Book 2 Volume 5


Our Butternut

        These pages make absolutely no attempt to be a real newspaper. For that one must read the Times News at  I  write this for my own enjoyment. I hope others will enjoy it also.
          I want to acknowledge the debt of gratitude to all those who have supported me in this endeavor. My wife, Queen is my inspiration and greatly augments my efforts. She is my proofreader and censor and the one that attempts to keep me on the straight and narrow! Ha!  Her love, support, and help, have been indispensable. She surely has a way of cheering me up when I get discouraged.
 The new Palmerton Press site is    
     My web master will post the newest additions as they become available. I prepare and publish them here and then zip them to him. He does what is necessary to bring them up to proper form for posting, checking my work and makes necessary adjustments. He then posts them on line for me
     The time frame may be somewhat different now. There is a whole lot extra work involved in this new operation and the old schedule of Friday publishing may at times, not be possible. However, I will still try to send individual e-mails to those on my list. For one thing my list lets me know who is getting them. This is valuable information to me!! I am considering asking my web master if it would be possible to have a site on the index page where folks can make comments.
    I am particularly interested in reaching not only current Palmertonians, but also former Palmerton residents, who may still find the old town a source of comfort and the remembrances of happy days. Comments are welcome.  
      My web master has gone to a lot of work putting the past issues into the archives. I  put him through a lot of trouble. We both wonder if anyone bothers to read the past issues. I put them there to maintain a sense of continuity to these pages. We both would appreciate any feedback from you readers!!

       My son George, grandsons Andy, and Jason, have been instrumental in making these things appear at all. They supply the technical expertise to put and keep it on line. I can type the words and insert the pictures, but they keep the press running! In addition, we are trying to put older web pages on line as seen in our index page.
    Somehow I believe that my Dad, George Elliston, editor and publisher of the "original" weekly Palmerton Press would be both happy and mighty darn surprised to see my efforts here.
    At one time Pattie Mihalik asked about some materials she needed to research some information about WW II for a story she was writing. I told her that my Dad kept a written diary during those years. She used them and found the information for which she was looking. What surprised me was her statement that when she read them and then read my stuff, it was as though my Dad had simply continued writing as he did so long ago. Maybe the apples really don't fall too far from the tree! I never really read his diaries. His handwriting was as bad as mine!
    Don’t expect much in the way of earth shattering events to appear here. This is how Queen and I live.
 To many it is dull and dry as dust,but hey for a pair of geezers of 87 and 78 years what do you expect?
        At least with the addition of pictures these pages don’t have to solely stand on their literary merits .
    I also thank all of my mentors. They all suffer a now 78-year-old fool, well. I wish to express my thanks to everyone.   
    I deeply appreciate the responses from my readers who seem to enjoy our view of life as well as the pictures of our town and home. Queen and I enjoyed the walking tour of the commercial district of Palmerton we had in here last week.
       I very much want to stress that it is the excellent input from you readers that permit me to put this thing out and on line every week. Some weeks I would not have a clue as to what to write about. However, someone often sends something that gets the ball rolling. I very much appreciate the articles and pictures my readers send me.
    I am particularly interested in old photographs of town. It would be best if they were sent digitized. Oh, I can do it but I might never be able to return the originals because my "great filling system" is a black hole for important stuff. Something right here on my desk can disappear from the face of the earth!! Queen knows all about that!! Please keep up your input.
     With the very gracious co-operation of Prolog we now have an up and running web page. This will eventually permit a lot more to be accomplished. My profound thanks to everyone.
    Son George is my web master. We can be contacted through the main Index page.
  You may note that this is the fifth volume of the second year of these epistles therefore, at my web master's behest, we are renaming them,  Book 2, Volume 5.

Saturday, December 18, 2004 7:23 AM 15.7 at Slatington E.S. and 18.5 in the bus stop
Golly but it is a cold morning today. My blood glucose was 131 and my weight 195. I am not sure about a walk this morning. The weather is to get worse later this next week so that will curtail our outdoor activities.
I must say I am much relieved from my mental state from last week at this time. I was delighted to hear the eye specialist Dr. Ross's tentative diagnosis. He put me at ease with the words, "first and foremost, you are not going blind". I often told Queen that were I to have to live like daughter Mary's ex mother-in law, Lillian Rau, who is in the advanced stage of macular degeneration, I would rather be dead.

Gee whiz, now Queen won't have to get me a white cane for Christmas!<sigh>

I know I have so much for which to be thankful. We don't really appreciate the things that the good Lord installed at our birth until they are threatened!! The trouble is that I have been using all these various parts for 78 years. Sometimes I get a "flat tire"!!

Queen and I went for a short walk this morning . We cut it short at 4th Street and back home. The 18 degrees was a bit much. However we did get out for our snoot full of fresh air!

While Queen was preparing for our walk I was sitting on the front porch and took these pictures. I saw Marlene and Lee walk by as I sat there. We exchanged waves!!


