Tag Archives: Minney

Normantown/Stumptown News: Late January

(Note: Only select installments of this weekly column are posted here on the blog. To have access to all installments, you’ll need to read The Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder in print or visit The Gilmer Free Press online.)

I was flying along on my way to work one morning last week when I passed a man walking along Route 33 near the entrance to Cedar Creek Road. He had a coat, hat, and gloves, but even so, the thermometer on my dashboard noted it was 26 degrees outside. I don’t leave my cat outside very long in those kinds of temperatures. I immediately turned around in the church parking lot, returned to him, and told him to get in the car.

Did I know him? No, but he also lived in the Stumptown area, past the county line on the Calhoun side. Though his car broke down, he had business in town and had to be there, so he started hoofing it. He started walking in Lockney, so he had walked that morning, in those temperatures, more than 10 miles. The moment he told me that, I realized how many other drivers had passed him by that day.

Two+ miles later, when I dropped him at GoMart, he reached out to shake my hand and thank me for the ride. His hands were still as cold as ice.

I’m not in the habit of picking up strange men along the road, though I’m prone to give rides to folks I know. But when I see someone walking in temperatures below freezing, miles from any destination, it doesn’t matter who it is, does it?  What excuse is valid enough to pass that person and not offer a warm ride? I was late? I was busy? I was in a hurry? Twenty-six degrees. If it was warmer outside, I would likely have kept on going. But below freezing temperatures? No. I’m not able to do that.

I’ve been that person. The one with the broken down car. Of course, I don’t walk when my car lets me down, I call my husband on my cell phone. If I walk anywhere, it’s only far enough to get a cell signal. But what if you don’t have a hero? What if you have no one to come to your rescue?

Community isn’t just the people we like or the people we know. That evening, when Frank and I sat down for dinner I said, “Before someone tells you they saw me with a man in my car, I gave some guy a ride to town this morning. It was 26 degrees.” Frank, who is prone to give roadside assistance, didn’t blink an eye. “Okay,” he said. I told him where the fellow lived, and Frank was familiar with his family. It’s a shame the guy didn’t encounter Frank that morning. Frank might have fixed his car.


      Kay Allen will be teaching a Rag Rug Craft Class February 8, at Normantown Historical Community Center. Further details are yet to be announced. Basketball is kicking up again on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m., and Zumba is Monday and Thursday. The Food Pantry is held on the 2nd Friday of each month, and the NHCC Clothes Closet is held Wednesdays, 11-2 p.m. I have a quilting frame I’ll be donating to the Center, as soon as they find someone to teach a quilting class. Do any quilters out there want to teach? And don’t forget: Donkey Basketball is coming on April 4.

Normantown’s Yolanda Goss (a recent transplant) has a free belly dancing class starting at Gilmer Public Library in February, on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. Sounds like fun to me! Speaking of the library–have you seen the library’s new web site at gilmerpublib.org? You don’t need to drive to town to make use of the library’s services. You can search the library’s catalog online, make use of the online databases and tutorials, even access free ebooks and audiobooks.  I see also that the Mini-Library on the front porch at Fred’s Store is just bursting with books. Help yourself to those!

We’ve survived January and now face February. Organizations like the library and the community center have great programs happening to help stay off those winter blues. So if you’re feeling a bit restless or down, venture out for belly dancing, crafting, or to volunteer. I know both organizations will gladly welcome you.

Recent Visitors — Name that Duck

Since our house sits right next to a large pond, you can imagine that we get a variety of water foul around here. We have our regulars, the cormorant and the Canadian geese, but then we also encounter a variety of duck who come and go, as well as the occasional egret and even once, and osprey.

These are our most recent visitors, not as skittish as most others, who enjoyed the day eating at the “human’s side” of the water.








You Gotta Just Roll With It As It Comes….

Life has been a handful lately, and it doesn’t show signs of letting up any time soon.

More than two years ago, Frank stepped up to help his father through some health issues. Of course you expect improvement, but sometimes it seems it’s one thing after another. Complications, reactions to medication, tests, follow-up tests, appointments, follow-up appointments, therapists… And then of course there’s the paperwork that comes with each and every little thing. You look for every step to get you moving uphill, but in many cases it’s more like a roller coaster — up, down and sideways.

In the meantime, readership of the magazine just keeps growing. We became the largest independent publication in the state without even knowing it. We simply kept trying to meet reader demand with the budget available from our advertisers. As the magazine grows, it needs more of our attention, but right now, our attention is often elsewhere.

It’s all been very challenging, to say the least.

The world of health care and elderly services is daunting and frustrating.What is covered, what isn’t. What is necessary, what isn’t. What’s been considered, what hasn’t. What meds have been taken, what needs to be taken. What’s the symptom, what’s the cause. Many days the question simply stands at, “What now?”

And delivery — even with school letting out and gas prices dipping a little — is always a challenge. It takes six days to get each issue delivered, (rain, hail, sleet, snow, flood, etc.) and it seems as though there’s a crisis of some sort around here every four days or so. Funerals, flat tires, the flu — just to name a few.

This week we missed a day of delivery waiting for a stool sample. That should explain the ebb and flow of our lives right now.

I don’t share this information to say, “Woe is me.” I share it to explain:

We’re not currently at our business best.

If you call and get our answering machine, please leave a message. We could be as close as the garden or hay field (if the sun is shining), or as far as Morgantown Medical Center or a clinic outside Columbus, Ohio.

