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Family Christmas Celebrations in Punx’y

a Blend of many Traditions, Contributions On the cover: Merry Christmas! ‘Punxsutawney Hometown’ magazine © Copyright 2011 — All Rights Reserved.

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unxsutawney’s unique heritage is a blend of many cultural traditions. The early settlers, primarily Scotch-Irish, English, and German brought with them their Christmas traditions which had roots in the teachings of their churches including Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran and Reformed. The immigrants, who came to work on the railroads, in the mines and in related industries and occupations also brought their traditions. Over the past century, these traditions have been adapted, adopted and mainstreamed to form the social culture of Punxsutawney as we know it today. By 1870, Punxsutawney had developed into a fairly stable community. Early settlers had intermarried and created a culture that was relatively homogenous. In the 1880’s, when the railroads were being built and the coal mines opened, the demand for labor was more than the local population could supply. The immediate answer to the need for workers was immigration. People from all of Europe were welcomed and could find jobs. The immigrants came for many reasons, mostly economic and for opportunities. They were not able to bring a great deal of worldly possessions with them. The one thing they could bring without too much space was their traditions. These new residents came from the countries in eastern and southern Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles. They built churches in which the people gathered together in mutual support and through the celebration of their traditions, they affirmed their heritage. As new generations were born and more immigrants came, they shared these traditions and today, many of these ethnic traditions have become the community traditions, which form the current culture of Punxsutawney. As we welcome this Christmas season we can appreciate the contribution of each of the immigrant groups to Punxsutawney. The Welsh and Scotsmen, who were skilled miners in their original countries,

came to seek employment in the mining industry. They established the Welsh Congregational Church at Horatio and the Welsh Baptist Church at Clayville. In these gathering places, the Welsh continued their tradition of music. The Horatio Glee Club was a much sought after group. In the 1890’s, they furnished musical entertainment at organizational events, such as the Odd Fellows’ Supper in Punxsutawney, and for private groups, including singing for the Hans Olson family, at Lindsey. What Christmas Season would be complete without the singing of “Deck the Halls” or “The Holly and the Ivy” both very

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old Welsh Carols which have their origins in Welsh dances? The Scots also brought their carols including “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,” and no Christmas season would be complete without Scottish Shortbread. This Christmas treat was originally large, flat, and round in shape with the indentations pressed around the edge to look like the rays of the Sun. Another Scottish favorite, which many hunters enjoy, is Venison Stew. Miners at Anita, who came from Scandinavia, brought with them their long held Lutheran traditions. They would visit - Continued on page 4

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2 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

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Men’S DaY WeDneSDaYS tar y Dec. 14 & 21 Complimernap all(except Men get 20% off Gi W Trollbeads, Art & Antiques) In the 7th U. S. Cavalry, Punxsutawney’s Joseph Young was a scout under Col. William F. Cody, serving under General George Custer. He left the Army days before Custer and his men were killed by Indians at Little Big Horn. (Charles M. Russell painting, 1903)

Punx’y’s Joe Young Rode the Wild West With ‘Buffalo Bill’

Memories of TV Western Christmases By S. Thomas Curry Let’s not forget the masked Texas Ranger of Hometown magazine called the Lone Ranger, who galloped away with his “High Ho Silver” command to his or children growing up in the 1940s and white horse. With him was his 50s, thoughts and images clever Indian companion, were influenced by enterTonto. tainment provided through A young boy at Christmas books, radio, movies, and could expect gifts that intelevision (black and white, at cluded cowboy outfits — with that) . chaps and spurs — cap pistols, In the Punxsutawney area, figure sets of cowboys and Inwestern movies, with the Saturdians, and hopefully a Red day morning serials, were popRyder BB gun. ular at the Alpine Theater on In Punxsutawney, long bePine Street, or the “The Jeff” on fore an interest in the folklore North Findley Street. When telof the shadow-casting woodevision became popular in the chuck was organized, residents late 1940s and 1950s, TV westhad a fascination in the stories erns quickly became favorites of Native Americans and the for family “small-screen” enterheritage behind the “Indian tainment. movies and TV origin” of the town’s name. Children were introduced to Western shows in the 1940s and 50s new heroes fighting for justice introduced popular cowboy Frequently, in the 1860s there in the “wild” Far West against heroes to children. Above, were traveling Indian shows rowdy cowboys and marauding the late Bob Curry, local set up in the town square that announcer, at age 5 gave programs of ceremonies, Indians. And remembered by radio poses in his Hopalong Casmany will be cowboy charac- sidy cowboy outfit that he re- songs, and dances to illustrate ters and personalities that in- ceived on Christmas Day “the life of the wild Indian on clude Hopalong Cassidy (and 1950. (photo courtesy of S. the plains.” Following the Civil War in his horse Topper) and classic Thomas Curry) 1865, much of the frontier area of the midwestern stars as Roy Rogers (with Trigger) West and northern Plains was being settled. and Dale Evans, Gene Autry, Johnny Mack Brown and Lash LaRue (with his bullwhip). - Continued on page 5


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solemn and quietly in our little town.” Many of the miners at Adrian, Walston, and Horatio came from Eastern European countries including Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. Their tradition was that of the Catholic faith, some Roman Catholic and others followed the Greek Orthodox tradition. They brought The SS Cosmas and Damian Church and Rectory about 1900. Immigrants with them the tradiof the Roman Catholic Faith were able to support each other and continue tion of the Crèche or their traditions by associating with this and the other Roman Catholic Churches established in the Punxsutawney Area. This church has been re- manger scene. Every house would have a placed by a larger building. Crèche and sometimes they would place a Crèche on the church lawn. On Christmas Eve, the young men

Family Christmas

Continued from page 2 friends on Christmas Eve where the traditional coffee and many different types of cookies were served. They decorated with straw ornaments and julbock (a goat made of straw) and trimmed with simple red ribbons. Their singing was often accompanied by the harmonica. They placed lighted candles in the windows of their houses and churches.. On Christmas day they would rise early in the morning and attend church. Their traditional meal, the smorgasbord, was served on Christmas Day and included ham, cold fish or meat slices, Swedish meatballs, casseroles and a variety of breads and cheeses. Today we continue to enjoy the many kinds of cookies, the good food, and we decorate our lawns with lighted animal forms similar to the julbock. In 1906, the Anita correspondent to the Punxsutawney News reported, “Yule-tide passed very

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year. The Chevra Agudas Achim of the Jewish Congregation in Punxsutawney. In 1902, 45 families belonged to this congregation. They gathered on Friday evenings, and Saturday mornings for worship and for holiday celebrations. This building no longer exists.

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Saints Peter and Paul’s Greek Catholic Church, about 1900. Here was a place where many Eastern European immigrants found mutual support for their faith and their treasured traditions. This building is still used.

and boys of the community would go from house to house, posing as shepherds, carrying the Christ child with them. They would sing and collect money. They observed the tradition of a Christmas Eve Supper in which twelve meatless items were served. The traditional food included porridge, usually out of farina, symbolizing hope, and honey and poppy seed, symbols for happiness and peace. The meal also included twelve meatless dishes, such as beet soup, pierogie, fish, stuffed cabbage and vegetables. Holiday breads were shaped in traditional braded rings for the three kings, baked, and stacked on the table with a can- Continued on page 6

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William F. Cody was a famous U. S. Army Indian scout on the frontier of the wild West, the site of numerous Indian uprisings. Cody became a friend of Punx’y’s Joseph J. Young during their missions with the army and the western settlement of the 19th century.

- Continued on page 8


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Continued from page 3 Those who entered the land west of the Mississippi River found resistance from the natives, who had occupied the land. And soon there would be Indian fights and killings. The men and families who sought new life in the frontier entered the area with great risks. Government troops would be sent. Indian agents would be sent, too, to help manage affairs between the Indians and settlers. One of the those agents was a Punxsutawney native, attorney Dean Stanley (D. S.) Altman, who was appointed as an Indian agent in September 1885 to the Dakota territory. In the early 1880s, a new resident had arrived in Punxsutawney. In his past, he had served in the Civil War and had mingled during his U. S. military service with many notable names associated with the settlement and the Indian “uprisings” in the new frontier of the “Wild West.” He personally knew such men as Gen. George Custer and William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. From his distinguished past, local residents would address him as “Col.” Joseph J. Young. Young was a native of Indiana County, born to pioneer settlers there. During the Civil War, he enlisted in Co. F of the 55th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. The regiment was recruited from several western Pennsylvania counties that included Indiana County. He served under Col. Richard White, also from Indiana County. After the war, at the age of 22, he enlisted in the regular army and was assigned to the 7th U. S. Cavalry that was organized in 1866 to patrol the land across Kansas, Montana, and the Dakota Territories. Its mission was to protect the movement of pioneer settlers into the Western plains and patrol against raiding Indians. During that period, he served as a sergeant under General George A. Custer. It was at that time that the uprisings of the Indians in that section occurred, and those skirmishes would become known as the Indian Wars. Under Custer’s command, Joseph Young gained a personal friendship with Col. William F. Cody, who was chief of scouts and dispatch carrier. Writings in a Punxsutawney newspaper told about Young’s past military service. On one occasion, in 1898, there was mention of an episode that caught Cody’s attention. It was said that “Young had a record as a daring soldier ...” When the area of Kansas was “filled with hostile Indians” in 1871, Joseph Young was a member of one of three companies of cow-

way: “The Indians area very superstitious. They believed that there were certain avengers, or demons, protected by the Evil Spirit, who made a business of killing Indians, and who could not be killed, because they bore charmed lives. The Indians were more afraid of one of these “wild” men than of a whole regiment of soldiers. Knowing this, whenever I saw a band of Indians, I would yell and flourish my Winchester so that it would glisten in the sun, and ride right towards the Indians, who would run like rabbits.... It was this superstition that kept the Indians from pursuing me and enabled me to reach the fort in safety.” For two years Young was a member of Col. Cody’s scouts under Custer. In addition to the conflicts with the Indians, Young had


Punx’y’s Joe Young

boys under siege at Fort Harker, Kansas. The commanding officer offered $500 to any man who would carry a message for reinforcements. The trip was to be made over 110 miles. Young volunteered to do it. At daybreak he began his ride and reached his destination at sundown. He explained the success of his adventure in this

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Family Christmas “Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays from the Residents and Staff at Mulberry Square.” 411-1/2 West Mahoning St. Punxsutawney, PA 15767


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6 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

