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Ashland Speaks: Hunting season built lifetime friendship

December 5, 2018 11:34 am Updated: December 5, 2018 11:40 am


December: what do you feel when you flip the calendar page to December? Are you feeling the stress of one major holiday down, but the big one on its way?

We love to bring so much color and bling into our houses to dispel the gloom of early winter nights, but the actual decorating takes so much time.

Do you grit your teeth and get it all done in one day, or do you spread it out? Real or artificial tree? Outdoor decorations? I used to adorn each and every surface with decorations old and new.

Now that I’m all alone, it doesn’t seem worth it to decorate just for me. I am thankful for friends that share theirs with me.

Roberta Banks is one busy, talented lady. Anyone who knows her, knows how she loves animals, and has a mini farm in Jewett, complete with mini horses, chickens and goats.

She started making goat’s milk soap and is selling it online to make good use of the goat milk. Her house is done in a rustic motif, so she made a beautiful fleece patchwork quilt. When that was done, she needed a table so made one herself from a stump and glass. What more can we expect?

A shoutout to Ruth Cady Muller in Shokan. As a librarian, she has access to many local papers and has been reading this column for awhile. She loves how it gives her a chance to get news from and about people from Windham-Ashland-Jewett. Don’t disappoint her, send in your news.

Rose Hudecek had a quiet Thanksgiving this year with only 14 attending. In contrast, the “Clifford Thompson” family from Jewett had 47. Following tradition, Josh and Stefanie Holdridge had the family over at the farmhouse. It makes for a very hectic, but fun and enjoyable, dinner.

The nest at Jessica Franz is quiet as all relatives have returned home — to Australia, Switzerland and local family who were here for Thanksgiving. Kyle (Hunter) Creech, got his first deer this year.

Speaking of Jewett activities, the Jewett Presbyterian Food Pantry is in dire need of volunteers. The pantry is open every Sunday and they need people to distribute the food. Also, someone, very strong with a truck, is needed to pick up the food at the Regional Food Bank in Catskill once a month. The pantry serves many people and it would be a shame to discontinue it because of a lack of willing helpers.

Call Jessica at 518-424-2919. It would be a good project for high school seniors who need volunteer hours. The pantry has just posted its December schedule. Dec. 9 and 16 are regular pick ups. No holiday items. The Christmas dinner pick up, ham, pies and holiday items will be on Dec. 23. This will be Christmas baskets only. No general food. They will be closed on Dec. 30.

Do you need furniture or a stove? Call me, I have access to many items again.

Another Spam alert!! Local people are getting calls from Publisher’s Clearing House — you won, but we need money for expenses. Not true. Do not fall for it. Never give your credit card information over the phone, never cash a check that you get in the mail UNLESS you are expecting it. It’s hard to do, but safer in the long run. Remember, donate personally, and locally. Do NOT let anyone have access to your accounts. It’s unfortunate that these low lifes prey on older people. Show them that we are smarter than they are.

WAJPL Golden Age Club will be hosting a bus trip to the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Mass. to enjoy a tribute concert to “The Legends Of Country Music” on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Cost is $55. For reservations, please call Mary Louise at 518-622-3397. Don’t forget to ask Mary Louise about the trip to Proctor’s and the trip to the lovely Chez Josef in Agawam, Mass. On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, to enjoy a tribute to “The Carpenters.” Cost is $60. Please call Mary Louise at 518 622-3397 for reservations.

Ashland residents. It’s time to vote for Fire Commissioner, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Fire Hall in Ashland.


Prayers for the family of Jodi Vining who passed this week. Graveside services will be held in the spring.

Condolences to the family of Walter Higgens of Hunter and Gladys Carmen of Prattsville.

Many prayers, sympathy and love to the family of one of our own, Larry Partridge who was only 66 years old. Larry had been sick a long time and time was winding down. He decided to end treatments and made peace with his family, both personal and spiritual. He had the opportunity to plan his final farewell. Visiting hours for Larry will be 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7 at Decker’s.

