Archive for October, 2010

Editor's Notebook: 2/27/13

Monday, October 11th, 2010
Jeff Genung
• Not every day in Chenango County you get to write a “Body Found” headline. Thank God.
• We’ve taken a little bit of flak online for linking the recently-discovered female body with the missing Jennifer Ramsaran case before an ID is made, but I think we’d be remiss (and blind) if we didn’t. Mrs. Ramsaran is the only open missing persons case in the county, and the body discovered yesterday was in relative proximity to where her phone and van were found. Still, our story (and more importantly, headline) both reiterated that the body remains unidentified – which it still does, as I write this at 4 p.m. This is a highly emotional story which has garnered much public interest; we’re trying to stay behind the line of sensationalism and stick to the facts. I can’t say the same for some of our nearby media brethren.
• In any event, someone’s wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend is dead. The vitriol displayed on two “competing” Facebook sites recently is appalling. A case like this is primed for amateur speculation, but try to keep it respectful, folks.
• Speaking of respect, I had nothing but for the late Ellery DeBoer, who passed away Saturday. Ellery? You mean Doc! I’m not sure anyone called him by his given name, but I know pretty much everyone in Chenango County knew him as Doc. The South New Berlin resident was the area’s iconic fire policeman, and was downright ubiquitous at nearly every public event which required their volunteer presence. He was also a frequent visitor to the ES newsroom, where he wasn’t afraid to tell me what I’d done wrong, praise me for something he liked, or just to tell a salty joke or two. You’ll be missed, Doc.

• Not every day in Chenango County you get to write a “Body Found” headline. Thank God.

• We’ve taken a little bit of flak for linking the recently-discovered female body with the missing Jennifer Ramsaran case before an ID is made, but I think we’d be remiss (and blind) if we didn’t. Mrs. Ramsaran is the only open missing persons case in the county, and the body discovered yesterday was in relative proximity to where her phone and van were found. Still, our story (and more importantly, headline) both reiterated that the body remains unidentified – which it still does, as I write this at 4 p.m. This is a highly emotional story which has garnered much public interest; we’re trying to be respectful of the fact that no matter who she is, someone has lost a mother, wife, daughter, sister or friend. It’s a tragedy any way you look at it.

• I had nothing but respect for the late Ellery DeBoer, who passed away Saturday. Ellery? You mean Doc! I’m not sure anyone called him by his given name, but I know pretty much everyone in Chenango County knew him as Doc. The South New Berlin resident was the area’s iconic fire policeman, and was downright ubiquitous at nearly every public event which required their volunteer presence. He was also a frequent visitor to the ES newsroom, where he wasn’t afraid to tell me what I’d done wrong, praise me for something he liked, or just to tell a salty joke or two. You’ll be missed, Doc.

Tuesday morning

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Driving in a convertible with the top down, I sped along a mountainside highway. It was one of those four-lane constructs and the portion of the road going in the opposite direction was disconnected and ran parallel at a lower elevation. I was driving high up in the mountains and the view contained nothing but white emptiness.

Coming around a wide bend in the road, which curved upwards around the mountain top at a slant, I saw that the approaching segment of road was covered in a thickly packed coating of snow. Traveling at 60 miles per hour, I duly noted I was going way too fast.

Upon hitting the snow, I immediately lost control of the car. The vehicle began careening off the road at a frightening speed. Exiting the elevated highway, the car completely bypassed the lower portion of the road, sailing through the air while the wheels spun ineptly, gaining traction on nothing but the breeze. The left front potion of the car slammed into the snow encrusted mountain, well beyond the highway and just a few short feet away from the cliff’s edge. But the car kept going, sliding right off the edge of the cliff, before I managed to do anything other than unfasten my seat belt.

Exiting the car via the open roof, I fell through the crisp mountain air knowing full well it was the end. Resigned to my fate I calmly closed my eyes and felt the wind whip through my hair. But after a few brief moments in free fall, I changed my mind and willed them open, determined to witness the arrival of my fate.