I took a picture of the rhododendron at the Behler's home on the way back. It is damn cold when the plants look like this with the leaves curled.


This morning Queen wanted to go to Shea's for some shopping. I took the camera as well. Their gift shop is very nicely appointed and prepared for Christmas.



We stopped at Country Harvest and got some large California navel oranges and oysters. I would like to make oyster stew for supper tonight. We had two of the oranges for lunch and they were very good.
In this morning's e-mail is this reminder.

Hi Bob,
     I enjoyed the photos of Palmerton businesses all decked out in their holiday finery. One establishment you simply must see is Ann Margaret's Bridal Boutique just next door to Hager's. Often I'm in too much of a hurry to really look at the pretty decorations. Thanks to your column, I'm going to make it a point to take some pics of my own. The older I get, the more I appreciate living in good old Palmerton, a vital small town with lots of charm. Keep up the good work.
 Jane Lach

 You know Jane is right. Unlike places like Jim Thorpe that definitely have their place as part of the area's history and are charming as well, Palmerton is not a "tourist trap". It is just a nice little town in which to live. One has no problem parking here. Try that in Jim Thorpe! No shuttle buses needed here. Even Lehighton business district is narrow and restricted with parking meters. I am glad our borough fathers never went that route.
I think the Little Gap Historical Society has done so much for this area in making folks aware of our heritage  .

Every little town is different. I suppose a tourist business would be economically attractive but I am in no hurry to see that condition. When I was in business 30 years ago I saw what was happening to the Pocono region.

It is inconceivable to me that today folks live there and commute into New York City every working day. Moreover not all I saw was good by any means. Friend Tommy says, "Let the city folks think this is the most polluted place on the face of the earth". Sometimes I think being a super fund site has its advantages!
Now at 1 PM Queen is busy whipping up more cookies. Queen has been busy out in the "cookie factory" for the whole week. Here is a part of her work.


The other Quality Control man is on the floor looking for a possible accident or hand out.

These are a new ones this year. They are peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and they are scrumptious!


Yes I know this quality control work is a hard job, but someone has to do it. Ha!!
At this time of the year we are particularly inundated with viruses. I got a fresh warning today.
It is the "It Takes Guts to Say Jesus" virus warning.

I realize we are all taken in now and again but one thing I have learned to do is check with a good virus hoax page  The above one is a hoax.

Now if you do suspect that you may have a virus by all means run your own anti-virus program. For extra security go to this site for detection and cleanup. It is by Panda and it is free!! I have it checking my system. It has found 31 infected files and disinfected all 31 of them. Do not go unprotected. That is stupid. It is so easy to use. I am not surprised it found this much because I am on line all day perusing the Internet and stuff is always on line. Don't trust your anti-virus to catch everything. An off-site program such as this is very handy. There are a lot of very nasty people out there. Don't just check your ant-virus once a week, mine is set to automatically check it daily. This off-site one is a good one to augment your regular program.  I have a shortcut to this program on my desktop and simply use it occasionally. Even thought my regular anti-virus runs an automatic check every day this caught and fixed a bunch of potential problems it missed!!

The oyster stew turned out very well. It is always good on a cold winters night like tonight.
I found the site below that looks interesting. It is called "The Dream of Flight" and is presented by the library of congress.
Here is a free flight simulator for all you aviation buffs

I got this from Lee Bollinger:

Subject: Church Advertising
Have you ever been driving down the road at 50 or 60
mph, passed a church and tried to read the sign out front?
Here are a few that a friend sent to me.
"Exposure to the Son may prevent burning."
"The best vitamin for a Christian is B1."
"Under same management for over 2000 years."
"Soul food served here."
"Tithe if you love Jesus! Anyone can honk!"
"Beat the Christmas rush, come to church this Sunday!"
"Don't wait for the hearse to take you to church."
"Don't give up. Moses was once a basket case."
"Wal-Mart isn't the only saving place!"
"Prevent truth decay. Brush up on your Bible."
"It's hard to stumble when you're down on your knees."
"What part of 'THOU SHALT NOT' don't you understand?"
"A clear conscience makes a soft pillow."
"Never give the devil a ride. He will always want to drive."
"Can't sleep? Try counting your blessings."
"Forbidden fruit creates many jams."
"Christians, keep the faith -- but not from others!"
"Satan subtracts and divides. God adds and multiplies."
"If you don't want to reap the fruits of sin, stay out of the devil's orchard."
"To belittle is to be little."
"Don't let the littleness in others bring out the littleness in you."
"God answers knee mail."
"Life has many choices. Eternity has two. What's yours?"
"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due."
"The wages of sin is death. Repent before payday."
"Try Jesus. If you don't like Him, the devil will always take you back."

