By Jeanette Riffle

We have all been advised to stay home and be safe, but we can take a drive. One nice sunny day this past week we took a drive to get out of the house and just marveled at all the color out there. Trees and bushes are in bloom. The pink Japanese Quince, bright yellow Forsythia, white Bradford Pear, and other flowering trees are so beautiful along with the Easter flowers. We saw daffodils, jonquils, and crocus. Those same ones are blooming in my flower garden now.

While the pandemic virus goes on, Mother Nature is at work outside. Farm animals are kicking up their heels and rejoicing in the springtime weather and new baby animals are being born. People are delighting in their ramps as a tonic this time of year. I found a recipe that sounds good. You fry four slices of bacon to render the grease. Remove bacon from skillet and fry four potatoes sliced thin, in the grease until done. Add sixteen chopped ramps or more, if you like the strong taste of ramps to come through. Cook until tender. Add eight beaten eggs and gently stir and cook until they are done. Serves four.

Spring is in the air, however, I miss the smell of gardens being burned off to get ready for plowing.

Gardens are now taken care of with machinery. When I was growing up, everyone raked their gardens to get rid of old leaves and dead stuff and to burn off the bugs and bug eggs.

We have been advised to stay home and stay safe. I find it helpful to dwell on things I can do in times like these. Don't dwell on what you can't do. When I was a child, we had board games, card games and puzzles to do. We played outside. We took walks, climbed hills, and my brothers played in the runs to cool off on hot days. They caught crawl dads and minnows to go fishing. I have hobbies to keep me busy when I am tired from house work and have to get off my feet. I like bird watching out the back window. Birds come to the seed feeders. I like to crochet, read, write. I like to cook and bake.

I keep in touch with friends on the phone and on my laptop. Hobbies help. We are not stuck at home,we are safe at home. Life goes on and, if we stay busy, this strange virus will be gone before we know it. Be educated about it, follow the rules and stay safe. Pray and trust in the Lord that this will soon come to an end. Until next time, enjoy your spring and may the good Lord bless and keep you in His care.

In my 56 years, I have never had the governor of any state I have lived in tell me to stay at home. But, these are new and very difficult times.

Because of this stay at home order, I may actually unpack all the boxes that are still sitting around from our move! At the very least, I can find out what is in each box! I am absolutely sure that several of those boxes contain pictures, pictures and more pictures. But that's ok. Two of my bedrooms have not been decorated yet! The bedrooms are set up and very usable, just not decorated.

I would love to be able to drag my mother's childhood bedroom suite outside and strip it. I've stripped one drawer on the dresser and it is made of beautiful maple! This would be a great project for me during stay at home! It would make me happy too!

There are so many fun things that we can do while we are home. Work puzzles, crochet, sew (if I knew how), reconnect with friends by telephone, write letters and cards (which I do fairly often), cook (so we can all weigh 400 pounds when this is over) or play board games! We don't have to sit in front of the television the whole time!

There are a lot of great things that can happen during this season of our lives.

Last weekend, I started cleaning the house and learned that I am a disgusting pig. Yep! That's what I learned. My house is now clean...well, as clean as it can be with two four legged boys running in and out of the house. I also washed the boys many beds.

Pistol and Texas have six beds. That's not counting Texas' couch in our bedroom and Pistol sleeps in our bed. I took them all apart, washed them with Downy, dried them and put them back together. Texas now lays with his nose smashed into the beds. He has always loved clean beds and clean blankets.

I guess I started a type of Spring cleaning. I managed to get a lot done. I clean Kay Chico style! Big difference. Not that Mama didn't make us clean and clean it right, but I don't think she ever made me take a toothbrush to the tile and commodes. Maybe she did and I just don't remember.

Spring cleaning time is here! You may as well take some of this time and at least start it!

The most important thing is stay at home! Try to find ways to enjoy being at home. (Cleaning probably isn't the way) I bought a few puzzles and several books. Those are my kind of stay at home activities.

It is important. It is necessary. It is a lifesaving measure. Let's all work together to make sure Gilmer County doesn't add to the statistics.

While I am sure some of us may have already had this dreaded virus a few months back, we don't want to get it so bad that we end up filling hospitals and being on ventilators.

This is serious folks. Very serious. If we avoid contact, wash our hands constantly, use hand sanitizer, truly practice social distancing and pray we may be able to avoid being infected. Pray for those affected, pray for those medical personnel who are working day and night to provide care for the sick and pray for those who are medically compromised.

These are scary times we are experiencing. Scary indeed.

People are losing jobs, businesses are struggling, people are being told to reduce their hours at work, families are struggling to put food on tables, struggling to pay rent, struggling in general and people are still out and about running around just to “get out.”