Suddenly, a barren rock protrusion extending about three feet out of the cliff side, came hurtling at me out of the milky expanse. I stuck my arms out in front of me with my palms facing down to meet my demise. My descent inexplicably slowed and while I did converge with the barren black rock to the sound of my cracking wrists, I remained conscious, and oddly alive.

I pressed my body against the jutting rock shelf, suddenly terrified of the height. Opaque nothingness hung below me, looming ominously and promising to devour my very soul. Shifting, I tried to shimmy over to a wider section of the overhang, and instantaneously lost my adhesion to the rock. Sliding off of the rock protrusion, I flailed around in a panic, gaining a hold on the rock at the last possible moment. My shattered wrists roared in pain, while the lower half of my body hung off the protrusion, my feet dangling uselessly below. Gasping from a pain tempered only by iron will and animalistic fear, I lunged forward with my free arm, desperately probing the rock with my fingers for another handhold. My digits slipped into an empty crevice and a swell of relief filled me with such magnitude it practically lifted me up away from the edge all by itself. Dragging my feet out of the void, I hauled the rest of my body onto the relative safety of the overhang, pressing my back against the precipice earnestly trying in vain to meld my body into the rock.

I fumbled with leaden fingers numbed from the cold and hampered by broken wrists to bring my phone out of my pocket. Somehow I managed to do so and I hurriedly began endeavoring to bring the device to bear. The fight seemed to be an unending one as the phone refused to respond to my simple desire to dial 911.

Just as my frustration threatened to overwhelm and suffocate me, I awoke. I was so relieved, I hardly even noticed the puddle of sweat I was lying in, drenching my sheets and bedding.

That was how I began my Tuesday morning, how about you?

Sports Editor's Playbook, Feb. 25, 2013

Monday, October 11th, 2010

When in doubt, bring a camera.
Knowing I would have a few photos from the state wrestling tournament to place in Monday’s sports section, I mulled the decision to take my camera to the Unadilla Valley-Harpursville girls’ basketball playoff game Friday at UV High School. The offenses sputtered in the first half – a 19-19 tie – something that was a surprising development since each club regularly eclipsed the 60- and even 70-point mark throughout the regular season. Through three quarters, it was still a one-possession game with neither team taking control. I rated it a good game that was amplified by a rowdy, near-capacity crowd. A good game became great in the final four minutes with big shots, clutch free throws, and a dramatic conclusion. I tried to capture some of the action with my cell phone camera, but to no avail. Why didn’t I bring the same professional camera I have used throughout the winter sports season? The emotion of the closing moments was priceless, but I was without the proper tool to immortalize those moments by way of a photograph. At least there is a detailed recap of the game in Monday’s edition, one that unfortunately ended the Storm’s best regular season in my stay at The Evening Sun.

Disappointment pervaded our local wrestling community this weekend. I was sure at least one of our three state finalists – Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia along with Greene’s Christian Dietrich – would end their seasons with a state title. All three matches were nail-biting close with the combined deficit of those three losses just four points. Rifanburg gave up a last-second takedown to lose by one; Garcia was seconds away from a tying reversal to send his match into overtime, and Dietrich gave up a takedown in the third – a counter off of his own aggression – to lose by a single point. The only good news coming out of the weekend is that all three will back to try again – Rifanburg and Garcia are sophomores, while Dietrich is just a freshman. “It hurts to come that far and fall short by just a few seconds,” said Norwich coach Joe Downey, summing up the feelings of his wrestlers.

For hoops followers, just one local team remains: Norwich. The Tornado boys advanced to their second straight Section IV Class B final, and seek a sixth sectional championship when they face Whitney Point Saturday at the Broome County Arena. At 16-4, Norwich has won 11 of 12 games, and of its four losses, none have come to a Class B school. We’ll have a preview of that title game later this week.