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Dec. 8, also at Decker’s with fellowship to follow at the Ashland Town Community Center.


Dec. 6: WAJPL Holiday Luncheon 1 p.m. Windham Country Club

Dec. 6: Christmas Concert St. Theresa’s RVW brass quintet 7 p.m.

Dec. 8: Ashland United Methodist Church Cookie Walk from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Dec. 10: Holiday Luncheon Mt. Top Golden Agers at noon VanWinkle’s Restaurant Hunter

Dec. 16: Gift wrapping for the veterans at Ginny Gurley’s house

Dec. 16: 2 p.m. Mason’s dinner at Brandywine. Call Bruce Maben at 518-734-4491

Dec. 17: trip to Albany VA to deliver gifts

Dec. 24: Candlelight service Ashland Community Church 7 p.m.; Windham 9 p.m.

Please send me the times and dates of your church’s Christmas services so plans can be made. I like to put all in a separate section to remind people.

Are you having a special fundraiser or activity in December? January is right around the corner, I know we are all busy with holiday events, but please let me know ahead of time so I can get it in the paper. —; 518-734-5360.


When driving around the area during Thanksgiving week, it was great to see at least two cars in every driveway. So what you say: Everyone has company.

No, these are second homes, vacation homes, many unused much of the year. It told me that many people were taking advantage of our early winter and ski season. It was also deer hunting season which takes me back...

To the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. Before ski slopes, the time of the family farm, for instance. Starting at South Street and Route 23 was the Sportsman Lodge (before all you did was sit home and watch TV), when you could go in your hunting clothes for lunch and dinner and could dance on Saturday nights.

The Henry Wowk farm, then Dot and Walt Alle. Next, the Holdridge farm, Pauline and Orville Case. Alice and Claude Cook on North Settlement, the Partridges, Kelly Acres and Babe Goos on county Route 10 and so many more.

Basically, if you had extra rooms in your house, you took in hunters. A quick and easy way to make money for the hard times.

Beginning around Nov. 15, the hunters came. Farm homes open to 30 or more. Sleeping everywhere they could. Cots were set up in rooms with just enough room to go from door to bed. Sometimes you knew your roommates, often times you just bunked with whoever. It didn’t matter because the men were all up at 4 a.m. for 4:30 a.m. breakfast.

If you got there at 5 a.m., you got cold coffee. It was a full breakfast — not just toast and coffee. The meal had to be hearty enough to sustain you for the long trek into the woods.

Sandwiches were made and packed up to be taken with the men. Hunting gear was hung by the door for easy dressing. Lunches were put in the knapsack with the bullets, knives, bags for the hearts and liver, and off they would go.

My dad had an old Ford tractor and would bring the hunters across the stream to the mountain, then he would start the milking and normal farm chores, feeding the animals, mucking out the barn, gathering eggs.

For mother, and her helpers, the day would start with breakfast cleanup, making the beds, making pies, snacks, soups, setting the clean dishes back on the table for supper, peeling many potatoes, getting the roast ready for the oven, and, hopefully, a little rest, or the normal routine of shopping, laundry, stocking the furnace.

Around 3:30 p.m., the roast went in the oven, potatoes went on the boil, jars opened for the vegetable, a relish tray put out. Hunting was over at dusk, (just before the sun went down), father would pick up the stragglers, the men would come in, divest hunting gear, wash up and eat.

You would see everyone sitting around in long johns, and wooly socks. Stories would be told of the one that got away, and who saw what. The lucky one who got a deer would help hoist it up in the tree, the bag holding the liver and heart would be brought in to be cleaned and stored.

This was a very long, grueling two weeks for the family, but at the end of it, my mother would have enough money to buy gifts for all of her children and grandchildren.

It was hard work, but those who came once generally came every year and stayed friends for a long, long time.

Have a wonderful week — Lula