I know we live in a small, rural area where we have usually been protected from most of the big, bad world, but, this is a different animal.

Please do your best to stay at home and away from people. I pray that we all stay safe and that Gilmer County does not add to the numbers of infected.

By Joseph Mazzella,

It was the first day of spring here, but it didn't feel like it. The Coronavirus pandemic was sweeping the globe and everywhere there were feelings of uncertainty, fear, loneliness, and even despair. “Social distancing” had become the new norm. Here, the schools had been closed, the restaurant dining rooms shut, and people had been told to work from home whenever they could. Even the sheltered workshop where my oldest son worked had been closed until further notice. People had made a run to the stores and large areas of the shelves were bare. On the news, the numbers of sick and dead continued to rise. It felt like there was a weight on the souls of everyone in the world.

My own family was staying at home as much as possible and I looked out my window and wondered how long this crisis would last. It was then, however, that I saw something that lifted the weight off of my soul, made my face smile, and made my heart feel happy again. On the street below my house there was an old friend of mine from high school who was a teacher there now. There with him was my younger son's former aide from the high school. They were delivering the school lunches door to door to the hungry children who were stuck at home. Watching them made me think of something everyone's childhood television neighbor, Mr. Rogers, once said, “In the bad times, always look for the helpers.”

I have no doubt that this crisis will pass, as all the crises before it have. But it is our choice on whether or not it brings out the best in us or the worst in us. Let it bring out the best in you. Use it to strengthen your faith. Use it to free yourself from fear. Use it to grow kinder, more giving, and more loving. Become a helper to all those in need and you will be doing God's work today, and in all the days to come.

Joseph Mazzella is a free-lance writer from Nicholas County and a GSC Alumnus.

There is only Today

 

It is good to talk to our daughter, Katrina and girls, and know that they are okay. She has been quite busy with her work.

I sure have been taking advantage of the beautiful 70 and 80 degree weather. I've been drying clothes on the clothes line!

Wayne and I enjoyed the ramp dinner I fixed on Saturday for lunch. We had fried ramps, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, brown beans and cornbread. It was really tasty.

Our sympathy and prayers go out to the Ernestine (Minigh) Riddle family on the loss of their grandson. He was killed in a car wreck. He lived in Elizabeth, but his ancestors were from Gilmer County.

Does anyone have a home remedy for getting rid of the nasty lady bugs?

I really appreciated the many calls of Happy Birthday wishes and beautiful cards that I received on my birthday last week.

We are patiently waiting on our son-in-law to get us a mess of wild mushrooms soon.

There are two days about which we should never worry, and these days are yesterday and tomorrow.

So with only today to cope with day by day the burden becomes lighter, for we never stumble under the burden of the coronavirus of today.

It is only when we add yesterdays and tomorrows to the load that we are carrying that it becomes unbearable. Remember that God is with us always and will take care of us.

 

By Toni Wine

Hello spring fever! The WV men's basketball team beat Iowa State on March 3rd. They also won, Sat. March 7, against Baylor. That makes 21 wins this season!

Sat., May 16 the Burnsville United Methodist Church may be having a dinner at the Burnsville Community Building from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. $10 per adult!

I would appreciate it if there were no signs placed in my yard. You are supposed to get the home owner's permission before placing campaign or other signage!

Happy Birthday to my great nephew, Nabil, on April 2. He lives in NJ!

SongLand is coming back to TV on April 13. I'm excited to see it return. I'm also looking forward to Who Wants to be a Millionaire returning on April 8 at 10 pm.

I sure hope that the Seniors get to have a Graduation Ceremony this year!

Please note that the Wellness Day that was to be held at the Braxton Walmart has been cancelled. It may be rescheduled for a later day in June.

Last week, my column was about human trafficking. As I came into work on Monday, one of my co-workers had printed out a press release from the U. S. Attorney's Office in Martinsburg.

Yes, I know that Martinsburg is a large town and is a bedroom community for Washington D.C. But, the press release was about a man who has a Maryland and Florida address who was luring young girls on the internet to send him pornographic pictures of themselves.

This is one way human trafficking begins.

This 24-year-old man had talked to a 13-year-old West Virginia girl on an app called “Live Me” and groomed her until she sent him inappropriate pictures of herself. No one knows how far this would have gone if police officials had not intervened.

Maybe he only wanted pictures. Maybe he wanted to continue talking until that child ended up sneaking away from home to join her “love.”

These are scary times we are living in.

Live Me, Snapchat and many other phone apps are becoming a way to meet young people, boys and girls alike, and either get them to send inappropriate pictures or get them to meet them. The adults usually provide the bus or plane ticket and then your child is in the hands of a predator. In a town that is not your own. Alone. And scared.

This isn't just happening to children. Teens and adults are being lured into these activities also. Everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side. But, sometimes that grass is extremely dangerous.