Indoor track and field doesn’t get a ton of ink in our paper, in part because most of the meets have occurred 60-plus miles away at Cornell University. The same local athletes who have excelled in the outdoors track and field season are matching those performances on the shorter indoor tracks. If you haven’t had the opportunity, you need to take a look at Norwich junior Matt Murray. He holds so many school records, it’s hard to keep track (sorry, it was hard to resist). Unbeaten against Section IV competition this year in just about every individual event he has entered, he won the 600 meters at this past weekend’s state qualifier by a whopping four seconds. If this was the 1,600 meters or 3,200 meters, four seconds might not seem so impressive, but in the shortest middle distance race – or an extended sprint race – four seconds might as well be 10. Murray is a state title contender, so keep an eye out for the state meet coming slated for Saturday, March 2 at Cornell University’s Barton Hall.

Section IV inducts its newest class of athletes into its athletics hall of fame on championship Saturday at the Broome County Arena. Norwich’s Josh and Jason Morris, Tom Stoddard, Barry Benjamin, and Nick Brunick, along with Greene’s Sue Carlin and Brad Henneman will be honored. Ceremonies will begin after the completion of the 1 p.m. basketball game.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

Captain’s Log, Stardate 100810

Friday, October 8th, 2010
Melissa Stagnaro

When Jeff Genung first started penning his daily Editor’s Notebook a couple of weeks ago, I offered to continue the effort on Fridays in his absence. Or maybe offer isn’t the right word. Perhaps threatened would be more precise. He laughed it off, of course, making a comment in one of his blog entries about “pretenders to the throne.”

Well, here I am, sitting in the big chair while he’s off doing whatever people do when they have a three day weekend. (What that is, exactly, I wouldn’t know.)

I’m not the only one who has sat in this chair today. It actually takes three of us to do Jeff’s job for a day.

It’s been this way since the start of summer, when our esteemed leader announced he would be chipping away at his cache of vacation days one Friday at a time. Last week, he announced he’d be continuing this trend through the end of October.

I found out the way everyone else did: in the Editor’s Notebook. I was crushed. Not because of the extra workload, but because we miss Jeff on the Fridays he’s not here. And I’d so been looking forward to the return of Friday lunch…

But, that’s all right. We’ll muddle through, trying our best to make Jeff proud. Sometimes it goes a little smoother than others.

But enough lamentations. Here’s the buzz from the newsroom today…

- Check out Tyler Murphy’s photos from the Norwich Fire Department’s Open House, which was held last night in honor of Fire Prevention Week.

- Today’s Dummy Prize goes to yours truly, for a glaring misspelling on our website. In my haste to upload our online edition this morning, I spelled sentence with an “a.” No one bothered to point out the mistake to me, but Tyler Murphy, who wrote the article the misspelled headline was unfortunately attached to, got plenty of feedback. It was my gaff, not his, and I take full responsibility for the error. But seriously, I hardly think it warrants an allegation that we’ve “compromised our journalistic integrity.” Particularly since by the time the allegation was made, the error had been corrected. And trust me, I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

- On today’s community page is a story about Law Tarello, whose show M’Larky aired on Comedy Central last week. Interviewing Law was a blast from the past for me, since we went to school together. Only in those days we knew him as Larry. He was always a pretty funny guy, so it’s no surprise to me that he’s having such success in his acting and improv career. He had me in stitches during our phone interview, and I even found myself laughing to myself as I peruse my notes later. (This drew some interested looks from my coworkers, who are more accustomed to me sobbing at my desk than chortling.) If you haven’t checked out this new show already, you definitely should.

- Sometimes I’m amazed at the talent and ability of those who live in our local communities. When I first spoke to Joann Crandall about the Fort Stanwix Porcelain Artist’s upcoming Victorian Luncheon, I really didn’t have a clear what china painting was all about. But when I visited her home in North Norwich, I was quite simply blown away. Her creations are truly works of fine art.

