TALES OF COW TAILS

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cropped-015.JPG-21-e1338061358983.jpgOver on the Face Book page,  “If Your From Delmar , New York You Remember ??” a member recently posted, “Ok, let’s give it up. Which Bethlehem police officer gave you the biggest break? Details not necessary, but it will make fascinating reading!”

Yea, I got some breaks a few times; but that FB post triggered memories of encounters with BPD of a different matter than traffic violations. I remember two instances that happened a few years apart, but were of a very similar nature, and occurred a mile apart.

Let’s start with

MY EDUCATION HUNGRY COWS

Those of you who know me, know that back in the early 1960s, I ran some beef cattle and dairy replacement heifers in Glenmont, NY, on the former Normanskill Dairy Farm #2.

Today, you would recognize it as the site of Wal-Mart’s, Lowes, and a few other businesses on the west side of NY Route 9W. Or if you’re an outdoorsy person, you may have hiked the part known as Shiffendecker Farm. Now you all know.

It was a Friday morning, this I remember because I was also working for the Geurtzes at Woodridge Farm, and Fridays meant I delivered eggs in the tri-village area of Bethlehem.

Sometime midmorning, one of my customers told me to call Joan. You read that right! Remember, this was 30 years before the modern technology of the cell phone began to blossom.

Joan told me that Bethlehem PD had contacted her that MY cows cows 4were out of the pasture, and roaming on the grounds of Glenmont School, across from the farm. And you thought the cops didn’t keep tabs on you back then. She told me that it was OK to skip out from my route and take care of the bovine matter.

On 9W, between the barn and Bender Lane, I saw a NYS trooper guiding 2 or 3 cows toward the fence. I told him that I was probably the person he was looking for. He smiled and helped me guide the still uneducated critters to a walk thru gate leading to a small yard next to the barn. Cows secure, trooper thanked me for my assistance, got in his car and left.

Walked the cows thru the barn and out to the big barnyard leading to the pasture, and off they went to joint the rest of the herd that was content to be uneducated. Did a quick walk around, and fixed the spot where the wannabe students had embarked on their short voyage to an elementary education. Situation under control. Time to go back to work and peddle the eggs.

As I turn around from closing the gate to the big barnyard, a Bethlehem PD car pulls in.

“All taken care of, officer,” which it was, and figured I’d get a Great, have a good day, reply.

“The chief wants to see you”, and he got back in his car and waits for me to get into my vehicle.

Ok, Freddie, let’s think about this. I was in Delmar when my boss alerted me to the errant cows, guessing that I hadn’t been to a certain customer’s house yet. PD is located in Delmar. State Trooper had already got the cows off the school lawn and across 9W by the time I got there. And he left. I found and took care of the spot where the cows got out of the pasture. Everything’s taken care of and cricket. They’d known about it longer than I, and NOW the BPD shows up? No sense arguing. Do what you’re told.

So, I headed up Bender Lane, and let my mean streak set in. With BPD following me, I STOPPED for  EVERY intersection between 9W and Bethlehem Town Hall on the corner of Delaware and cow 9Adams. EVERY should be defined as ANY side street that entered the route I was traveling on, even though there were no stop signs or traffic lights, or legal requirement to do so. I figured that if I had to take time to visit the “station” when a NYS Trooper hadn’t said anything to me, and BPD showed up after the incident had been corrected, I’d get my personal bit of satisfaction.

Finally, at the station, I parked on Adams and crossed the street to talk to the chief, who was out on the sidewalk talking to a couple of people. He turned to me.

With my lip zipped, I listened to him go on and on and on about what would happen the next time that my, or any of the neighboring farmers cows got out, knowing full well that what he was telling me was akin to what a male bovine leaves behind after food digestion has taken place. (You do understand that, don’t you readers?)

Holding my tongue until I was sure he was ALL done, I asked, “What about the people who live in the house there, opened the gate, to go into the pasture to burn their household trash, and left the gate open?”

The chief and the officer looked at each other, and without either saying a word, the officer got in his car, and peeled, yes, peeled rubber out of Adams St.