Tonight with the advent of the cold weather I started up the humidifiers. I had to install new filters and then add water. Man it certainly helped with the moisture level. Now, I hope we will not draw long  sparks when we walk across a rug.
I recall many years ago in the dead of winter while still in the TV service business asking to use the bathroom in a customer's home, walking across the plush rug and into the 'powder room" and getting a shock that was totally unexpected. Hey I could see the spark and it stung! Of course computers do not like static electricity either but for different reasons!

I got this from Betsy Burnhauser this morning:

Bob - I like being P.C. incorrect so - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!
    Speaking of Christmas. I remember well when my mother and I went down to the Coal Bowl to pick our Christmas tree. I don't know why but we usually went in the evening after dark when it was cold. After we made our choice, they tagged it and delivered it the next day. I think it was Krex's that sold them. I also remember that my parents bought a Philco radio from Walter Heiney. It was the latest thing.  The top, where the dial was, was on a slant.  Because of the shape, the slogan for it was: No Squat, No Stoop, No Squint!

Ah yes I remember going into Heiney's Store and seeing a remote control for a radio. This was when his store was in the building where the Chamber of Commerce and Christman Realty are now located.
It was in a box about 4 inches by 10 inches and about 4 inches high. It weighed a ton. It was a transmitter and it had batteries and tubes that he took across the street into the park and changed the stations from there. It was obviously some kind of an RF transmitter that the radio received. That was a long time ago.

Sunday, December 19, 2004 7:24 AM 31 deg at Slatington E.S. and 31 deg in the bus stop

 Snow showers are predicted for all day today. There are none so far. They do have a dense fog warning on for this morning.
Butternut and I went out. I am not sure why I even bothered with the camera because the day is so dark. However I usually do take a camera many places that I go.


 It is a dismal looking day. The pictures are of poor quality but they do provide an accurate picture.

Butternut and I were out at the lower park bench this morning. Suddenly he began to bark his head off. Sure enough it was Nan Campton and her dog.


After Queen got up we decided to get our walk in before conditions got any worse. As we walked down Columbia I noted the usual light on at George Ashman's house.

As Queen and I walked I presumed that the cookie factory will be in full operation today. She agreed. Since tomorrow is to be bitter cold she wants to make her candy at that time.
On our walk I was telling Queen that since my good medical news my whole health situation has vastly improved. A whole lot of small nagging problems are now seemingly in abeyance or disappeared. It is amazing how ones mind can have such a drastic effect on the entire body.   

I didn't really realize that I was that upset over my physical problems but I obviously must have been. Particularly my "plumbing problems" are vastly improved. My problems in that department simply disappeared after being my "guest" for almost 5 months. Doctor Nicholson kept telling me to relax.

Now this is a bit hard to write about but it is true and it did happen!!  After getting out of the Eye Doctor's office we had to go to Rite-Aid where Queen went to pick up a prescription. I am not a religious fanatic, nor a fire and brimstone adherent, nor I do not believe in a vengeful God. However I do firmly believe in God. Too many things have happened in both of our lives not to be a believer. Queen has told me of sometimes at night in her prayers for the family and when she prayed for our late son Jack, feeling a warmth all about her body. I told her he is hugging her!!
However in the car waiting for Queen I was sitting there waiting for her gazing up at the sky and then saying aloud, "Thank you Father for your help today"!! At  that moment I could literally feel a weight or something leaving my body. I don't recall this ever happening to me before, ever! It was real and it happened. Believe me I am not making it up. I told her when she came out that it was as though an enormous weight had been lifted. In general my overall heath is vastly improved as is my outlook on life. I am not ungrateful to the man upstairs who made it all possible

However Queen and I still are having difficulty handling Walter Guyer's death. Somehow I still half way expect a call from him about how to do something on his computer at anytime. How do I find this or that? He was really trying to learn his computer. As I have said I wished we had been physically closer so that I could have supplied a bit of "hands on" aid. For a man 90 years of age he was remarkable.
Walter was a very outspoken conservative Republican who strongly supported President Bush in his re-election. Sometimes we would talk on the phone at length about the subject. He paid me the high compliment of telling me I sounded just like my sister Dorothy, his late wife. I would tell him not to get too excited about a particular facet of a problem in which he had an interest. I still miss Dot's wise council. Queen and I both miss those who have left us very much particularly at this time of the year! We both are the last of our generation!

In a recent e-mail from son George, he speaks about attending a town meeting concerning a new substation. As Senior Engineer for the Power Company in Delaware, George was in the unenviable position of having to propose a project that while unpopular must take place if everyone wants the lights to turn on when they flick the switch. Here is his message:

" Last night I had to go to a public zoning hearing in Cambridge MD for a new substation site we would like to purchase. Didn't get home till 11:30PM.
    That didn't go well at all. The locals were out in force to block us from building on the site we wanted to purchase. It's the old NIMBY syndrome; "Not In My Back Yard!" We were able to satisfy all the legal requirements to get a special exception to build on the site, but two member's of the board didn't let the facts guide their decision. We lost two to one. There should have been five members on the board, but two seats are vacant and haven't been filled yet. The emotionally overwhelming voice of the "hard working local community not wanting it near them" guided their decision. Of course legally, we can get the decision overturned, but it will take more time and money to do that.
    They want reliable electricity, but don't want the substation near them that would keep the lights on. The one vote for, was by the chairman, who seemed to understand the need and weighed all of the facts to guide his decision. The other two guys made the decision that was popular, not the difficult one they should have made."

