Welcome to The Squeaky Pen

...where life is slow, and ripe with rural treasures

Friday, June 28, 2013

Time to Build A Boat: Photos of Sherburne's 2013 Flood

Route 80 West
Route 12B 
Near Earlville

North Main St.

North Main St., near Chi Chi's Hair Salon

Route 80 West

North Main, just north of The Big M

North Main St.

North Main St.

North Main St.

North Main St.

Near Earlville

Route 12

Route 12 B

Route 80 West

Route 80 West

Route 80 West

Route 80 West
North Main St.
Route 80 West

North Main Street

Thursday, June 27, 2013

SSIRP Receives Its First Grant of $50,000

The Howard K. Finch Memorial Fund today announced the decision of its Community Board to award a grant of $50,000 to Save the Sherburne Inn Restoration Project, Inc. (SSIRP) for the purposes of paying fees for a preservation architect to develop planning and schematic documents and a construction cost estimate for restoration and renovation of the Sherburne Inn building; the cost of preliminary environmental testing; and the cost of acquiring additional documentation necessary for state grant applications.

Richard M. Runyon, Trustee of the Finch Fund, said in the award letter, “This is one of the largest awards in the Finch Fund’s history, and while the Community Board realizes this project will be ongoing and difficult, they also think it will have a positive impact on the appearance of downtown Sherburne.”

The Howard K. Finch Memorial Fund was established in 1998 for the purpose of distributing funds for the benefit of the Village and Town of Sherburne.  This award is SSIRP’s first major grant since its incorporation as a nonprofit organization in January 2013. 

To donate by credit card to saving The Sherburne Inn, please click on the photo of The Inn to the right; or send your check, made payable to SSIRP, to Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project, Inc., POB 1102, Sherburne, NY 13460.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Cherry Festival to Remember

Over the weekend I went to my dear friend Jennifer Clark's 148-acre farm and winery http://www.cobblestonefarmwinery.com/index.html in Romulus, New York, for the 9th Annual Cherry Festival. Jen and her fiance, Bob, host a wonderful event every year that includes vendors selling their arts and crafts, food, hayrides, a live band, games for kids, a raptor exhibition, SPCA "adopt-a-pet" booths, wine offerings in the beautiful tasting room, and the picking of cherries by the visiting public in the magnificent orchard. Sadly, because of all the rain we've had in New York State this spring, the cherries weren't quite ripe, so my and friend Mark's job, as volunteers, was to shoo eager cherry lovers out of the orchard to the vendor booths and tasting room, and encourage them to come back again in a week or so when the cherries hit their peak.

Saturday was a perfect hot and sunny day. Throngs of people attended the festival, and while many were disappointed that they were unable to set up ladders and fill buckets with cherries, everyone had a wonderful time partaking in other activities. Sunday was another beauty, though hotter with a hazy sky. Mark and I left early, around 11 a.m., at which point all at the farm was as it should be, still with no one atop ladders reaching high for cherry tree fruit. God, as the saying goes, works in mysterious ways.

Two hours after we left, a storm cell moved over the orchard. Rain fell lightly at first, then started coming down in earnest. The wind picked up. And up. Thunder rumbled, then started crashing. Vendors and staff alike headed for the tasting room, or for their cars, to wait out the microburst. Below is an excerpt from Jennifer's description of the weather event:

"Starting about 1:30, we experienced a severe storm with rain, hail, thunder, lightning, and damaging winds. I'm still looking for a report on the wind speed; I've never seen anything like it, except on TV. Mother Nature's beating was intense and long; it seemed to go on until about 3:30 or 4:00. The guests and vendors took shelter on the porch, in the tasting room, in the winery, and in the kitchen. They were packed in like sardines. Those who couldn't make it to the building made it to their cars to ride it out. The band salvaged a guitar, stood in a little circle in the tasting room and sang for the crowd as we watched the destruction outside. It was like a scene out of Titanic. Tents, tables, and merchandise were destroyed, the band's equipment, sound system, and two cars were damaged, one broken or dislocated finger, a toppled pergola, an uprooted cherry tree, and flooding with damage inside and out."

Included here are photos of the aftermath. I can't help but think what catastrophe might have occurred if the orchard had been full of hundreds of children and parents and grandparents picking cherries on what they thought would be a mild Sunday afternoon. Instead, the orchard was empty because the fruit wasn't quite ripe...clearly, a blessing in disguise.

Incidentally, the tent under which I worked over the weekend ended up yards away...in a cherry tree. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dear John...Dearest Daddy

I'm primed to watch the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament, where at the moment Phil Mickelson is in the lead, and my favorite, Tiger Woods, has crashed and burned. Tiger shot nine over yesterday (as I write this he's thirteen over) and will not, as the commentators say, win. That's okay with me. The U.S. Open has been elusive for Phil, who has been a runner up in this tournament five times in 23 tries. I'm hoping he can pull this off for several reasons, not the least of which being that he's such a good dad. Today, as he chases this major, is Father's Day.