Don’t know what transpired at the house, but I do know the “burn gate” was never left open again!!!!

FAST, BUT NO TICKET

cows 5Three or four years after I sold my cows, I got this surprise call. It was a Sunday morning and my wife and I were dressed and ready to walk out the door for church, when the phone rang. “Mr.Dunn?”

“Yes.”

“This is xxxx, Bethlehem Police.”

“Yes, xxxx, what can I do for you?”

“I just talked to your brother, and he wants to know if you can help him get some cows off the by-pass?”

Chuckling, “xxxx, you know I don’t have a brother. That was my uncle and you want my dad. Tell you what. You call my dad, and I’ll go see what I can do. OK?”

“OK. Thanks.”

Told my wife what was going on. That I(we) would miss church. Changed into work clothes. Jumped in the car, pulled the four-way flashers on, and headed for the by-pass.

When I got there, the BPD officer had the cows along the fence. We quickly found where the critters had gotten out. Walked them thru the gap, and patched it up. All’s good.

With that, my dad pulls up in his car, gets out and heads over to us. He looks at me, “How’d you get here”, meaning how did I know about the incident.

Sometimes, I’m a man of few words. “Fast”, was all I said.

I thought the officer was going to split his uniform, he was laughing so hard.

cows 6And there were some instances when I got calls that my cows were out that I questioned. W-h-e-r-e?? W-h-a-t color? Knowing they weren’t, and couldn’t possibly be mine, I still went and checked the situation out just in case I could help.

A VISIT WITH THE NEWEST GRANDSON

IMG_0523 (2)015.JPG 2My wife and I took the opportunity to head up to Portsmouth, NH for a couple of days last  week. The occasion? To visit our daughter and son-in-law. Well on the surface, anyway. The real reason was  to see our 6 week old grandson.

We were up when he was 2 days old; and I took my sister up to see him a couple of weeks ago, too.

Little kids are sooo therapeutic for my wife. She just holds and holds and holds them. She did let me hold Grandson for a few moments – like long enough for her to snap a couple of pictures of me holding him. I think that was just so she had proof that she shared him, and didn’t hold him the entire time we were there.

She even convinced our daughter and son-in-law to let “us” baby sit him, while they went out to dinner.

Dixie-pup kept an eye on grandma to make sure that Grandson didn’t disappear. Dixie’s radar like eyes and nose were locked in on him at all times.

Son-in-law is a civilian employee at the local Navy yard. Funny how on a cool day, like Friday was, when I hear Navy, I think of heavy warm blue pea coats.

IMG_0611After daughter did a couple of errands Friday morning, she, grandma, Grandson, and I, headed up to visit Ogunquit, ME. Ogunquit has been a favorite vacation spot for us since the early 1970s. Anytime we’re in the nearby area, we try to stop by and take a short walk on the famous 3 mile, non-commercial, sandy beach.IMG_0575

Being a bit cool and slightly breezy, Daughter grabbed a sweatshirt, I, a fuzzy lined windbreaker, Grandma, a light blue rain jacket, just in case. Grandson was happy under a blanket in his stroller.

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While not packed, there were quite a few people on the beach. They weren’t spread out too much because the tide was coming in. Despite 61 degree water, there were some dedicated people splashing around in the water.

We did our walk, I got some pics, and we headed for the Weather Vane on Badger’s Island, Kitterly, for lunch; but it had closed for the season on Labor Day. Because of that, daughter was given a $5 gift certificate good at any of their locations, and I verified that my 10 year old gift certificates were still valid at any of their locations.

IMG_0731So, we hopped across the Piscataqua River to Portsmouth for lunch on the River House’s deck on the river.

Daughter found a parking spot right out front! Grandma and I walked down to the deck to reserve a table and place our 3 orders, while daughter stayed in the car for a few minutes to feed and change Grandson, before joining us.

Remember that light blue rain jacket of Grandma’s? Well, I think Grandson has a future in the Navy, or as a magician, because daughter told us that during the changing process, he turned it into a pee coat.

I DON’T WANT ANYTHING BUILT THERE

015.JPG 2This is a bit of a rehash of my first post here.