Thus be it always!! It seems to me that someone said something about not missing the water until the well runs dry!!
The very sad thing about it is that he is one of the few engineers whose specialty is designing and installing power substations. It is a very unglamorous branch of electrical engineering that no one is learning yet it is absolutely essential for our modern society to function.

 I just got this from Clarence Heydt:

Subject: A little prayer
Dear Lord,
Every single evening
As I'm lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer
Keeps running through my head.
God bless all my family
For they're so close to me.
And God, there is one more thing
I wish that you could do,
Hope you don't mind me asking
Please bless my computer too.
Now I know that it's unusual
To Bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second
While I explain it to you, Lord.
You see that little metal box
Holds more than odds and ends,
Inside those small compartments
Rest so many of my friends.
I know so much about them
By the kindness that they give,
And this little scrap of metal
Takes me in to where they live.
By faith is how I know them
Much the same as you,
We share in what life brings us
And from that our friendships grew.
Please take an extra minute
From your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book
That's filled with so much love.
Wherever else this prayer may reach
To each and every friend,
Bless each e-mail inbox
And each person who hits send.
When you update your Heavenly list
On your own CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer
Sent up to

You know sometimes God's name does come up in my many conversations with my computer but not quite in this manner. Usually some blue smoke issuing from my ears precedes this conversation!! 

  Perhaps I had best mend my ways. Queen would appreciate it, I know!

It is a very wonderful warm feeling sitting in here typing this foolishness while Queen is happily working out in the kitchen. Oh not too much in the way of words are communicated but there is a strong unspoken communication between us nonetheless. One can almost feel it.
Meanwhile back at the cookie factory, Queen is making a chocolate cookie that has a peanut butter filling .


    Queen says that these are not for the faint hearted or newbies to baking!

They are a lot of work to make.


It is super!!


 She said I was telling all her secrets.
They are on cookie sheets out in the bus stop while supper is in the oven.
We are having the small turkey breast we just got this week. If you think cookies smell good the odor of this turkey is driving me nuts!!

<Later> Supper is over and it was very good. The turkey was nice and moist Stuffing and some  green beans finished off a superb meal. Coffee was all I wanted for dessert.

Monday, December 20, 2004 7:15 AM 0.3 degrees at Slatington E.S.  and 5.9 in the bus stop 1.9 on the east patio
 It is darn cold this morning. Fortunately there isn't any snow that needs shoveling but we will not be walking this morning. It is bitter cold outside. I was out for just a few moments this morning and I didn't stay long. I had to put my tush cushion on the snow dusted seat of the lower park bench.


Nan Campton was out with a girls best friend as both were bundled up very well.

Then I shot a picture of Keck's flag with Marshall's Hill in the background and I came inside. Brrrr!!!

The light snow may be pretty but that is enough. Now, we can start spring any day!!
On Saturday the Times News ran a front page article on Doctor Howard Cyr. It was written by Pattie Mihalik. Doc is a very unique man.