- Todd Campbell, who pens the DVD Patrol column, paid us a little visit this morning. (He sauntered in on deadline this morning, but it was okay, since he classifies as an employee.) It’s not often the Toddster stops by the newsroom, so we did actually look up from our keyboards long enough to say hello. And it’s a good thing we did, since he reminded us we have another Toddster Team-up coming up. For this one, we’ll be paying homage to the work of legendary horror writer Stephen King. I already called Misery, Jeff.

- And now, I’m going to finish up my work so I can spend the rest of this beautiful afternoon the best way I know how: on the golf course! TGIF…

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Oct. 7, 2010

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Patrick Newell

Tidbits from Thursday, Oct. 7:

– For 15 years, since the passing of longtime Sun sports section contributor Tom Schwan, I have maintained the Friday football column in which weekend games are previewed. For several years I gave predictions and scores, but the past five or six years, I’ve stuck to just the nuts and bolts of the games instead of tossing in my guess at a final score. Tuesday or Wednesday each week, I am on the phone calling all of the local head coaches and asking for their thoughts about their team’s upcoming game. Today, I put together those comments, threw in some statistics and quotes, and pieced together capsules of each game. Since I have always been a stats junkie, I love throwing in the odd statistic whenever possible. Look for the preview in tomorrow’s paper.

– Just two days ago, I extolled the virtues of the Norwich golf team and its eight-game winning streak. Due to some recent postponements combined with the regularly scheduled matches, Norwich has upped that streak by two, and with its 10th win in a row Thursday night, clinched at least a tie for the STAC Central Division title. Head coach Bob Branham said it has been over 10 years since Norwich won a STAC division title.

– Greene boys’ soccer coach Rick Tallman was disappointed after losing a division game earlier in the week to Walton. Evening Sun readers did not read about the 2-1 defeat since Walton does not report results to us – unless one of our local coaches asks the Walton coach to call. Tallman is the Midstate Athletic Conference boys’ soccer coordinator, and gave an admonition earlier this season to league coaches to report games to their local media. When I told Tallman that Walton does not report to us, he said, “I wish (the Walton coach) told me that.” Tallman, in his tenure as head coach with Greene, is spotless in his regular reporting of games, and I can sense that he is more comfortable each season talking to me. Some coaches are a bit reticent in opening up with information, particularly those new to reporting game results. In spite of losing to Walton, I have no doubt he would have phoned in the result if he knew Walton was not calling us.

– And when it comes to reporting game results, the onus is indeed on coaches to report games to me that I don’t actually attend. And that is pretty much most games since I can only be at one site at a time. On a busy night of sports during the week, I have around 15 games contested, so I rely heavily on coaches giving me the scoop. The vast majority of coaches are superb, although some will start off strong, and then kind of fade away as the season progresses. I’ll only hear from them if they win a game – or if I call with a gentle reminder that I’m still here, and I’m eager to get their information into the paper. One coach recently told me the parents would have her head if she didn’t report results. Even with most information widely available on the Internet, parents still enjoy scrapbooking the accomplishments of their kids.

Editor’s Notebook: 10/7/10

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Jeff Genung

Since today is figuratively my Friday, TGIT.

• I posted a sign on the entrance to our offices yesterday that reads, “EMPLOYEES ONLY: Visitors Please Report To The Pennysaver Front Desk.” There had been one there before, but people generally ignored it anyway, so I hadn’t bothered in a while. You see, we’re in a segregated office suite away from the “main” building here on Lackwawanna Avenue. As we’re a smaller part of the operation, we share “front desk” services with The Pennysaver and Circulars Unlimited across the parking lot. Generally, since we don’t have a reception desk, the newsroom is not open to the general public. There’s no signage on our section, yet people seem to figure out how to wander in anyway – often standing bewildered in our lobby, which is  receptionist-less. That’s why we prefer that John Q. Public visit The Pennysaver’s front desk – where Jan takes reservations, Lois is the concierge and Julie is your cruise director. Just makes it easier on everyone. And yes, this means you.

• Not twelve hours after I posted the sign, a non-employee waltzed right in anyway. Grrr.