It’s not political either, even though I’m not happy with the new property assessments in my town.

It’s in reply to a comment that appeared on Keith Wiggand’s post on the If Your From Delmar Face Book Page.

The comment:  I was wondering if this idea is even possible. If a large landowner has to sell a parcel to offset taxes, and the neighbors don’t want their “viewscape” or green space to go to developers, could they pool their money and buy it from the landowner? Say the parcel would be purchased by a developer for $40,000. If 20 people chipped in $2,000 a piece, they’d each own 1/20th of the land. As owners of the property, they could decide if it would remain unused by people, or if they would allow each other to walk their dogs on it, and their kids to build forts on it. Then they’d have to decide if they’d allow other people to use it. If one owner moved away he could sell his share to one of the other property owners or to a new person.

In my opinion, yes they can, or rather, YES THEY SHOULD, AND they should do it as soon as they think about it, not wait until it’s about to be sold or developed.

MarshmellowsFour years ago, there was a petition circulated attempting to block residential and commercial development on this corner. The reason, as I recall, was more or less to preserve it as agricultural land. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yep, grasp at anything when you don’t want to see land developed that you don’t own. Am I being sarcastic? How about this? The petition originated across the road from this parcel! That’s right. Across the road from a fairly new development that had been built……on a corn field!

Now let’s go back 35 years or so ago. Next to where I lived at the time, was 80+ acres of vacant land. 20 or 30 acres had been stopped being hayed, the year before we had moved into our home, in 1969.

Don’t get me wrong, here. I didn’t want to see it developed any more than my neighbors. Maybe, even less, because there was no barrier/buffer between the vacant land and our property. We had to pass through that land to get to our house. The vast majority, in fact none, of the neighbors who wanted to see it remain “green”, had to pass through it to access their homes.

Let me clarify something. By being developed, I mean in a use that was already legal and permitted by town code in effect at the time.

Anyway, I was approached by a couple of the people opposed to development, sporting a petition of around 60 reasons why it should not be developed. They got a little(a lot) agitated with me when I told them that I thought that there were only 2 or 3  legitimate reasons on the petition, and that I wouldn’t sign it.

I also suggested, as does the commenter mentioned above, that they should get together as a group and purchase the land. That way, they could basically do what they wanted(legally) to do with the land, and keep it green. Nope, that wasn’t an option.

What I haven’t mentioned, is that the land was still in the hands of a financial institution, that wanted to unload it for almost any reasonable offer.

What I didn’t tell anyone, was that I had tracked down the institution and visited them, and was told that if I made an offer of X dollars, I could own it. Even for the time, it was a quite reasonable price – substantially under appraised/assessed value! Doing a little more investigating, being direct, but vague, I was told that the town would maintain the assessed value(read – not lower) of a piece of land, even if it was purchased under market value. That was the breaking point of my continuing considering making the purchase.

The parcel sat vacant, going through several purchasers, going through applications for non-conforming zoning code uses, which were rejected. One or two or three more changes before it was finally begun to be developed for residential use, as permitted by the zoning code.

5553_499685576764026_1663739515_nWhat I’m trying to say is, think BEFORE you try to tell a landowner that they can’t use their land for a legally allowed use, just because you and your neighbors don’t want to see it happen. Also, don’t move someplace and expect the landowner (business) to stop what they’ve been doing for years, because YOU don’t like it – aka, look before you leap.

 

 

Dixie’s Adirondack Adventure

This is a guest post from Eileen Laskoski:

IMG_3917-22I wanted to tell you about Dixie’s big Adirondack adventure. I think I told you, we had to buy a new tent so we could take her with us so when we were at Kittery Trading Post, we picked up a blaze orange vest for her to wear while out in the woods so it’d be easier to spot her.

Anyway, we let her off leash on the trails and she was soo good! I stocked my pockets with really strong smelling doggie meat treats just in case we needed to entice her to come back but she stayed right with us. However, I was a little worried I’d also smell good to the bears… :)

It ended up raining on us the entire evening/night we camped. Big thunder and lightening storm but we had brought the red lead you bought when you stayed at our house and hooked Dixie to a tree while we got dinner ready. She kept sneaking under the rain fly though so she’d have a dry place to lay.