Many, many parents give their young children cell phones for emergencies. It makes sense for children to have a phone available to be able to contact parents when needed.

Kids are smart. They are especially smart when it comes to technology. If they have their own phone, parents need to be diligent in monitoring the apps they download and how they are being used. Once that Snapchat photo is sent, it's gone and Snapchat has been very uncooperative in helping police recover photos needed in criminal investigations. So far, not one court in the nation has been able to force Snapchat to release photos that were sent, but not screen shot.

Chat rooms are a fun place for teens to visit to meet people from all over the world. The sad thing is, predators know that too. There are sick people everywhere. Literally. Some just want child pornography, some plan to lure your child or teenager to a far away place and sell them into the sex trade.

It's a scary world out there.

The press release I received, just after I wrote the initial column on this subject, said that the man received a ten year sentence. If he behaves while in prison, he will serve 7 and 1/2 years.

You can not talk to your children enough about this subject. Honestly, they may roll their eyes, but the hope is that when confronted in life or on the internet, they will remember what you said and know that you are right. Hopefully, your child will come to you and you can report this person to authorities.

It's real. It's important. Be vigilant.

Remember those who need your help

 

The Cedar Creek Foundation meeting on Saturday evening was very successful. There was a good turn out!

Zell Jones from our church is in the Mon General Hospital in Morgantown for tests. Remember her in your prayers!

Edith Huffman, formerly of Gilmer County, Cedarville, who was living in Braxton County passed away this past week. Our sympathy goes out to her family and friends on their loss.

It is good to see Marie Wilfong back from a trip visiting some of her family.

Our sympathy goes out to the Parsons, Cottrill, Vanhorn, and Burns families on the loss of their loved ones. They will be missed by family and friends.

 

Kitchen Hints

Clean copper pots with toothpaste or worcestershire sauce, or catsup.

An excellent thickness for soups is a little oatmeal. It will add flavor and richness to almost any soup.

Don't add sugar to stewed fruits until they have boiled for 10 minutes. They need less sugar then.

Lettuce won't “rust” in the refrigerator if it is wrapped in a paper towel.

The coldest part of any refrigerator is the top back shelf.

Try loosening rusty screws by putting a drop or two of ammonia on it.

Rusty bolts usually can be loosened by pouring club soda on them.

 

Raspberry Jam

5 cups green tomatoes, ground.

5 cups sugar

1 large box raspberry gelatin

Bring all but the gelatin to a boil and boil for 15 minutes, or longer, then add gelatin. Put into jars and seal. I have made a lot of this good tasty spread for biscuits or toast. Give it a try!

By Jeanette Riffle

 

Swarms of dragonflies hit our area this week and we heard of them all around us. Our dog was barking and looking up in the air one night and when hubby went to investigate, it was bats after those flies. My friend, Susie Cook, that lives up Tague in Braxton Co., called me and said that she was outside one day, putting things away for the fall and winter, and saw a big cloud of something coming up her hollow and she thought, “What in the world is that?” She called for her son to come outside and see it. They determined that it was a swarm of dragonflies. She said she had never heard of them swarming like that, before. They went right on up the hollow. I think they eat mosquitoes out of the air and they aren't harmful, but I did read that they will bite. I wondered where they came from and why are there so many. I did a search on them and came up with some interesting things. They not only eat mosquitoes, but several fly species, also. They swarm because of the high abundance of insects found in certain areas. They will disturb the small insects in your grass and cause them to fly around more than they usually would do. The prey draws the dragon flies in and swarms form.

The National Weather Service of Cleveland, OH, posted an image of the radar from OH, PA and IN showing the insect invasion. Fox 8 viewers reported seeing thousands of them in five different counties. In Cleveland, massive amounts of dragonflies were spotted over Ohio on Tuesday of this past week. Some people view them with a spiritual meaning and some have a hobby of dragonfly watching just like bird watching. They come in different sizes and different colors. We have had katydids coming in on our front porch and I saw a butterfly one day this week. For some reason , the butterflies will come to the front porch before they take off on their journey south.

The death angel came for two of our friends this past week. Cousin Richard Vanhorn, of Fairmont, passed and his funeral is September 18 at Fairmont where he and wife, Sandy Brady Vanhorn, have lived for several years, now. He was a retired Church of Christ minister. Also, Carrell Leon Burns, of this area, took his journey home. He was a well known bluegrass singer and played guitar. He did music with many bands. He jammed with us here and did bookings back when I had a bluegrass gospel band. He sure will be missed. Until next time, watch for those dragonflies. Take care and God bless!

It's been wonderful to see Glenville State College students back on campus. I love seeing the students walking around and seeing them from the front porch of Glenville Newspapers as they walk up and down Court Street.