Throwing in the trowel  

Retired Palmerton dentist still drilling but now it's stone instead of cavities
While mid-life career changes are starting to be routine, the career change made by Dr. Howard Cyr takes the cake.
Or, at least it takes the trowel.
The Palmerton man worked as a dentist for 45 years, maintaining a busy practice at his Fireline Road office.
He went from drilling cavities to drilling stone. He now works as a mason, completing projects near and far. But although there is plenty of manual labor in every job, Cyr insists he's "not working."
"I'm just keeping busy doing something I sincerely enjoy," he says.
When someone asks why he turned to masonry, he answers "Why not?" with his typical dry humor: "After all, my middle name is Mason. It's a family name."
He also had a good role model. "My dad died at 93," he says. "The day before he died, he was laying a cinder block wall. Dad liked to do masonry so much that my mother used to say she was afraid he would pave the entire yard with stone work."
Like father, like son.
The Princeton University graduate says he planned to be a chemical engineer like his father. He had worked during summers for New Jersey Zinc and thought he was destined to follow his father into engineering.
Fate intervened when he needed a lot of dental work done when he was a junior in engineering school. His dentist convinced him to consider a career in dentistry. After graduation from Penn Dental School, he came to Palmerton to open a dental practice and says he was never sorry about either decision.
"Dentistry is very demanding but it is a very good field," he says. Plus, the precision dentistry demands helped prepare him for masonry where hair-splitting precision is mandatory. Cyr thinks his engineering background helps with both.
What he likes best about masonry, he says, is that unlike other jobs, the results are tangible.
"A teacher might reach minds but the results of a day's work aren't readily apparent. A housewife cooks and cleans all day but the results of her labor quickly disappear. It's not like that in doing a masonry project. At the end of the day, you can stand back and see your work. And maybe it might be there forever," he says.
His biggest project to date and the one of which he is most proud are the extraordinary pillars he erected at the entrance of the Michael Carty estate.
"Michael put a lot of time and thinking into the design," Cyr credits. "We traveled around to look at different pillars and Michael kept refining the plans until he came up with exactly what he wanted."
In addition to their aesthetic appeal, the solid concrete and steel twin pillars are made to withstand tremendous force, Cyr observes.
"If a Mack Truck hit the pillars, the truck would shake and quiver but the pillars would still stand," he says.
That building project, which lasted several months, had more challenges than most jobs demand. Just getting the specially designed capitals on top of the pillars was a major ordeal that was further complicated by a comedy of errors on the part of the factory that made the 1,500 pound custom tops.
The first special order capital was so big and heavy that it crashed down on the pillar as it was being lifted by a huge crane. It knocked off the corner of the piece and marred the column which Cyr had to repair.
The second one slid off the truck as it was being delivered.
The third one was damaged in the shop.
And the fourth one was finally put in place, much to the delight of the "sidewalk superintendents" who got a kick out of watching the project progress. But the end result, all agree, is a magnificent job of which Cyr rightfully can be proud.
"He was very exacting and did a super job from start to finish," says a pleased Michael Carty.
While most of his jobs aren't that demanding, each one presents its own challenges," Cry said. "That's part of the appeal for me ] working it out in my head then seeing the finished project."
"Mostly though, I do a lot of little jobs ] the kind that home owners have a hard time getting people to do."
If he had to make a living from his masonry work, Cyr says he would starve to death. "With all the equipment I have to buy, I just about break even," he says. (What he doesn't add is that he often donates his labor for non-profit groups.)
He admits he never seems to run out of equipment he needs to buy.
"My wife isn't too thrilled with how I keep filling up the house with this stuff," he says. "I filled up the garage, the bedroom, the middle bedroom and I keep looking for where I can put more equipment."
He chuckles when he tells how his wife came home and found him warming masonry glue in the kitchen. "She said, 'Oh, no! Now you're taking over the kitchen, too.'"
Although it was Cyr's idea to replace the pavement in front of Palmerton library with pavers, he got sick and wasn't able to do the job. But there are plenty of projects around the town that have benefited from his considerable masonry talent, including the borough park and bandstand step.
Even when he's on vacation at his Ft. Myers Beach home, Cyr finds masonry projects to do. He says the seawall he built around his property probably saved the place from the hurricanes that pounded the Gulf coast . He's now going to build one for a neighbor, too.
While masonry might not be most people's idea of fun, it makes Cyr as happy as a kid making mud pies.
His "fun" is definitely carved in stone.

  Here are a two pictures of mine of this job

This morning about 10:30 AM I went down town on some errands and the temperature on the Keystone sign said 7 degrees. That is cold. I miss our morning walks.

I got this from Helen Truesdale Tucker I just love it.

A New Christmas Story....Gold, Common Sense and Fur
By Linda C. Stafford

My husband and I had been happily (most of the time) married for five years but we haven't been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with his word as my guide.
God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, he blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old. I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella."
I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint him. I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two-dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to understand when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess. In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time,
I still thank God daily for my children. While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother (I didn't even come close), I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God. I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."
My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes."My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not wrinkled clothes silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes." A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd, which was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing. I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama." Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived. My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur." The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation. "I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," Pastor Brian laughed, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur."
"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Supper is over and Queen had chili tonight. The cookie factory has shut down and the candy factory is open for business.
 I really can't say that I accomplished much today but I was busy. We really missed our walk Now it is time for bed!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 7:22 AM 8.3 at Slatington E.S. and 9.2 in the bus stop

 It is a cold day this morning but not as bad as yesterday. My blood glucose is 128 and my weight 194. I will be taking my 8 O'clock coffee, camera, and dog and head outdoors to check for myself.


There really wasn't much doing outside this morning. The cold still precludes a joint walk.

This is from Bob Green. (NOTE: It has been edited by me and is a modern version of "A Night Before Christmas". It is politically correct.)

