This ‘n’ that

Jerry Ciampi, likable leader of First National Community Bank, is having a lot of fun telling everyone that his daughter presented him with his first grandson and then named the bouncing baby boy after a rival bank: Chase. Makes one wonder if she at least considered something like Francis Nicholas Charles Benjamin. You know, for Dad’s sake. *** Have you heard about Palcohol? If not, you will. It’s powdered alcohol, believe it or not, and it has been approved for sale by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which okayed seven versions including Margarita and Cosmopolitan. I… Continue Reading

Ah, spring

Feeling great Bet you are too The sun is shining The sky is blue Snow on grass Replace with dew Winter’s gone We made it through Feeling great Know what I mean? Everything white Now is green Gray, dark days Turned peachy keen Cold no longer Reigns supreme Feeling great It’s about time Makes me wanna Compose a rhyme Just a ditty Nothing sublime Hey, I’m happy Is that a crime? Feeling great How’d we do it? Just the thought Made us rue it But bundled up We came through it If truth be told We always knew it Feeling… Continue Reading

Johnny Doc, a stand up guy

John Dougherty held up his left fist and raised each finger as he said, “I am an Irish. White. Male. Catholic. Democrat. And any one of those can get someone upset with me in Philadelphia.” But he quickly emphasized his enormous pride in each of those descriptions and offers no apology for any of them. He said, no, he proclaimed that he is fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, his Catholic faith and his lifelong Democratic attitude of wanting to help the downtrodden. Dougherty, affectionately known as “Johnny Doc,” addressed a crowd of more than 400 at the 101st annual… Continue Reading

Here’s hoping they were laughing last night

At a Wyoming Area High School sports banquet in 1970, beloved principal Bob O’Connell stepped to the microphone to a rousing standing ovation. “I have a joke,” he said when the applause subsided. “I told it to my wife before I left the house this evening and she said, ‘Bob, if you tell that stupid joke tonight, don’t come home.’ Well, I’ve been thinking, at my age, where else can I go?” And he sat back down. It took a few seconds for what just happened to sink in, and then the audience roared. There’s a pretty good chance I… Continue Reading

Hot dog, that was cool

Pittston Area and Wyoming Area, whose bands, as per tradition marched together, Holy Rosary, Wyoming Area Catholic and Good Shepherd Academy were not the only schools represented in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Pittston on March 7. There were also two graduates of Hot Dog High. If you have not guessed already, they were the young women piloting the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. The Oscar Mayer website site claims the Weinermobile delivers 187 smiles per hour, but it seemed to generate 10 to 20 times that in Pittston. I, for one, was fascinated by the mobile hot dog… Continue Reading

When you bloom where you’re planted

I spotted Bill Howley from a couple of blocks away. No surprise there. I’ve known the guy for more than 50 years. Come to think of it, he hasn’t changed a whole lot in all that time. Well, at least not a whole lot since high school. Bill is just a year younger than I, but I was already writing sports for the local paper when he was a senior playing on a championship Pittston Area basketball team. I can still picture his jump shot style. Mary Kay and I were winding up our St. Patrick’s Day Parade day in… Continue Reading

Diversity of a different color

My late friend Richard B. Cosgrove, who wrote a delightful column for the Citizens’ Voice in the final years of his newspaper career, often talked about how the smell of cooked cabbage would waft through the air of Pittston in the early morning hours nearly every day in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Men off to work in the mines needed a hearty meal under their belts, and for those of Eastern European descent, Polish, Slovak, Lithuanian, cabbage was a staple. In their lunch pail might be an item they learned of from their Welsh brethren, the pastie, a dough… Continue Reading

How cold is cold?

I don’t know about you but I have trouble wrapping my head around an outside temperature of minus-6. “Just how cold is that?” I wonder as I try to figure out how to dress for an hour or two of shoveling snow. I’ll pause for a few minutes on the front porch as I grab the morning paper trying to get a feel for the cold but it never quite registers. Okay, it’s cold. Really cold. But I need a deeper understanding. So, I turn to mathematics, simple mathematics. You have a pretty good idea of what 20 degrees feels… Continue Reading