On to day 2, the bushwhacking portion of our trip. Someone isn’t good off trail and it’s not just me. Dixie ran off and we couldn’t spot her. I was getting really nervous before we finally spotted her on the other side of a stream. dixie 7She gave a pathetic bark like, “Help! I want to come back to your side but can’t”! 

We got her to head back up stream where the water wasn’t as deep and moving as fast and she crossed back to our side. She was soaked so we think she must have fallen in and scared herself.

We abandoned our plan and kept her on leash (not easy when bushwhacking) until we got back to the trail. Then we let her off again and she stayed right with us! I think she’s good when she can anticipate where we’re going to be. Where there’s not that defined path, she runs off.

Anyway, she was a super happy pup out in the woods. She’s totally a country dog and not a city dog.

From Bethlehem to Bethlehem

75580_10151384764784804_752998275_nAs Christians, we celebrate Christmas in honor of of the birth of Jesus. This beautiful hand carving of Jesus and Mary and Joseph, a gift from Bud and Jorgine Hanson, has made it’s way more than 1/2 way around the world, passing through many hands on it’s journey from Bethlehem, the West Bank, where Jesus was born, stopping at the Hanson home in Minnesota, then on to Hawaii, and finally back to our little town of Bethlehem, NY. It’s kind of ironic that we brought it into our house in the first hour of Christmas Eve 2012. It’s been a family tradition, (I don’t know if it was of French origin or something our mother started for us kids), for over 70 years, to light a candle at dusk on Christmas Eve as a symbloic way of saying that the Holy Family was welcome to stay here. Looks like this year they took us up on the offer. Thanks, Bud and Jorgine, for finally prodding them in this symbolic way.

Pearl Harbor – Today

If anyone knows:
Charles Ebel of Guilderland, a seaman 1st class aboard the USS Curtis;
Robert Grimm of Schenectady, a carpenters mate 1st class on the USS Cummings;
Adolph Krenn of Delmar, a seaman 1st class on the USS West Virginia;
William Langston of Cohoes, a fireman aboard the USS West Virginia;
Edward Bartholomew of Troy, a gunner’s mate 1st class serving on the USS Pennsylvania;
Leonard W. Dooren of East Greenbush, a chief warrant officer on the USS New Orleans,
who were at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, would you please do me a favor, and get this post to them.
Little did I know when I was on this tour of Pearl Harbor, that these local sailors had been here in 1941.
Chuck Ebel, I haven’t seen in probably 35 years.

The photos will open up on my Face Book page if you click this link — Pearl Harbor 9/26/2012 (20 photos)

The Choice IS Yours.

This post was prompted by Teri Conroy’s Times Union Farmlife blog. Here, I elaborated a bit more on my personal business experience.

My comment on Farmlife: Christmas or Merry Christmas has been changed to Happy Holidays to pacify the objectors to the word Christmas. But if it were not for the celebration, and commercialization of Christmas, there would be no Holiday Season….just Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Flash mobs can be a beautiful few moments of entertainment. And yes, the presentations are usually in public places like malls, train stations, etc.

I would guess that the reason malls welcome(give permission) to flash mobs during the month of December, is to provide some free entertainment, as in free for them, and free for the shoppers in a vain that will encourage them to spend a few extra dollars at their tenants; not that they necessarily agree with the flash mob’s tenets.

How many have ever been to New York City, or some other city, and witnessed the “street performers” who hope you’ll toss a buck or two in their box or hat. Should they be called “flash performers”?

In either case, if I like what I see/hear, I’ll stick around for a few minutes for the performance.

Now, if I disagree/dislike a performance, I have several options: move on, complain to management, not shop there anymore; or all three.

In my opinion, being politically correct is a double edged sword. One side to “keep the peace”; the other side to be a coward. And sometimes the decision should be to keep it in the scabbard.