Subject: Don't sue me if your Christmas isn't Merry!
 Subject: Holiday Greeting
    In accordance with the rich traditions steeped in antiquity regarding this annual electronic mail, the following amusing text is offered:
     Whereas, on or about the night prior to a particular celebratory event during the winter solstice holiday season, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse ("Mus musculus").
     A variety of foot apparel (e.g. stocking, socks) had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that a particular individual (hereinafter will be referred to as "Sarbox Clause" to avoid copyright lawsuits) would arrive at sometime thereafter.
     The minor residents (a.k.a., "children", "offspring", or "rug rats") of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations wherein vision of confectionery treats, including but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.
 Concomitantly, the party of the first part - being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the party of the second part (hereinafter
    "Partner") - and said Partner had retired for a sustained period of sleep.
Incidentally, and for the singular purpose of providing context, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear (e.g. kerchief and cap.)
    Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and apparent to said House, (i.e. the lawn), a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance.
    The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.
 At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter "the Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air (in direct violation of several physical laws) by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Sarbox Clause.
 Said Sarbox Clause was observed providing specific direction, instruction, and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer in accordance with generally accepted Project Management Office principles. Sarbox Clause specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. A subsequent taxonomy
analysis further classified the animals as Animalia Chordata Mammalia Artiodactyla Cervidae Odocoilinae Rangifer Tarandus (hereinafter "the Deer"). Upon information and belief, it is further asserted an additional co-conspirator named "Rudolph" ("Nosus Illuminatus") may have been involved.
 The party of the first part witnessed Sarbox Clause, the Vehicle, and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys, and other items of unknown origin or nature.
 Suddenly, without provocation, prior invitation, or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Sarbox Clause entered said House via the chimney.
 Said Sarbox Clause was clad in a red fur suit, which was to a degree covered with partially combusted hydrocarbon residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.
 Sarbox Clause did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stockings of the children, which hung adjacent to the chimney (the stockings, not the children), with toys and other small gifts. Said items, however, were within the guideline definition of "token nature" and therefore permissible to retain, presuming the relevant annual report is filed pursuant to the applicable Code of Conduct provisions.
 Upon completion of the aforementioned distribution task, Sarbox Clause signed off on the Form 120, touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and multitasked as sentinels. Sarbox Clause immediately departed for an unknown destination.
 However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer, and Sarbox Clause from said House, the party of the first part did hear Sarbox Clause state and/or exclaim:
"Merry winter solstice celebratory event to all, and to all a good night!"
Or words to that effect (said owner paraphrased for clarity)
 Note: Some restrictions may apply. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

 I am not sure what Queen has on the fire this morning. She needed some supplies for the candy factory so I went downtown to get what was required. Of course I took the camera along. As I was entering IGA the fire siren was blowing. After I left I stopped on Delaware Avenue and shot some pictures.  Palmerton's "Patches" was still sitting there in the small plaza next to the new Borough Hall. Then I shot a picture up Delaware Avenue.


As I was taking these photos the Aquashicola fire trucks were returning. I used the movie mode in the new Canon camera. The picture quality is startlingly clear. I wish I could reproduce them here. It would mean I would have to enable some kind of a player here on this site
but so far that is beyond my poor powers.
We decided to take the car and go downtown. Queen wanted some chocolate chips for the candy factory so we parked at the Keystone Bank and walked to Country Harvest and back. I took some pictures of Delaware Avenue at dusk. It was very nice. Evening and dusk pictures are very  hard for me.


One of the nice people we met out our walk was Sandy Hook. She was on her way to work at the library. On our way back from the store I dropped in at the library for this picture. I was in a hurry and the focus is a bit off. <Sigh>

We both needed a walk. It was not too cold besides I like to walk with my sweetheart. Tonight she is making a  pan "tuna casserole". It is a favorite of this old man.

Queen is still making candy. This afternoon she made the filling for "Buckeye" balls.They had to cool in the bus stop and now after supper she is coating them with chocolate.



Now I am her "go-fer". She makes them and I transport them back and forth to the bus stop between processing operations. It is plenty cold out there at 21.8 degrees and that is what she wants. I think she is done now at 8:32 PM.
She worked hard at all the cookie and candy business. I really doubt if those who eat these various goodies have any idea the amount of work that goes into them. If you had to buy them at a fair market price considering materials and labor, no one could afford to buy them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 7:30 AM 20 degrees at Slatington E.S. and 19 Deg in the bus stop
It is cold this morning and I shall be heading out soon with my coffee, camera, and dog.

The inside of the bus stop smelled wonderful this morning. When I went to get my tush cushion. It smelled like Willie Wonka's Chocolate factory with Queen's candy inside.
There was not much doing outside at all this morning. I guess we will be doing our food shopping because the weather tomorrow is predicted to go down the tubes!

This is Walter Guyer's obituary as seen in today's Morning Call.

