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Ashland Speaks: Arch of daisies gone, but not forgotten

June 13, 2018 11:39 am Updated: June 13, 2018 11:40 am

Summer activities are in full swing!

Dinners, overlapping dates; parties, trying to coordinate which one to go to first, sadly, funerals and memorials services to attend along with going away parties, graduation parties, etc. etc. I am out of control.

I have three days to get my house in order for my daughter’s visit. I have a senior citizen trip to Philadelphia. Can I get myself in order? Can I arrange my life to any semblance of order? Let me breathe!

The chicken barbecue at the Ashland Church was so-so. We were in competition with the Lexington United Methodist Church and its annual Strawberry Social. Neither netted what they have in the past. It’s too bad we can’t coordinate our dinners so we can all go and enjoy everything.

It was great to see Lowell and Georgia Smith at the Shandaken Church on Sunday. Thanks, Shannon, for being my sidekick.

Are you a stamp collector? Wally Thompson wants to talk to you. Call him at 518-734-3011. He, also, has many clippings from newspapers of years ago, which need to go to a collector or archivist.

Melinda Sokoll had a nice dinner at Brandywine with Pat Swanson and Betty Berg (both were Brandows) on Saturday. They really enjoyed getting together and chatting.

Judy and John had a very busy Sunday. Judy had friends from her former Post Office life come visit. Postmaster Linda spent time explaining the new scanning system that can pinpoint exactly where your package has been delivered in real time. They all went to lunch at the Windham Diner, which was so good. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Jewett Post Office.

Sorry to hear about the barn fire at the home of Mike Pelham on Route 23 (formerly Cliff and Pauline Lawrence’s turkey farm). The barn is a total loss. Commendations to the firefighters who contained the blaze so thoroughly. It could have been so much worse with four houses in the immediate vicinity.

Chad Benjamin is happy to have his dog home after he took a week’s stroll and ended up at the house of Mo Beers. Guess he just wanted a change of scenery.

Many new fawns are being birthed. You can see Ma Ma in the tall grass, then two heads appear. Watch for them as they start straying. They don’t know about cars and roads. Also, families of woodchucks are appearing under garages, porches, etc.

There will be no church services for Ashland and Windham Hensonville United Methodist Church on June 24. Please join us for a going away service and party for Pastor Choi and family at the Ashland Community Center (fire house) at 2 p.m. We will be serving finger foods, so join us and show off your favorite dish.


Condolences to Melinda Sokoll and her daughter, Macee Soule, on the passing of Mom, Peg. There will be a joint memorial service for Peg and Lyle, who passed away last year. Peg and Lyle would have been married for 73 years last September. Services will be at Decker’s Funeral home 11 a.m. June 23 with internment at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Fellowship to follow.

Prayers for Ellen Strausser who is in the hospital.

Prayers to all who traveled to Long Island for the three-day Methodist conference and thanks to all who filled the many empty pulpits while our pastors were there.


n June 16: Strawberry Social at Jewett Presbyterian Church Hall

n June 22: Windham-Ashland-Jewett graduation

n June 24: Farewell party for Pastor Choi 2-4 p.m., Ashland Town Hall

n July 4: Parade in Windham. Lineup 6 p.m., parade at 7 p.m.

n Aug. 4: Hunter Block Party from 3-10 p.m.

n Aug. 11: Jewett Fire Department Brooks barbecue, 4:30 p.m. takeouts, 5 p.m. sit down at hall


WAJ graduation

It doesn’t seem possible that 70 years have gone by since I graduated from Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School. I reflect back to graduation and how it wasn’t just one night to remember, but an entire weekend of celebration.

Saturday night was Class Night, and we did fun things as a group. We had skits that acted out what we were involved in during our years together, we introduced ourselves and told our friends and families of our future plans.

Sunday night was Baccalaureate. That was an ecumenical service of all of the local clergy on the stage with the graduates in cap and gown in the front rows of the auditorium. Each year, the churches rotated turns with introduction, homily and closing. The service provided each religion with time to pass on their wishes and advice to the grads.

Monday night was the BIG NIGHT — graduation, which brings to mind the best WAJ tradition: the daisy chain.

Daisy Chain put the spotlight on the junior girls. On Saturday, all of the girls would meet and pick daisies — thousands of daisies. One year, it was too cold for daisies, so the girls went to Cairo and Greenville to get enough from the roadside.

With bags of daisies in hand, we would meet up again, and after a picnic lunch, we would start putting them on the special poles that were stored in the school for the daisy chain. Think about winding flowers around the poles. Nope, you had to make individual bouquets, then wrap the bouquets together around the poles.

They couldn’t be too thick, or too thin. They had to cover the end of the pole, yet leave enough room on the handle to hold it. The completed poles had to be kept in a cool place so the daisies wouldn’t wilt. After all of this time in the sun, the majority of the girls were terribly sunburned, but on Monday evening, they, once again, got to don their prom gowns and march into the auditorium ahead of the graduating class.

At a signal, all of the poles went in the air, forming an archway for the graduates. Hold the pole high enough so not to hit the mortar board as the grad passed, oops, tall guy coming through, separate the poles to give him room.

Arms tired, you’re tired, do not drop, do not sag, do not laugh, do not cry. You, as a junior girl, are as much a “star” as the graduate. You, will be the first to go through the receiving line at the end as you hand your special senior girl her bouquet of roses. What a thrill!

Now, I am unhappy to find out the girls no longer will be able to have the memory of finding, and picking, and entwining all of those daisies as I find they are made with artificial flowers.

What a shame. No fun or memories to pass down. The excuse of “the girls are too busy” doesn’t sit with me, as you know how many hours I worked as a teen.

Why do we feel we have to coddle our children? Aren’t we also hurting them by not letting them go out and pick flowers on a beautiful June day?

Congratulations to all of the 2018 graduates — Lula