• Norwich Firefighters look good in pink, I must say. No, it’s not a  fashion choice on their part – they’re doing their thing to show support for October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and raising money to boot. Good for them. There’s a story, and pink-hued photo, on today’s front page. Word has it their plans to sell pink rubber wristbands, with the slogan (and I kid you not) “I Love Boobies” on them, were aborted last-minute. Oh, the fun I could have had with those  … figuratively, again.

• Melissa Stagnaro waxes poetic about Pepperidge Farms’ Mint Milanos in today’s blog. She’s serious about this love affair, but equally serious about working out again. Though I made the requisite Olivia Newton-John joke when she emerged in her workout attire before lunch, I admire her fortitude. Just as, I’m sure, the Y admires me for paying them every month and not using the gym.

• Kudos to my Evening Sun team – Melissa, Brian Golden and Tyler Murphy – for representing us this morning at the Norwich Merchants Association meeting, where we were the featured business of the month. I hear they acquitted themselves quite well in their presentation. Which reminds me – if your group ever needs a guest speaker or a field trip, give me a call. We love to talk about ourselves and show off at every opportunity.

• Had a nice time at Commerce Chenango’s Business After Hours at the Benedict Corporation last night, made even better by catered goodies from New York Pizzeria in New Berlin. Perhaps less celebrated than the aforementioned Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is also National Pizza Month.

• Off to see “Of Mice and Men” at the Chenango River Theatre in Greene tonight. Look for my review in tomorrow’s paper.

Mint Milanos

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Melissa Stagnaro

I went back to the gym this week after a rather long hiatus. I’ve been meaning to go for awhile now. I just needed the proper motivation. Which I found, quite by chance, on Monday.

I don’t remember making a conscious decision to add them to my cart. I often get myself in trouble during noon-time trips to the grocery store, and I’d been particularly conscious of sticking to my list. Cookies were definitely not on that list.

Yet, when I reached the check-out, there they were. Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. The mint variety. The white package tinged with pink in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Breast Cancer Awareness month.

And, as it turns out, they were on sale.

How could I resist, right?

I returned to the office, stowing the as-yet unopened package in the cabinet over my desk and applied myself to whatever story I was writing. I can’t remember what story it was, exactly, because I am now, as I was then, distracted by the call of those damn cookies.

Even as I clattered away at my keyboard, I could sense them. Tempting me from the dark confines of the aforementioned cabinetry. I refused to succumb, however, until I finished the article at hand.

Finally, story safely filed in the news queue, I retrieved the packet of cookies, noticing for the first time an inscription. “Inspiration for the cure,” it said, in pink curling script. Now, I have a healthy appreciation for Milano’s, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them inspirational.

That was before I tried the mint. Now that I have, no ordinary cookie will ever do.

I knew I had found something special as soon as my teeth sank into the delicately crunchy cookie. Then the creamy combination of mint and chocolate hit my tongue and my taste buds danced in delight. This is heaven, I thought.

Until I made the mistake of looking at the package’s side panel, where they’d tucked away the nutritional info. Yowza. No wonder they taste so good.

Not that seeing the caloric content has deterred me from indulging in my new-found appreciation for Mint Milanos. Oh, no. I’ve been snacking on them for the last couple of days. Just this morning, I discovered they were even more amazing when dipped in tea! Sheer bliss, I tell you. Sheer bliss.

Too bad I polished off the bag this morning. Guess I’ll have to stop and pick up some more. Have to keep myself motivated to go to the gym, after all. Which is where I’ll be heading on my lunch hour, thank you very much. Right after I swing by the grocery store…

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Sports Editor’s playbook, Oct. 5, 2010

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
Patrick Newell

I don’t intend on making this akin to a daily diary, but I did have a few interesting tidbits from Tuesday:

– Yesterday afternoon I was updating my football statistics. Through the first five weeks of the season, Bainbridge-Guilford senior running back, Dakota Vandermark, has 746 yards rushing. He’s well on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier and perhaps set a single-season rushing mark for the Bobcats. Back in 2000, John Stevens rushed for a school-record 1,332 yards as a member of B-G/Afton, and finished his career with over 3,000 yards rushing. We cannot predict that Vandermark will continue his current pace of over 149 yards per game, but if he does, he’ll finish with around 1,340 yards. Just as a sidenote, Vandermark is only 13 yards shy of last year’s top rushing total set by Sherburne-Earlville senior Will Slentz.