Walter R.F. Guyer
Walter R.F. Guyer of Short Hills, N.J., died December 14, 2004, in Morristown (N.J.) Memorial Hospital. He was 90. Born in Elmira, N.Y., his family moved to Allentown. He was a 1932 graduate of Allentown High School. He then moved to Roselle, N.J., before moving to Short Hills 51 years ago. He earned a bachelors degree in chemical engineering in 1936 and a masters degree in 1938, both from Lehigh University, and went on to received a doctorate in physical chemistry from Princeton University in 1940. He was a research chemist for Exxon, starting at the Linden lab in 1940 and retiring in 1982 from Exxon Enterprises, New York City, working for Exxon for 42 years. For many years he was an active member of Christ Church, Short Hills, and a past president of the Milburn-Short Hills Art Center and Milburn-Short Hills Old Guard. He was the husband of the late Dorothy Elliston Guyer. Survivors: Sons, W. Richard Guyer and his wife Katherine of Bethlehem, Dr. David E. Guyer and his wife Leslie of new Providence, N.J.; grandchildren, Courtney Guyer, Kendall Ritz, Christopher, Richard, Thomas and James Guyer. Services: memorial, 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Christ Church, 66 Highland Ave., Short Hills. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Arrangements, Bradley, Smith and Smith Funeral Home, Springfield, N.J. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to a favorite charity.
Published in the Morning Call on 12/22/2004.

Last evening son George sent me some pictures of their tree decorating party. It looks as though everyone had a good time!! I am putting them in here for all to share. Grandson Jason had his girl friend, Christine Wisowaty there with them for the festivities.

      Andy                                                           Christine, Kathy and Jason
       Jason and Andy                                            Kathy and Christine
George and Oscar                                                       Andy and Jason
Christine and Jason                                                 Christine and Andy

We did our shopping this morning and the stores were crowded and the parking bad but it wasn't impossible to get around. I took a picture in Giant but with the lighting there I find the color balance in that store is terrible. Oh well.

This afternoon after our naps we went for a short walk down Columbia Avenue. There was still some light so I shot these pictures.


George Ashman's house and Mrs Carl Kegel's homes are decorated for the season.

This has been a hectic week for us. Queen is tired and has obviously overdone her energies this week. The combination of the cookie factory and then the candy factory has been hard on her endurance.There isn't much point in berating her because I can't change her. However we are both frazzled. So far I really don't know what we are going to do about Walter's funeral services. I know I no longer feel comfortable driving over there and back. Then too there is the problem of what to do with Butternut if we are gone for any period of time. We have never kenneled him so that is also a matter of concern. To be there by 11:30 AM will be a bit hard to do.

Thursday, December 23, 2004 7:12 AM 40 degrees at Slatington E.S. and 19Deg in the bus stop
 It looks like a rainy day on hand this morning. It has not started here yet but it is on the way. This morning my blood glucose is 136 and the weight is 195.

 We decided to go for a short walk. We went about half way down the 400 block and returned. It was blowing and it was raining but not hard.
Nonetheless Queen pointed out to me that my bitching about how the blowing wind making my hearing aid virtually useless was kind of silly because here I am feeling so much better and still complaining about something as trivial as that! She does have a way of pointing out correctly some of my frailties, which I do need!<Sigh>

We called Kathy last evening to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. She and Queen carried on an extended conversation that was good.
One of the things she told Queen was that today she had her last appointment with her Gynecologist doctor. She has gone to him for over 30 years and now he is retiring. His reason for retirement is very unique. His wife of many years has a brain tumor and is slowly but steadily getting worse. He loves her so much he does not have the heart to put her in a "home" or other care program. Therefore he is retiring to care for her himself at home. Now that is love!! Then I complain about my dumb hearing aid!!!

We have some shopping we want to do this morning.

<Later> We got home about 1 PM and it rained pitchforks and hammer handles most of the trip. In fact now at 4 PM it still is raining quite hard.

On the way we delivered some Christmas cookies and we mailed Dr. Jane's assortment to her in Florida. We finished our Christmas shopping. Queen and I got presents for each another. It was a very satisfactory trip in spite of the lousy weather.

Of course an afternoon nap is absolutely necessary.

Now this is the kind of health news that this old man loves. It is from Web MD and can be found at

Dec. 16, 2004 --
 Here's a new recipe for heart disease prevention: Grab a handful of dark chocolate, a couple of almonds, some fruits and vegetables, and a sprinkle of garlic. Wash it all down with a glass of wine. Do this every day, and researchers say you'll cut your risk of heart disease by a whopping 76%.
    The diet, dubbed the "Polymeal," is a combination of foods that have been individually shown to reduce one's risk of heart disease. It includes all of the above-mentioned items, eaten on a daily basis, plus fish four times a week. Ingredients can be combined as a meal or taken individually throughout the day.
    Scientists, reporting in next week's issue of the BMJ, reviewed the impact of each ingredient on blood pressure, cholesterol, and the overall risk of heart disease and calculated a combined effect. For example, about 4-5 ounces of wine (a standard glass) reduces the risk of heart disease by nearly one-third. The researchers also say that eating fish four times a week reduced heart disease risk by 14%.
    According to the journal study, combining seven food components (dark chocolate, wine, fruits, vegetables, garlic, almonds, and fish) significantly increases the life expectancy of people over age 50 and reduces heart events by more than two-thirds.
    Excluding any ingredients caused a slight decline in the overall heart protection benefits. However omitting wine reduced the meal's beneficial impact the most -- by 10%.
    The recipe for heart success has the biggest impact on men. Men who dine on the Polymeal program every day increase their total life expectancy by more than six and a half years compared with men not on the Polymeal. They also were able to prevent the onset of heart disease for nine years.
Women eating the Polymeal would live about five years longer than women not eating it. They keep heart disease at bay for eight years.
    In 2003 researchers introduced the idea of the "Polypill," a pill combining common medications used against different risk factors for heart disease. They showed that combining these drugs into one pill would reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 80%.
    Oscar Franco's team in the Netherlands wanted to come up with a nonpharmacological option.
"Following the Polymeal promises to be an effective, nonpharmacological, safe, and tasty means to increase life expectancy and reduce heart disease across the population," the authors concluded.

