As I traveled the Country this Summer the true beauty of our great Nation was amazing. From the mile high mountains of the Rockies in Denver to the barren Grand Canyon type landscape of Southern Oregon and our Western states. Their mountains are magnificent in a totally different way and yes, I did venture northwest into the beautiful lush pine forest we associate with the beaver state.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area and landscape was exactly as seen on TV. What was unbelievable to me there was the airport. A giant modern day marvel of air travel complete with a high-speed monorail system to take you to whatever gate needed to board.
The hospitality I received during my almost 8,000 mile journey was outstanding. We have great people in our melting pot of a Nation from all walks of life. I even got welcomed into Peace Memorial Evangelical Presbyterian Church by the Pastor in Klamath Falls. I was invited to stay for lunch and offered a tour of Southern Oregon by one of the parishioners.
The Pastor’s message was very good, one thing different from any other church service I have attended was his wearing of the traditional black shirt and white collar accompanied by a kilt. Good thing he had the legs for it.
What was the best part of my travels? A question that I've been asked about a thousand times. The answer is simple, returning home.
We are truly blessed to live where I believe is the most beautiful place in a Nation full of beautiful places. The people that call this neck of Penns Woods home are just flat out special.
As Summer has set and the calendar now reads October what is more beautiful than the colors of the season. The leaves have begun to change to the reds, yellows and oranges that will soon illuminate the mountainside.
The pumpkins, apples, corn stalks and wide variety of items associated with Fall harvest decorate your favorite farm market or store of your choosing. I especially enjoy the scarecrows and Halloween decorations. I look forward to seeing what Robin Tebbs and the girls do each year. Tebbs is a Webb family tradition for cider, apples, pumpkins, peppers – you name it.
I won't tell you about the next traditional stop at Tebbs, because it means Winter will be on its way.
The Autumn sunrises in the West Branch Valley are truly some of Mother Nature's best work. The special hues of October rising above the morning fog, as you smell the Fall air. The seasonal fog that follows the Susquehanna River as it winds its way through our Valley like a ghost above the water soon to evaporate in the early morning sun.
It is a most special time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I far more enjoy my surroundings than I feel the need to be successful while hunting. Not that I’m not looking for that special buck, but I think as you grow older you see the forest through the trees so to speak.
The crunch of acorns beneath your feet or hearing them fall from the trees as you head into the woods before daylight. Listening to the forest come alive on a crisp Autumn morning while you identify the birds and sounds made by the critters living in Penns Woods. Just being out in the beauty God created, appreciating the weather, which is much nicer than what will soon follow. If you don't hunt, bike or hike just go for a walk, get out and about and enjoy this most special season.
October is also World Series time. America's pastime begins its playoffs, which culminate with one team wearing the title of World Series Champions. This tradition woven in the great fabric that makes our Nation who we are. Who can ever forget ‘baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet’, one of the greatest advertising slogans of all time?
This past week one of baseball’s all-time greats left us, Yogi Berra. Yogi was one of the greatest New York Yankees ever. His teams won 10 World Series; all his career statistics are off the charts, a Hall of Famer. One of the best catchers ever.
What made Yogi so special was who he was off the field, his personality, his love of life and his Yogisms. “It ain't over till it's over.” “When you come to a fork in the road take it.” “I never said most of the things I said.” “A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.” The list goes on and on. My two favorites “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” No truer words have ever been spoken about the game. "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." Spoken like a true Piason and logic I can truly appreciate.
I have a great local story regarding Yogi courtesy of Father John Manno.
We have been blessed to have Father Manno and the Manno family call our area home since coming over on the boat from Italy. I do not have enough paper to write about how wonderful and important Father Manno's service and love has been to our communities.
Anyway, Father John's Dad, Don, who most of you know was a great baseball player and played in the Majors for Boston was in the Navy and roomed with and played baseball on the Navy team with? You guessed it, none other than Yogi Berra. This occurred in the early 40s as both were serving their Country during World War II. Don also “barn stormed” with another Yankee great, Babe Ruth.
So long Yogi, my tribute to you – Even though you're gone, you'll never be gone.
God Bless America.