– Norwich’s golf team won its eighth straight match Tuesday negotiating soggy conditions at Canasawacta Country Club for a one-shot win over Chenango Forks. Head coach Bob Branham said he has had a number of excellent seasons over the years winning 13 or 14 matches, but he could not remember an eight-match winning streak. NHS golfers Eric Walling and Jacob Kelly are virtual locks to qualify for the Section IV medalist tournament, Branham said, and senior Frank Somich is close to qualifying as well.

– Greene’s field hockey team is in the midst of a remarkable winning streak. With Tuesday’s win over Harpursville, the Trojans have now won 30 straight games with the last loss coming in the 2008 Class A state semifinals in Chittenango. During the winning streak, the Trojans have an amazing 27 shutouts – 10 of those in 10 games this season. Another neat individual statistic is the scoring pace of sophomore Jahna Driscoll. I don’t have Greene’s field hockey scoring records handy, but with 24 goals in 10 games, she’s on pace to tally well over 40 times. That has to put her in select company.

Descriptive words used by coaches Tuesday to describe field/weather conditions and overall game play: Sloppy, slobberknocker, little finesse, and the often-used, “bad.”

For the past several years, during the bowling season, I get an e-mail from Del Law with the updated standings and scores from the Tuesday Afternoon Mixed League at Plaza Lanes. So far, I’ve received results from Mr. Law for the first five weeks, and I’ve published three weeks’ worth of standings and scores. I have taken note that the rest of the bowling leagues at Plaza Lanes have yet to report results through the first month of the season. As I am mentioning the lack of bowling scores, I fully expect a deluge of scores and standings to appear on my desk any day now.

Editor’s Notebook: 10/6/10

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
Jeff Genung

I refuse to call Wednesday “Hump Day.” Anyway …

• So I guess Brian Golden believes in aliens (according to his column today), but thinks they’re too scared to come here. Personally, I think it’s arrogant of us to assume that they’d be interested in us at all. Unless, of course, they wanted to harvest us for food. Because, let’s face it, we’re pretty tasty.

• So I put a huge picture of the Norwich Tea Party rally on Monday’s front page, but it didn’t make the online edition (unless you’re a subscriber). Since no good deed goes unpunished, I got this e-mail today (name withheld to protect the rude):


Poor spelling aside, why the hostility? I think we’ve been pretty good about covering Tea Party efforts locally. Attitudes like his (or hers) don’t represent your cause well at all, Tea Partiers. I said as much in an e-mail to “official” Tea Party representative Gilda Ward of Mt. Upton (please note she’s not the one who sent me the first message). Her reply? “ I do apologize for the e-mail comments below, although the e-mail address does not look familiar to me …  I believe that we need to treat others with respect, even if we do not agree with them. Thank you for your help.” Well said, Gilda. That’s the kind of attitude that will garner my respect – and cooperation.

• Tyler Murphy blogged today! See, leading by example really does work, Jeff. Read it here.

• Today was “Birthday Cake” day at Snyder Communications, our once-monthly gathering to celebrate all the employee birthdays and anniversaries and to share intra-company news (and sing, quite poorly). My publisher said that my daily blogging scares him. That’s pretty much all the incentive I need to continue, Dick.