Golly Queen and I have been eating like this for years!

Friday, December 24, 2004 7:17 AM 26.2 at Slatington E.S. and 28.1 in the bus stop    
 It is Christmas Eve here in Palmerton and I guess we are as ready as we can expect. Tonight we are invited to Tommy's home for his usual Christmas Eve get together. 
I have orders from the boss that today we must put on a grand push to clean the house. George and family are expected Monday. We don't want them to see how filthy we actually live here! Ha!!!
Today the blood glucose is higher at 143 and the weight 196.

The following was in last night's Times News. It is something both men richly deserve.

Palmerton Council recognizes George Ashman, Dick Nothstein

Palmerton Borough Council this week honored two men who are among those who make the town "a nice place to live."

George Ashman, Dick Nothstein and representatives of the Blue Mountain Health System and Life Care Holdings were given special recognition for dedication, showing community support and providing for the needs of citizens.

Randy Gursky, council member, presented the first recipient, George Ashman, with the award for his dedication and countless hours of volunteer time to the community. Ashman has served on the board of the Palmerton Memorial Park Association since 1984. He has promoted and organized the local bloodmobile for over 10 years. As a member of the Palmerton Historical Society, he handles publications and newsletters, organizes Heritage Day activities, helps maintain the Historical Society property, and played a major part in preparation of the Historical Society's historical tour pamphlet.

For the past 15 years Ashman has been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels and delivers food each week to local residents and has been helping with the Palmerton CACPAC Food Pantry for nearly 20 years. "I appreciate this honor very much," said Ashman. He went on to say he admired the true volunteers of Palmerton such as the area firemen and people who keep our town safe.

Dick Nothstein was recognized for his dedication to the community. Nothstein has served as a committee member for Relay for Life, a representative to the Private Industry Council, a representative to the Market Town Initiative, and a church deacon and elder. He organized and financially sponsored the Holiday Homecoming musical production at Penn's Peak as a fundraiser for CACPAC. He supports local charities and organizations, including the Pregnancy Care Center of Carbon County and scouting programs.

His grocery store donates to charitable organizations and the needy and provides free apples to Appalachian Trail hikers who stop in Palmerton. Councilman Chris Olivia was the presenter of this award. Nothstien thanked his parents for being the ones that have enabled him to be able to do what he does today.

"If I could live anywhere, I would choose three places, third would be Palmerton, second would be Palmerton and the first would be Palmerton!" said Nothstein.

The Palmerton Borough Council also recognized the Blue Mountain Health System and Life Care Holdings for their dedication to the community. The Palmerton campus has the new assisted living facility known as The Village at Palmerton to provide for the needs of our citizens. This new facility at 71 Princeton Ave shows its continued commitment to Palmerton and area residents.

Accepting the award from councilman, Philip Binder, on behalf of the Village, were Joyce Schultz, marketing director, and Mary Jane Dugas, executive director of the facility. "We are thrilled to receive this award. We look forward to taking care of the adults in the area and also be able to add more employment to Palmerton," said Schultz.

Fritz Williams' Class of 1954 reunion picture was also in the paper. I can see that Doctor Harry Snyder and Frank Susanin were there with Fritz. Many of the others names are familiar but I can't place the faces. As with all of these things it is a picture of a lot of old people!! Ha!! Golly.

This is from Bob Green:

The Supreme Court ruled there cannot be a nativity scene in Washington, DC this Christmas.

This isn't for any religious or constitutional reason, they simply have not been able to find three wise men and a virgin in the nation's capitol. There was no problem however finding enough asses to fill the stable. 

I was out on the lower park bench this morning and was greeted by the Clarence Heydts on their morning walk

It looks as though Bernice Kleintop has her daughters with her over Christmas. That is good.

We went for our full mile walk this morning. On the way back we were hailed by Judge Webb who is having a family get together this evening. He said it is unusual when both boys, who are policemen, to be able to get off duty at the same time. I am sure family means a lot to the Webb family. I know it does to us.


Once again as has become my tradition is this reprint from The Wall Street Journal:
December 24, 2004

In Hoc Anno Domini
December 24, 2004; Page A10

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression -- for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
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In the words of Tiny Tim," bless us all everyone"

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