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December 01, 2015
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TRR photo by Laura Silverman

Long before the Plymouth brethren sat down with the Wampanoag Tribe at the 1621 feast generally considered to be the first Thanksgiving, the Lenni Lenape occupied the Upper Delaware area, enjoying the bounty yielded by the land and the water, and holding ceremonies to thank the gods and spirits for it and to participate in its renewal. Unfortunately, the surviving information about many of these ceremonies is sparse. But we do know something about “Gamwing,” or the Big House Ceremony, a post-harvest festival that has some features similar to our own Thanksgiving.

According to Benjamin Franklin, both “stink after three days” (www.ushistory.org), and he very well may have been right. I tested...

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The natural world is endlessly interesting and many of us who are not scientists nevertheless devote careful attention to what we observe around us. That devotion is not wasted, and in fact, is...

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There are quite a few couples who commute regularly on the train. They have their routines like anyone else, and when they act as a team it is noticeable. Artie and Pat are one such couple. On any...

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With the big day looming, no doubt you’re giving some thought to what will grace your Thanksgiving table. Who am I kidding? You’re probably going to make the exact same menu as last year (and the...

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But, as Harper (“To Kill A Mockingbird”) Lee once famously said, “You can’t choose your family.” As Thanksgiving approaches, this ever-so-slightly paraphrased sentiment rings true for many of us,...

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On Friday, November 13, the sky at Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest, NJ dawned red with broken clouds and a southwest wind of 10 to 15 mph. The wind wasn’t entirely favorable for migrating...

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It isn’t easy being green

Actually, it wasn’t easy avoiding being green last week, so I gave in fairly quickly and got my Irish on, along with the rest of the Upper Delaware River Valley. On Friday, I decided to make my way to Hancock, NY and get a sneak peek at the new dance hall—My Shady Lady, which was hosting a private party.  Read more

A day when everyone is Irish

An estimated 12% of Americans can trace their ancestry to Ireland. But on St. Patrick’s Day, countless honorary Irishmen and women don their green apparel and go out to celebrate the holiday of Ireland’s patron saint.

The first parade believed to have been held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place in 1762 in the United States when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all over the world (www.history.com).  Read more

Spring is here

I walked out to find the spring and found it in the radiant pussy willows growing at the road edges of our old farm, tangled in the hedgerow of last year’s multiflora roses and grape vine. Spring is in the snow drops budded at my front door and in the nervous sunlight. The seasons engage in a tussle of one-upmanship that brings new snow one day and thaw the next. And so, although we don’t see it in green yet, spring is here. Winter is left to lick its wounds in the exultant mud.  Read more

Suspension of disbelief

The first time I saw a reenactment was a battle scene at Fort Delaware in Narrowsburg. I was five or six, and I remember it pretty fondly—the men in costumes charging up the hill toward the fort, smoke billowing out through the muzzles of old cannons and gradually a growing sea of bodies motionless on the ground.  Read more

The cost of freedom, now in easy monthly payments

(A scene from the near future...)


“Hello, is this Mrs. Joanne Commoner?”

“Yes, this is Joanne.”

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Commoner, this is Staff Sgt. Mark Striker with the U.S. Army, 14th Fundraiser Battalion. How are you this afternoon?”

“Good afternoon, Sergeant! Thank you for your service!”

“At ease, Mrs. Commoner. You may be seated. And thank you for your kind words. By the way, Mrs. Commoner, I am required to inform you this conversation may be monitored or recorded for quality control purposes.”  Read more

March 13, 2013

On Sunday March 10, 2013, God needed a special angel so He came and took my mother, my best friend.

My mom was the mother of five, grandmother of five, great-grandmother of seven and great-great-grandmother of one. She gave a new name to the “Fighting Irish.” At the age of 85 and with over nine hospitalizations in one year, she had enough. On February 4, she was taken to the hospital. When she came home on the 8th, we were sitting on her bed and she said to me “it’s not fair that when I die you are going to have a party after the funeral and I will not be there.”  Read more

Red for a reason

In my last column about webcams, readers were pointed to opportunities to intimately observe birds with the aid of modern technology. Those who prefer a more active role can consider participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch project, in which “citizen scientists” are helping to provide answers to questions about bird nesting behavior by monitoring nests and reporting their observations utilizing online data entry tools.  Read more

‘The wearin’ of the green’ in Jeffersonville

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — Jeffersonville’s second annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 with a noontime lineup at Main St. and Willy Ave. under the direction of parade organizer John Mc Cormack (845/807-6749). Floats and organizations are invited.  Read more

Narrowsburg St. Patrick’s Parade

NARROWSBURG, NY — The first annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will march down the streets of Narrowsburg on March 17 at 1 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Narrowsburg Inn, Roto-Rooter Plumbing, Enviroventures and VIP Restroom Trailers. The Grand Marshal will be Lou “Big Al” Ferriger.  Read more

St. Patrick’s Day at the McLaughlin’s

MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Historical Society will hold a lecture by Dallas Grove on the man of the mansion known as The Columns, Dennis McLaughlin, to be followed by a traditional corned beef and cabbage luncheon on Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m.

