would dishonor Tom to “sanitize” them completely, as this was pure Tom, who I feel safe in saying, was loved by all, and missed by all, who knew him.

Tomes From Tom

“It was one of those dark nights” a friend once had said

And we all in wonder, just shook our heads.

But Tom said to us, “I can understand that”,

“It was as dark as it is, inside of your hat.”

Tom was quite frugal and reluctant to spend

And not always first to buy drinks for a friend.

But if paybacks and favors ever came due,

His reply would oft be, “I’d rather owe you, than cheat you.”

Tom had a way of expressing things well

And weather would often be where thoughts would dwell.

With inclement weather his thoughts would take root

And when rain was falling, “like pee, pouring out of a boot”

The rains in Spain may fall on the plain

But in Tom’s mind it was with ease he’d explain,

The splatters of rain not just in one spot

But rather “from a cow peeing on a flat rock”

Bodily functions would oft take their part

When his mouth was as “dry as a popcorn fart”

And if gas was to escape in rather bad luck

He would quickly exclaim, “who stepped on that duck?”

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