All the talk over the weekend about Mickelson's prowess at not golf, but fatherhood, reminds me of my own dad. Dad quit school in the eighth grade to work on his family's farm, and married my mother in 1948. They had a couple of kids, and Dad worked in a factory until he became disabled in his fifties. After that my mom supported the family and Dad became a house husband long before the job became trendy. Many a morning this gruff man came to my bedroom door to collect the laundry, complaining that much of it was strewn around on the floor. He cooked (although truthfully, not very well), zeroing in on certain dishes that he prepared over and over and over. To this day I can't eat cube steak with green peppers, which if memory serves he set on the kitchen table every day for an entire summer. 

If I had to define John Yasas by his sport, it would not be as golfer, but as fisherman. The family owned two small boats that John trailered to campsites all over New York State in search of the big catch. Before his ailing spine took him out of the work force, we camped and fished. Dad taught me the value of the dollar, or in my case as a kid, the nickel. He kept a worm farm in the basement and paid me five cents for every wiggler I picked out of the garden. On rainy nights, John would don boots and, with a big flashlight, venture out to collect nightcrawlers that would later reside in large wooden bins with screen covers downstairs. Sometimes I would creep to the cellar and stand over worm world, imagining this future fish bait looking up from their special John-created soil to their screen cage, plotting escape. Dad loved to fish and taught me well, explaining that worms have no feelings as I punctured their segments (probably untrue, but a necessary lie to get the kid to bait her own hook). When I think of my dad I see us on a sunny river bank, or in a little boat, or his stretching out with the net to snare a perch, my skinny legs dangling off a dock. I think of tents on campsites and evening fires with hot dogs and marshmallows. I think of waking early and being bundled into a life jacket, after which we would float on quiet lakes dragging fish lines at sunrise. I don't remember the conversations. What I remember is feeling safe. And I especially remember feeling loved, even though he never said the words.

When I was in high school I stopped camping with my parents. This made my mother sad. If it made John sad I couldn't say because he was not a man of obvious emotion. It became...uncool...to hang with the folks. In my teenage years he would ask me to join him in front of the television and Gunsmoke. I would decline, flouncing in a miniskirt through the living room en route to some now unimportant social event. College followed soon after and I was gone, sitting over quick cups of coffee with my father on visits home, sometimes engaging in tolerant conversations about his time in World War II. The snippets of conversation were just that: snippets. He spoke of sailing on The Queen Mary; of clean-up duty at a concentration camp. I don't know which camp, never thought to ask. I've got plenty of time to find this out I may have thought then, but honestly I don't remember thinking anything at all. He was just my dad, an old guy in his fifties talking about boring history, and I, of course, had important places to be with friends whose names I can't now recall.

Throughout my college career, preceded by uninspiring high school grades, my father prefaced every sentence relating to undergraduate school...every sentence... with, "Well, IF you graduate..." Having inherited his stubborn streak, I would inform him in lofty tones, "I WILL graduate!" After four years of this, as I stood arrogant in my cap and gown, Dad smirked at me twenty minutes before the ceremony and said, "Well, IF you graduate..." The photo of my parents and me at that moment shows John smiling and me frowning, I having realized I'd been psychologically hoodwinked into earning a Bachelor's degree. How I love him for that. A month after graduation, while I was sunbathing in the front yard, basking unemployed in my newly-acquired debt-free-thanks-to-my-parents college education, Dad approached and, inches from my face, shouted GET A JOB! How I love him even more for that.

John was not a perfect man, that much is certain. He had a temper and a shrieking, angry voice that could chill a hot day.  He held a grudge and was slow to forgive. Those who knew him from the outside saw a moody, solitary man. But for the few of us who broke through his walls, we saw kindness and generosity and a jolly, sardonic humor. His doors were always open to family in hard times; he was watchful over his children, and of those who became his responsibility. He was a smart, well-intentioned man who paid his bills and tended his home and lived a life without (I hope) too much regret. In the years since my childhood I have tried not to disappoint him, this man who taught me to be soft and strong, to pick my battles, to work hard and never give up, to know the difference between wrong and right and to fight for right even when doing so hurts. John always had my back, even when I didn't know it, and gave me that most precious parental gift that I could only appreciate decades later: roots and wings.

In 1979 my father was diagnosed with cancer. At Christmas that year he told me, "You know, your old man won't be around too much longer." As I drove away from the house to the airport, I knew I would never see him again. And I never did. Two years after I graduated from college, after I had moved to Arkansas to strike out on my own, far away from my parents and my hometown, on a Sunday in March, Dad passed away. He was 63 years old. I was 24.