Grove has been researching McLaughlin for some time and has put together a program that details his life and times. McLaughlin and his family lived in the building now known as the Columns Museum as their summer home for several years.  Read more

Rock Hill St. Patrick’s Day Parade

ROCK HILL, NY — The third annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 16 at 12 noon, sponsored by the Rock Hill Business & Community Association. The parade will begin at The Sullivan on Rock Hill Drive and end at I-86 Automotive on Glen Wild Rd.  Read more

Orchestra to play at Honesdale High School

HONESDALE, PA — Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra will perform at Honesdale High School on Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m. Robert Helmacy is the music director and conductor.

Tickets in advance cost $8 for adults and $4 for students. Tickets at the door cost $9 for adults and $5 for students. Active duty military and/or their immediate family attend for free. A student discount package for 12 students and two adults costs $32.

Call 570/289-1090 to register. For advance tickets, mail check to NTSO, P.O. Box 111, Nicholson PA 18446-0111. Visit www.NorthernTierSymphony.org.

Sullivan County Songwriters

Participating in the Catskill Distilling Company’s new Sullivan County Songwriters Circle (SCSC, or “SC squared”) on a recent week were Stacy Cohen, guitar; Brian Smith, drums; founder Elizabeth Rose, guitar; and Lucas Rotman, harmonica. The songwriters meet every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Dancing Cat’s Catskill Distilling Company on Route 17B in Bethel. Songwriters share their own songs, and each week at least one song from the “Great American Songbook” is also featured. The event is free and open to the public. Visit www.scsongwriters.wordpress.com, or call 845/583-3141.

“Symmetries,” paintings and drawings at Alliance Gallery

NARROWSBURG, NY — “Symmetries,” an exhibit of paintings and drawings by Ellen Cibula, opens with a reception on Saturday, March 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Delaware Arts Center’s Alliance Gallery. The exhibit will run through April 13. In “Symmetries,” most of the artist’s paintings and drawings are shown in pairs, with the two parts forming a dance.  Read more

RiverFolk Concerts at the Cooperage

HONESDALE, PA — RiverFolk Concerts presents musicians Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin on Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. at The Cooperage.

Schmidt is best known for his poetic lyrics, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt for their depth and complexity. And Elkin is best known for her soulful and dynamic vocals, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Patty Griffin at her most powerful, and Nanci Griffith at her most intimate.

Tickets cost $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Visit www.riverfolkconcerts.vpweb.com or call 845/252-6783.

Fundraiser to benefit Animal Welfare Society

BUSHKILL, PA — The Animal Welfare Society of Monroe (AWSOM), a non-profit rescue organization, will hold its annual fundraiser on March 16 at the Fernwood Resort. Local Milford celebrity “Sugar” will host. Doors open at 5 p.m. Announcement of prizes starts at 7 p.m.  Read more

Celebrate St. Patrick’s at the Distillery; Women’s History Month at the Saloon

BETHEL, NY — Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a party at the Catskill Distilling Company on Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m., featuring the Somerville Brothers, whose music is a blend of contemporary country with rock and roots.

Handcrafted spirits by the distillery, local craft beers and other St. Patrick’s Day tipples will be available for purchase in the Tasting Room overlooking the copper still. Next door, The Dancing Cat Saloon will offer meal specials including corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie all weekend.  Read more

Off the common path: Durnin performs at the Dancing Cat

BETHEL, NY — Molly Durnin, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter from the Albany area, will perform at the Dancing Cat Saloon on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. Her style won her top awards at Albany’s Exit Factor competition and the Capital Area Indie Fest last year (www.mollydurnin.com).

Durnin started composing music around age 14, creating soundtracks for her brother’s movies on piano and synthesizer. Later, she picked up the guitar, which has become her performance staple.  Read more

Liberty Performing Arts presents “Anything Goes”

LIBERTY, NY — Liberty Performing Arts presents “Anything Goes” on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m. in the David E. Panebaker Auditorium. Tickets cost $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens.  Read more

American Girl’s Tea Party

HONESDALE, PA — The annual American Girl’s Tea Party will be held on Saturday, March 23 at the Wayne County Public Library. Girls ages six to 12 will mark Women’s History Month and will hear about strong, smart girls from America’s past who served as models of American Girl dolls.

The date also features a “proper tea” with refreshments from various times in history. Space is limited. Reservations are required. Call 570/253-1220 or email blawson@waynelibraries.org.

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