• Also at Birthday Cake, we heard a presentation from Elizabeth Monaco and Rebecca O’Connor of the Chenango United Way on this year’s campaign. They shared some startling truths and statistics about the state of poverty in Chenango County, and how United Way helps fund programs that combat it in a variety of ways. Kobie Decker was there too, to tell us how United Way dollars help keep her program, Big Brother/Big Sister, afloat. It’s a sobering message, but one that you can soooo easily do something about. I’m not a rich man by any means, but I can afford to give a dollar out of each paycheck to United Way all year. If everyone able in Chenango County did the same, these worthwhile, vital social programs wouldn’t have to scrimp and beg to keep going. For the cost of one soda (or what, 2 cigarettes?) a week, you can really make a difference for your Chenango County friends and neighbors. For information on how you can donate, visit

A perfect weekend

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
Brian Golden

It’s not often these days that I find myself with an entire weekend to myself. Between work related activities such as Bluesfest and Colorscape (among others), and the semi-regular gigs I perform in Syracuse with the Master Thieves, I sometimes find myself zombie-walking into work on any given Monday feeling as if I had no weekend (these are the Mondays when I thank the Almighty for my extra large helping of caffeine). So when I found myself with absolutely no plans this past Saturday and Sunday I must admit I relished in the opportunity to do whatever I pleased, even if that was nothing at all.

I awoke Saturday morning with no idea what to expect as I took a quick peek through the blinds of my recently acquired one room apartment. I mean really, how often is it that you wake up on an event-free weekend and see a beautiful blue sky staring back at you? In my experience this is rare indeed. After a quick bowl of cereal and a leisurely jaunt down to Byrne Dairy for a cup of coffee, I realized I should take advantage of this unseasonably warm October day and make the most of it. So of course, I went golfing.

I arrived at the Blue Stone Golf Course at approximately 10:45 with my clubs, golf shoes and a gift certificate for a free eighteen holes, complete with complimentary cart (many thanks to the Brandi Estelow Nursing Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament). As only my second venture onto the golf course this year I was excited to say the least. The air was crisp and cool and a gentle breeze brought the familiar scents of the freshly mowed fairways and greens to my senses. Just the kind of day I love to spend on the course and a harbinger of good things to come.

The rest of that morning and early afternoon easily exceeded my modest expectations (I was hoping to shoot under 100 for the day, as again this was only my second time out on a course this year), and after a tumultuous and thoroughly enjoyable front nine I was right on target. A quick stop at the clubhouse to stock up on icy-cold beverages and I was back on the course. At 10-over-par I was well on my way to a score in the mid-nineties and I was satisfied with that. What followed, however, was pure golf bliss.

After a mediocre drive on 10, I ran together a string of pars and eventually, a couple of birdies, rare as they are for me. I’ve never shot a bogey-free nine holes in my six years of golf and while I did, unfortunately, bogey a pair of holes on the back nine, the end result was well worth it. I finished up my round, breaking ninety (which was unexpected to say the least), and considered what to do with the rest of my Saturday.

Figuring I should probably get something worthwhile accomplished during this remarkably event-free weekend, I decided to head for the old house on Pratt Road, where there’s still plenty to do before I’m “officially” moved out. However, on my way there a thought occurred to me – I hadn’t visited with my good friends Dave and Moe (old friends of my father’s as well) in ages it seemed. A quick phone call and I was on my way to The Lonely Hollow. Not daring to take the Green Machine down the treacherous half-mile driveway, I parked on the side of the road and hiked my way in, which turned out to be a fantastic idea.

When the weather is nice, the autumn season in upstate New York has always been my favorite. The changing of the leaves, the smells, the brisk air and the simple feeling fall brings to Chenango County all combine to create a truly unique atmosphere. I’ve always loved The Lonely Hollow for its seclusion and this perfect Saturday was no exception. After a lengthy visit with my friends I hiked back to the car and, completely satisfied with the day’s events, headed home.

It’s not often these days that I get to enjoy a weekend like this one, and it’s unlikely we’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of many more before winter rolls in. I am, however, quite content with that fact and it’s these types of spring, summer and fall memories which, year after year, make the cold, hard winters bearable. All in all – it was a perfect weekend.