THE NEWS FROM ONEIDA LAKE
by Jim & Sue Kelly
Jim and Sue confess to really enjoy living on the lake--so much so, apparently, that they’ve begun a series of humorous articles featuring "the news from Oneida Lake”.
Patterned after Garrison Keillor’s “News from Lake Wobegone”, Jim and Sue's articles provide a witty and welcome addition to our website. We’re privileged to have their permission to reprint their stories here, and we’ll keep them coming your way as long as Jim and Sue keep writing them.
We had our first snowfall of the season here on the lake. It began Friday night and continued until Saturday morning--about ten inches. I've always liked the first snowfall. It's always so fresh, so clean, so peaceful. Since it's not that cold, the snow is a wet snow and sticks to everything--trees, houses, telephone lines; everything on the landscape. It blankets everything in a soft coating of tranquil velvety white--not only the landscape, but also the soul. But, I digress.
It's been a quiet week on Oneida Lake, that is except for last Friday night when there was a big fracas down on Main Street. Sheriff Wysocki said that if Edith Truax had hit him on the head with her purse one more time, he would have had to arrest her along with the rest. Stinky Williams said he was sorry he missed it and wished he had been there. I know Oneida Lake sounds peaceful and picturesque, but it does have its seamy side.
The Rock of Ages Stone Church is one of only two churches in town, the other being the Catholic church (you remember ... Father Migliori and the big carp). The Rock of Ages Stone Church was actually the first church in town. It was built in the mid-1850's. Originally it was built out of wood in a standard New England style, but burned down around the turn of the century (1900, not 2000). Story has it that it was burned down on purpose by a disgruntled husband who was upset because his wife was spending too much time at church. At the time, the congregation decided that they never wanted to have it burn down again, so they adopted the idea of building the new church totally out of stones. Local stones. After six months of collecting stones from all around Oneida Lake, they built their new church. It was built in somewhat of a castle-fortress-church style so as to act as a deterrent to anyone who might have designs of burning it down again. You can see it today, right there on Main Street (Route11). Every Friday night the Christian Ladies' Fellowship has a Hymn Sing led by Edith Truax and Viola DuFaux. Pastor Pomeroy is also there for the Hymn Sing, as not only is he the pastor of the church, but he's also the church organist.
Directly across the street from the Rock of Ages Stone Church is the old Woolworth dime store building. The Woolworth closed down about 15 years ago when the K-Mart opened up in Pulaski. Today the building is occupied by the Five 'n' Dime Bar, a favored establishment of the local farm boys. Every Friday night the Five 'n' Dime Bar is full of farm boys who come into town to look for some fun and to drink some of that Canadian beer on tap in the Five 'n' Dime. Last Friday night, there was a heated discussion going on in the Five 'n' Dime as to which was better, the fried haddock served down at Doug's Fish-in-a-Bun in Cicero or the fried perch served right here in town at the Eat-A-Lot Diner. Large orders of both kinds of fried fish were obtained in hopes of settling the dispute. But, as the evening progressed, the discussion became more and more heated. At one point a fried fish food fight broke out and rapidly degenerated into a full fledged brawl, which spilled out onto Main Street.
The Christian Ladies' Fellowship was half-way through the second verse of "I Come to The Garden Alone" (a particular favorite of Viola DuFaux) when they began to hear shouts and yells coming from outside the church. By the time they had finished all five verses and an extra chorus, the noise from outside had become decidedly louder. Pastor Pomeroy, followed by the ladies, went outside to see what all that noise was about. There in the middle of Main Street was about twenty men punching and hitting and grabbing at each other. Edith said she had never seen anything like it in "all her born days". Pastor Pomeroy waded into the fracas in hopes of stopping the fight, at which point an errant left hook cold-cocked the Pastor flat on the ground. That was all the Christian Ladies' Fellowship could stand. How dare they do that to the good Reverend! With their pocket books raised as weapons, they charged in, aiming to quell this disturbance immediately and, (I might add) seek some retribution for this flagrant attack on Pastor Pomeroy.
Sheriff Wysocki was enjoying a quiet Friday night at home tying flies and listening to country music on WCPS when the call came in. Having no time to put on his uniform, Sheriff Wysocki quickly pinned his badge to his plaid flannel jacket and grabbed his police radio and headed out toward Main Street. It was quite a scene that greeted Sheriff Wysocki when he arrived. A large number of men dressed in plaid shirts and dirty blue jeans along with 15 woman dressed in their Sunday best were going at each other like there was no tomorrow. Fists, fish, and pocketbooks were flying everywhere. After radioing for reinforcements, Sheriff Wysocki spied Pastor Pomeroy lying on the gournd and charged in to pull him out. As he was leaning down to pick up the pastor, Edith Truax, not recognizing the Sheriff without his uniform on, conked the Sheriff on the head with her pocketbook a couple of times. As she was cocking her arm to deliver another blow, the sheriff quickly grabbed her skirt and told her that if she hit him one more time he was going to put her in handcuffs. Together, they pulled Pastor Pomeroy over to the side of the street and stood there watching the mayhem and waiting for reinforcements to arrive.
Then it began to snow.
And that's the news from Oneida Lake, where all the women are good with their pocketbooks, all the men like fried fish, and all the children are out playing in the snow.
Copyright © 2000, J. W. Kelly. All rights reserved.