Continued from page 4 dle placed in the middle. Another favorite of the season was pagach, a flat bread that contains potato and cheese. The symbol of the season for this group of immigrants was the sheaf of wheat to honor life and their ancestors. Christmas was considered a religious observance day, especially among the Orthodox. Gift giving for these miners was on Three Kings Day, usually the sixth day of January. Many miners, who settled at Walston, Florence, Wishaw, and at mines in the Reynoldsville area, came from Italy and brought their Italian and Roman Catholic traditions. They like most of the others began their Christmas celebration at Advent, four weeks before Christmas. One week before Christmas, the Italians put up their manger scene, called a presepio or crib. Every day the family would pray together in front of the manger scene. Those who came from the southern part of Italy, south of the Naples area, observed the tradition of a Christmas Eve feast when seven fish were served. Among the types of fish used for the feast are smelt, white fish, calamari, shrimp, eel, tuna and baccala (dried cod) prepared in a variety of ways. Spaghetti, broccoli or cauliflower, and panettone (fruited sweet bread) were also served. This meal was meatless, just as the one at the eastern European observance. After dinner, the family attended midnight Mass. Christmas Day was observed as a religious holiday. The 6th of January was their traditional day for gift giving. Some of the immigrants, who settled in Punxsutawney, found work as peddlers who took needed goods to the mining communities. These immigrants also came from eastern European countries, however, they followed the Jewish traditions. At this time of year, their tradition was to celebrate a holiday, Hanukkah, which means dedication. Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of the oil that happened when they were rededicating the temple on Jerusalem’s Mount Moriah. The small amount of oil, which would last only one day, actually lasted eight days. The eight-day celebration includes lighting the Hanukkah candles, eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly donuts, and gift giving. Traditions brought to the Punxsutawney area by immigrants and their families, who came to build railroads, work in the mines, at the coke ovens, and in other related in-

dustries, have gradually become part of our mainstream. These traditions have enriched the heritage of our children and will continue for generations yet to be born. (Editor’s Note: The resources used in the preparation of this article are available the Punxsutawney Memorial Library and the Punxsutawney Area Historical and Genealogical Society. Photographs are from the collection of Shirley J. Sharp. This article has been prepared by PRIDE – Punxsutawney Revitalization: Investing, Developing, Enhancing. PRIDE is a nonprofit organization which brings together residents, business people, community leaders and civic organizations, to improve the business districts in Punxsutawney. PRIDE is working to develop a Coal Memorial and Welcome Center for the Punxsutawney Area. Comments on this article may be directed to PRIDE, P.O. Box 298, Punxsutawney, PA 15767, or by calling 814-938-2493 and leaving a message. A PRIDE volunteer will return your call.) •••

Punxsutawney Theatre Arts Guild, Inc. Holds Open Auditions


s the new year approaches, it means a new season of shows for the Punxsutawney Theatre Arts Guild. First up is a comedy/drama by Neil Simon called “Jake's Women,” to be staged at the Punxsutawney Middle School in late February. Open auditions will be held at the Punxsutawney Community Center in the Peterson room from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on January 9 and 10. There are roles available for one male age 30 (or that can appear that age) and up; one girl age 12 to 14; and six women ages 20 and up. For all those people who say, “I would like to try acting sometime,” why not give it a try? Step out of your comfort zone and do something you've always wanted to do. We try to make the audition process simple, and they are open to everyone. If you need more information, or need to make special arrangements to audition, contact the director Kathy Dinsmore at (814)-9380378 or check out our website at •••

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8 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

Punx’y’s Joe Young

in the war. He asked for help to join Cody’s regiment of cowboys, which would be called “rough riders,” men who, Young had said, could “hit the bull’s eye with their horses on the dead gallop.” (Punxsutawney Spirit, August 10, 1898) With approval from his superior officer, Colonel Cody appointed Young as Assistant Chief of Scouts, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Buffalo Bill, with his wife and daughter,

Continued from page 5 fights with desperadoes, rustlers and outlaws of the wild, lawless West. He left the United States Army in 1876, just three days before the Battle of Little Bighorn in the Dakota Territories. The tension and conflict between the U. S. and the Plains Indians was high, as adventurous Americans proceeded westward, often breaking treaty agreements. The Indians were ordered by the government to assemble on new land “reserved” for them. Custer’s 7th Cavalry was directed to round them up. Indian Chief Sitting Bull of the Lakota Sioux nation united the Indians to meet the cavalry in a moment that would become “Custer’s Last Stand.” Custer and his entire force of 200 men were William F. Cody, Buffalo hunter and scout, became known as “Buffalo killed. After he left the army, Bill.” In the 1880s, he organized his popular Buffalo Bill’s Wild West outdoor shows. The shows appeared often near Punxsutawney and Joseph Young returned to Jef- Joseph J. Young would visit his old friend. ferson County. From his popvisited Young on his farm in Clover Townularity he was elected sheriff of the county in ship in Jefferson County in August 1898. 1882 on the Democratic ticket in what was The next day they departed together to considered a Republican county. A Civil Chicago and then on to Arizona to help orWar veteran, he helped organize the Capt. E. ganize the regiment. H. Little Post of the GAR in 1882 and was Col. Young often would take trips to neighits first commander. He would later become boring cities to see his friend. On one occaconstable of Punxsutawney in 1887. sion, in September 1901, Young would see Young’s close friend from the Indian Wars, Buffalo Bill in DuBois, where the Wild West William F. Cody, gained the nickname “Bufshow was to perform. Joining Young on the falo Bill” from his trade of hunting buffalo railroad trip to see the outdoor show was to feed workers on construction crews of the Dave Hoover, who worked at a local lumKansas Pacific Railroad. It is claimed he beryard and was one of the original memkilled 4,280 buffalo in 17 months. But his bers of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. name as “Buffalo Bill” in American folklore The brief news note had stated “The old was confirmed when he won an eight-hour scout was glad to see him...” shooting match with another hunter. Col. Joseph J. Young, scout under Buffalo From that skill and his bravery as a scout, Bill during the Indian uprisings, a soldier Cody became an American folk hero, the under the command of General Custer, Exfocu of novels written in the 1870s about Sheriff of Jefferson County, died at age 72 “Buffalo Bill.” With that mixture of fact and in Punxsutawney in June 1916. fiction in stories, he would perform some His friend William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, seasons in the theater. His theatrical genius buffalo hunter, U. S. Army scout and Indian led to organizing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West fighter, organizer of the Buffalo Bill Wild shows in 1883. The outdoor pageants of West exhibition, died in January 1917. wild west drama and hard-riding cowboys Long before movies and TV in the Punxwould later feature Annie Oakley, known for sutawney area, children in the 19th century her sharpshooting skills, and appearances of could imaginatively create their own images real Indians and the star power of Chief Sitabout the frontier of this area and the expanting Bull, who had defeated Gen. Custer at sion of the U. S. to the “Wild West” by lisLittle Bighorn. tening to the stories told by their In early summer of 1898, when the Spangrandparents and older residents, who had ish-American War had begun, Young began lived the history. And what a great history writing to his friend Buffalo Bill, telling him they lived! he wanted to get into the army again to serve •••


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Christmas is not just for kids By Sharon Randall Scripps Howard news Service hat is it about Christmas that makes kids try to be “good” and old people act like kids? For weeks, my husband has been nagging, “Can we please put the tree up now?” The man loves Christmas. I love it, too. But I can usually wait for it until Christmastime. Before Halloween, he started itching to put the tree up. OK, maybe it was November, but it felt like October. The holidays seem to come earlier every year. I remember as a child thinking Christmas could never come soon enough. In summer, I’d start begging my mother to put our tree up. I had to start early to make sure she didn’t forget. Christmas trees were not her favorite thing. I don’t know what her favorite thing was, but it was definitely not a tree. She didn’t like having to go out and get one, so she left that to my stepfather. She didn’t like decorating it, so she left that to me. And she really didn’t like taking it down after Christmas and cleaning up the mess. But we could never do it to suit her, so she did that herself. Finally, when I was 10 or so, she came up with a solution: A fake aluminum tree that folded up for storage, and left no sticky needles on the floor. I hated it. It looked like a TV antenna covered with toilet brushes. Have you ever tried to decorate a TV antenna covered with toilet brushes? Trust me, you don’t even want to try. A few days after Christmas, I got on a bus to go see my dad and his parents on their farm. When I told my grandmother about the fake tree, she said, “Your mama works too hard.” The next morning, she shook me awake and said, “Come see your Christmas tree.” Outside the kitchen window stood a giant fir covered in fresh snow. And there on its highest branch sat the perfect crowning ornament — a cardinal. In the stillness and beauty and surety of


that moment, with my grandmother’s breath warm on my neck, I forgot the fake tree and my mother’s troubles and the doll that I had wanted, but would never get. And suddenly it was Christmas. So it always is. If Santa only comes while we’re sleeping, Christmas only comes when we’re wide-eyed awake to the gifts that are ours every day. My mother finally got rid of the fake tree, thanks to a change in her nerve medications and the fact that we had to keep adjusting the toilet brushes to avoid interference in TV reception. I vowed never to have a fake Christmas tree. I’m learning to be more careful of what I vow. After my husband and I moved to the desert outside Las Vegas, we kept buying fresh Christmas trees that wouldn’t last a week before dropping their needles. Finally, we gave up and bought a fake tree. It doesn’t look, smell or feel like a real tree. It doesn’t pretend to be what it’s not. Everybody knows it’s fake. But it’s green, not aluminum; covered in branches, not toilet brushes; and it doesn’t interfere with our TV reception. I’m not crazy about it, but I don’t hate it. Especially when I see how happy it makes my husband to drag it from the garage to the living room. It’s standing there now, all crooked and lopsided, beat up from storage, looking as if it had to fight all the other fake trees in the world for the privilege of spending Christmas with us. Tomorrow, we’ll straighten it out, patch it up, cover it with lights and an angel, a few treasured ornaments and the snowflakes my grandmother crocheted for me. It will still be a fake tree. But it will come alive with the spirit of a real Christmas, and with the little-boy laughter of a grown man who reminds me that Christmas is not just for kids. (Sharon Randall can be contacted at P.O. Box 777393 Henderson NV 89077 or at •••

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ost households have family traditions or at least non-traditional traditions. Whether they’re food, decorations, shopping or activities, these family customs are repeated every Christmastime. There is the tree. My parents tried to get away with not having a tree once. I was 17 years old, or around there at the time, because I ended up driving to a gas station to buy one myself. I have since realized that getting a Christmas tree to stand up in one of those metal stands is frustrating, and quite possibly infuriating. More impor-

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tantly, I learned that even if your job is just holding the tree up, you should wear shoes to protect yourself from a flying axe. There are a few items I love bringing out of storage for different seasons. Other than that, I don’t decorate, ever. It’s one of my non-traditional Christmas traditions. Over the past twelve years, I can only remember two Christmas trees. One was a tree I bought at a car lot. We cut it in half and just put up the top. Last year there was a Charlie Brown tree we dug up in the backyard. We were hoping that it would live to be replanted, but it didn’t. I have a white ceramic tree that, as a kid, I put up in my room. It plays music. Silent

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Night, I think. It went next to my pet-turtle Mikey’s cage. After I found out my grandma hadn’t actually made it in ceramics, but her neighbor had, I quit putting it out every year after that. I realized, too, that the lime green, hot pink, orange, and aqua lights, glowing at the ends of the branches, aren’t traditional Christmas colors either, unless its 1970. The star on top is even hot pink. All white or all blue would be pretty. Otherwise, I need a tie-dyed tree skirt to match its current psychedelic colors of 1970’s Christmas past. I’ve never lived in a house that had Christmas lights put up outside. I’ve often wanted to rate Christmas-light displays. I picture it as a fun game, kind of like Yahtzee with scorecards, but you would need four plastic soldiers, three inflatable Grinchs, a baby Jesus, etc. Every town must have a house that displays a plastic army of toy soldiers or nutcrackers. Find it and you get to check off the bonus section. In second grade, we drew pictures of something that reminded us of Christmas. Our teacher then had our drawings made into pins for us to wear. My pin was a chocolate chip cookie. My teacher criticized the artwork for my pin. “And how does this represent Christmas?” my normally scowling teacher scowled. I told her I make chocolate chip cookies at Christmas. “Oh,” she scowled again.. Years later, I started adding red and green M&Ms to the tops of my cookies. It took many batches of cookies to perfect the technique so that they stay on top and in the center of the cookie. Of course, there must be two red and a green or two green and a red on every cookie. As promised last month I have a scone recipe for you. Technically, I didn’t remember to write it down, but I’m typing it - Continued on next page

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Memories and Recipes Continued from previous page right now for you. At least this one won’t end up on the scary shelf of recipes that may never see the light of day again.

cRANBERRY pEAR ScoNES 1 1/4 cups flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 1/4 cup margarine 1 chopped pear 1/4 cup chopped cranberries 1/3 cup buttermilk

Chop the cranberries and mix with brown sugar in a container with a lid, then shake slightly and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients then cut in the margarine. Add the 2

Tbsp. sugar and buttermilk and stir with a spoon. Chop the pear. Add the pear and cranberries to the batter. Form an inch high circle with the dough on top of a little flour on your counter or baking sheet. Either cut out the scones using a circle shaped cutter or a glass, or cut into 4 wedges and separate to an inch apart. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes. Serve warm, with or without butter or preserves. After experimenting with several different spices for these, I came to the conclusion that they really don’t need anything extra. If you want, you could try 1/8 tsp. cardamon, 1 tsp. fresh ginger (choppped and added along with the cranberries) or some orange zest. Good luck finding the cardamon in Punxsutawney, though. I think I bought the last jar. Sorry. I can’t be the only one who remembers Ira and Barry, the ice cream entrepreneurs from the movie City Slickers. Barry’s talent was picking the perfect ice cream to compliment any meal. I’ve seen this movie more than any normal person. My little brother watched this movie over and over. It’s now permanently a part of my dialogue. I still say lines from this movie 20 years later. Thanks Danny. My favorites are “He ate bacon at every meal. You just can’t do that!” and “hellooooo,” as Billy Crystal’s character Mitch said in his best baby cow moo voice. After sampling almost a dozen Twining’s of London teas, I am almost on Barry’s level of choosing a tea to match any dessert or sandwich or cookie. For my cranberry pear scones, I recommend their Cranberry Green Tea or Pomegranate Black Tea. The cranberry pear scones were the best breakfast ever. It made me think of other

Christmas morning breakfasts. My mom would make homemade blueberry syrup to have with homemade feather pancakes. My brother carried on the tradition when the house became his. His friends come over on Christmas morning for the now, at least, locally famous feather pancakes and blueberry syrup. Another movie my brother watched relentlessly was Home Alone. It has to be my favorite holiday movie, second only to A Christmas Story. I even ended up with two copies of the Home Alone soundtrack for Christmas one year. We had a strange CD mix that year. The Home Alone Soundtrack, Mannheim Steamroller and Robert Johnson blues songs. The only nice memory I have of working in the Christmas Village department at Kaufmann’s Department store was how great it smelled there. There were these room sprays that smelled like orange and cinnamon, and they reminded me of the ornaments I had made by taking oranges and sticking cloves into them in patterns like snowflakes or diamonds. You can hang them up with fancy holiday ribbons or stack them in a bowl. My final non-traditional tradition is not shopping. I don’t shop for Christmas. Not at all. Of course, I don’t recommend everyone not shopping, as there are so many local stores to buy beautiful gifts, or even gift cards, for everyone on your list.The kids on my list get savings bonds. Sometimes I give homemade gifts especially cookies or these birdseed ornaments shaped with cookie cutters. It’s the thought that counts.

1/4 cup water 1 1/4 cup birdseed

Stir gelatin into water in a small pan and heat til dissolved. Add the birdseed and mix til coated. Place cookie cutters on a baking sheet. You can spray or grease the pan and cookie cutters to prevent sticking. Press the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutter shapes. Use a pencil to make a hole for a ribbon, but not too close to the top. When cool, remove the cookie cutters. Add ribbon or yarn and hang outdoors for the birds to enjoy. I admit I had to dig this one out of my scary recipe shelf. It can’t be that scary, since I was able to find it. Happy cooking and celebrating, whatever your traditions or non-traditions may be. •••

Joyous Noel

Holiday bells are ringing, and we’d like to chime in with our sincere warm wishes for each and every one of you.




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(Editor’s Note: ‘From Our Past,’ researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.)

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December 6, 1907 - Now that winter seems to be on in full blast the migrating of the “knights of the road” has been stopped somewhat. Just where the hoboes winter this year is a mystery, but it was not many years ago that the coke ovens at Walston sheltered about thirty the winter through. (Punxsutawney Spirit) December 10, 1868 - The following rule was adopted by the Board of Managers of the Mahoning Navigation Company, at a late meeting: That the rules in reference to Brackets which had been promulgated in Toll Sheet, be amended, so that hereafter there shall be charged Three Dollars as entrance fee on each raft to be paid at the time the rafts are entered by the Bracket Master, who is authorized to make a general bracket when fifty rafts shall be entered and paid for to the Treasurer of said Company. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) December 21, 1887 - J. J. Rickard, the contractor who built the coke ovens at Horatio, was recently presented with an elegant gold watch and chain by his grateful employees. Mr. Rickard is justly proud of the gift, and values it much more for the kindly sentiments that inspired it, than for its intrinsic worth. It isn’t often that men think enough of their employer to chip in and buy him a gold watch. (Punxsutawney Spirit) December 21, 1906 - Farmers telephones are becoming quite numerous in this section of the country. The rural com-

munity surrounding Big Run is soon to be connected up with one of the instruments. In communities where they have the rural telephone service they would not think of doing without it and Big Run, after the line to the Paradise settlement is installed, will wonder how they town ever got along without the service. (Big Run Tribune) December 28, 1897 - The Star Iron Works at Lindsey (Clayville) will next week take out their steam engine and boiler and put in a fifteen horse power gas engine. This will be the first gas engine to be used in this section and its advantages over steam power will be watched with interest by the proprietor, Mr. Porter, as well as all the workmen employed in his shops. (Punxsutawney News) ••• Your business will reach every home in the Punxsutawney area with an advertisement in Hometown magazine.

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Let’s give Christmas complaints a holiday By Reg Henry Pittsburgh Post-Gazette t’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. You turn on the TV and the Christmas ads are nonstop. The word Christmas is on everybody’s lips. Yes, some mention is made of the “holiday season,” but often it seems more an attempt to avoid saying Christmas too much in one sentence. Shoppers have played their part in the Christmas pantomime — since Thanksgiving, they have been falling over each other in buying their Christmas gifts, stopping only to administer some seasonal pepper spray. Why, even the elves on Wall Street took notice of consumer confidence and this helped lift the stock market. (The same thing happened long ago with the price of frankincense and myrrh.) So peace on Earth and goodwill among men — and ho ho ho to shopping. (Hey, give that video game to me, I saw it before you did!) Christmas is good for everybody in his or her own way. But something is still missing. What is it? Ah yes, I remember now. The old chestnut has not been fully pulled from the fire: the one about the supposed war on Christmas. Already the grinches are preparing a new campaign of seasonal grouchiness and never mind that just a few weeks after Thanksgiving, the part of our brains that stores the word “Christmas” is aching from over-repetition. Already I have received the annual email that says the Obama administration has banished Christmas from the White House and the Christmas tree has been renamed a holiday tree — all of which is total nonsense, which explains why it is widely believed in the America of today, land of the free, home of the gullible.


Already I have received the poem written in the style of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” but this one, with a wonderful disdain for effective poetic scanning, declares: “Twas the month before Christmas/When all through our land/Not a Christian was praying/Nor taking a stand/See the PC Police had taken away/The reason for Christmas — no one could say ..” Really? Not in my church. In fact, pull my other leg, it’s got a Christmas bell on it. But reality never intrudes on the fun of nursing this seasonal grievance. Every year without fail, sanctimonious grinches — seeking to promote a further sense of grievance among the chronically aggrieved — declare that Christmas is under secular assault because some stores, not knowing the religious affiliations of their customers, dare to wish their customers “Happy holidays.” Well, while I would prefer to be wished “Merry Christmas” myself, I think happy is as happy is wished, and a good wish of any type is better than a poke in the eye with a burnt holly stick. Further, any good wish at this time of the year is a genuflection, a nod, unwitting or not, to the eternal season of goodwill among men — and, of course, among those women who do not turn the shopping experience into a rugby scrum. Surely there are some. My view is rooted in the conviction that the sacred Christmas has about as much chance of being supplanted by the secular Xmas as thin Santas have of catching on. People can shop until they drop, kids can sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” instead of “Silent Night” in schools, stores can endlessly wish their customers “Happy holidays,” and even when stripped of all the

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Choosing, and caring for, a live Christmas Tree By Debbie arrington Sacramento Bee ere are some tips for choosing, and caring for, a live Christmas tree: IF PLANNING TO CUT YOUR OWN: • Measure your room. Know how high your ceiling is and how wide the door is before trying to shove a tree inside. • For your tree hunt, wear warm clothes, thick gloves and sensible shoes. “Don’t wear your brand-new pretty boots; you’re going to get muddy,” said Dee Kobervig of Crystal Creek Tree Farm in Camino, Calif. “Prepare to get wet. Even if it’s not raining, the trees hold a lot of moisture.” • If cutting a tree at a farm, you likely won’t need tools. Most farms provide saws, and some offer help cutting, too (usually for a gratuity). • Measure the tree before cutting. Most farms have measuring poles available. A 10footer may look “small” among other trees, but it may not fit in your living room. • Cut the tree 6 to 12 inches above ground level, right above the first (or second) branch. That will allow the stump to grow another tree. The same stump can produce three or four trees over a 20-year period. • Figure out how you’re going to get the tree home. Most farms offer tie-downs and/or netting to bundle the tree, but you may want to bring something to cover your car’s seats or trunk bed. “Some people rent trucks and come up here with family, friends and neighbors to get several trees at once,” Kobervig said. IF BUYING A PRECUT TREE: • Buy as fresh a tree as possible. “Check for smell first,” says Christmas-tree expert Mike Bondi, of Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. “Crush a few needles


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14 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

in your hand and take a deep whiff of that wonderful forest smell. It should have a good, clean evergreen scent.” • Try the snap test. “When you bend it between your fingers, a fresh needle should snap in half like a carrot,” Bondi said. “If it’s pliable, it’s a sign the tree is drying out.” WHEN YOU GET IT HOME: • Take another half-inch off the base of the trunk. “This opens up pores that get clogged by pitch or sap,” explained Bondi. “That sap clogs up the tree’s ability to take up water.” • Use the biggest tree stand you can find — even for a tabletop tree. “Ideally, the stand should hold a gallon of water,” Bondi said. • Trees need water to stay fresh — and they drink a lot. “An average fir tree will soak up one to two quarts every day for the first week,” Bondi said. “You’ll be surprised by how much they drink.” • Keep the stand filled with fresh water — and nothing else. Research by tree growers shows that additives and preservatives did little to lengthen the life of a fresh tree. • Put the tree in a cool spot, away from furnaces, fireplaces and sunny windows. “I tell people to put them in the coldest room in the house,” said Kobervig. “Most people want to put them in the family room, which is often the warmest room. If you do, try to choose a cold spot in that room.” • With proper care, a Douglas fir will last about three weeks before dropping needles. A Noble fir will last six weeks. (Contact Debbie Arrington at darrington(at) Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

Merry Christmas !

some simple dos and don’ts for holiday mingling By Rose Russell Toledo Blade he holidays are here and with them comes the anxiety some people feel about going to dinners and parties when lots of first impressions are being made. Going into new social settings “makes everybody nervous. You really do want people to like you,” said Gretchen Zyndorf, of Sylvania Township, Ohio. So how do you alleviate the stress? One way is to ask others about themselves. “Everybody likes to talk about themselves, and if you can come up with (a subject) you both know that you can talk about, it makes it so much easier,” said Zyndorf, who volunteers at the Valentine Theatre and the Toledo (Ohio) Humane Society. Most people don’t want to come across


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unpolished, even though society is terribly casual anymore. A good first step is to get it right on an introduction. When meeting someone new, always state your first and last names. “When you are introduced to someone, you always want to make sure you have a nice firm handshake, and to look the person straight in the eye,” said Bonnie Nagle, director of John Casablancas Modeling and Personal Development Center in Toledo. That might seem basic, but it helps put those who are uncomfortable in social settings at ease. Making a favorable mark says a lot about a person. Moreover, essential knowledge about socializing applies in many cases, and a person’s success or failure can determine whether a relationship gets off to a good start, an invitation is again extended or an applicant gets a job. Therefore, being socially acceptable does not solely apply to business. It includes relatives, who sometimes are too relaxed at family functions. For instance, a parent might not appreciate an adult relative using foul language in front of children. A respectful chat with the offender might be necessary. Being a favorable guest is more than knowing which fork to use. It involves handling social blunders with aplomb and engaging other guests. Hosts can make that easy for guests. Art and Janet Purinton have a way of putting their guests at ease when entertaining in their Sylvania Township home. “You treat friends like family and family like friends,” Art Purinton, a retired KeyBank executive, said. “When we had busi-

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Christmas Complaints Continued from page 13 commercial glitter, what is left is still the peaceful glow emanating from an ancient manger. It is said of hypocrisy that it is the homage that vice pays to virtue. That is the same function that the commercial Xmas serves in relation to the religious Christmas. Indeed, without a commercial Christmas to publicize the religious event, Dec. 25 might just be another easily forgotten church holiday. Where would we be then? With no Christmas fruitcakes serving as door stops, for one thing. But that is not the most perverse part of the imagined war against Christmas. No, that distinction rests with those who lap up the annual Christmas-under-assault fiction, because they actually seem to enjoy feeling resentful and offended. They pile their imagined fears and lurking resentments on a Christmas bonfire of the mind and warm themselves in the self-righteous glow. Instead of that, how about some Christmas peace and goodwill, just for a change. How about smiling instead of snarling when greeted with “Happy holidays” in the spirit of the season. How about some faith that the baby Jesus is not going to be upended by Frosty the Snowman. Will I ever see such a Christmas? Probably not. The usual suspects can hardly wait to trot out the same old baloney. And baloney is no meal to serve up at Christmas. (Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. E-mail rhenry(at) For more stories visit •••

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ness acquaintances come to the house, we tried to make them feel like family.” Here are more suggestions from others familiar with entertaining. What to wear Ask what specifically is the appropriate attire. While Vera Rice, educator, says invitations usually make that clear, Eric Hillenbrand, owner of 20 North Gallery in Toledo, says you should find out if “casual” means jeans or dressy casual. “The more specific you get, the more certain you are not to be out of place,” he said. Dee Talmage, of Ottawa Hills, Ohio, chairman of the board at Owens Community College, said business casual for her tends to be fail-safe. “Even if it’s dress down.” And whether the affair is at a home or a country club, Monica Weaver, business development leader at Owens Corning, said guests want to be comfortable. “You don’t want to tug at something too tight,” said Weaver, of Toledo. “The remedy is to be comfortable while appropriately dressed and looking very well and that way you can act in a very natural and fluid manner.” Nagle said: “No matter how you look or what you wear, the most attractive thing is being a gentleman or being a lady. If you don’t know the dress, it’s always better to over- rather than to underdress.” About the meal Hillenbrand said people who have food allergies or specific diets should alert the host early on. It poses a dilemma to tell a host that one is vegetarian when sitting down to a dinner where meat is the main course. “Raise the issue early. That puts both sides at ease,” he said. That gives the host time to prepare another dish, he said. Then, when sitting down to dinner, Nagle said, “The first thing you do after you are seated is put your napkin on your lap.” Rice, of Sylvania Township, suggested that guests who may be a little rusty about table decorum check the plethora of books that offer guidance. Meanwhile, Nagle said that if you can’t recall what piece of silverware to use, start from the outside and work your way in toward the dinner plate: use the smaller fork to eat salad, the larger fork for dinner. Butter the dinner roll on the bread plate, not while holding it in your hand, she added. If there is no bread plate, butter the roll while it’s sitting on your dinner plate. If someone asks for the salt, pass - Continued on page 18

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Jesus couched his teachings in parables By David Yount Scripps Howard news Service oday, living amid the sentimental remains of Christian culture, we cherish a benign view of Jesus as a compassionate teacher, conveniently forgetting his “hard” sayings. In his own time, he managed to offend almost everyone of consequence, warning, for example, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to gain eternal life. Jesus chastised


his own apostles for their envy of one another and for their slowness to understand him. He correctly predicted that the apostle Peter would deny even knowing him, and said of the traitor Judas that it would be better if he had never been born. At the same time, Jesus was careful to couch his teaching in the form of stories that did not directly offend his friends and enemies alike. His parables are stories that protected Jesus’ identity and full message. Their function was distinct from his overt preaching and teaching, which demanded repentance and a change of heart. Taken together, the parables illustrate how God means people to behave in his kingdom. As author Paul Yancey acknowledges, “Jesus never offered a clear definition of the kingdom; instead he imparted his vision of it indirectly through a series of stories.” Jesus did not expect mass conversion to his teaching in his brief lifetime. Rather, he reserved the secrets of the kingdom to those who were his constant companions. Jesus’ parables are brief cautionary tales, not unlike the best of fairy tales we read as children. Fairy tales can both excite and frighten the young. They call for courage and persistence, often in situations that are fraught with danger. Jesus is never a character in his own sto-

ries, which are fictional. Today we enjoy an immense advantage over those who actually heard Jesus speak in person. Excepting the apostles, those who encountered Jesus in his time would have heard only a few of his parables. Because we possess the written accounts of the gospels, we have them all. Unfortunately, over centuries, the church has treated Jesus’ simple stories as fanciful allegories, investing them with meaning that Jesus never intended. Biblical scholar

Klyne Snodgrass calls the parables “the most abused and mistreated stories ever told. They have been twisted, shortened, realigned and psychologized for centuries by pastors and scholars alike.” Despite that abuse, Jesus’ stories remain vivid. When we consider the faith of Christians, it is the good shepherd, the prodigal son and the good Samaritan who come to mind, along with the poor cripple Lazarus, the self-satisfied Pharisee and the repentant publican. They, and countless others, are the cast of God’s great drama. (David Yount’s 15th book, “The Greatest Stories Ever Told,” will be published in 2012. He answers readers at P.O. Box 2758, Woodbridge, VA 22193 and dyount31(at) •••


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Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 17

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Continued from page 16 the salt and pepper together. Dinner, party topics Most people know that talking about politics and religion can upset pleasant evenings. “Everyone thinks their religion is the best,” Nagle said, adding that a guest doesn’t need to join the conversation if others talk about their religion. And just because a host talks about those topics doesn’t mean guests should join in, Rice said. “You might say, ‘I read this or that in The Wall Street Journal,’ “ as that approach implicates no one, she said. Rice also said that making comments about people from different ethnic or cultural groups can make others feel uncomfortable. “Make objective statements, but don’t make self-incriminating statements,” she added. Besides, not every statement needs a response, Zyndorf said. “If people ask me something inflammatory or opinionated, it’s OK to smile and not say anything,” Zyndorf said. “It’s so much easier than trying to back down.” Weaver says to bear this in mind: “When you are in someone else’s home or in a new environment, it’s important to be a follower in terms of conversation and follow the leader of the group. That’s the best way to fit in and get along with others.” Gifts, thank-yous Zyndorf said it’s thoughtful to take a gift when going to someone’s home. A gift for the hostess or the family pet says thankyou for taking time and energy to give you a nice evening. “I never go empty-handed,” she said. “And I always send a thank-you note, saying something personal.” And new friends or relatives want to be in tune with a family’s established gift-giving tradition. If moderate or handcrafted gifts are expected, don’t embarrass anyone with a lavish gift, Hillenbrand said. “The more information you have, the

more you can prepare yourself,” he said. Art Purinton is put off by how casual society has become, which he partly blames on the vast use of email. So don’t expect an invitation via email from the Purintons, and don’t RSVP that way either. Their guests receive formal invitations and RSVP cards with a stamped envelope for return mail. Email or not, hosts still want RSVPs because it helps them plan. Rice said to respond by the requested date, and for guests not sure of the exact party site, “Use your GPS or take a drive first to make sure you know where you are going so you are not late.” Social blunders An accident or some sort of social blunder is bound to happen. How does one redeem oneself? Simply apologize and move on. “If you spill a glass of water, you never want to bring more attention to that incident,” Nagle said. “Grab something to wipe it up. If you spill food on yourself, excuse yourself and go to the restroom.” When serving red wine, inevitably there will be a spill on a light-colored carpet. Art Purinton said to immediately tell the host. Janet Purinton said to dab up spills on the dinner table with a napkin. Often someone gets another person’s name wrong. That merely needs “an honest mea culpa,” Art Purinton said. “The sooner you say, ‘Oh, my fault,’ is the best way to put a blunder behind you.” Hosts who set the tone of an event make it easy for guests to avoid a social gaffe. “If you keep things formal, basically people are more apt to continue in that vein,” Janet Purinton said. “Even having a couple of open bars in the house, people tend not to overindulge.” (Contact Rose Russell at rrussell(at) (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, ••• Coming next month ... our Groundhog Day issue, reach every home in the Punx’y area!

We wish you peace, joy and enlightenment throughout this holy season and beyond.

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O Christmas Tree! Thy discoverers are so amazing

By Bill Toland Pittsburgh Post-Gazette his isn’t an essay about the history of the Christmas tree, whose tradition can be traced back to late-Middle Ages Germany, but rather, a brief history about the people who discovered some of them. This is not quite as boring as it sounds. In the 1700s and 1800s, botanical treasure hunting in the Americas was every bit as swashbuckling as high-seas piracy or any other sort of adventuresome career you can think of. The man for whom the Douglas fir was named was stomped to death by a fitfully angry bull in close quarters, for example. Either that or he was murdered. Nobody knows for certain. What is certain, though, is that in the 1700s and 1800s, the New World was full of plants that the rest of the world had never seen. Gardening as a hobby was just beginning to take off in England and Russia, and elsewhere in Europe, too; thus, there was big money to be made in discovering exotic specimens and bringing their seeds back to the Old World for propagation. Finding new plants meant years of climbing mountains and crossing deserts and fording rivers, all of it done by men of dubious scientific training, who were more or less illsuited for lives of rugged exploration. JOHN JEFFREY — Jeffrey Pine Scottish-born, as many of the great North American plant hunters were, John Jeffrey was selected to travel to America in 1849 to


collect plants for the next five years. What his friends and relatives thought of this decision at the time is unrecorded by historical accounts. Mostly he explored the Pacific Northwest, and near California’s Mount Shasta, he documented what is now known as the Jeffrey Pine, one of many popular Christmas-tree iterations out west. In 1854, having departed from San Diego, he attempted a crossing of the Colorado Desert. He was never seen again. “Among plant hunters of the Northwest, John Jeffrey was like a shooting star, a quick twinkle soon extinguished,” writes Frank Lang. There are several accounts of Jeffrey’s death. Contemporary James McNab wrote: “It appears that he was killed trading with Indians.” Frederick V. Coville believes Jeffrey “perished of thirst on the Colorado Desert.” A third account says that “he was murdered by a Spanish Outcast, for his mule and scanty travelingappointments.” DAVID DOUGLAS — Douglas-Fir David Douglas, likewise Scotland born, made the same Pacific Northwest trip as John Jeffrey, but decades earlier. In 1824, he began his multiyear exploration of the region, discovering several types of conifers. In 1827, he introduced the Douglas-fir into wide cultivation (though it had already been “discovered” by rival botanist Archibald Menzies, which is how the Douglas-fir got - Continued on next page

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20 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

O Christmas Tree!

Continued from previous page its scientific name, Pseudotsuga menziesii). The Douglas-fir is not a true fir, and there are several species of it, found all over the world, but Douglas is the person who gave the tree its common name. By age 35, he was already one of the most celebrated botanists in Europe, and he took a much-deserved vacation to Hawaii in 1833. Climbing Mauna Kea, he is said to have fallen into a wild-animal pit trap. If that wasn’t bad enough, the trap was already — or soon after became — occupied by a bull, which was not pleased about its predicament, as you can imagine. He (Douglas, not the bull) was found dead some time later, apparently by a hunter named Ned Gurney, who also happened to be an escaped convict. This led to some speculation that Gurney had killed Douglas for the cash he was carrying on him, and while he was a suspect in Douglas’ death, he was never arrested. C.J. LEYLAND — Leyland Cypress C.J. Leyland was not a plant hunter, but his story is just as interesting. Born Christopher John Naylor in 1849, C.J. changed his surname to Leyland after inheriting Haggerston Castle, part of Leyland Entailed Estates, from his uncle, a well-to-do banker. After moving into the castle in the 1890s, he began an ambitious gardening and landscaping program across 23,000 acres. One result of his efforts was the propagation of Cupressocyparis leylandii, a sterile hybrid of the Nootka Cypress and the Monterey Cypress (inter-genetic breeding between two different trees is rare, which is why the offspring must be passed down by root cuttings). The Leyland Cypress is a lush, hardy and fast-growing evergreen, and for many years was one of the best-selling plants in Great Britain, and in 1941 the cuttings arrived in the U.S. C.J. Leyland might have gone on to greater botany notoriety were it not for the unfortunate “fact” that the castle was the victim of a witch’s curse, which, legend has it, resulted in at least three fires at the castle. The last of the fires occurred in 1911, burning down part of the grounds, and Leyland never lived in the castle again (or tended to its gardens). It was demolished in the 1930s. JOHN FRASER — Fraser Fir The Fraser fir is found in the Eastern U.S. and Appalachia. John Fraser — again, a Scotsman — is credited with the discovery in this case. He was a linen draper who, midcareer, decided to take up botany collection.

It was a good career choice, and his collecting led him to Eastern North America in the late 1700s. Fraser was remarkably successful at transplanting living seedlings across the oceans, which means he was a remarkably profitable plant hunter. One biographer credits his method of “packing them (seedlings) in wet moss” before shipping them off for his financial success. After discovering the fir that now bears his name, he moved farther south, then into Cuba, exploring with his son and “disguised as Americans” (fake passports and all) rather than Englishmen, because the English were at war with the Spanish at the time. Their ruse was discovered, writes David C. Stuart in “The Plants That Shaped Our Gardens,” but the governor of Cuba let them explore freely, saying: “My country, it is true, is at war with England, but not with the pursuits of these travelers.” The Cuban exploration got off to a rocky start, but the trip there was even worse. Fraser’s ship was wrecked on a coral reef between Havana and Florida and stranded for several days before being rescued by a Spanish salvage boat. On his way back to England, his boat again nearly sank. A decade later, exploring the mountains of South Carolina, his horse lost its balance and fell on top of him, crushing his ribs. He died from those injuries the following year, in 1811. Postscript: Oddly enough, there was a great Victorian botanist named David Spruce, but he did not have anything to do with the Spruce tree. He spent more than a decade exploring the Andes and the Amazon River in the mid 1800s, collecting odd medicinal specimens, including quinine, a bitter bark that makes an excellent anti-malaria drug (and an ingredient in Campari and many tonic waters). (Bill Toland, who during his high-school years cut down Christmas trees to make extra holiday money, is a Pittsburgh PostGazette staff writer. Email btoland(at) (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

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Tips to make the season less stressful

By Rosemary Sadez Friedmann Scripps Howard news Service he Christmas rush has truly begun. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done in such a short time. The list seems endless — decorating and gift purchases, then wrapping and Christmas cards to be written. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to make this season a little less stressful and a little more fun. Planning the Christmas decorations for your home in advance is a great idea. Sure, most of us already have a ton of decorations in storage that will need to be hauled out and put up, but face it: There is always something out there in stores that catches our attention and says “you gotta have it.” If you do your “gotta have it” shopping in advance, you’ve saved yourself some time. Have you made your Christmas list? I don’t mean the list of items you want, but the list of gifts you intend to purchase and give. It is wise to start with a list of the names of all


the people you will be buying for. Then write next to each name what you intend to buy for that person. Making lists will get you organized and help accomplish what you need to do. Plus it’s fun to cross off the names and items as you complete the purchases. The list also helps you save time so that you shouldn’t have to go back and forth to the same store or the same mall because you forgot someone. If possible, take a day off from work so you can get a jump on your decorating and gift purchases. Help your neighbors. Let those who will be buying for you know well in advance what you want. It’s hard to shop for someone when you have no idea what is wanted or needed. You can eliminate that angst if you let people know your wishes. Set aside a few hours to writing out those Christmas cards. Once they are written and mailed, a burden is lifted immediately. Send pictures of any new decorations in your house along with family members standing or sitting in the decorated area. You then will have accomplished two things: an update on your new decor and a current picture of the family. The rush is on. Good luck. (Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.” For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at DsgnQuest(at) •••

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Senator ..........................................Joe Scarnati Representative ..................................Sam Smith Commissioner ..................................Paul Corbin Commissioner ................................Jim McIntyre Coroner......................................Bernard Snyder district Attorney ..............................Jeff Burkett Register & Recorder ..............diane Maihle Kiehl Sheriff......................................Carl Gotwald, Sr. Treasurer..................Jim “Moon” VanSteenberg County Auditor ....................Maxine Zimmerman County Auditor............................Roger Richards Jury Commissioner ......................Mabel dunkle Paid for by Jefferson County rePubliCan Party • troy J. HarPer esq. - CHairman

Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 21

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HuNtING AND OutDOORS Blind hunting dog guided by ‘seeing eye person’ By Doug Smith Minneapolis Star Tribune atch Norm Moody’s English setter, Golly, work a field for pheasants or sharp-tailed grouse, and you’d never know the dog has a major handicap. “People who see us hunting have no idea he’s blind,” said Moody, 64, an avid upland bird hunter who lives near Hackensack, Minn. This month, 11-year-old Golly (pronounced “Gully”) hunted sharp-tailed grouse, pheasants and prairie chickens on South Dakota’s expansive National Grasslands with Moody and his two hunting buddies. “He quarters back and forth just like a regular setter,” Moody said. “When he gets on a scent, he goes into slow motion and I know right away he’s on a bird. Then he locks up and points.” And when the bird flushes and Moody shoots it, somehow Golly knows where to look for the downed bird. “He usually heads right for it,” Moody said. “I think it’s the sound, the fluttering of the wings, and he heads in that direction and finds it.” Said hunting buddy Don Collins, 70: “He’s miraculous — just a super dog. He almost brings tears to your eyes.” Though Moody lives in the north woods, he no longer hunts Golly there for ruffed grouse. Instead, he hunts 35 days each fall in the open prairies of South Dakota, North Dakota and Saskatchewan where his dog is less likely to run into anything. Barbedwire fences pose problems, but Moody keeps his dog away from them. “I make a sound if he’s going to run into something, and he stops. I’m his seeing-eye person,” Moody said with a laugh. Hunting buddy Larry Olson, 67, of Backus, Minn., said Golly has adapted well to his blindness.


“It’s amazing to me that he doesn’t step in a hole,” Olson said. “I’ve never seen him fall down.” Golly doesn’t seem bothered by his lack of sight, Moody said. “He’s really a happy dog.” When Golly was a puppy, Moody had no idea the dog had eye problems. But four years ago, Moody noticed Golly bumping into brush while hunting ruffed grouse. “I thought he was just a little clumsy,” Moody said. “But two years ago, I knew something wasn’t right.” Golly had trouble jumping into his portable kennel. “I took him to a veterinarian who specializes in eyesight. She did a battery of tests, and he was almost totally blind.” Golly has progressive retinal atrophy — a deterioration of the retinal cells that eventually causes blindness. The hereditary disease has no known cure. It affects many breeds. Breeding dogs now can be genetically tested for the disease, so people buying puppies from tested parents can be assured their dogs won’t develop it. “They compensate with their hearing and sense of smell — and that’s what he’s been doing,” Moody said. Moody was smitten with the dog from the get-go. “He’s just a good dog, so mellow. And he’s a good hunter.” And Golly has endeared himself to Moody and his hunting friends. “He has about the best disposition of any dog I’ve seen,” Olson said. Moody has ordered another English setter puppy but doesn’t plan to retire Golly anytime soon. “He’ll likely hunt two or three more years,” Moody said. “Other than his eyes, he’s healthy. And he just has a ball hunting.” (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

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22 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

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By Leba Hertz San Francisco Chronicle here's the Steven Spielberg who makes cool fantasy movies -- "E.T.," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and the Indiana Jones series. And there's the Steven Spielberg who has given us thoughtprovoking movies about World War II -"Empire of the Sun," "Saving Private Ryan"


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compelling journey I took, to try to figure out how to tell both stories," Spielberg said. "(The story is) told through the characters, not through the events. So the characters take us on this journey. There's no historical review, and there's no real third-person point of view. It's a very, very personal, first-person story." The play brings Joey to life by using puppetry with such expertise that playgoers are able to imagine they are watching real, fleshand-blood horses. But that wouldn't work for celluloid. "A movie can automatically do something a stage play can't, and that's use the close-up," Spielberg said. "When you get to see into the eyes of a horse, and when you get to see into the eyes of a soldier, it's a whole different experience. If I made a movie about World War I and told that story with puppets, it would be a fantasy. It could be very interesting. "It could be more of a Muppet movie," he added with a warm laugh. Hundreds of horses were used in the making of the movie. "We also had a number of - Continued on page 26

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Coal and "Schindler's List." His knowledge of World War II is such that if you give him the circumstances, he can tell you what time a GI landed during the June 6, 1944, Normandy invasion. Yet he's never done a movie about World War I -- until now. On Christmas Day, "War Horse," based on the young-adult novel and Tony Award-winning play, comes to the screen, and if Spielberg is true to form, it should be up there with his other historical masterpieces. "My dad fought in the Second World War, and all of my movies about war had been about that era," Spielberg said in a hotel suite in New York. "Most of my period movies took place in the '30s and '40s: the Indiana Jones series and certainly my TV work on 'The Pacific' and 'Band of Brothers.' Yet World War I was a fascinating time. I wasn't an authority or even probably knew as much about it as the audience who hopefully will come to see 'War Horse.' But I loved a lot about it quickly." Spielberg decided to make "War Horse" after reading Michael Morpurgo's book and seeing the play adaptation by Nick Stafford in London's West End. The film tells the

Here’s hoping your holiday delivers an abundance of peace and joy, topped off with a generous helping of good cheer.

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Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 23


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By Sandi Genovese Scripps Howard news Service o you bought a hybrid car, you recycle your trash and you bring your own bags to the market. You’re all about eco-friendly choices. For the holidays, why not go green (and red) with your Christmas cards? It’s easy to create a card that does double duty as a tree ornament and becomes part of yearly holiday d e c o r rather than landing in the trash at the end of December. Photo ornaments look great on the tree and provide a wonderful visual history that will showcase family members and pets. A photo ornament can be created simply by cutting two matching ornament shapes out of colored paper and punching a large circle shape from the center of one of them. The rest of the construction is easy. Line the circle window on the inside with a piece of plastic cut from a page protector and decorate the outside with punched leaf shapes that replicate the look of a wreath. Finish the wreath with a bow sticker, and add texture to the ornament design with simple geometric shapes, like stripes and dots. If you are sending lots of cards, you can simplify the process by stamping a dot pattern with a fresh pencil eraser and a watermark ink pad. Fasten the two shapes together, leaving enough space open at the top to make it easy to slide in the photo. Loop a piece of embroidery thread through the top to complete the ornament. Since you won’t have a photo for everyone on your card list, write your holiday greeting on colored paper, trim it and slide it into the photo position. Once your friends

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A Not-for-Profit Community 24 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

read your message they can replace it with a family photo that they are sure to enjoy every holiday season. Can you imagine your delight if every card you receive is actually a tree ornament? What could be more personal than a tree decorated with ornaments handmade by friends and filled with photographs of your family? My tree awaits. See free video demonstrations of more photo projects at •••

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some steps to a more organized holiday By Sara Welch and alicia Rockmore


eep breath. It’s mid-December. You know what that means: stress city. Unless, of course, you follow these steps. Do that, and you should get to the end of the month without sprouting any new gray hairs — and, even better, relishing the fact that you actually enjoyed yourself this holiday season! • Use free printable worksheets to organize holiday gift-buying. Print out these three free downloadable forms from and get your gift list organized. When you use your list you’ll run around less and save money. What’s not to love about that? • Set up a wrapping station. You don’t need a craft room in order to take an organized approach to wrapping gifts. Get an over-the-door organizer with baskets and use it to store all of your wrapping gear in one place. Now you won’t waste time searching for the tools you need — or money buying things you don’t. You can see what I’m referring to on • Plan your meals each week. If you don’t already do this on a weekly basis, now is the time to start. Why start now? Because the amount of time and money it will save you will pay huge dividends this time of year. In addition, it will keep your waistline in check. If you need some good ideas, there are lots of menu ideas on Kevinan-

Nicholas and • Make a minute-by-minute plan for the big day if you’re cooking. While things are calm and you have more than two seconds to string together in the evening, take the time to organize your holiday menu and prep plan. Work backward from the time you expect to serve dinner and plan out what needs to be made when. You will thank yourself on the big day when you can simply put your brain on autopilot and follow your plan. • Bake some gifts to have on hand. After dinner one night this week, make some simple sugar cookies and add a little dazzle in the form of colored sprinkles. Then put them in small Mason jars. Adorn each Mason jar with a little ribbon and gift tag and put them in a holiday gift closet. Voila! You now have thoughtful hostess gifts and oops-I-forgot-to-get-you-something gifts at the ready. • Start a packing list. Going somewhere? Pack like the pros do and use a list. Packing lists are also a great way to delegate the packing without sacrificing order. • Get guest quarters ready. Quickly make guest beds with clean sheets and set aside towels as well. Take five minutes today to add one flourish to the room that will make guests feel extra welcome, like an elegant hand soap or small, elegant shampoo. • Get ahead of ornament chaos. If you don’t already have one, consider making

“behold a virgin shall conceive and shall bring forth a son and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah the prophet 750 years before Jesus’ birth “For unto you is born this day in the city of David - a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” “but they cried...’Crucify Him, Crucify Him’.” “Jesus cried with a loud voice... and gave up His Spirit.” Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is Risen!” Luke the physician recounting eyewitnesses shortly after Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection

He was born to live. He lived to die. He died to live again. He lives again so we may also. A reminder to remember the rest of His story

Merry Christmas from the office of

Dr. Delroy M. Moore 521 W. Mahoning St., Punx’y 938-6333

- Continued on page 33

Thank you for your business over the past 25 years. We look forward to serving you in the New Year!

LOReNZO Shaffer’s attorney at Law 40 Years Experience

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938-9763 Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 25

stephen spielberg Continued from page 23

horses for Joey," Spielberg said. "We started out with seven, but as it always turns out, there was just one horse that beamed the essence of Joey." The 64-year-old director is a down-to-earth guy who, right after the interview would head a few blocks away to see his mother, who at age 91 still runs a delicatessen. His family was with him for three months in England while filming "War Horse." As Jeremy Irvine, who plays Albert, recently told Vogue, "The best thing about Steven is his ability to make you not nervous." In fact, Spielberg reminds you of the cool professor whose classes were always filled before you could sign up. His eyes twinkle with pride and knowledge, and he has a delightful self-deprecating sense of humor that makes you forget he's one of the greatest directors of our time. Spielberg puts his heart and soul into his movies, devouring his subject matter in extensive research and focusing on meticulous detail. For "War Horse," filmed in various locations in England, he enlisted screenwriters Lee Hall ("Billy Elliot") and Richard Curtis ("Bridget Jones's Diary") and composer John Williams. But "War Horse" isn't the only Spielberg movie opening during the holidays. "The Adventures of Tintin," an animated adventure based on the Belgian comic strip by Herge, is set to open Dec. 21. Jamie Bell of "Billy Elliot" plays the title role in a story he's loved since childhood. "I think Steven has done a feat like this before, when he released 'Jurassic Park' and 'Schindler's List' the same year. Not the same week, though," Bell said. "I think there's some great Spielbergian counterprogramming. Two different audiences. Obviously, my loyalty remains to one, but I've seen it, so maybe I'll go see 'War Horse.' " Before filming "War Horse," Spielberg read many books, including Barbara Tuchman's "The Guns of August," about the prelude to the war, and gained access to the backrooms of the Imperial War Museum in London. He also mentions the film "All Quiet on the Western Front" -- which helped him prepare for "Saving Private Ryan" -- as influential. "For the most part, the kids who got involved in that war thought it was going to be over by Christmas," Spielberg said. "So they delightfully marched off to war from hamlets and little villages in the countryside and all over Ireland and England and Scotland. That's why there are so many smiles on the - Continued on page 28

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I can’t imagine working at a better job.” When asked if he was the new Mattress Man, an image made famous by Mike Johnston, Philliber replied, “Yes, I am. Johnston’s continues to be an exclusive provider of the Imperial Crown Rest Mattress, and we are one of the few stores which still offer two sided bedding.” Customers will find the trendy, as well as the traditional, in home décor and furniture. There is an entire room dedicated to LA-Z-BOY furniture, mainly recliners, in any style a customer would desire. “I think the variety of our offerings is what attracts our cussaid Philliber. tomers,” “Shoppers are able to see many styles in any type of furniture: sofas, bars, stools, tables, chairs, beds, dressers, and more. They are able to discuss (front) Jay Philliber and family dog, Samsun; (back row) Greg Duncan, their decorating ideas with our Debbie Walker, Kaci Dickey, Erin Mitchell and Chad Davis designer, who will help them pull together the items they Johnston Furniture Store in May 2009. “Johnston’s has a reputation for quality need to create the atmosphere they want in products and quality service, and we are their home.” In addition to home furnishings, Johnston continuing that tradition,” said Philliber. Johnston Furniture Store, which has twenty Furniture Store offers a variety of additional thousand square feet of display space in the services to assist customers with decorating store, maintains a large stock of readily and furnishing their homes. There is a full available furniture to satisfy their customers’ line of upholstery and drapery fabrics, carpeting, flooring, lamps, and other accesneeds. Philliber, who graduated from PAHS and sories including pictures by local artist, Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Joanne Garrett. Debbie Walker, the Interior degree in Hospitality Management, had Designer for Johnston’s, is also available to worked for Deeley Funeral Home during provide in-home consultations. Among the many services offered at Johnhigh school and college, and with his experience there, he knew he wanted to work in his hometown. In a conversation with Mike Johnston, the former store owner, he remembers saying to Mike, “I’m going to buy your store.” Mike replied, “If you are serious, come up and talk with me.” Philliber did and, as they say, the rest was history. Jay considers himself fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to purchase the furniture store. It is a joy making a living in Punxsutawney, where you are on a first name basis with Debbie Walker, Interior Designer most of your customers,” said Philliber. “Johnston’s is a place where customers and ston’s are custom made soft goods including friends feel free to drop in and hang out. The draperies, bedspreads, pillows and special work here is challenging, yet it is a lot of fun. ordering for unique or non-stocked items. By PRIDE for Hometown magazine ay Philliber is one of the newest business owners in town; the business he owns, however, has been a part of the Punxsutawney retail scene for over sixty-two years. Philliber purchased the-


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26 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

Chad Davis and Greg Duncan

Johnston’s provides help for their customers starting with their easy to remember telephone number: 939-SOFA. The Johnston’s delivery team of Chad Davis, Greg Duncan, Caleb Smathers, Ryan Gotwald and sometimes “delivery boy” Ron Ploucha, provide same day service for items in stock. Free delivery and set up of furniture are standard services. Johnston’s will also remove and dispose of the customer’s outdated items. Tracey Collier is their greeter and meets customers at the store with a welcome and a smile. The behind the scenes team at Johnston’s includes Erin Mitchell, who makes sure the store and the furniture is in tip top shape, and Kaci Dickey, who maintains the computerized inventory data and assists with sales. J o h n s t o n ’s serves a wide area. Customers come from as far away as Patton and Penfield on the east, and Blairsville and Clarion on the west. Kaci Dickey Customers of the store include those who are furnishing their first home, as well as those who are long-term repeat customers, who come back again and again because they know they can depend on the quality of the products and services Johnston’s provides. And, as Jay Philliber says, “You are welcome to drop in at anytime. Come to browse, come to visit, and come to shop. We enjoy your company and we strive to have what you need when you need it.” •••

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Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 27

stephen spielberg Continued from page 26 faces of the boys as they march off with the band playing and parents happily waving -expecting all of them to come home." More than 15 million lives were lost and 20 million people were wounded during the four-year war. According to Morpurgo, more than 10 million horses died before "the war to end all wars" was over in 1918. World War I changed forever how war was fought and how war would be seen in the eyes of those who went into battle. "Look at how many millions of horses died during those four years and how the horse had met its end as the most useful beast of burden after hundreds of years of service all over the world," Spielberg said. "And World War I was the changing of the guard: horsepower giving way to technology -- ugly, angry technology." Spielberg, who has been commended and unfairly criticized for the optimism in many of his movies -- "I'm that glass-half-filled kind of guy, always have been, and that comes from my mom and dad" -- brings his humanity into play with "War Horse." "I don't really see 'War Horse' as a World War I movie," he says. "I think it's a story about courage. And I think the theme of courage informs every inch of this experience. So this, to me, isn't a quintessential war movie or even my statement of the Great War. It really is about courage and tenacity, and in that sense I can expand the heart from some of the other war themes I've dealt with." (Email Leba Hertz at lhertz(at) (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

Wishing You Happy Holidays!


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Providing Joy, Beautiful Flowers to the Community for Four Decades Roseman’s Florist & Gifts, Downtown Punx’y


By PRIDE for Hometown magazine

sk Beverly Roseman Lingenfelter what they sell at Roseman’s Florist & Gifts and she may reply, “We sell joy.” And they do. The shop at 126 West Mahoning Street is a full service florist as well as a unique gift shop. “This shop was a-dream-come true for our parents, George and Millie Roseman,” said Diane Roseman Lellock, as she pointed out the variety of gift items on the shelves. Mom and Dad purchased the Parise Greenhouse on Cleveland Street in 1972, and in 1982 they bought this, the former Lorelli Building, and transformed it into a Florist and Gift Shop called Roseman II. It was a unique one of a kind store, offering just about everything in gifts from Fostoria Glass and Noritake China to clocks and furniture, in addition to flowers.” “As soon as we were old enough and responsible enough, we began working at the greenhouse and then in the store,” said Debbie Roseman Parise, “We have pulled together to continue the business. After the passing of our parents, we decided to streamline and bring both businesses together under one roof at the downtown location.” The shop is set up with in an open workroom concept, which enables customers to select the flowers and watch as their floral arrangement is being created. “Customers really enjoy being able to choose their own flowers from our large walk in coolers,” said Debbie. “We create custom flower arrangements for weddings, as well as special corsages for the prom. We take orders over the phone and on-line. To make it easy for our out of town customers, we have a toll-free telephone number, 800-205-6662. We also prepare flower arrangements for funerals, which always take first priority with us. One of our specialties is the Rainbow Rose, which is popular with the younger set and is often requested in a bud vase for patients at the hospital. We send flowers worldwide and we deliver right here in Punxsutawney. And customers can be assured our flowers are fresh, as we receive deliveries three times or more a week.” “We do a lot of custom designed arrangements in both fresh and silk flowers,” added Diane, “especially the special requests for

Beverly Lingenfelter prepares to wrap a bouquet of flowers for a customer on one of the large work tables at Roseman’s Florist & Gifts.

Some of the many angels available in the gift area of Roseman’s Florist & Gifts are on display. Note the special angel for a Steeler Fan on the left.

Diane Lellock, Debbie Parise, and Beverly Lingenfelter, the three Roseman sisters who operate Roseman’s Florist and Gifts at 126 West Mahoning Street, show some of the items available in their shop.

Custom created silk flower arrangements are a specialty at Roseman’s Florists and Gifts.

black and gold for Steelers fans. For the Christmas season, we hosted ‘Mistletoe Madness’ and went all out decorating Choosing roses from the well stocked cooler is one of the the store for the holiday season. We services appreciated by customers at Roseman’s Florist keep our prices low because of all the and Gifts. competition in our line. This year, the business. She used to work long hours, and we whole downtown participated in ‘Mistletoe knew that if we wanted to talk with her, we Madness’ on Saturday, November 26. We had better head to the store. Well, the store is hope customers will continue to come downstill the gathering place for the family. town and enjoy all of the great holiday offerLunchtime is when family and friends drop by ings.” and visit and share lunch with us. That is what “We will be celebrating our 40th year in is nice about having a business in a small business,” observed Beverly, “and we have town.” grown and changed with the times. We do “We are proud to be a part of this amazing offer unique items including Pandora style community and thankful to all of our cusbeads and Coobie Bras in colors as vibrant as tomers who have supported us throughout the our flowers. I’m not too sure what Mom years,” Diane summarized, and everyone would say about that,” she quipped. agreed. “One thing Mom would approve of is that ••• we still have the hometown family feel to the

Punxsutawney Area Historical and Genealogical Society Group and family tours welcome. Gallery Tours of Objects of Costume Thurs. & Sun. 1:30 & 3

Genealogy, Children’s Discovery, Exhibits and Photography, Gift Shop Bennis House

1 to 4 p.m. Thurs. - Sun.

Lattimer House

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday & Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. Friday & Sunday

Other times, contact

938-2555 (general) or 938-5536 (genealogy) Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. 28 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

Merry mantel!

for fall. She used winter greens as the base of a bouquet she created in a black iron urn. She transformed the display for the holidays in minutes: Marsee just removed the ome years I go at my holiday decopumpkin and pick of fall leaves, then inrating with great gusto, fueled by a serted a glittery mini-Christmas tree into long list of ambitious decorating the urn. She finished off by placing a silver projects I can’t wait to try. (Once I reindeer figurine in the foreground. It hung a huge fallen branch from the ceiling hardly looks like the same display! in my dining room, filled it in with faux I can’t say enough about how essential greens, then decorated it with hanging vogreat greenery is in holiday decorating, estive cups. I was exhausted, but man, was I pecially if you want the maximum wow thrilled with the drop-dead-gorgeous refactor for the minimum investment of time sults.) But this year, I just want a hint of the and money. holidays in my home decor. When you work with greens, though, be Whether you’re going for a splashy holisure to secure them day display this year to the mantel so they or just want to quidon’t crash to the etly sneak in a touch ground, taking all of Christmas, one of your treasures with the easiest — and them. I’ve solved most important — this problem by waitspots to trick up is ing until Dan is out your fireplace manof the house. Then I tel. Here’s how. hammer a few little This year, instead of nails into the back of clearing off my manthe mantel. (Dan tel to build a big, cringes every time I elaborate holiday pull out a hammer look, I’m keeping the and begin happily existing display as is, pounding on our then adding a touch walls, so I spare him of Christmas. After the pain by waiting years of completely until he’s gone.) reworking the If you’re like Dan arrangements on my and have an aversion mantel every season, to nails, check out which is a total blast the new hooks that and keeps my crestick to your wall ative fires stoked, right now I have a Decorate your mantel for the holidays by switching temporarily, then grouping on my just a few elements. (SHNS photo courtesy of Nell pull right off without ripping up the paint. mantel that I like. So, Hill's) They hold a remarkI’m keeping all the able amount of weight and are a great solubig pieces just as they are and filling in tion for securing a display you only want around them with a few fallen twigs interup for a few months. laced with some great faux greens. I’ve If you want to take your winter-greens opted for a pine garland that looks like it’s display up a notch, just add a few baubles dusted with frost, and I’m crazy about the or sparkly shiny treasures. Wire in a few look. Christmas-tree bulbs, either in the center of Do you like the look of your mantel? Try the mantel or hanging off the loose ends of doing the same thing. Get some great the garland. You could also tuck in a trio of greenery garland and picks, and tuck them sparkling mini-Christmas trees on one or in around existing pieces. both ends of the mantel. Or, work in some If you decorated your mantel for fall, you fun holiday figurines, like glitter-crusted may be able to give the existing display an reindeer, a Santa or an angel. instant holiday feel just by trading out a few One of the biggest decorating frustrations decorative elements. I hear from friends and customers is that My friend Marsee’s fireplace niche, for example, was decorated as cute as a button - Continued on page 35



By Mary Carol Garrity Scripps Howard news Service

Happy Holidays! Best wishes and many thanks for your friendship and continued support.

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Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 29

At 70th anniversary, urgency to observe WWII, honor vets

By Lee Bowman Scripps Howard news Service or Sen. Frank Lautenberg, surviving World War II was, more than once, a matter of luck. Lautenberg was among hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers working in and around the Belgian port of Antwerp in late 1944, when Nazi Germany fought desperately to take it back. As Lautenberg’s U.S. Army Signal Corps team spliced phone cables and repaired switchboards, German “vengeance weapons” — V-1 bombs powered by jet engines, and V-2 rockets, the first ballistic missiles — rained down on the port. One exploded on the other side of an open drawbridge that had held up his team’s convoy; another landed at the very spot where Lautenberg and his crew had been working before they took a lunch break. Another day, he found himself dangling from a wooden pole, entangled in cables and gear, as air raid sirens warned of incoming buzz bombs, before finally falling to the ground with a thump. “I was kind of dazed and sore. Luckily, no bombs landed nearby,” he recalled. “Each of us who served in places where shooting took place, bombing took place, had those kinds of funny, odd episodes occur,” the New Jersey Democrat noted recently, with the understatement typical of many war vets. Lautenberg, who went to war at 18 and is now 87, is just one notable example of a dwindling national treasure, the survivors


of more than 16 million American men and women who served in uniform during World War II. Lautenberg and Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, are the only veterans of the war still serving in Congress. For many of the vets and those who chronicle their exploits, there is a sense of finality in the observance of the 70th anniversary of America’s entrance into the war with the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The U.S. declared war on Japan the next day, and on Japan’s Axis partners, Germany and Italy, Dec. 11 — the same day they declared war on America. Many unit reunions are billing their events as the “last” formal gathering, acknowledging the dwindling numbers and failing health of vets in their 80s and 90s. Kids and grandkids of veterans now make up the majority of attendees. They collect stories, tend to commemorative Web pages and proudly display the memorabilia their loved ones brought home. World War II is often cited as forging “the greatest generation,” Americans who came of age in the Great Depression, fought to save democracy from fascism and went on to lead the country into an unprecedented era of prosperity and social change. Historian Stephen Ambrose wrote how the war had resulted in the “uniting of the American spirit,” how it created “the sense of a unified purpose” that few other events in American history have achieved. Roughly half of all American men aged 18

When the U.s. truly became one nation

By Dale McFeatters Scripps Howard news Service eterans and civilians of the World War II era have their individual memories of that war, but the common memory that cuts across all classes and kinds is the sense of national unity and purpose: “We’re all in it together, and we’re all going to see it through.” No other event in our history touched so many Americans. More than 16 million men and women served in the armed forces, half of all men between the ages of 18 and 49. The war effort added 19 million to the workforce, 35 percent of them women, idealized as “Rosie the Riveter” for filling jobs previously considered too tough and demanding for women. Even children, pulling their little wagons, were enlisted in scrap-metal drives that fed the insatiable wartime demand of the steel mills. And this was in a country whose population was barely 133 million when the war started. Youngsters whose previous travel consisted of Saturday visits to the county seat found themselves spread across the globe from the Southern Pacific to Northern Europe and all over the world’s oceans. The experience of the war was that Americans were part of something much larger than themselves and they returned to civilian life determined to stay a part of it. Eight World War II vets became U.S.


presidents and others dominated Congress. Now only three remain: U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, both of Hawaii. As it did for so many, the war and the G.I. Bill broadened narrow pre-war horizons. Lautenberg, head of a $9 billion company before becoming a senator, would have been grateful for a job as a bus driver; Inouye, who has represented Hawaii in the Senate for more than 48 years, imagined he’d be a store clerk. For many, the war enabled them to transcend their nation’s failings. Inouye, like other Japanese-Americans, was stigmatized as an enemy alien. Many of their families were cruelly interned in camps, for which the U.S. government formally apologized. Inouye lost his right arm in combat against the Germans as a member of the heavily decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He and 19 other survivors of that unit were awarded the Medal of Honor. Inouye spoke for many veterans in a recent interview when he said, “I left the war as an adult — I was a teenager when I got in — feeling rather proud of myself as an American, and to this day I look upon my country as a great country.” Should an ill fate demand it of us again, we must hope we are still the kind of nation that can summon that sense of purpose, unity and national resolve. (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

30 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

to 49 served in World War II, creating “this huge group that had a common bond of service to our country,” Lautenberg said. “We don’t have that so much today. There’s a greater detachment between service to our country and many people’s lives.” The war mobilized the entire country, adding 19 million to the workforce, 35 percent of them women. Everyone lived with rationing. Children collected scrap metal

and paper to be recycled into war material. There’s an urgency to honor those veterans who remain. Congress has given special recognition this fall to the first AfricanAmerican Marines, forced to train and serve separately from whites, and to Japanese-Americans, who were first declared enemy aliens, but then allowed to serve in segregated units. - Continued on next page

ernie Pyle: The Death of Capt. Waskow By Dale McFeatters lives, hopes, fears and homesickness of orScripps Howard news Service dinary soldiers and sailors, often giving a man’s hometown and street address when he ditor’s Note: Ernie Pyle was a pioquoted him. Most war correspondents neering American journalist who stayed close to headquarters and wrote for Scripps Howard generals to write about “the big picnewpapers from 1935 until his ture.” Pyle rarely mentioned anyone death at age 44 on a Pacific Island over the rank of major. Although he in April 1945. The Indiana native spent time with all sorts of units, his had a folksy writing style he used heart was with the infantry. both in peacetime dispatches from “I love the infantry because they across North and South America are the underdogs. They are the and later in war coverage from mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They North Africa, Italy, France and fihave no comforts, and they even nally Okinawa and Ie Shima, where shot of Profile he was killed by Japanese machine- Scripps Howard war learn to live without the necessities. gun fire. correspondent Ernie And in the end they are the guys that Pyle was a master of “up close” Pyle. (SHNS photo) wars can’t be won without,” he wrote. His moving account of soljournalism. Although he was twice (WWII) diers’ reaction to the death of their the age of most troops he was with, captain on a mountainside in Italy, “The he spent much of the war under a tent or in Death of Captain Waskow,” is regarded as a a foxhole. He was the original “embed” — classic of wartime writing.” living in the field to capture the day-to-day •••


By Ernie Pyle Scripps Howard news Service


night they brought Capt. Waskow’s body down. The moon was nearly full at the time, and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley below. Soldiers made shadows in the moonlight as they walked. Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came lying bellydown across the wooden pack-saddles, their heads hanging down on the left side

t the front lines in Italy, January 10, 1944 - In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas. Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him. “After my own father, he came Scripps Howard war correspondent Ernie Pyle with soldiers on Okinawa, 1945. next,” a sergeant Pyle related the stories of the rank-and-file to readers across the U.S. in his widely read columns. (SHNS photo courtesy Sgt. T. D. Barnett, Jr. / courtesy National told me. “He always Archives) (WWII) of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking looked after us,” a soldier said. “He’d go out awkwardly from the other side, bobto bat for us every time.” bing up and down as the mule walked. “I’ve never knowed him to do anything The Italian mule-skinners were afraid unfair,” another one said. I was at the foot of the mule trail the - Continued on page 32

70th Anniversary Continued from previous page

Battling Germans in Europe and prejudice at home — including internment of many of their families — Japanese-American soldiers were determined to succeed, none more than Inouye, who lost his right arm destroying enemy machine guns with hand grenades. Inouye went on to become a lawyer and has represented Hawaii in the Senate for more than 48 years. In 2000, he and 19 other members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were awarded the Medal of Honor following a Pentagon review of discrimination during and after the war, and two years after the government formally apologized to Japanese-Americans for their treatment. “I left the war as an adult — I was a teenager when I got in — feeling rather proud of myself as an American, and to this day I look upon my country as a great country,” Inouye said in recent interview. “The fact is this country did admit its mistake and very few countries can do that.” Men like Inouye and Lautenberg rushed home in 1945 and 1946 looking to make up for lost time. The GI Bill opened doors few had cracked before the war. The program paid returning vets’ tuition and a modest living expense for trade school or college, and also set up a low-interest loan program to buy homes, farms or businesses. Some 7.8 million took advantage of the educational benefits. “I probably would have ended up a store clerk, maybe, if good fortune had struck, a surgeon, but more likely a clerk,” Inouye

said. Lautenberg said when he graduated from high school, “I would probably have been glad to take a job as a bus driver.” Lautenberg had grown up poor around Paterson, N.J., moving in and out with grandparents as his parents’ fortunes rose and fell. “Not only were our finances limited, but so were my horizons,” he said. “The GI Bill not only gave me a way to further my education, but an opportunity to consider careers.” After graduating from Columbia University with a business degree, Lautenberg worked in insurance, but soon heard from an old neighborhood friend, Henry Taub, who had started a business processing company payrolls. Taub asked Lautenberg to help drum up more business. Before long, he was heading a marketing department for what is now known as Automatic Data Processing, a company that now has more than $9 billion a year in sales and more than half a million clients. Lautenberg put in 30 years at ADP, becoming chairman and CEO before deciding to try his hand at public office. He won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1982. “I thought it would be great to serve one term,” he said. “But life took a great turn for me.” New Jersey voters have re-elected him four times. Military service and education released a torrent of energy for civic improvement and involvement among the returning vets. Cornell University government professor Suzanne Mettler, who has studied the impact of the World War II vets on civic life after the war, said: “There were many aspects of the military that predisposed them to participate more, that gave them a sense

that it was important to be a part of the political system and have a stake in it and that carried into joining clubs, service organizations, supporting the arts, generally enriching the lives of their communities.” Eight World War II vets from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to George H.W. Bush became U.S. presidents. In the 1970s, as much as 70 percent of Congress had served in the military; today, fewer than 20 percent have. “I’m not suggesting that you have to have served to be a patriot — far from it,” Inouye said. “But those of us who have seen blood look at war a little differently than others.” (Contact reporter Lee Bowman at bowmanl(at) (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

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Printed 12-11

Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 31

ernie Pyle

BIG RUN CARPeT neko’s "The Store for LY restaUrant

Continued from page 30

to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help. The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment, while they got a new grip. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road. I don’t know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don’t ask silly questions. We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules. Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead man lay all alone outside in the shadow of the low stone wall. Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. “This one is Captain Waskow,” one of them said quietly. Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five lying end to end in a long row, alongside the road. You don’t cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them. The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow’s body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear. One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, “God damn it.” That’s all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, “God damn it to hell anyway.” He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left. Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain’s face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: “I’m sorry, old man.” Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said: “I sure am sorry, sir.” Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five min- Continued on next page


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32 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

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Continued from previous page

Contest Rules

1. Complete the coupon on this page. 2. Guess the winning team and the total number of points you think will be scored in the steelers vs. Browns Game and enter the guesses in the spaces provided on the coupon.

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Continued from page 25 an investment in a quality ornament box. It can be a lifesaver when it comes to quickly and sanely putting up and taking down Christmas-tree ornaments and other seasonal decorations. • Declutter before Santa arrives. Go through your closet and donate items you haven’t worn in more than a year. If you have children, go through their current toys and set aside current favorites that are likely to get lost in the new-toy shuffle. Put them in a large plastic bag and store in an attic or hidden closet. Once Santa’s new toys have been in rotation for a bit, you can swap those old favorites in and it will be like Christmas all over again. • Get family members on board with Secret Santa. There is no reason adults should feel compelled to buy every single person a gift. No matter your family size, organize a gift exchange that enables each person to give and receive one special gift — as opposed to having each person give and receive a bunch of less interesting ones. (The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife(at) For more columns, go to •••

ernie Pyle

west Mahoning St. Punxsutawney 938-6961

Michael Horner, Kim Horner Joe Presloid & Jennifer Moore

some steps

3. Enter one of the participating advertisers on these contest pages in the space provided to redeem your coupon should you be the contest winner.

Hometown magazine ‘Steelers Football Contest’:

4. Clip and forward the coupon to:‘Steelers Football Contest,’ c/o Hometown magazine, P.O. Box 197, Punxsutawney, PA 15767.

name ________________________________ address ______________________________ Zip __________________________________ Phone ______________________________ Coupon for Game of Jan. 1 Step 1: Guess the Winning Team: __ Steelers vs. __ Browns Step 2: Guess the Total Points that will be Scored in that Game: _______ Total Points Step 3: Should I win, I would like to redeem my merchandise certificate at: (list business from these pages) _____________________

5. All entries must be received at the Hometown magazine post office box by 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29. 6. No purchase necessary to participate.All entries must be original magazine coupon (no photocopies). 7. In the event two or more contestants correctly pick the winning team and total number of points, one winner will be randomly selected and awarded the winning prize. In event two or more contestants tie for closest to the total score, one winner will be randomly selected to win the $25 certificate. Each issue we will give one $25 certificate. 8. Hometown magazine retains the right to make any final decisions regarding the contest, and by submitting an entry, contestants agree to abide by the rules of the contest.

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utes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there. And finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain’s shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone. After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep. (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

Here we go, steelers Contest Winner Lorraine Kaczynksi of Punxsutawney was the winner of this month’s Hometown magazine’s “Here we go, Steelers’ contest. Lorraine was one of four entries, which were perfect in predicting that the Steelers would defeat the Bengals and that 42 points would be scored in the game. She will redeem her $25 merchandise certificate prize at Pizza Town. You, too, can be a winner. Clip and complete the coupon appearing inside today to play. •••

Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 33

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34 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

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Merry mantel! Continued from page 29 their mantels are super-skinny, too small to hold the grand displays they’d like to create. A great solution is to use wall lanterns in your holiday mantel display. These lovely lanterns are thinner and taller than regular lanterns, so they fit well on thin mantels, infusing this small but important space with loads of charm. Put a wall lantern at the center of your mantel or put one on either side. Then give them a holiday makeover by tying them up with some great holiday ribbon. If you have ceilings that go up into the sky, take advantage of all that wonderful space by using some tall and powerful pieces on your holiday mantel. We have done a lot of that this year at Nell

Hill’s, using tall, thin vases to hold bouquets of fallen branches. There is nothing quite as fun as filling your home with forced bulbs during the dark, cold winter months. I always watch them like a hawk as they grow and bloom, a promise that spring will return again. Why not start the process early in the winter season, working bulbs into your holiday mantel display? Add in some silver holiday votives and some bright green apples, and you’ve got a fresh, fun and truly unusual look for the season. Then, when Christmas is past, remove the votives and apples, and wait for the blossoming of the lovely spring flowers. (The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at She can be reached at marycarol(at) •••

Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135 – 35

Punxsutawney’s oldest and finest name in furniture

Jay Philliber, Family Dog- Samsun Greg Duncan, Debbie Walker, Kaci Dickey, Erin Mitchell, Chad Davis

May your home be blessed by good fortune this Christmas, and may you and your loved ones enjoy all the comforts of a very merry and joyous season.


North Findley Street, Punxsutawney Regular Hours: Monday & Tuesday 9-7 Wednesday 9-4, Thursday 9-5, Friday 9-8 Saturday 9-4 Holiday Hours: Friday dec. 23 9-5 Closed dec. 24, 25, 26

Find Us On Facebook 36 – Hometown Punxsutawney – Christmas 2011 - Issue #135

Christmas 2011 #135  

Christmas in Punxsutawney Punxsutawney Area School Districts Winter Sports Photo Album

Christmas 2011 #135  

Christmas in Punxsutawney Punxsutawney Area School Districts Winter Sports Photo Album