Like Venetians at Mardi Gras
Or robbers of banks,
We cover our faces with masks
And join in their ranks.
In this time of quarantine,
I take my lonely stroll
To keep my body healthy
And play my current role.
Man’s usual sociability
Is being sorely tested;
If distance helps contain the spread,
Then I am sure invested!
But what will help our spirits
From plummeting so far
We will not recover
From living in a Bell Jar?
Today I walked again,
And saw a lovely sight
That lifted my poor spirits
And set me all a-right.
Someone set out a table,
Two chairs and a vase,
Each one a vibrant red
To brighten up my days.
Just like a Matisse painting,
With colors jarring bright,
My spirits quickly rose
When I beheld that sight.
In all the days of dreariness,
Each one about the same,
That splash of red upon the lawn
Was “Hope” –no other name!
And so, we look forward
To brightness and good cheer,
And look to the day
When we no longer fear.
By Sarah Cifarelli Wellen
Grim Fairy Tales for Girls
The prince who climbed up Rapunzel’s hair
Saved her from the witch’s lair;
The beast who did his moral duty
Became a prince and married Beauty.
The hunters who rescued Red Riding Hood
Shot and got rid of the wolf for good.
The seven dwarfs who saved Snow White’s life
Walked her down the aisle to be a prince’s wife.
The heroes all are men in these old beloved fables
But we feminists have no wish to turn the tables.
Heroes are heroes regardless of gender
And every girl is grateful to the heroes who defend her.
Sylvia Honig, Wynantskill
Memoirs of an Amnesiac: Swimming Lessons
In centuries past it was considered bad luck if a sailor could swim. People seemed to believe that in a shipwreck God would rescue the defenseless first. At some point, helping oneself caught on as a survival strategy.
I’m glad the Red Cross offered swimming classes when I was a kid in the 1950s. I took lessons at Crystal Lake Beach and at Tifft’s Beach on Glass Lake. At both places there was a dock floating 50 feet offshore, which to me represented the final exam. If I could just make it out there, I’d graduate from non-swimmer to swimmer. Finally I worked up my nerve, took a deep breath, and splashed my way to glory. Yesss! well, maybe. How come other kids made it look so much easier?
When I’m up to my neck in water, the pressure against my chest feels like panic. For me, swimming meant fighting the water. But then my brother, Bill, joined the Coast Guard and shared a “drown-proofing” technique he learned. With even a normal amount of air in one’s lungs, a living body should bob to the surface. No need to gasp for breath or flail with arms and legs to stay afloat. Once I’d internalized that, I could relax in the water. The rest was learning how to move and breathe gracefully.
As a little kid, my heroes were high school guys who could swim all the way from Perch Rock to the Crystal Lake Beach. Then there was the legendary “seaman”, a retired gent who swam around the lake every day. Eventually I was inspired to try for myself, and a few times I swam the length of Crystal Lake. I won’t say from where to where, but I was mostly careful not to trespass.
Usually it was a leisurely swim, except for the day when a thunderstorm popped up. If lightning struck the surface of the lake, I’d be toast. I made for the nearest shore so fast, my chin cut a bow-wave through the water. An Olympic talent scout would have recruited me on the spot.
Ron McKee, Averill Park
APHS’s Return to Classrooms, Thoughts from an AP Senior
COVID-19 has taken over the thoughts of nearly every person in the world. Spring and summer have been disrupted, and seniors lost their final months in school. They were understandably upset, and the high school did the best they could to give them the celebration they deserved. Now, heading into the next school year, incoming seniors are concerned about their last year.
School should only be in session, even partially, if the safety guidelines are followed to a T, and strictly enforced. APHS also needs to consider that seniors still want that “senior year experience.” While a pep rally or other events may be impossible to hold safely, there should be some alternative to celebrate school spirit and make the year feel somewhat normal. If an at home schedule is enacted, students may miss seeing all of their friends, which could encourage them to meet unsafely on their own time. The school should be prepared for low morale because of what the “new normal” will be, and the effects that this form of school can have on students. Another aspect to consider is sports and clubs. A large part of mental health for some students relies on sports and meeting with clubs after school. If the school uses a hybrid schedule, some clubs can meet socially distanced, and non contact sports may be able to meet as well. A hybrid schedule will allow for in person learning that students may need for difficult classes, and can give aid more easily to students with difficult home situations. This schedule can allow students to see their peers while also giving more consistent learning than is obtained in online school. This is necessary before sending seniors off to college or trade schools. A hybrid schedule may be the perfect solution for APHS.
Caryn Zimmerman, Poestenkill
The Sand Box
I built it for him
For his first birthday:
A four foot square
With 2×6 sidewalls and corner seats;
And a fitted cover of 1/4” plywood
To keep out neighborhood cats.
Filled with a combination of mason and play sand,
It became the perfect sand box.
For about six years,
It was his favorite play spot:
An assortment of toys and tools
Kept him occupied for hours at a time.
But then he outgrew it, and
I replaced it with a dirt pile:
Four yards of top soil
Became his “big boy” play spot.
Today, with a touch of sadness,
I dismantled the sand box.
It disappeared into the trash bin, but
Wonderful sand box memories will linger forever !
Lloyd Barnhart, West Sand Lake
No Special Permit on Barnes Rd
I live on Parker Road, where we now experience an excessive amount or traffic due to June Farms. We have several hay fields. Cars are constantly driving through our fields, believing them to be June Farms. We now have destroyed areas of fields and ruts where cars have gotten stuck. We believe this is due to a high volume of customers unfamiliar with an agricultural district and back roads.
Zoning is in place to plan and protect proper development in our town. I believe we should abide by these plans.
I am opposed to this special use permit on Barnes Road. It is not a neighborhood suited to this type of development and should not be permitted.
Susan Cipperley, West Sand Lake
Save Barnes Road
I am opposed to this permit use. The neighborhood can not support a Part Barn. Barnes Road is for families and farms. We support the efforts of the Barnes Road Area Neighborhood Association in fighting against this type of development. It is not appropriate for the neighborhood or street.I have always enjoyed the agricultural nature of this area. My daughter takes horseback riding lessons and it has always been quiet and safe. A party barn would change everything. This area should be preserved as it is zoned.
Michele Cross, West Sand Lake
The Covid Badge Of Courage
If this is a test, we shall not fail
Just let integrity and perseverance prevail
Have you ever dreamed of being a hero someday
But you thought your lack of intestinal fortitude
Might get in the way
Remember that the best way to lead is by example
Give the world a taste of something delicious
They will want to sample
Say a prayer for your family, Neighbors and friends
Because Gods love never ends
Look for the good in everyone
Then the battle is already won
A hero is a person who has a big heart
Combine that with tenacity
And you’ve got a head start
Disregard every negative thing you’ve been told
It’s time to have confidence and be bold
When the sunrise starts the world over again each day
Wake up with the spirit of forgiveness
And let happiness come your way
So wear your hero hat today
And put your valor on display
There’s a secret I use to summon up my courage each day
I put on the armor of God and let him show me the way
Just become a soldier of the Lord
And let faith be your sword
Donna Masters, Troy