If I don’t return your call or e-mail quickly, or seem a little distracted or rushed when I do, please don’t consider it my typical behavior. It is possible that a day or two might pass before I get to even catch up on phone messages, and I might not check my email until 11 pm.

If you miss seeing us on delivery and tire of finding bundled copies have been left on your doorstop in the night, please don’t think Frank and I are avoiding you. We enjoy visiting with our friends on delivery routes, but it takes less time and less gas to deliver them in the middle of the night than in the traffic of the day.

If you are wanting to pitch a new column, request my help or services on a project, or ask me to volunteer, or research or direct my attention to something new — forgive me if I cringe or duck and run for cover. Now just is not a good time. (Please check back later.)

We’re juggling at maximum capacity, and though we’d love to do more, deliver more, add more, sell more, post more, market more, network more, serve more, reach more, harvest more — right now we’re focused on what we have at hand –

Family, home, garden, clients.

And with that, we’ve got our hands full.

WRITER’S ARCHIVE: Shared Knowledge

Originally Published April 12, 2007

I recently read an article about how couples who have been married a long time develop “shared memory.” The concept of shared memory is that topics that one member of the couple can’t easily remember or understand  — becomes stored within the other half of the couple’s brain.

For example, I have a hard time remembering local roads or family names in our neighborhoods. Thus, I depend directly on Frank’s memory to remind me of the information whenever I need it. I know the information I need to access is stored in his mind, and not mine.

In turn, Frank depends on my memory to remind him of appointments, birthdays and due dates.

Sometimes, I feel that members of the community depend on me to remind them of information they should be storing–the details of legal ins and outs, the decisions made in past meetings, and the ways to research and access public records.

There are times when I feel some folks have gotten dependent on me storing the information, which, I feel, everyone should know and understand.

At first, I felt flattered that folks knew they could depend on me to maintain this information. I felt important to know that I knew something others needed to know.

After repeatedly giving the information, and realizing that no one seems to be moving the information from my storage area to his or her own storage area, it is beginning to feel like a burden.

Sure, as I have covered topics and news in the region, I have learned emergency escape routes, flood preparedness measures, proper meeting procedure, Sunshine Laws, and so many other things. I have not, however, kept this information to myself. I have shared the information with readers and interested people with whom I have spoken.

I have tried to share the knowledge I have with others. In other words, I thought I passed the ball.

The next thing you know, someone is asking me to repeat the information, or checks with me to make sure things are being done in an appropriate manner. I realize then that the ball is still in my hands.

All the background information I work with to cover events and meetings–the information I work with to write articles–is public information. The information is open to all the world, and not just me.

With the Internet, library, courthouse documents and all those in public service who are there to help, no one should ever be dependent on me to advise them in matters. No citizens should ever be dependent on anyone to make their decisions for them, dependent on others to know what’s best.

It is up to every resident and citizen to know public policy, for their own safety and for the welfare of their family and community. It is the responsibility of every person to be informed and knowledgeable of the issues that affect the well-being of the public.

If you have a question about courts, call the clerk for that court. If you have a question about government, check the state code books in the courthouse, or ask your elected officials. If you have a question about a specific topic, ask the librarian to direct you to information, or visit www.askjeeves.com on the Internet. If you have a legal question, call a lawyer.

Because I’m beginning to fill like my storage space is full.

CalPatty Press: It Ain’t Me, Babe

Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need….

But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Bob Dylan

It has been four years since I quit my job as a newspaper reporter. I always wanted to be a professional journalist, always wanted to have a salaried job with (partial) benefits, cool employers, quality co-workers and a flexible schedule – and that is what I had.

But, I never wanted to play head games. Never wanted to hurt people, highlight their downfalls, expose their mistakes, be caught up in politics. I never wanted to take on the WV State Police, or deal with the the underbelly of society.

In fact, I thought that “getting a real job” would save me from the underbelly of society.

But the truth is, this underbelly is classless. It is found in every social level, in every business, every office. If you look for truth, look for justice, you will discover that every where you look you will find something that isn’t on the up and up.

I’m not making judgments. The truth is, bad things happen to good people. Bad people happen to good people. Good people aren’t perfect, and sometimes make bad decisions or develop bad habits.

We are all human after all.

I however, in addition to my past responsibility as a reporter “meddling in community business”, am a freak magnet. I haven’t quite figured out what it is about me, but it’s true. My Mother once said you could put me in a room with 100 people, and before the end of the night, I’ll end up surrounded by the ‘worst’ of the bunch.

I’m drawn to under dogs. Right or wrong, I can’t stand to see someone going it alone. Good or bad, left or right, black or white — I am instinctively opposed to thinking anyone is dealing with life’s blows or boosts alone.

But, I digress…

I’ve been observing the blogging world of Central West Virginia since before blogging hit Central West Virginia about seven years ago. Blogs, in many ways, are like lone voices in the night, like virtually bottled messages bouncing around on the waves of the Internet’s ocean.

Sometimes, those bloggers become a community, as they did at journalscape.com, where I launched one of my earlier blogs. But sometimes, like any community, they exist with a dark underbelly.

So, six years ago, I was a newspaper reporter, and a freak magnet, with a blog on the Internet. Can you imagine how this will go?

Calpatty Press began to think they knew me. They did not. They assumed I approved of their tactics. I do not.

At some point, I fell out of the graces of the once fond-of-me CalPatty Press, and now I stand as a target. Attacks from people with fake names, and twisted truths.

Like so many others, I’ve grown tired of their rants, and see them for what they are.