Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Tidbits & Tidings

It seems to me that our years are punctuated by certain days, and that they accumulate in our memory like so many frames in an old home movie, to be recalled and replayed at will. Christmas Eve has always been the day that I benchmark my life by. I recall so many of them, but one of my favorites was the year that the Christmas season was particularly hectic. I was on my way home from work on that Christmas Eve, my mind filled with dozens of chores that needed attention. But at the edge of town, I stopped and turned the car around. I parked near the town clock and walked up and down Canal Street. The businesses were closing for the holiday. People thinned out and soon the street was empty. Two children appeared from somewhere with the general clamor of youths running on bare sidewalk on that cold, snowless Christmas Eve. They hurried around the bank corner and ran up Division Street toward home and supper. “Children,” I thought, “should have snow for Christmas vacation.” And then it happened. A single flake landed on my coat sleeve, and then another. I looked up and watched as millions of flakes seemed to magically materialize from the void above the streetlight.
Christmas is a season when we are most mindful of those in need around us. In this spirit, the Fort Plain Free Library will be accepting Food for Fines. Any individual who currently owes fines to the library for overdue materials may have those fines forgiven by donating non-perishable food items such as canned or packaged goods to the library. At the end of the program on January 2nd, all items collected will be donated to the Fulmont Community Action Agency.
The two Wednesday evening programs on the log cabin quilt and the Victorian beaded ornament covers were very well attended. We look forward to presenting more such programs in 2010. While we have several ideas, we welcome input from our patrons and hope to hear from you….and see you as well at Fort Plain’s Last Night celebration on December 31st. The library will host The Bard Rocks, also known as Roland Vinyard, who will be performing a wide variety of songs including funny songs, bluegrass, children’s songs, as well as sharing jokes and stories. Performances are scheduled from 6:00 to 7:30 and from 8:00 to 9:30.
Finally, I have come to realize the greatest gift my mother gave me was a weekly trek to the library. It is where I discovered what interested me in life, where I learned to knit and crochet, and where I found good books to read. It is my wish that every child might receive the gift of belonging to a library during this coming year.
Submitted by Fort Plain Free Library Board of Trustee member Sally-Jean Taylor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October Tidbits & Tidings

Who can think of October without also thinking of church suppers? There was a time when the children were grown that we decided to treat ourselves to a fall of church suppers. We caught up with friends and neighbors locally and also traveled to other towns in the area, a few further away. Out quest started in late September, and we never had a “real meal” at home until early December! I found the Yankee magazine’s Church Supper Cookbook at the library. The turkey casserole on page 120 sounds particularly appetizing, as does the Cranberry Pot Roast on page 122.
Gardens are winding down. Thanks to the blight, there will be no tomato juice canned this year. However, it’s a great apple year. Applesauce, apple jelly, and several apple pies for the freezer will soon be prepared. Walnuts will be dropping and then pears. To take advantage of this harvest, you might want to explore The Church Supper Cookbook edited by David Joachim and try the Fresh Pear Cake on page 181 or Walnut Cake on page 193. The book also offers a recipe for Pastitsio or Greek Macaroni Pie on page 25, which is good, easy to make and feeds an army.
Speaking of which, a small army filled the library’s Welcome Center recently to learn about the history and making of the Log Cabin quilt block. Brad Flint dropped in with a gorgeous Log Cabin quilt made in 1835. Our thanks to Carol Dingman for a terrific presentation and Emily Loadwick who was on hand in period costume to serve refreshments. Everyone had a great time.
Readings from the Mohawk Valley Sampler will be held at the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library, St. Johnsville, on October 10th beginning at 10:00 a.m. On November 12th, the Fort Plain Free Library will offer The Power of Place from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Both programs are designed to motivate area residents to share their memories about a person, place, or event that illustrates their feelings about living in the central Mohawk Valley. Hope to see many of you there.
October ends with mention of a work synonymous with Halloween, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. First published in 1820, it is one of the earliest examples of American fiction still read today. The story takes place in the Dutch settlement of Tarrytown, New York. Anyone growing up near Tarrytown as I did…anyone who happened to see Walt Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the fall of 1958…and anyone, I reiterate anyone, who was thirteen at that time and in charge of two younger siblings on a dark, cold, still Halloween night will recall, as if it were yesterday, the need for looking back over their shoulder every so often and listening for the sounds of echoing hoof beats.
Finally, don’t forget that the library’s used book room is a cornucopia of winter reading. Stop by and see for yourself.
Submitted by Board of Trustee member Sally-Jean Taylor

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tidings & Tidbits

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month
Did you know that a library is a portal? Cross over the threshold and you can enter the future, revisit the past, or enrich your present. You may
stay in town or travel anywhere in the universe, real or imagined! Last week I witnessed a murder in a 1932 circus tent (Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen) and planned a weekend trip to Lake George (Adirondack Life magazine) as I perused the library’s new arrivals and used book corner.
I caught up on upcoming programs such as The Log Cabin Quilt scheduled for September 30th and the ongoing Mohawk Valley Sampler project that encourages residents to submit a poem, short story, essay, sketch, or musical interlude about an event, place, person, or moment that best captures their feelings about the central Mohawk Valley. I am polishing my piece for this worthwhile undertaking. In a world of “giant” entities, it is easy to forget that we are valued components of this place and time. What we feel is important and should be recorded for our grandchildren and others. I encourage everyone to contact Dawn at the Margaret Reaney Library, 568-7822, or Laura at Fort Plain, 993-4646, for more information about this project.
…Which reminds me. It’s Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. Writers, like readers, are allowed to go elsewhere at will. Editors are writers chained to reality. So, if you see Josh, be kind to him!
Submitted by Fort Plain Free Library Board of Trustee member Sally-Jean Taylor.