Tuesday, 21 February 2017 14:30

Memoirs of a Small Town Mayor: Anticipation

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Memoirs of a Small Town Mayor: Anticipation Bob Day photo

I have been putting the finishing touches on my upcoming Memoirs/autobiography, but it has taken longer than anticipated. We are now looking at a mid to late March release. We are also up to 276 pages. It has been a major undertaking, and I will be relieved, and indeed overjoyed, when it is finally published and available.

We finally settled on the title of the book, "Pee not your Pants! Memoirs of a small town Mayor with big time ideas". The title is taken from a kindergarten experience, the story of which I regale the readers with in the first chapter. I won't repeat that story here. I will let you read it in the book. But the theme is one which I develop throughout the book. Never overreact, stay steady, don't sweat the small stuff, and never panic in a crisis. If you keep your hand steady on the rudder, you will emerge from any storm, intact and in control.

Waiting for publication is like waiting for Spring after a long Oswego winter. We all need something to look forward to. When we finally begin to see the snow melt and the robins arrive, we know it is not too long before the crocuses will bloom, and then the daffodils, and then the tulips, and then the roses. The blooming of the earth after a long, cold and snowy winter is a welcome sight indeed.

IMG 0529Usually, by about the time of my birthday at the end of February, there are signs that winter is beginning to lose her icy grip. By the time we get to St. Patrick's Day, you know we may still get some snow, but it will most assuredly melt. So St. Patrick's day became for Oswegonians, as I was growing up, the first sure sign of Spring, and well worth celebrating, Irish or not. For about fifteen years running, Bob Chetney and I would team up to do a live St. Patrick's Day broadcast from the AOH on Munn St. on local radio station WSGO. We featured interviews with local notables, songs by such leading lights as Paul Murray and Francis Dehm and Billy Joyce of St. Mary's famous men's choir, recorded Irish music , and assorted blather and blarney. It proved to be a popular show, and people looked forward to it every year. The show was broadcast on a daylight-only radio station so it ran from 10 am until about 5:30 pm, which was winter sign off time. Bob and I would pledge to refrain from any real "Irish style" beverages during the program, otherwise, as I would kid Chet, we would begin to sound like Hong Kong on the short wave. And, for the most part, we did tow that line.

There was the annual interview with Bernadette McBrearty from Derry in Northern Ireland, who was a nurse at the Oswego Mental Health clinic, and an interview annually with Eamonn McGirr of Loudonville, near Albany, who was the proprietor of Eamonn's Irish pub. He also wrote the hit song on the Irish hit parade, "Up went Nelson in old Dublin". Heck , we even interviewed Catherine Rowe, who was a colorful East side Oswego character. You needed to have something to look forward to during those long Oswego winters.

When I was Mayor, we always made it a point to announce the Harborfest headlining act around the early part of March. Again, it broke some of the wintry ice to do so, and gave rise to expectations. We knew that spring would eventually be sprung, and again, it's always important to have something to look forward to.

IMG 3595These days, many Oswegonian's of my vintage, make do awaiting spring from sunnier southern climes, like Florida. Since retirement, that has been my custom too. Even though it's easier to await the harbingers of spring from afar, those many years when one could not do so are still etched in our memory banks with a frozen chisel. It is in part who we are, and how we learned to survive that made our mettle. And as they say, out of adversity comes strength. Never having had it easy in those days was not a bad thing. It built character. And character is a good thing to have, especially when faced in later life with any kind of adversity. Snows eventually melt. Flowers eventually bloom, and sooner or later, the sun always shines. Those are good things to keep in mind. And, oh, those spectacular Oswego sunsets! They are still the cherry on top of the cake.

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