I am now six years younger than John was on that Sunday when his grouchy, loving, sharp-edged, wise, infinitely interesting voice that I can no longer recall was stilled for good in a Syracuse hospital room. Thirty-three years later I think of him that last Christmas; I think of him smiling on college graduation day; I think of him watching Matt Dillon; I think of him tinkering with the engine on his boat, of his putting precious worm-earned nickels in a tiny hand, and of his hoisting up a happily squealing nine-year-old and threatening to toss her into the pond. I think of everything he taught me about what's important in life, which has nothing to do with money or power or politics or endless manufactured drama, but which has everything to do with a little girl sitting on a dock on a sunny morning, catching a fish with her father. Thirty-three years later, I think of him every day.

Dear John...Dearest Daddy...Happy Father's Day wherever you are. Thank you for trying so hard to make me whole in the short time we had together on this silly spinning planet. I still miss you so.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Great Art Show in Sherburne

Although skies were overcast, Mother Nature was good to us on Saturday. The 2nd Annual Sherburne Arts & Crafts Festival on June 8 was a great success as the community came out to shop, listen to music, enjoy exhibitions by Sherburne-Earlville students and our honored artist Julian Button, and in general share in an appreciation of the arts.

Congratulations to this year's Best in Show winner, Henry Drexler, whose 1980s' painting of The Sherburne Inn captured the blue ribbon. Favorite Crafter this year was Maggie Fitzpatrick for her beautiful hand-made soaps. Both Best in Show and Favorite Crafter winners were people's choice awards.

Student art also received awards; results will be published in next week's Sherburne News.

Thanks to all our fine artists, crafters, food vendors, and attendees for making the show such a success. Special thanks to our volunteers: Jeff and Sue Webster, Melissa Foster, Angela Jones, Riley Webster, Chris Hoffman, John Warner, Lee Perrin, Carolyn Merhib, Vince Yacono, Rose Tenney, Jim McDaniel, Peg Jeffrey, and Paul Harvey. And a very special thanks to Henry Drexler for judging our student art.

Thank you as well to all who donated gift baskets to our ticket auction, and to our lead sponsors: Herbert & Mariea Brown Foundation, NBT, and Stewart's Shops.

Mark your calendars for the second Saturday in June, 2014!

Friday, June 7, 2013

You Could Win Big!!!

Featured at the June 8 ticket auction in Gaines Park in Sherburne: $100 worth of lottery tickets.

Come on down to the 2nd Annual Sherburne Arts & Crafts Family Festival, 10 am - 4 pm!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sherburne Art Show Ticket Auction Preview

Candle Sampler: Ten different scents
Sink your teeth into this one! Dental bonanza!!
Jurassic Classic: Basket full of dinosaurs
Gift certificate basket...$500 value!
On Saturday, June 8, The Sherburne Public Library will sponsor the 2nd Annual Sherburne Arts & Crafts Festival in Gaines Park from 10 am to 4 pm. We will be bringing back the very popular ticket auction, and below are some of the featured items. Tickets will be on sale beginning at 10 am. Don't miss this opportunity to win some fabulous auction items, and take note: every basket will have a lotto ticket attached.........Hey, you never know!!!

Baker's Delight! Rolling pin, cake decorating
book, wooden spoons, wisk, oven mitt, more!
Make your own ice cream with this 4-quart
electric ice cream maker.
Includes five toppings and sprinkles!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pageant of Bands: Hot and Happy

Sherburne's annual Pageant of Bands on Saturday was another great success. The day was a knock-out: sunny skies and light breeze, although hot was the watch word. The bands performed, the crowds cheered, porch celebrations prevailed, and people in this village came out en masse to enjoy for the 64th year an event that is a hallmark of our community.

Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project held its first Pageant of Bands fundraiser on The Sherburne Inn lawn. Sales of popcorn, water, coffee, Judy's Diner donuts, tee shirts, and more raised over $1,100. Special thanks to Pamme Swan, who donated her time and musical talents to entertain those downtown as they waited for the parade to begin. "Anything for The Sherburne Inn," she said. Angela Jones of Sherburne was the winner of our 50/50 raffle, and Angela has generously donated her winnings back to SSIRP. Thank you Angela!

SSIRP appreciates all who purchased tee shirts over the weekend. SSIRP tee shirts will be on sale again on Saturday, June 8, at the 2nd Annual Sherburne Arts & Crafts Festival in Gaines Park. Please come out to shop, support local artists and crafters, visit SSIRP's booth, and enjoy George Deveny and The Blue Notes, who will be performing at the bandstand beginning at 11:00 a.m. The fair will also feature beer and wine from local vendors, as well as food, a ticket auction, a children's interactive art tent, and exhibitions from Sherburne-Earlville students. This year's honored artist is Julian Button of Sherburne, whose work will be on display. The INNsiders will be on hand to capture oral history from our area, and will be videotaping residents inside the library.  

Pageant of Bands and the Arts & Crafts Festival are wonderful days for our community. Young and old (and everyone in between) "lending a hand" every day can and will make Sherburne even better.

About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum