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E E R F he wind

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The Great Potato Toss

Thirty Years Ago, Williamsport Minor League Catcher Dave Bresnahan Threw a Potato in a Game, and It Hasn’t Landed Yet

by Brendan O’Meara

Tractor Time at Tioga County Fair Dueling Fiddles at Hickoryfest Topwater Fishing for Late Summer Bass

AUGUST 20171


Volume 12 Issue 8

14 Tractor Beams

By Michael Banik

Tractor lovers and restorers unite at the Tioga County Fair.

A Full-Color World

18 Home-Canned Happiness By Linda Roller

There’s nothing like trapping summer in a jar.

24 Towanda’s Riverfest By Maggie Barnes

5

26 Mother Earth

The Great Potato Toss

By Gayle Morrow

A walk on the wild side.

28 Trout Fishing in the Wilds By Don Knaus

Of camps and casting and record memories.

31 Corning Public Art By Michael Capuzzo

34 A Player of Our Own

By Rachel Leigh Local artist Fred Lawrenson paints his love of the great outdoors.

6

By Brendan O’Meara Thirty years ago, Williamsport Minor League catcher Dave Bresnahan threw a potato in a game, and it hasn’t landed yet.

By Ruth Tonachel

Yes, girls can play baseball, and Elmira’s Clara “Babe” Cook proved it.

Fiddlin’ in the Field

42 The Mad Clipper

By Gayle Morrow Hickory Fest returns on a new note—a contest for young fingers.

By Cornelius O’Donnell

Moving is not fun—until you discover a treasure trove of old favorites.

50 Back of the Mountain

By Bernadette Chiaramonte Summer tribute.

22 Topwater Fishing for Late Summer Bass

Cover photo courtesy Dave Bresnahan; cover design by Tucker Worthington; this page from top: courtesy Fred Lawrenson; courtesy The Baseball Reliquary; courtesy Frank Serio; courtesy Dave Wonderlich.

By Dave Wonderlich Low water, pure August, and fishing bliss.

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Contributing Writers Michael Banik, Maggie Barnes, Don Knaus, Rachel Leigh, Cornelius O’Donnell, Brendan O’Meara, Linda Roller, Ruth Tonachel, Dave Wonderlich C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s Bernadette Chiaramonte, Jan Keck, Nigel P. Kent, Roger Kingsley, Holly Lawrenson, Ken Meyer, Frank Serio, Linda Stager, Sarah Wagaman D i s t r i b u t i o n T eam Layne Conrad, Grapevine Distribution, Gary Hill, Duane Meixel, Linda Roller T h e B ea g l e Cosmo (1996-2014) • Yogi (Assistant) ABOUT US: Mountain Home is the award-winning regional magazine of PA and NY with more than 100,000 readers. The magazine has been published monthly, since 2005, by Beagle Media, LLC, 87-1/2 Main Street, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at www.mountainhomemag.com. Copyright © 2017 Beagle Media, LLC. All rights reserved. E-mail story ideas to editorial@mountainhomemag.com, or call (570) 724-3838. TO ADVERTISE: E-mail info@mountainhomemag.com, or call us at (570) 7243838. AWARDS: Mountain Home has won over 85 international and statewide journalism awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for excellence in writing, photography, and design. DISTRIBUTION: Mountain Home is available “Free as the Wind” at hundreds of locations in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties in PA and Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Tioga, and Ontario counties in NY. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $24.95, payable to Beagle Media LLC, 87-1/2 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit www.mountainhomemag.com.

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A Full-Color World

Local Artist Fred Lawrenson Paints His Love of the Great Outdoors By Rachel Leigh

“I

wouldn’t be painting if it weren’t for my dad,” says Fred Lawrenson, who recalls spending his childhood creating various art projects with his father. “Most parents read to their children every night. Well, my dad drew pictures for me. Every year, for my birthday or Christmas, my father would get me a learn-to-draw-set and he would increase the difficulty of the set with each passing holiday. When I was about twelve, my dad bought me some oil paints and an easel and we started painting pictures together on old ceiling tiles we dragged out and he would show me how to use the brushes.” Carl Frederick Lawrenson, whose work will be exhibited at Mountain Home Art Gallery in August, has lived in Elkland, Pennsylvania, most of his life. Born a little further south, in Susquehanna, in 1949, he spent a lot of his childhood outside playing in the woods behind his home, which was his initial inspiration for painting wildlife scenes. He has been painting since he was five. Fred attended Mansfield State College from 1967 to 1971, majoring in art education. He put that education to use teaching art at Cowanesque Valley High School, where he also coached basketball and, of course, made time for painting. He and his photographer wife, Holly, raised four children—David, Neva, Erin, and Kristin; they have nine grandchildren and one on the way. He is retired from teaching now, but not from

painting or other creative endeavors. Fred is a prolific artist, and has created more than sixty paintings throughout his lifetime. He says the process for each is a couple of months, depending on the scene. His best estimate is 180 to 200 hours per painting. His medium is acrylic, a paint he discovered way back when while a student at Mansfield. Fred’s paintings have earned accolades across the country and given him recognition among his peers. He is a Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan and a juried member of the Elmira Regional Art Society. In the 1980s, two of Fred’s paintings were selected for publication on calendars distributed throughout the state. His work has also placed in several regional juried exhibits and earned four viewer’s choice awards. In 2007, his painting Origins was selected to the Paint America Top 100. Other selections of his toured throughout 2008. In 2010, he again made the Paint America Top 100 list with Tanglewood Touchdown, which was on tour throughout 2011. In addition to overseeing his paintings’ travels, 2010 proved to be a busy year for Fred, who, with the help of his daughter, published a children’s book. “That book was inspired by my daughter Erin, who was afraid of sleeping in her room alone, until we were in State College and bought her a stuffed lion, which she named Shalock,” Fred explains. Shalock and the Cloud of Bad Dreams, which Fred illustrated, was the

literary result. In 2012, he published his second book, In Search of the Great Wild Kawkins. Both of those were USA Best Book Award finalists. His most recent book, All The Difference, showcases most of his paintings and gives a brief explanation of how they came to be. All The Difference gives readers the opportunity to see, through Fred’s eyes, the beauty of nature. Aside from putting scenes from the local area onto canvas, Fred has done some travelling and painted those views as well. After the Rain and Abrams Falls were selected to the national Paint the Parks Top 100 and were also on tour throughout 2015 and 2016. After the Rain was inspired by a 2010 summer hike on the Appalachian Trail with Fred’s daughter Kristin and her husband Stewart. Abrams Falls is in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in eastern Tennessee. “I love the wild places, the places you have to make an effort to see,” writes Fred in All the Difference. One particular place Fred and his family love is the Asaph area; they visit it as many chances as they get. He calls his business Asaph Waters Editions. Meet Fred at our First Friday open house on August 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. First time Mountain Home contributor, writer Rachel Leigh, is a native of the Cowanesque Valley. 5


6

Courtesy Dave Bresnahan


The Great Potato Toss Thirty Years Ago, Williamsport Minor League Catcher Dave Bresnahan Threw a Potato in a Game, and It Hasn’t Landed Yet By Brendan O’Meara 3.01 The Ball. The ball shall be a sphere formed by yarn wound around a small core of cork, rubber or similar material, covered with two strips of white horsehide or cowhide, tightly stitched together. It shall weigh not less than five nor more than 5 ¼ ounces avoirdupois and measure not less than nine nor more than 9 ¼ inches in circumference. —Official Baseball Rules

A

t one hundred and ten calories, potatoes are full of starch, have more potassium than a banana (who knew?), and are great source of Vitamin B6 (10 percent) and Vitamin C (45 percent). Bake them. Fry them. Roast them. Home fry them. Hash brown them. Tater tot ’em. Mash, smash, and hash them. Gratinized, scalloped, French fried, or twice baked. They grow eyes. They live in dirt. Out of the innumerable recipes for potatoes, one stands tall for its pure ingenuity and timeliness. It was cooked up thirty years ago this month. It involved equal parts despair, boredom, and—after over one hundred games with nothing to show but sore arms, sore legs, and sore egos—the need for a goddamn laugh. Dave Bresnahan, the backup catcher for the Williamsport Bills, then the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and his roommate, Rob Swain, third baseman, were eating pizza and drinking beer at their favorite pub. Up on the television were the highlights for the day. Early August, 1987, they saw Joe Niekro, the knuckleball pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, throw an emery board out from his back pocket, trying to show the umpires that he had, in fact, not been doctoring the balls. Bres and Swain laughed when they saw that and figured they needed to bring a bit of lightness to Bowman Field, not outright cheat like Niekro, but some bit of trickery. “It was tough to go to the clubhouse knowing we’re probably not going to win tonight,” Swain recalls, “and that was everybody’s attitude. That’s the way it was.”

Bres had read somewhere, either in a comic book or an old book, that there was a guy who tried to pick a runner off with a potato. So, they purchased several russets from the grocery store and fashioned them into the size of a baseball. Swain and Bres stepped out into the front yard and played catch. “It’s a slippery bastard when you try to throw it,” Bresnahan says. After a few passes they looked at each other and said, “This is going to work.” • Orlando Gomez was the Triple-A manager up in Buffalo. The club made a change sending Gomez down to Double-A Williamsport, a demotion, which didn’t breed any feelings of good will as the Double-A manager moved up to the Triple-A spot vacated by Gomez. The Williamsport Bills couldn’t properly sync up. If they hit well, the pitchers got lit up. When the pitchers shut down the opposition, the bats went dry. This led to an abysmal record in the Eastern League and long days that felt far, far longer. Eating fast food, drinking no shortage of beer, riding buses for four, eight, twelve hours at a clip, playing 140 games in 142 days, waiting out rain delays, then starting at 1 a.m. when the tarps finally came off the field, getting back on that godforsaken Greyhound to be in who-knows-where by noon the same day for a 1900h start, it’s no wonder these guys popped “greenies” (slang for amphetamines) just to keep energy levels up. See Potato on page 8 7


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The potato play: Bresnahan (center, at an ESPN shoot last month), with potato co-conspirators third baseman Rob Swain (left) and pitcher Mike Poehl. Potato continued from page 6

Gomez rode into town with a thirty-four-inch Louisville Slugger up his (non-baseball term), and soon Bresnahan was sent down to Single-A for nine games to help with the staff, or just because his bat lagged. But like a straw creating a void of pressure from up top, Bres would soon be back in Williamsport thanks to Bo Jackson, the two-sport hulk who, in your correspondent’s opinion, was, physically speaking, a freak’s freak. In Kansas City, on a slow comebacker to the Indians’ lefty pitcher Scott Bailes, Jackson broke for home. Bailes threw to catcher Rick Dempsey, who secured the ball and awaited 235 pounds of Newtonian hell heading his way on a violent vector. Jackson (A casual reminder: Jackson was also an NFL running back. Chew on that before you continue reading.), reached full speed in a few strides, lowered his shoulder, went parallel to the ground about twelve inches above the turf, and hit the ever-living crap out of Dempsey. How Dempsey held onto that ball defies all natural laws. Jackson was called out. Dempsey was lucky to have only had his thumb broken when it looked as though both of his ACLs might have snapped off into the press box. In a 2013 story, The New York Post ranked the collision the fourth worst of all time. And what do you know?! The Indians suddenly needed a new catcher. One presumes that this was the chain reaction: the Cleveland backup replaced Dempsey, the Triple-A guy moved up to the Show, the Double-A guy hopped up to Triple-A, and Dave Bresnahan shipped back to Williamsport as the backup catcher he was before Bo Jackson used the nuclear option on Dempsey.


WILLIAMSPORT

Courtesy Dave Bresnahan

welcome to

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858 West Fourth Street | Williamsport, PA 17701-5824 Phone: 570.326.3326 | Fax: 570-.326.3689 | www.tabermuseum.org

Fifth Annual Bottles & Brews Event

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Sample the wares of local amateur and professional brewers, vintners and distillers. A delightful selection of catered cuisine, raffles and prizes galore will add to the festivities. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk of the Taber Museum or from any current Museum board member. $30 for members; $35 for non-members. Tickets are limited, please purchase in advance.

• And maybe now is as good a time as any to take a breather and remind ourselves how good a player has to be in order to reach Double-A ball. For all that’s about to happen with Bres, and Swain, pitcher Mike Poehl, and the disgruntled Gomez—who by this time was the caricature of malcontent—Bres, despite his sub-.150 batting average was a damn good ball player. They all were. On the strength of his arm, the quickness of his release, his capacity to call a game and manage a staff, Dave Bresnahan became a late-round pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 1984 draft as a five-foot-ten-inch 180-pound backstop. “I like to say that catchers are like shortstops with no range,” Bres says. Once in the baseball machine you’re in the one-percent club. Then, at that level, there’s the one percent of the one percent who make it to the Bigs. “The competition gets stiffer as you climb that ladder. In minor league ball, what a lot of people don’t realize, there’s about one hundred players in each Major League-affiliated organization and in some cases it could be 150,” Bres says, and they’re always drafting and signing more. By reaching Double-A ball, he was in that “one phone call club,” meaning that top half of the org chart that could be one phone call away from the Show. Bres was on that path. In the 1986 season, by this time playing in the Indians organization out of Waterloo, Iowa, he See Potato on page 10

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Potato continued from page 9

made the All-Star team and was among players like Larry Walker, Walt Weiss, and Mark Grace. These guys went on to have great careers in the Show. Bres, for a time, was among them. “That gave me some confidence that if I can continue playing at this level [I could have] a certain level of success,” he says. “My future was going to be as a backup, and I viewed it as a realistic chance to find a job as a backup catcher at the Big League-level because I could switch hit, call a game, throw guys out. I’m not going to be a guy they’re going to build a team around. I was an eighteenth round pick, signed for like $2,000.” Catchers are also a different breed of player. While others face the batter, a catcher faces the field, sees all those looking back at him. He calls the game, becomes an extension of the manager, takes a lot of the heat. He squats hundreds of times per game over nine innings plus warm ups. Sweat runs down the gutter of his spine. He wears the tools of ignorance. He takes foul tips off the fingers, shoulders, chest, and the facemask, which rings your bell like nobody’s business. He’s down on his knees blocking pitches that could render him reproductively unfit, and, if that wasn’t enough, Bo Jackson could plow him into another zip code. Kevin Wilson, a hitting consultant, founder of KW Baseball and author of The #GoodBatting Book, says, “Typically your catchers are your leaders. They have a different view, and look at the game through a different lens.” Which seems to sum up Dave Bresnahan pretty well. • Depending on what story you read, whether it’s the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, or Chicken Soup for the Sport Fan’s Soul, Williamsport was anywhere from twenty-six to twenty-eight games out of first place that August of 1987, which even for the most passionate ball player is hard to face every day. And that’s exactly why Bres hatched The Scheme. “Because everyone was looking forward to the season ending,” Bresnahan says, “and because it was such a sour season, people heard about what I was thinking. They were thinking it was funny, and they almost asked me, dared me, ‘Well, you gotta do it!’ I’m thinking, ‘Well, that’s during the game. I don’t know.’ The challenge became more and more like a testing of manhood. I said, ‘Well, you know what, we were playing a double-header against the [Reading] Phillies next week. I know I’m catching one of those games. That’s Potato Day.” Mike Poehl, the Indians’ first overall pick in the 1985 draft, thought the idea was brilliant, one of the funniest things he ever heard, so long as he wasn’t pitching. He had high hopes for his sixfoot-five frame and right arm. A prank of this nature that could result in a run against his ERA, a loss instead of a win, a gag testing his earnestness as a pro—it all could mean the difference between moving up or down in the organization. Poehl had had a great summer and was there in Williamsport for the final push through the season. As he put it, he hadn’t been “suffering like those guys,” so he understood the context for Potato Day. “I thought it was hilarious,” Poehl says. “I was very opposed to it happening [while I pitched]. If I was charting in the stands, I thought it was a great idea. I can’t say I gave permission. I finally turned my hands up, ‘Whatever y’all want to do.’ If by chance See Potato on page 12

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it happens, I’m spectating, just do what you want.” The mood around the clubhouse lightened up, as if the team was making a run for the playoffs. It didn’t matter that Gomez, who knew the prank could happen, but never thought it would happen (let’s face it, who did?), continued to be a wet blanket. Teams tend to take on the attitude of its managers, so this team was in desperate need of a laugh. The team looked toward Bres, “Two days until Potato Day!” as if popping open the doors of an Advent calendar. And on that day, with the Phillies in town, the Philly Phanatic making the trip north (a major draw), and Bres penciled in to catch Game 1, Potato Day had arrived and Mike Poehl, the reluctant accomplice in this mess, would be starting. • Bres tucked the peeled potato— baseball-shaped—somewhere in the neighborhood of five ounces and 9-¼ inches in circumference, into the webbing of a spare glove in his bag in the first-base dugout. Poehl, by this point, had forgotten about the possibility of the potato. He was throwing great, had great action on his ball. Then, in the fifth inning, as luck would have it, Bresnahan’s ideal—and only—scenario had risen: runner on third, two outs, a right-handed batter at the plate. Bres called time, said the webbing of his glove broke. Umpire Scott Potter put his arms in the air, stopped the game. Swain, standing over behind third base watched Bres jog to the dugout. “He had to jog a long way,” Swain says. “Bres did not jog fast. He’s going toward the dugout, I’m starting to chuckle. I couldn’t watch him because I was about to lose it, so I turned around to the outfield and groomed the ground with my feet, messing with the dirt. ‘Oh, man, here it comes, this ought to be good,’ but I can’t look at him.” “I certainly knew what was about to happen,” Poehl says. “Bres,” Swain says, “was calm and cool. He went back to the dugout. Everyone’s laughing. ‘You guys need to be quiet. We don’t want these guys to catch on.’ ‘I can’t believe you’re doing it, Dave!’” “I guess it’s a go,” Poehl says. Bres went into his crouch, potato in his mitt. 12

Courtesy The Baseball Reliquary

Potato continued from page 10

“I remember looking over toward third base [at the unsuspecting runner], and shaking my head,” Poehl says. “‘You have no idea what’s about to happen here.’” Bres called for a slider, low and away, just far enough so it wasn’t a wild pitch and the batter wouldn’t swing. “I don’t know how Mike threw the pitch and got it close to being where it was supposed to be,” Swain says. “Then it

would’ve been over, knowing what could have happened. I would’ve lost it. Good thing I wasn’t the pitcher.” “[Poehl] did what he was supposed to do,” Bres says. “I transferred the potato from my glove to my bare hand while the ball was in flight.” “…held the potato in his glove until the last possible moment,” Swain says. “…caught the pitch...” Bres says. See Potato on page 40


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Tractor Beams

Tractor Lovers and Restorers Unite at the Tioga County Fair By Michael Banik

H

ow much thought have you given to the great American tractor? If you have food on your table, you have the tractor to thank for it. While most people will never see the inner workings of a farm firsthand, one can still appreciate the purpose and power of the tractor that brings America’s food supply from farm to table. In 1890, John Froelich introduced the first gas-powered tractor to the farming industry and changed history. In 1991, retired vocational agriculture schoolteacher Richard Kinnan was tasked with arranging an antique tractor display for the Tioga County Fair, and changed local history. The initial show had three John Deere tractors, and it was raining “hammer handles and pitch forks,” says Richard. From this humble beginning the show has grown to upwards of 100 tractors and farm implements from far and wide. Some

14

are completely restored, some in various stages of the restoration process, and a few are “barn finds” to show the “before” look. In addition to increasing production and saving labor, early tractor use stimulated social change. Rural farming populations decreased as tractor use increased. The beginning of World War II saw thirty million people living on farms with 1.2 million tractors in use. In the 1940s, tractor use peaked; due to social changes brought on by the war, farming communities experienced drastic shifts. Tractor use jumped to four million by 1950, while farm populations dropped to twenty-three million. A lot of those great old machines are still around. At the Tioga County Fairgrounds on Charleston Road in Whitneyville, you can expect to see familiar names like Allis-Chalmers, Case, Farmall, Oliver, Ferguson, Ford, and International-Harvester, along a few See Tractors on page 32


Detroit

ELM

Atlanta St. Petersburg/ Clearwater

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15


Linda Stager

Linda Stager

Bernadette Chiaramonte

Nigel P. Kent

Nigel P. Kent

Bernadette Chiaramonte

Sarah Wagaman 16


Roger Kingsley Bernadette Chiaramonte

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Ken Meyer

Roger Kingsley

T

here’s no time like August to do—whatever. Ride a tractor or a Ferris wheel, collect a bit of nectar, fetch a stick, catch a fish, sit and ponder things. And remember the philosophy of Dr. Seuss: Congratulations! Today is your day! You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Jan Keck

Nigel P. Kent

Jan Keck

Linda Stager 17


Home-Canned Happiness There’s Nothing Like Trapping Summer in a Jar By Linda Roller

H

ere in Avis, we are in the middle of canning season, whether you are measuring a season by the calendar or by the amount of room it is taking up in your life. At this point, it is beginning to look like a pitched battle between the peaches and the jars. And though long experience tells me that the jars win, right now the sides look even. Green and yellow beans are finding their way into glass jars as well. You can’t beat a fresh green or yellow bean for taste, but home canned beans have a flavor all their own, and the pickled beans are a must all season long for salads and winter holiday tables. It’s a strict procession, dictated by the Earth and the seasons. And canning starts slowly, first with a couple of jars of strawberry

18

jam, just so you have a whiff of the flavor that those berries bring to a June table. Then the blueberries, though I freeze those. But then it begins in earnest, with the first beans from the garden in late July. Now I realize that you can get local beans a month earlier. But gardening is a hobby for me, not my livelihood. So, I am always behind the farmers and the truly dedicated gardeners, and my harvest is later. Pressure canning the beans and making pickles of beans is then followed by the peaches bought from an Amish neighbor, specially ordered from outside Huntingdon. The peak of the season is still to come, when we harvest our tomatoes and begin filling jars with whole and sauced beauties, See Happiness on page 20


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Happiness continued from page 18

process itself is an intricate, measured dance of preparation, sterilization, and timing. At some point early in the peeling and chopping, I feel the presence of my aunts and especially my grandmother. As I can, I remember my childhood more clearly, and remember some of the best times. As I fall into the rhythm of processing, my hands are automatic, sure, and guided by some of the best women I ever knew. That would be reason enough to spend days preserving the goodness at harvest time. But there’s more. There is the issue of control, at least in some measure, in canning your own food. The vegetables are grown here, if not in my garden, then within one hundred miles of my home. What is purchased is done at local farmer’s markets. Nancy carefully inspects the hot peppers that go in her excellent relish. How are the poblanos this year? They were greener and drier last year. She uses an amazing mix that works some slightly hot and some medium hot peppers into a relish that pleases us. Last year, we bought a new variety of peach, but still in the Haven family. Grandma always looked for Red Havens. Canned, they have a very slightly rosy glow that emanates from

and Nancy buys a medley of local peppers for relish. For that, we bring up the “big guns,” a Squeezo that peels and seeds tomatoes, creating a river of tomato puree. Last year the bounty was so great that we ran out of glass canning jars. Now, Nancy and I never thought that would happen. After all, we hauled a trove of jars out of our mother’s place just a few years ago. At the time, I thought we had way too many jars and looked forward to a future without ever having to buy another. But our garden and the bounty of this part of the world are sometimes a little bigger than our jar hoard can hold. I don’t can food because it is cheaper… because it just isn’t. Even if you paid yourself less than one dollar an hour, the canned food at the store probably costs less. But canning food, especially the tomatoes I grow, is rooting me in a cycle of the seasons that stretches back to another life. The process of vacuum sealing food is only 150 years old, but the thought of preserving food for winter is as old as people in cold climates. By canning, I feel the harvest. I look at the bounty. And the

the red centers. Within the parameters of the canning process, we experiment. Our peaches are in a very light syrup—about 25 percent of the sugar in the commercial kind. They won’t last on the shelf for a decade, but that is not a problem. They won’t last a year in this peach-happy house. Tomatoes have salt, but we know how much. I add a splash of vinegar to boost acidity and protect the tomatoes from spoilage. The bottom line is that we know what’s in the jar and how much. It is a labor of love, and memory. The rows of filled jars stand watch in the cool basement, and each trip to the larder brings up a world of good things to serve to friends and family throughout the year. But, right now, I have plenty to do. There’s fruit to peel and shove in jars, canners to remove from the stove, and fresh new jars of plenty to wipe, label, and take to the basement. Happy canning season, and enjoy the turn from summer to autumn. Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, appraiser, and writer in Avis, Pennsylvania.

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21


Courtesy Frank Serio

Fiddlin’ in the Field

Hickory Fest Returns on a New Note—a Contest for Young Fingers By Gayle Morrow

A

t a music festival this spring in North Carolina called MerleFest, a blind boy named Angel was gifted with a handmade fiddle named Lorena. It was a significant and serendipitous occurrence, the kind that is becoming a hallmark of events related to Tioga County’s own Hickory Fest. “What I’m seeing personally, and my close friends are seeing, is the inspired generosity of folks like Bob Kogut, and the beauty of what’s going on here, and all the cool stuff that just keeps happening 22

since we decided to continue the festival to honor Sue’s legacy,” says Frank Serio, whose life partner, the late Sue Cunningham, was the festival founder fifteen years ago. This year’s Hickory Fest, August 18 to 20 at Stony Fork Creek Campground, is the second one Frank will oversee without her. And, because he “wanted a little addendum to Hickory Fest,” and because friend and “consultant extraordinaire” Geoffrey Stevens chimed in with the “let’s have a fiddle contest for Sue” idea, the


first-ever fiddle contest happens at this year’s event. The free-style competition is geared toward the younger set since, as Frank recounts, Sue was “always supportive of young musicians” and enjoyed taking the time to mentor them. Frank explains that because the contest is freestyle, the young artists can play whatever they want and in the style in which they excel. Competition will be grouped according to age—five to nine, ten to fourteen, and fifteen to eighteen—with the playing set to start at 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 20. “You get your bluegrass and old-timey, jazz, gypsy jazz, even classical, and embrace it all, like Sue did,” Frank says. “They’ll be judged according to how well they do.” Those judges will be Tim Higgins, who played with Sue in the South Ocean String Band in Florida in the early 1990s and who will be on stage at Hickory Fest in the Gatorbone Trio; Tom Cunningham, Sue’s brother, who played in her first band, The Flying Cunninghams, and will perform at the festival with brother Steve as part of a tribute band called Sue’s Brothers; and Megan McGarry, a twenty-one-year-old

fiddler who was in a workshop Sue gave years ago on fiddle-playing and was a hit at last year’s festival with her dad, Chris (who will be back with her on stage this year). So by now you may be wondering just a little about the whole “fiddle named Lorena” thing and how that fits in with the festival. Bob Kogut (he made the afore-mentioned fiddle), who will serve as the contest’s master of ceremonies, is a fiddle maker by trade; he gives each creation a woman’s name ending in the letter a. Lorena, a fiddle he finished this past February, was named for the main character in Find Your Angel, a musical collaboration between Sue, Frank, and their friend, singer/songwriter/guitarist Verlon Thompson, a musician’s musician, who will be at Hickory Fest again this year, too. Find Your Angel is the musical story of love and loss; it features Lorena, a young woman from Vicksburg, Mississippi, who lived through the Civil War. It was the last major work Sue recorded. She and Verlon performed Find Your Angel at numerous venues across the country, including here in Wellsboro. Verlon will perform it solo on August 16 at The Deane Center. The story Bob Kogut tells is that an

older man came to his booth at MerleFest leading the blind Angel and asked if the boy, whom he described as a “musical savant,” could play one of Bob’s handmade fiddles. Of course, was the response, and Angel, reaching out to the table full of instruments, picked Lorena. The music and emotion that followed led Bob to give Lorena to Angel. And one more interesting aside that gives a little pause—the fiddle Bob made after Lorena is named Valentina, for Valentina Paolucci. She is the 2017 winner of the Sue Cunningham Music Scholarship at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in Jupiter, Florida, and will be on hand at Hickory Fest to be a presenter at the first fiddle contest and to accept her award. So rosin up that bow, kids. Registration for the contest, which is made possible in part by J.R. Judd Violin, Williamsport, closes August 1. There is no fee to enter, but those over age twelve must purchase an event ticket. For more information visit www.hickoryfest.com. Proceeds benefit the Sue Cunningham Music Scholarship and the Tioga County chapter of Relay for Life, which last year was the recipient of $9,569 in Sue’s memory.

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Towanda’s Riverfest

W

hen asked who attends Riverfest in Towanda, event co-chair Jim Haight laughs. “Everyone.” Riverfest celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. It is such a popular happening that area families plan their reunions around the third week in August date, and area lodging fills up with locals coming home for their favorite event. Riverfest is a classic carnival with rides, games, regional bands playing every night, and all that yummy, less-than-nutritious food. Through the years there have been a variety of extra events like fly-in breakfasts, bed races, 5K runs, motorcycle rallies, and such to make the festival even more, well, festive. Activities take place along Merrill Parkway, adjacent to the Susquehanna River, and Jim says it comes to resemble a small tent city. “People set up their own camps and use it as their base for the day.” After being involved with the event since its inception, he speaks with pride about its growth. After Riverfest’s initial success, the ride vendor suggested expanding it to two days since they were already “bringing everything out here,” Jim recalls. Then the calendar expanded yet again to the current Thursday/Friday/ Saturday configuration. Today’s Riverfest brings seventeen food vendors and more than twenty craft and fund-raising tents that help support local causes, from the Boy Scouts to the churches. Pretty impressive for a festival that began as a one-day event with one available power outlet. Today, six power stations keep the food hot, the lights on, and the music playing. While the Borough of Towanda handles most of the logistics, Riverfest is a committee-driven community happening. “All we needed was a little seed money,” Jim says. “Everything we make goes to fund the next year’s festival. The vendors keep what they make, which helps out locally.” What might Riverfesters keep in mind? Getting a choice spot near the water also serves as a front-row seat for Riverfest’s real claim to fame—Saturday night’s fireworks. “They are the best fireworks in the region,” Jim boasts. Rooftops along Towanda’s main drag offer great viewing as well, if you know someone with access. There is no charge for admission or parking, and no excuse not to enjoy what many consider the best week of the summer in Towanda. ~ Maggie Barnes


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Mother Earth

A Walk on the Wild Side By Gayle Morrow

I

just got a new pair of boots and I’m looking forward to taking the time to go somewhere in them. I’ve been letting them and my feet get used to each other gradually—wearing them around to take care of the animals and to just wander about the yard. They fit, and that’s important, but I don’t really know if they are hiking boots or walking boots or work boots or some other kind of boot. All of which got me pondering: What’s the difference between a walk and a hike? Duration? Geography? Equipment? I don’t know who said it but I agree with the statement that all hikers walk but not all walkers hike. Without delving too deeply into semantics, syntax, or other forms of language-related torture (although that would be fun), it is worthwhile to note that “ walk” and “hike” are both nouns and verbs. To walk is the physical act of putting one foot in front of the other; to hike is, well, that’s the question, isn’t it? A hike seems, at least to me, to connote something

26

more vigorous than a walk, a ramped-up degree of difficulty. A hike also seems, at least to me, to indicate that the hiker is going somewhere—like from one end of the Appalachian Trail to the other. A hike could be a loop, certainly, as long as it is something of a journey, one that might call for a map and some fortitude (think Lewis and Clark), although a walk could be a journey, too (think Lassie Come-Home—her map was internal and her fortitude was exceptional). Taking a walk, especially if it’s on the wild side, suggests to me a dalliance rather than any sort of a long-term commitment. If someone tells you to go take a hike, though, the connotation is a little different, isn’t it? Not quite so friendly and perhaps a bit more permanent. Do you see the definition dilemma here? And that doesn’t even touch on the question of whether certain kinds of clothing or footwear are essential to either a walk or a hike, or where strolling, sauntering, or trekking come into the

picture. Thoreau, of Henry David and Walden fame, had a lot to say about perambulation. “The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise…but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day,” he wrote. That makes me feel bad for those serious walkers. They’re focused, they’ve got their special walking shoes and special walking clothes, and usually some kind of plugs in their ears set up for their listening pleasure. They are not so much going somewhere as just going. What are they missing? “What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?” Thoreau questioned. And then he said that “every walk is a sort of crusade,” which makes me think I need to put on those new boots and go figure this out. Or, take the advice of Kahlil Gibran, who said “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet…” Walk or hike, booted or bare, it’s all good.


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• Growing tourism outside our borders • Non-profit agency funded by hotel occupancy tax

Bradford County

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Courtesy Melvin Parks, Benton Rodeo Association

Trout Fishing in the Wilds Of Camps and Casting and Record Memories By Don Knaus

M

y lovely bride and I had acquired a recreational property in the wild woods west of Wellsboro, our home. We hadn’t yet decided what to call it. “Camp” was what it was intended to be, but it was much finer than the many hunting and fishing camps I had visited. Calling it a cabin or a hut was certainly beneath the dignity of the place. Labeling it a lodge or cottage seemed a bit audacious for the quaint quarters. The place had been home to a farming family for generations. It was a 1930s vintage abode shipped from Sears and Roebuck. In the end, our downto-earth better natures settled on “camp.” We had been slowly moving furniture, kitchenware, and bedding into camp. I had transferred much of my fishing gear, as well. Trout water flowed behind the camp. The spring rains had continued in

28

monsoon proportions well into May, raising the waters and encouraging grass to grow. In a break from mowing more than two acres around the camp, Maggie and I coaxed the beagle into the truck, loaded rod and reel, and headed downstream. We had been too busy with the realty transfer, camp prep, and other duties. I had yet to wet a line in pursuit of trout. And it was the middle of May! These wild waters were foreign to me, but they had been featured many times in angling and outdoor magazines. I had no idea where there might be a good spot to drop a line. Mostly, I was exploring… checking the stream where I could. The truck chugged slowly along. The beagle had her head out the window and her tongue flapped in the breeze, dripping drool to the bed of the truck. I started to see great trout water and, just like the dog, I started

to drool. Maggie said, “Pull over wherever you want. I know you want to fish. I’ll walk along with you.” I really didn’t need her encouragement. I began looking for a potential parking place. I noted a nice camp across the stream. “There must be a bridge span over the crick,” I muttered. A driveway appeared, and I cut the sharp turn into it. Down the steep hill… out of sight of the road…stood the small bridge. Once it was in sight, I noticed that it was barred and locked. I groaned. There was a sign on the bridge, and I read it aloud to Maggie, “Fishing okay.” Just two simple words. An invitation. I slammed the truck into park, swung open my door, jumped out, assembled my rod, and approached the bridge. There was a time when I would have climbed over the barrier and crossed the bridge to get the best position. I’m a


little long in the tooth for such action these days. I’d have to fish from a poor angle. The good thing was, the water was spring-high with good flow. Recent rains had stained it slightly. Perfect conditions. On first cast, I had a hit. I set the hook and briefly felt a fish before I jerked the hook out of its mouth. My second cast also yielded a strong bite. I waited a little longer and tugged gently. I had a fish on. I could feel that it was a big fish. As I reeled it near the bank, my eyes popped. This was a trophy trout. I could see that it was an aged brown trout with yellowing belly sporting bright red spots a quarter-inch in size. This was the biggest brownie I had ever hooked. From the other side, I might have been able to play the trout and slide it up the gently sloping bank. From where I stood, the only possible landing of the lunker was straight up, dangling through eight feet of air. Maybe I could slide down the bank and use a net. I yelled to Maggie, “Bring me the net.” I kept the line tight and played the trout, knowing that every second of struggle placed the odds more in my favor. “Darn it! Where’s the net?” My lovely companion shouted back that she couldn’t find it. “I

know the net is the truck,” I growled. “Here! You hold the rod while I look. Don’t do anything other than hold the rod.” After emptying the bed of the truck, I tore the interior apart. The beagle escaped and, frightened by my tone of voice, skittered to Maggie’s side. Then, I realized that my net was hanging on a hook…at camp. I calmed down and walked to the rod, taking control. “I’ll probably lose the biggest trout I’ve ever had hooked, but I have to lift him up.” Wonder of wonders, I was able to swing the monster to hand. I ran my small rule along the trout, nose to tail and read aloud, “He’s twenty-five inches! Good God! Look at his big belly.” The beagle stood on her hind legs to sniff and check the size, too. I handed the rod to Maggie. “Well, there might not be much chance to get another one, but see what you can do.” I pointed to the right spot and said, “Cast over there and let the current carry your hook under the bridge.” She did. The rod tip bounced. She jerked. The struggle was on. My bride also had a huge trout hooked. It was a test of my self-control, but I was able to coach and coax her until she hoisted the big brownie to hand. We were both shaking.

Two trophies in two casts raises the blood pressure a bit. I cast again and hooked and landed a so-so seventeen-inch trout. I was thinking that he would’ve been a braggin’ fish on Pine Creek. As I handed the rod to Maggie, I said, “We’re eatin’ these for supper. Fried trout.” She cast and hooked another. I knew at that moment that, as long as we live, we will never have another fishing experience to match this. I said to Maggie, “Let’s enjoy these minutes…burn ’em into our memory.” She hoisted a foot-long to me. I took the rod, cast, and hooked another nice one. At the hoist to hand, the leader snapped. And just like that, it was over. “That’s enough for one day.” We reflected a while, staying in the moment, staring at the water. “Let’s get back to camp and have trout supper.” She simply whispered, “Okay.” Retired teacher, principal, coach, and lifelong sportsman Don Knaus is an awardwinning outdoor writer and author of Of Woods and Wild Things, a collection of short stories on hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

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Corning Public Art

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o you’ve just turned onto Cedar Street in Corning, one of the main entrances to the Gaffer District from Denison Parkway, and as you pass the grand Victorian pile of The Rockwell Museum—whoa!—what in blazes is that? There’s a life-size buffalo sculpture bursting through the brick façade of the museum building between the second and third floors, as if a real animal suddenly came to life in one of famous Montana “Cowboy Artist” Charles Russell’s classic turn-of-the-century paintings in the museum’s collection, and thundered for daylight. The rampaging buffalo, a Tom Gardner sculpture known as Artemus, is “a beloved iconic figure in Corning,” says Connie Sullivan-Blum, executive director of the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, “but I think a lot of people miss it.” Not anymore, they won’t. Sullivan-Bloom and the other members of Corning’s Public Art Committee, including representatives from the Corning Museum of Glass, 171 Cedar Arts, the Rockwell Museum, Pam Weachock, owner of Market Street Coffee & Tea, and Deputy Mayor William Boland, joined forces to complete an inventory of nearly one hundred pieces of public art across the city including Artemus, and they’ve put them on a Google map. The City of Corning Public Art Map is not an interpretive walking tour or a trail—not yet—but you start your own treasure hunt by clicking on the map on the ARTS Council website www.earts.org/corning-public-art-map. “It’s a great weekend adventure,” says Deputy Mayor Boland. You may find yourself admiring the abstract David Dowler sculpture right outside Corning Inc.’s headquarters, “a beautiful piece” that marks a time capsule, Sullivan-Bloom says. Or another piece by Tom Gardner, a stylized whimsical face mounted on the side of 89 West Market Street. Or enjoying the flamboyant talent of local high school students participating the Rockwell’s Alley Art Project. Or The People Wall in City Hall, a two-story panorama of photographic images of Corning folks right after Agnes in 1972. “It’s a huge inventory of public art,” she says of the project. “Some of it is supported by merchants who told an artist, ‘Yeah, you can put that on the outside of the building.’ Other things are the property of the city or of Corning Inc., or part of the Rockwell Museum’s Alley Project. It’s any work of art the public can see for free, even if it’s privately owned, without needing special permission.” ~Michael Capuzzo

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lesser-known varieties such as the Silver King, MinneapolisMoline, and Fordson Major. In 2007, John Deere aficionado George Hilfiger assumed the role of Antique Tractor Display Chairman and indicates his job is to babysit the tractors. George got his start in 1974 when he paid fifty dollars for a 1939 John Deere Orchard tractor (that’s them above) to pull firewood from the woods. He ended up being bitten by the antique tractor bug. His collection has since grown to include another tractor, three crawlers, and three lawn tractors. All John Deere. Restoring these historical machines is a time consuming and costly process, and in this case is strictly a labor of love, as the prize for putting your equipment on display is a certificate of appreciation and a pass to the fair. The Tioga County Fair runs from August 7 through August 12. When you get there, you will find the antique tractor display near the rabbit and poultry barn. There you will find George talking with other tractor aficionados, strolling down memory lane, giving progress reports, and sharing information on where to look for the parts needed to keep the restoration process moving along. Tioga County native (and former farm boy) Michael Banik is Mountain Home’s circulation/gallery manager.


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Courtesy The History Center on Main Street

A Player of Our Own

Yes, Girls Can Play Baseball, and Elmira’s Clara “Babe” Cook Proved It By Ruth Tonachel

T

wenty-five years ago this summer, the film A League of Their Own was released. Directed by Penny Marshall and featuring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks (with Madonna in a lesser role), the movie was an instant hit which has reportedly earned $107 million (my own daughters wore out their VCR copy). The movie has now influenced several generations of women athletes while it continues to inspire young girls to excel in sports and other areas of life. A semi-fictional depiction of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the 1992 movie told a story about the historic eleven seasons from 1943 to 1954 when women played baseball on a few teams—mostly based in the upper Midwest—and proved they could be dedicated athletes and draw big crowds. With a combination of grit,

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showmanship, and dedication to their sport, the approximately 500 women who played in the league during its short history had been somewhat forgotten by the time A League of Their Own was released. In the heyday of the women’s league, among the players on the premiere team, The Rockford (Illinois) Peaches—and in the very first season—was Elmira, New York, native Clara “Babe” Cook. Born in Pine City, Clara was the youngest of eleven children (hence the nickname, which predates any subsequent comparisons to that other baseball “Babe”), and grew up on Pennsylvania Avenue (the current Route 328). She attended Pine City Elementary School and played sandlot baseball after school with her brothers in the Van Kurens’ field. According to accounts written after her death in 1996, Babe, while in her late childhood, was spotted by a Mr. Riley from

the Remington Rand company and asked to play on a Rand team, which she did throughout her teens. After graduating from Southside High School in Elmira, Babe went to work at the Remington Rand plant, continuing to play ball for the company team. Not long after, in 1943, a talent scout for the Rockford Peaches recruited her to play for the new girls’ league. The AAGPBL was the brainchild of Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley (of chewing gum fame) who was concerned that major league ballparks across the U.S.A. were going to fall to ruin with so many young men off fighting in World War II. It was also felt that women playing ball could be an entertaining distraction from the war. The film shows the skirted uniforms required to keep the teams “feminine.” The See Babe on page 36


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Babe continued from page 34

charm and etiquette classes the players were required to take after their practices were a real part of the lives of those in the league, no matter how well they could play ball. Babe played for two years on three different teams (the Peaches, and, from Wisconsin, the Kenosha Comets and the Milwaukee Chicks). A lefty, she pitched 203 innings and was on the Milwaukee team when they won the league championship in 1944. The AAGPBL had begun with four teams in its first year and eventually grew to a peak of ten teams who played in front of nearly a million fans in 1948. After that, the men came home from the war and women in all kinds of professions returned to the kitchen. By the mid-1950s, television made it possible to watch major league games right at home, and attendance at live events of all kinds started to dwindle. But Babe had already returned to Elmira in 1945, and to her job at Remington Rand. Ten years later, in 1955, the company was sold to the Sperry Corporation, and she moved to California to work for an aircraft company. Upon retirement, she returned to the Southport area of Elmira where she continued to encourage and coach young women interested in baseball and pitching, becoming interested in fishing as well. In 1974, she pitched in a co-ed “Old Timers” game at Eldridge Park, and in 1975 was inducted into the Metro-Elmira Sports Hall of Fame. She is also part of Women in Baseball—a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, designed to honor the AAGPBL. She died in 1996 and is buried in Elmira. As short-lived as it may have been, Babe Cook’s baseball career remains a local tie to a historic period that continues to inspire women all over the world. Ruth Tonachel is a writer & folklorist with a particular interest in local food, agriculture, and other traditional arts. She has been living and working in the Endless Mountains for more years than she cares to count.


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Courtesy Spencer Neuharth

Topwater Fishing for Late Summer Bass Low Water, Pure August, and Fishing Bliss By Dave Wonderlich

I

once had a friend who was a real skeptic about fishing in the lower water of August. I remember him saying “Fishing in August? The water is low, it is warm, and it is dead.” I responded with, “I’m going, come along. I think you might change your mind.” We started in the lower canyon area of Pine Creek and he was right about two things: the water was low, and it was pretty warm in the shallower flats where we stood. And, to me, it was perfect. I was using a nine-foot fly rod with floating line, a twelve-foot leader tapered to 5x, and had a Psycho Ant tied to the business end. Matt had an old six-foot Fenwick fiberglass spinning rod, a Shimano reel spooled with six-pound camouflage mono, and he had a green, jointed Jitterbug tied on and ready for action. We slowly waded the low, flat water until we were about a quarter of the way across. On the other side was a sedate current lazing along under the pine bows lining the steep bank opposite our position.

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The water was crystal clear except for the distant, gliding current, where it took on a greener hue as it slid under branches and along boulders and slabs of rock. “Cast to the top of the glide, half way across the moving water. They’ll be waiting,” I whispered. Matt gave me a look that employed more than a bit of derision. He tilted the rod back and let the Jitterbug fly. He was relaxed and a little nonchalant, I thought, as his mono glistened in the light and the Jitterbug started its arc back to the water. It hit with a splat and, the second it touched, the surface exploded! Matt stood there, his bail still open and his mouth hung open even wider. He set the bail but was way too late. Thunderstruck, he slowly responded, “I never expected...that bass was huge...this could be very interesting...” I simply smiled. There are quite a few anglers just like my friend. But, if you internalize a few understandings of the low, clear water and the bass that are lurking just out of sight,

it could become your favorite time to try for the bronze-back fighter. The low water has several effects that can be both positive and negative for the angler. The lower and clearer water makes the fish more wary than usual because it makes them more accessible to both feathered and furred predators. I once watched a palomino trout for over a year and a half as it swam, hid, and fed. I never expected that huge and very lightcolored fish to survive more than a few weeks since it was so visible—it did just fine, though, living next to a rock overhang in a deeper run within a Pine Creek pool. Since the bass are more vulnerable, they are less easy for the angler to approach. The low water takes a little more patience to fish and a plan before rushing into the stream. One thing the low water gives is a gift that keeps giving—a wonderful opportunity to learn the physical nuances of a creek and find its secrets! In the bare-bones creek it is easy to see channels, holes, rock ledges, flows, and currents that are still able to provide the bass with shelter and food.


Mark Twain Country The same structure will also exist when the creek is several feet higher, and will still be providing for the fish but may be less obvious to the spring, late fall, or winter angler. That structure you can see in August will offer safe haven for the fish from faster currents and keep filtering food to the same holding areas. While you are exploring, please be careful of trout in stream-bottom springs and at the mouths of cold-water tributaries. Trout are using these areas to survive the higher water temperatures and have a hard time living if they are caught and pulled into the warm water. Observe where the springs are but please give the trout a break and leave them alone until the water cools in the fall and they disperse within the creek. Aside from the skittishness of the fish and the careful approach necessary to fool the bass, the low water gives you an entry that you won’t get at any other time of the year in open water. In the story I just related about fishing with Matt, I told you how we slowly waded the low, flat water. We were very careful not to make waves or disrupt the water in any way so as not to make noise that might be detected as a threat by the fish, and we stopped far enough from the target water so the fish would not notice our movement while casting. I once asked a friend to please not wear his old trusty white t-shirt—it seemed like a warning flag when viewed against the streamside greenery! With all that fishy forethought, you are ready to present your offering. If you are casting into the top of a pool or in a current within a pool, pick a spot that is well above the bass’s holding area where he waits for food to be washed to him. I like to present about ten or twelve feet above the waiting fish. Let the offering float in the current to the fish, and be ready for the strike. After several casts, if you don’t have a hit, wait a few minutes and recast. This time, after the offering hits the water, twitch the rod tip to give the imitation some life-like action. Hang onto your rod! I say try the natural float first because that won’t usually scare the fish, and they will continue to remain in their feeding stations. Also, a dry fly or popper naturally floating by will be less apt to spook a fish than bait or a lure underwater. My recommendations for the low water, surface action bass of August include large dry flies (Slate Drakes are always good and White Wulffs are great for late evening), Psycho Ants in a size ten, bass poppers with legs, and Jitterbugs (jointed give you extra action that is like magic). You can still go underneath with hellgrammites, worms, larvae, and subsurface plugs, although the low water doesn’t naturally deliver much to the fish underneath until it rains. If it does rain, catch the bass underwater when the stream is on the rise. In the August’s bare bones water, I believe a surface presentation is best. Don’t let the bass know you are there, but definitely make them aware of your offering! Caution: you may just find yourself hooked on the incredible beauty, serenity, and amazing, explosive topwater action of August. Former high school English teacher Dave Wonderlich is an originator and a former editor of Shooting Sportsman magazine and Game Country Magazine. He writes frequently for national magazines and produces the email newsletter for the Slate Run Tackle Shop.

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Potato continued from page 12

And fired that son of a bitch to third base. The thing is, a peeled potato is slick, and the potato nearly hit the runner, Rick Lundblade, in the helmet, which would have exploded on account of Bres’ strong arm. But Lundblade dove back to the bag, thus dodging the errant throw, which rolled into left field. The third-base coach yelled, “Score! Score! Score!” Bres threw his mask down, cursed the ground in mock disgust. “I chuckled to myself,” Bresnahan says. “It is gonna work.” Lundblade, knowing there would be no play at the plate, trotted toward home. “Just before he reached home plate, I tagged him and showed him the ball and rolled it to the mound,” Bres says. “I thought that was it. My teammates were burying their heads in their gloves laughing.” The Phillies along the third-base line were laughing. The third-base coach, Joe Lefebvre, said it was a [expletive] potato. He laughed. The Bills laughed. Everyone laughed. Except the home plate umpire, Scott Potter, and, of course, Orlando Gomez, who fined Bres fifty dollars and insisted Bres be released stat. • Potter, unamused, awarded the player home plate, the run counted (much to Poehl’s chagrin), and Bresnahan was allowed to finish the inning. Gomez naturally found little humor in the situation. He thought he was being shown up by his team, and specifically Bres, for getting shipped down to Single-A Kinston for those nine games a few weeks ago. There was no bitterness on Bresnahan’s part. He only wanted to make his teammates laugh a little. “Right after it happened I thought, ‘Oh, boy, what did I just do?’ And then when I saw the people had seen the humor in it, I went back to ‘all right, well, that’s why I did it.’” After the Bills won the game (much to Poehl’s enjoyment), Gomez called Jeff Scott, the Indians’ director of player development, wanting to release Bresnahan right then. Scott told him to wait on it, you don’t want to be left with just one catcher for Game 2. The following day, at 10:30, Bresnahan got a phone call from Gomez, said to come down to the park. Gomez had the phone off the hook in his office, handed it to Bres, told him it was Jeff Scott. Gomez stood outside the office within earshot. Scott, though amused and good natured about the prank, knowing that Bres meant no harm or disrespect toward Gomez, just wanted to add some fun to a season otherwise devoid of it, told Bres that they can’t have players throwing potatoes and they’d have to let him go. This may have been the only time Gomez smiled all season. • Bres knew that seeing a player clean out his locker demoralizes a team. Bres, a beloved teammate, didn’t want that hanging over their heads, but he knew he wanted to make one last gesture before he left professional baseball for good. He ran to the grocery store, bought several bags of potatoes and placed one in each of his teammate’s lockers. Then, as a final salute to his manager, Bres put a bag of potatoes on Gomez’ desk with a note saying, “Surely you don’t expect me to pay the $50 fine now that I’m released, but here’s 50 potatoes. This spud’s for See Potato on page 46


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FOOD

&

DRINK

The Mad Clipper

Moving Is Not Fun—Until You Discover a Treasure Trove of Old Favorites By Cornelius O’Donnell

I

’ve read a fair amount about the trials and tribulations of downsizing. Well, I finally succumbed, and the nightmare has turned into a fascinating visit to my past. Are you a collector of recipes and clips about cooking? I was—big time. I should have had a T-shirt with “The Mad Clipper” emblazoned on the chest, along with some artwork of a vegetable mélange. I always said that when we were snowed in I was going to get that big box out and go through the contents, sort by category, ingredients, etc. It was truly madness to

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have collected these clippings only to find that they were eventually collected online or in annual books. It is fascinating, particularly in the produce area, to see how many new shapes, sizes, and types of vegetables and fruit are available at the local supermarkets, not to mention the proliferation found at farmers and growers markets. And the freshness and the thrill of buying direct from the farmer at the markets in the area is such a joy. As I looked through the rather ratty piles of stuff I collected and dragged around for

the past forty-odd years, I realized cooking and ingredients have changed. I must say back a few years ago I very rarely saw kale, for instance. Today it seems to be in every food magazine. (I’m not a huge fan, even though I know it is prized for its good-foryou content.) The recipes in this month’s pages are, literally, a steal—or was it Providence that allowed one menu column to fall out of the big pile I was consigning to that black garbage bag? I picked it up as it fluttered to the floor. It was from a magazine that


no longer exists called American Home and it was an idea for an autumn brunch to feed six generously. Well, it seemed ideal for this season as well, and just perfect when you’ve got summer friends in for a weekend of outdoor adventure, or perhaps glass lovers, or wine lovers. Or lover lovers. Whatever the season or the reason, send the guests off wellfortified for the hike, the photo ops, the Rieslings, the glass-filled display cases, or the shop-til-you-drop lure of the finery in our local retail establishments. Remember the line “never visit a winery on an empty stomach?” Hum, I just made it up. But it is a good one to ponder. And you can quote me. Here ’tis, and get the guests to help with the happy chores. Apple Slices Poached in Maple Syrup We open with a nod toward two stars in the local culinary firmament: apples and maple syrup. They are a delicious combination—and I’ve been using this idea for breakfast or as a dessert for years. 5-6 firm tart apples, pared, cored, and sliced into rings (I use Granny Smith) 1 c. pure maple syrup (preferably New York or Pennsylvania) ½ c. heavy cream, whipped Ground nutmeg (I prefer freshly ground to the dried version) Place apples and syrup in a large saucepan. Cover. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Test with the tip of a knife. Cool. Chill. Serve with whipped cream or crème fraiche and a dash of nutmeg. Cheddar Cheese Scrambled Eggs

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Here’s another chance to use our local products—the cheese, of course, and local eggs. Cluck, cluck. Please note: the eggs will continue to cook after placed on a (warm) serving platter, so heed me and slightly undercook them. I cannot stand dried-out eggs. Can you tell I’ve lately spent two breakfasts in the hospital? (A minor issue.) You can always add some meat to this; keep reading. 12 eggs ½ c. whole milk 2 c. (8-oz. package) sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated 2 tsp. chopped chives 1 tsp. salt ¼ tsp. freshly grated pepper 4 Tbsp. butter Using a wire whisk, beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until they are well blended but not foamy. Add milk, cheese, chives, salt, pepper, then blend well. (Honest admission: I sometimes use half milk, half heavy cream, or half and half. Play around for more or less richness.) Keeping heat low, cook half the egg mixture at a time. Cook about 5 minutes or until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist. Stir occasionally during cooking. Repeat with remaining eggs and butter. Even Better Eggs I place the eggs on a platter and top them with sausages or crisp bacon strips that I cooked earlier and kept warm in a low oven. Next to the platter I place a pie server and serving spoon. As to the sausages, my very favorite are those guys about twice as big around as the link variety. They used to be made by First See Clipper on page 44 43


½ c. butter (Only real butter for me. In 1968, the option was margarine—fie on those who wrote this!) 1 c. sugar 2 large eggs 1 c. dairy sour cream 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour ½ tsp. baking soda 1 ½ tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. pure vanilla ½ c. chopped nuts (I like pecans or walnuts) 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar 1 tsp. ground cinnamon Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch tube pan. Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, or until your arm gives out (joking!). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in sour cream. Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together. Blend into creamed mixture gradually; add vanilla and blend well. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Combine nuts, the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter in the pan. Spoon in remaining batter and top with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool thoroughly on wire rack. Thus fortified, our merry band heads out.

Clipper continued from page 43

Prize out of Albany. In my much-younger days it was my job to jab the tip of a knife in several places on the sausage to release the excess, but not all, of the fat. Oh my, but they were good. I’ll have to start searching for these again, but there are other choices today, particularly the gourmet chicken and spiced varieties, that would work well in our menu. Go for it! Remember to add a knife to the place setting. Cinnamon Coffee Cake Oh how I love to come into someone’s house—even mine— with the aroma of a freshly baked cake in the air. This is easy and delicious. NEW!

Chef, teacher, author, and award-winning columnist Cornelius O’Donnell lives in Elmira, New York.

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Potato continued from page 40

you, Bres.” Bres heard that Gomez stormed out of the office asking the players where he lived. He wanted to fight Bres. • This little stunt was supposed to be a quick moment in the middle of a meaningless game at the end of a long, tired season. It took root. A year later, Bresnahans’ No. 59 was retired at Bowman Field. Poehl, who was one of the few actually on that team, was there, in uniform, and smiled the whole time. People were admitted into the game for a buck and a potato. Bresnahan, who never played another inning and soon became a stock broker and now runs a marina, would, within mere days of Potato Day, or The Great Potato Caper, or the tater trick, would be making the rounds to New York, Chicago, and, of course, Idaho. He received checks in the mail offering to help pay for the fifty dollar fine. Bresnahan wrote them back saying he wasn’t going to cash the checks, but he’d love to hang onto them as a memento. “Literally, after the game I thought it was over,” Bres says. “At the end of the week when I was with Marv Albert at Yankee Stadium for the Game of the Week, I thought it was over. Then I was with the Harry Caray in Chicago for the Cubs game, and I thought it was over. Then at the end of that year, Bob Verdi, who was with the Chicago Tribune, named me Sports Person of the Year. And I thought now it’s over. It just never ends!” When Poehl, who sells insurance near Houston, Texas, picked up your correspondent’s phone call, the first words out of his mouth were, “The story that never dies.” Rob Swain, who is the director of a sports complex in Jourdanton, Texas, doesn’t know why the story endures either. “That is beyond me. I have no idea. When I think when this was all conceived it was to have a joke, to have fun, wasn’t to do anything to make anything out of the ordinary. ‘Hey, it sounds like a good idea. Let’s do it.’ It’s the never ending story, you know?” Bres even said that he supposes it’s better to be known for something than for nothing. Then again, what if being known for nothing meant he achieved the ultimate goal? Would he trade this undying notoriety that still has people from regional magazines, national newspapers, and even ESPN knocking on his door for one whiff of the Big Leagues? To stand on that clay? To stand within the moon-white chalk lines, and look out over that infinite-green grass? To hear his mitt crack with the heat of Big League fire baller? “Oh, yeah, in a heart beat! I would’ve traded the whole thing for a cup of coffee in the Big Leagues,” he says. “One at-bat, catch one inning. Without a second thought, I would in a heart beat, absolutely.” Award-winning writer Brendan O’Meara is the author of Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year.


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B A C K O F T H E M O U N TA I N

Summer Tribute

By Bernadette Chiaramonte

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named this Mickey Mountain as a tribute to Max and Alice Mickey, great neighbors who each contributed much to Wellsboro. This photo was the result of a quick morning four-wheeler drive to their hill. The vista became more breathtaking on approach, with the wildflowers, the sun, the clouds, and the terrain all combining to make the scene one that is unique to our mountain home.

50


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*Accepting most major insurances including GHP and Highmark. 52

Mountain Home, August 2017  

"The Great Potato Toss" by Brendan O'Meara. Thirty years ago, Williamsport Minor League catcher Dave Bresnahan threw a potato in a game, and...