Sorta related to this discussion is a real life situation I encountered three or four years ago. I had a customer base of around 200 retailers. Some were stores associated with local or national chains. The majority, probably over 90%, were mom & pop establishments, owned and operated by people who had been born outside of the United States, or at least their family origins were. Examples of where they came from include Sudan, Iran, India, Pakistan, Guyana, and Nepal, amongst other countries.

Obviously, besides the various nationalities, surely there was just as diverse a group of religious beliefs and backgrounds.

So here it was the middle of December as I made my bi-weekly deliveries. Now for my dilemma. Knowing the diversity of my customers, do I make my deliveries, say thank you and walk out the door as usual, or……do I do something else?

I choose to leave the sword in the scabbard. And if you think I wasn’t scared of a possible confrontation, you’d be wrong. But, I figured I’d take the risk that I knew my customers.

As we exchanged paperwork, I held out my hand and shook hands with each and every customer, as I said, “Merry Christmas, or whatever you do, or don’t celebrate”.

To my astonishment, they all returned my greeting with a smile and some version of ‘Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend’. AND…….NO ONE objected or was ticked off, then or down the road! Actually, I believe it strengthened the bond and trust between us.

Although Christmas is still nearly a month away, to all of you, “Aloha, and Mele Kalikimaka, or whatever you do, or don’t observe”.

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What I left out in my comment on Teri’s blog, is that I considered this group of customers as sorta my little United Nations. What I learned from them about their homelands and in some cases personal backgrounds, could never be learned in a classroom or the press. And was an education that was priceless. They were all friendly. Fact is, there was a far greater raport with them, than most of the large stores I served. Many, not all, of the large stores, seemed to enjoy creating a power struggle of sorts.

At most of these mom and pop stores, I gathered the returns, put the new product in the racks, handed them the bill to sign or pay, and left. As simple as that. Trust both ways. Of course, if they weren’t busy, I’d get my history/geography lessons.

I’d Like the Special, Please.

015.JPG 2Strangely enough, with this Dr. Seuss story, “Green Eggs and Ham”,  having been around for 52 years, I’ve never read or seen it…until tonight. Some how I missed it despite having 8 kids and 11 grandkids. Missing it doesn’t mean that I’d never heard of it. I just never knew anything about it other than the title.

Tonight, I did rather enjoy the movie. Liked Sam, but was shattered by the surprise ending. Maybe that’s why I had a flash back to 13 or 14 years ago, when I was trucking in the North Country of upstate New York.

Doing an evening run  from Schodack to Massena to Watertown, and then down thru Lewis County, gave me just enough legal hours of driving time to make it back without having to do a layover along the way. On the way back, I had a pick up at Lyons Falls Paper Mill, in , where else, Lyons Falls. Since I hit town a few hours before my scheduled pick up time, I found a safe spot to pull over and take a couple of hours nap in the sleeper berth. Naturally, I set the alarm to go off in time that I could catch breakfast before heading to the mill.

I found a small “hometown” restaurant with an open sign and lights on inside. It was daylight, around 5:30-6AM. I parked the truck in the large lot and wandered on in and grabbed a seat at the counter. I must have been pretty quiet, because I sat there for probably 5 minutes before the ladies in the kitchen saw me.

They apologized for not noticing me, and proceeded with the usual, “Do you want coffee”, which brought an affirmative answer from me. That was followed with, “What would you like for breakfast?” Having sat there for awhile, I’d had a chance to peruse the menu and the white board with the heading Today’s Specials.

Not really sure what the ‘special’ would be like, I had already decided to give it a try, so I nodded toward the board and said I’d have the special. I started to wonder if I was having an hallucination when the ladies looked at each other in a very puzzled way, then looked back at me and said they hadn’t posted a special yet.

“It’s there”, I said, “and I’d like to give it a try.”

One of the ladies, the owner, took a couple of steps forward and  turned so she could see the message that she knew wasn’t there.

“That granddaughter of mine. Wait ’til….she was in here last night helping me clean up”.

Don’t know how old the granddaughter was, but she had neatly, and artistically, written on the board, I still remember, in green marker “Green eggs & ham”.

And yes, I had to change my choice of breakfast amid the laughter of the two ladies. What did I have? I haven’t a clue.