Latest Issue

Mid March Memories and Traditions

What a wonderful time of year as the calendar reads the middle of March. Robins can be found abound. It is so great to wake up to the sounds of birds singing in the morning. Don’t get me wrong winter could still bring us some Arctic air but one thing’s for sure, it can’t last that long this time of year.

I know parents are happy up and down the Susquehanna Valley as the kids can get out of the house and enjoy playing outside. The most commonly used words of many parents are, “make sure you wear a coat!” Wasn’t it amazing when you were a kid and the thermometer would read 50 and to you it felt like 75? No coat required, time for some playground basketball games!

I guess that brings us to a problem in today’s world, please make sure your kids are getting outside and putting those electronic devices down. The world seems to be hypnotized by that glowing screen of the smartphone. I would say kids are the biggest offenders, except I see a lot of adults that have trouble putting them down, too. Please, as I always ask, no cell phone while you’re driving! The break will do you good and make the roads safer for everyone.

Back to those robins and all the birds singing, it’s great to hear from so many of you about witnessing bald eagles locally. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your stories. Maybe I should talk about Sasquatch sightings like these TV shows and see what feedback I get. And no, I haven’t seen any. It does make me wonder, do we have any groups locally in search of Sasquatch like is seen on TV? Ken Hunter would probably be the one that could answer that question. For all I know he could have a Bigfoot photo from on the top of Bald Eagle Mountain.

I guess I should mention here that it is a great time of the year to get outdoors and look for wildlife. Without the canopy and undergrowth of the forest it makes it a lot easier to see all the critters and birds. Who knows, you might come across a deer shed or two. For the spring turkey hunter it’s also not too early to start patterning those birds. Again, not only can you hear them, but they’re much more visible. Especially if we have a little snow cover, just a dusting of course, don’t want any more than that.

We are obviously well into the Lenten season, so we’re past the point of the question, what did you give up for Lent? Now the question has become did you break your Lenten promise yet and drink a six-pack of Coke or maybe a whole bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups depending on your choice of abstinence? Being raised Catholic, the toughest one for me was always giving up candy. I always wanted to opt for liver and onions but my Mom wouldn’t let me. Those darn Reese’s peanut butter eggs always seem to be my downfall. I’m sure you’re thinking about some of your Lenten obligations over the years, and how maybe you just didn’t make it to the finish line. Maybe you snuck in a few Oreo cookies without anybody knowing.

The other Lenten obligation food-wise is of course no meat on Fridays. That was always pretty easy to adhere to. How do you go wrong with pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup? I’d love to have those every day of the week. If you wanted something a little different you could always go with the fish dinner, which could be found being served at many churches on Fridays during Lent. Of course back when I was young, it would usually be accompanied with macaroni and cheese and stewed tomatoes. Wasn’t such a big fan of stewed tomatoes back then as I am now, but again, how do you go wrong with fried fish and macaroni and cheese? In today’s world it seems that every fast food restaurant has a special on fish sandwiches to help those with their Lenten obligation.

The other one I can’t leave out that I wrote about years ago was my Pappy Maietta’s salmon cakes or croquettes as many call them. I always enjoyed those and they were accompanied with stewed tomatoes, bread and hot peppers. I must say Pappy’s peppers were hot! I must also confess I usually gave up sweets for Lent, but if there was a piece of Nanny Maietta’s homemade chocolate cake underneath that silver/mirrored cake dish I was going to be saying 10 Hail Marys.

I hope I’ve triggered some thoughts and memories that you can talk about with your family, sometimes these simple but special things get lost in today’s world.

If you’re out and about maybe having a little Lenten dinner on Friday evening, don’t forget about the 59th Annual West Branch Valley Builders Home Show. The event runs through the weekend and it’s a great kickoff to the spring home improvement season. There’s something there for everyone, you might not know you need it yet, but it’s there. And there’s always great conversation and friendly folks to answer any questions.

I must also remind you it’s the beginning of March Madness, make sure you get those brackets filled out. This is also a Rite of Spring. Even if you’re not that familiar with college basketball take part in this event. Sometimes the least you know the better off you are when it comes to Bracketology.

Last but definitely not least, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! One thing’s for sure the Irish know how to hold a party. You know how I always seem to come back to food; I especially enjoy my mother-in-law Teresa’s corned beef and cabbage. There is plenty of traditional Irish cuisine and beverage to be found in our area. Please be careful out there and no driving if you had one too many grogs.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *