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February Chatter

February Chatter

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Published by Carlos Stewart
You may not live in small town America, but you can pretend that you do
You may not live in small town America, but you can pretend that you do

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Published by: Carlos Stewart on Feb 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Vol. 2
February 2012
No. 2
Can't you just feel that love is in the air and perhaps, the water . . . We will be sharing stories of love lacedwith memories, haiku as well as the ongoing Green Initiative. Yes, Kermit, it isn't easy being green but theoptions are even more difficult so embrace your greenness and love who you are. As you know . . . beforeheading into Love month, let's take a quick glimpse back. January – ugh. What can you say, it's not the cruelest month . . . the weather has been unusually mild (thanksto Global Warming – always the silver lining) and local businesses enjoy a little “down time” as we all re- group and plan for another great season in Sharon Springs.
The stories are many, the memories are lasting accolades of a life well lived. The man is Conrad Fink, whommost of us knew as a neighbor and friend. The greater world, beyond the community of Sharon Springs, knew him as an accomplished journalist and teacher. Conrad was an active neighbor – keeping his eye on new developments, interested in checking out newly built barns, wanting to know what is growing in that field or just taking the time to share a story or concern. When we wanted to explain who this fellow was we weretalking about it was always, “the guy with the bushy eyebrows.” And then they knew. I don't know if he evertired of the eyebrow references. If he did, he never mentioned it.A common theme in the obituaries is the trepidation felt by students at the University of Georgia, when “TheFinkster” would say, “Stop by my office.” He expected no less from his students than from himself. And what ismost telling is the respect and gratitude expressed for having had the opportunity to learn from ProfessorFink.But the true value of a man lies in not so much worldly accomplishments but how he carried himself throughlife. Conrad's funeral reflected who he was as a person and what his values were. It was his choosing that theservice be held at a small country church where he and his wife worshiped for years. His family sharedmemories of a man to whom they all looked for direction and advice. The laughs were as poignant as thetears. Condolences to his wife Sue, daughter Karen, son Conrad and their families.
HER-storian’s Corner [Thanks, Leila, for the fun suggestion!]
How I met my husband! Since this occurred on February 10
, 1962 [50 years ago this very month] I do think it qualifies as an Historical moment [definitely so for me!]At that time, we were college students – I was at Syracuse University and Richard at Hamilton College [an allmale bastion in that era]. With a group of my dorm mates, I traveled by bus through a blizzard for a TKEFraternity Pledge Party. We were late, the keg had been tapped early, and as I entered the door I saw him – Levis, white shirt, tie, tweed jacket, engineer boots, drinking from a pitcher of beer! My first reaction was, “Ohmy! That is the man I am going to marry!” Yet, although I loved reading romantic novels, I really did notthink that could ever happen! However, he was NOT my blind date – I was introduced to David Gruben [now an award winning producer of documentary films!] David asked what he could get for me, and I asked to beintroduced to my “mystery man”. He demurred saying Richard was the wildest guy in the fraternity and had just gotten off social probation. Eventually he relented and after our “introduction”, Richard just said, “Hi”,and walked away – obviously no thunderbolt for him! However, before the end of the evening, Richarddecided he needed a date for House Party Weekend and cut in on David on the dance floor!And, as they say, the rest is history . . . (her-story) Thank, Nancy !IT MUST HAVE BEEN MOONGLOW . . .I begged for stories of how couples first met – perhaps a little glimpse of first impressions but, alas, this plea got little response. So, I will share my own story of the luckiest day in my life and the early days of our sweetcourtship.We were introduced about 30 years ago through a mutual friend. She was a neighbor of his and anacquaintance of mine. My first impression of Philip – he was a bit formal but witty with old fashionedmanners. Later on I learned he practiced my difficult name by associating it with Hemingway's novel, “TheIslands in the Stream” which sounds a bit like Leeee I Luh – get it – Lee Islands . . .After our first date we spent a lot of time talking on the phone due to different work schedules. I wasserenaded with old standard tunes, before our time, such as, “Elmer's Tune” and “Moonglow.It wasSpringtime in upstate NY and he was enjoying learning about raising goats and growing a garden. He wouldcome to see me with a quart of goat's milk in one hand and a bouquet of lilacs in the other. What girl couldresist this! This was also my introduction to Sharon Springs. I was absolutely taken aback when we firstdrove through the village. It was as if we had entered a time warp and had been transported to EasternEurope. It was when the summer concerts were held on the porch of the bathhouse, Route 10 was closed infront of the bathhouse, to accommodate chairs for the audience - they were set-up right in the road. Trafficwas detoured around the side streets. We went to the Imperial Baths for massages and therapeutic soaks inthe sulphur water. We imagined renting a room at The Adler where we would both take typewriters to beginour novels while smoking cigarettes and going through reams of paper. Little did we know that years laterwe would own a historical building in Sharon Springs and be a part of this intriguing village.
February in Sharon Springs is cold. How cold? Cold enough to freeze your nostrils shut. This has been my testfor cold climes over the years. If my nostrils aren’t stuck shut it’s not cold. The long, cold winter was madecheerier with preparations for a Valentine’s Day party in your grade school class room. The basic prepincluded choosing and signing cards from those little boxes of valentines. One for each class mates and theteacher too. You also needed to create a mail box to receive yours in.The mail box was made of an empty cereal box that was decorated with tin foil, construction paper and lacy doilies. My mom would help me cut, glue, sign and get a card ready for everybody in our class.One blurry memory stands out. It is funny now because 30 years stands between me and what I refer to as my brownie debacle. I am pretty sure this was while preparing for a Valentine’s Day event to be hosted at theschool. Mrs. Handy, please forgive me if I have the occasion confused.We were preparing brownies in Home Ec class. As usual, I was as dedicated to chatter and not really payingattention to the task at hand. While mixing the brownies I inadvertently dropped a potholder into the batter.Needless to say, this kind of mess had my full attention. I could not confess my error as I knew Mrs. Handy would be unhappy to say the least. The solution seemed clear. Bake the potholder into the brownies anddon’t say a word!! Maybe she wouldn’t know it was me.Of course she knew it was me. As expected, Mrs. Handy was mad. I don’t remember the punishment but I amsure there was something. And of course, being this was Sharon Springs, word traveled fast. My mom knew about this before I got home from school.Valentine’s Day is still something I anticipate with real joy but not brownies! My culinary skills haveimproved over the years, but I have never baked another pan of brownies without clearing the kitchen of anything that could mistakenly make its way into the batter.So, this year, gather up your friends, get in touch with your inner Martha and take the time to prepare forValentines Day, Sharon Springs style. Bake up something yummy (skip the potholder), add extramarshmallows to the hot cocoa and transform a cereal box into a mail box using tinfoil, glitter and paperhearts! It will warm even the coldest winter day. And a good time was had by all!~Thank you Marilyn Stein !
** *** ** ** *** *** ***
~ Justin has left his part-time gig at Cobbler& Co. to pursue his education in Florida. Not only will he bemissed by many but now I have no one to play jokes on . . . Congratulations, Justin and best of luck!

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