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Ashland Speaks: Old-fashioned instruments make the sweetest music

November 7, 2018 11:43 am Updated: November 7, 2018 11:55 am


Welcome to November; a lull in our tourist season — a time to prepare for a, hopefully, busy winter season.

This is the time of year that we hope for snow and cold weather so the local people can start working again. We start preparing for our Christmas Craft shows and holiday activities. We start scanning the ads looking for Thanksgiving bargains.

We look for pumpkin pie, maybe mincemeat, fruits of our bountiful harvests. The hunters start scanning the fields and thickets, looking for the hideout of “the big one.” The man talk has begun, “Have you seen the 10 pointer in the field by _______?, I saw an 8-pointer ______.”

Locations have been blocked out to protect the privacy of the spotter. Best wishes to all for a lovely and bountiful November.

The YaYa’s attic craft fair at the Greek Assumption Church was very well-attended and a success. If you had a good time at the Chinese auction, there will be another one at the Masonic Temple 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 1 with lunch being served all day. Come on by and check out our prizes.

The little bear cub that I told you about last week on 296, was seen by others. He did not seem to mind having his picture taken. Did you see him? If you go to the nutrition center in Jewett for lunch, you up your chances, being he hangs out on the intersection there.

Dec. 1 is already starting to be a very busy day. The OES Crafts and Chinese Auction will be on that day, and the Windham Hensonville UMC will be holding its annual Christmas Tea on that day. You can very easily attend both. Hope to see you.

Did anyone see Scott Adams on Fox and Friends last week?

Judy and John LoPresti were away from Thursday through Sunday last week giving me a chance to eat meals with Rose and Ken Hudecek. It’s so pleasant to sit and talk and eat with friends. Judy and John went to Virginia for a wedding. On Friday, they went to Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to John’s parents who are interred there. An interesting fact: the plots are laid out according to the General you served under. Mr. LoPresti was a driver for Patton, and served under him during the Africa campaign, so he is buried on Patton Way. After, they walked to see the Changing of the Guard, then went and met up with son Anthony and wife Tricia, whose brother was getting married in Leesburg. t was a beautiful wedding, lovely company, but Judy and John are glad to be home.

I’m still painting under the tutelage of Debbie Maynard at the WAJPL Senior Center on Monday mornings. If you want to try your hand, you’re very welcome from 9 a.m.-noon Mondays. If they get enough people who want to paint ceramics for Christmas gifts, Judy and John will open the center for that during November. Let us know.

Every year, the Greene County Department of Aging through its Senior Angels program, puts on a free Thanksgiving Dinner at the Rivertown Senior Center in Athens. It is for our Senior Citizens 60 and older. The Department of Aging doesn’t want anyone to be alone for Thanksgiving. You will be treated to a full dinner complete with goody bags and door prizes. Many companies make donations towards this event, to make it a memorable day. If you would like to donate, or attend, please call 518-719-3555. The bake sale in October made an unprecedented $800 which will be used for the programs that the Senior Angels offer. Thank you for your support. They are definitely Angels.


Prayers for Ellouise Cole who has been at St. Peter’s in Albany.

Keep Dianne Cross and her mother in your prayers.

Janet Hudecek is looking forward to coming home from rehab. Hopefully she can be released soon under the care of a full time caregiver.

Continue praying for Clarence Soule (and family).


Nov. 9: Historical presentation The Catskill Mountain House 7 p.m. Windham UMC

Nov. 11: Veterans Day. Thank you for your service.

Nov. 14: Autumn Gathering Luncheon 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Pegasus

Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Dinner for Seniors 60 and older at the Athens Rivertown Senior Center, 39 Second St., Athens from noon-4 p.m., call 518-719-3555 to make reservations.

Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day

Dec. 1: Crafts and Chinese Auction Masonic Temple benefit Order of Eastern Star

Dec. 1: Christmas Tea Windham Hensonville UMC

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

Are you having a special fundraiser or activity in December? Send to, call me at 518-734-5360



Last week, the Golden Agers went to Massachusetts to the October Fest. The German band played many songs on many homemade instruments: The hand saw, cow bells (you can’t have too many cow bells), wooden spoons, tubes made from many pieces of wood, drilled out, placed together, then played with a mallet.

This made me remember the items we played music on: The comb with paper on it. You blew, or hummed on it. We all had someone who played the Kazoo.

Drums were made from oatmeal boxes, someone would pick a sturdy blade of grass, stretch it between thumbs and blow through it.

Bottles were filled with different levels of liquid, then played on with a spoon or other, handy, utensil. Rattles were made with cardboard tubes stuffed with rocks or dried beans, or marbles, covered with paper held on by a rubber band. Rubber bands of different sizes were stretched and plucked to make different sounds.

Did you ever make something from a sardine can? Boy Scout music badge, and music theory class in school each had a requirement that you had to make a musical instrument from common household items and play it in public. I have seen many creative uses of funnels, plastic tubing and balloons.

After all of that good German food, we were treated to the final instrument, the long Alpine Horn, used in the Alps for communication. Then, fully sated on food, drink and music, we went home. Another great trip.

Now, are thoughts going around in your mind about music-making the old-fashioned way?

Again, I thank Kip Rikard for his comments on my last column: We were so lucky to have been born and raised in the country. I remember every summer when the buses came up from New York every two weeks full of people.

After two weeks they would return to their hot, dirty city and another load would come. They used to call us country hicks.

A lot of them thought they were better than we were. You know what? We country hicks stayed here in the beautiful mountains, while the city slickers had to go back to their noisy and dirty city. How lucky we were.

If you have any comments about what I write, or have a suggestion on a As I Remember It segment, please let me know. My remembering isn’t as good as it used to be and I could use all the help I can get. — Lula