Glenville State College and its students are very important to Glenville and Gilmer County. Period. I think the majority of the business owners understand just how important those students really are.

I felt like this summer droned on and on because there weren't any students on campus. I certainly hope the new administration does not make that error again. Only having classes on-line during the summer hurts the town and county. It also hurts the students.

I've taken what was (low those many years ago) correspondence courses. The internet didn't exist. I needed to take my French courses at a time that I wasn't taking 21 other hours of college work, so I opted to take the correspondence courses through the University of Kentucky. At the time, very few universities offered those types of classes.

I was sent course work and completed my tasks. I learned very little to nothing. Maybe I am old (we all know I am) and maybe on-line classes are more interactive than the old correspondence courses. And, maybe you actually do learn the subject matter you are studying.

But, there is nothing like learning in a classroom with your peers and a teacher who actually cares about the subject he or she is teaching. You learn through discussion, lectures and note taking. I feel that classroom learning is important to everyone involved.

When I was in college, I would return to Glenville in the summers to work as a lifeguard and take summer courses at Glenville State College. That is how I took several classes that weren't in my majors. Those classes that I wasn't really interested in were easier to take in the summer. I got them out of the way quickly and didn't have to worry about classes that were not part of either of my majors when I was at Marshall University.

I am advocating for at least one semester of in school summer school classes next year. I hope the powers that be will agree with me. Students need to be in the classroom in Glenville and Glenville needs students to be in town.

Glenville State College is the heartbeat of Gilmer County. Make no mistake about that. We need the college and the college needs the community support. Students add life, too!

 

Webster's Dictionary defines a dream as a “series of thoughts or visions during sleep.” Biologists say dreams are our brain's way of organizing, storing and remembering what we have seen the day before. Psychologists say dreams sometimes help us work out our issues and emotional problems. Most people, however, think dreams are unimportant and do their best to ignore or forget them.

Lately, my own dreams have had a lot of visitors. While my brain has been remembering what happened the day before and my heart has been working out my issues and problems, I keep seeing my dad, mom, nana and friend Kai. The funny thing is all of them are deceased. None of them have been a part of my daily life for years now. While I remember them all with love, I have no issues or problems to work out with any of them. Why do they visit my dreams night after night?

When I see my dad, mom, nana and Kai they all seem younger and healthier than they were when they died. They have no pain in their faces and their smiles share only love and joy. They seem to be there only to comfort me, to reassure me, and to give me strength to face life and live it with love. Each time I wake after one of these dreams I feel at peace again and thank God for their visit.

Maybe there is more to dreams than just what the dictionary and scientists say. Maybe our dreams have a way of letting us see out of this world and into the next. Maybe our loved ones come to us in our dreams to let us know that they still love us, they still are watching over us, and they are waiting to see us again when our days on this earth are done. Maybe time, like death, is just an illusion and only love is real. I wish you all sweet dreams.

By Joseph Mazzella

 

I was 10 years old and I was going on an adventure. It was summer break and my family had traveled south, to TN, to visit my Uncle Richard and Aunt Charlotte. But, while my older brothers had been allowed to go all over the place, I had been stuck in the house for most of the visit. Now, however, my mom had decided to let me go alone to a corner grocery store at the end of the block. She had given me money to pick up a loaf of bread and extra change to get myself a popcicle. I felt so grown up as I made the journey, bought the food, and headed back.

When I was about half way back to the house, though, I found my path blocked. A large black dog was looking at me and growling. I had never had a dog look angry at me before and my heart started to pound faster and faster in my chest. I didn't know what to do. Should I run? Should I scream? Suddenly, I felt a calmness come over me. It felt like it was coming from outside of me and within me at the same time. I knew what to do, too. I stood up as tall and straight as I could, looked over the dog, and said firmly, but kindly, “Go home, boy!” The dog stared back at me for a moment, then turned and trotted off.

I walked on, feeling very brave and very scared at the same time. I saw my mom and Aunt Charlotte sitting together on her front porch. I skipped up the steps and sat down in between them. My mom gave me a sip of her soda while I shared what had happened with her. I relaxed in her arms feeling adventurous, but also safe, secure, and loved.

Looking back on that moment reminds me that life itself is an adventure and only the bravest of us fully live it. It is full of fear and love. It is full of lessons and learning. It is full of pain and joy. Yet, through it all we are watched over and loved. God is everywhere and in everything, including us. Embrace all the adventures life gives you, then, be they big or small. Face them without fear. Use them to become the person you were meant to be. Let your entire life here be an adventure of love. And always let God's love live through you.

 

Joseph Mazzella is a free-lance writer from Nicholas County and a GSC Alumnus.

Welcome back to Glenville and Glenville State College!!! And, to all you new freshmen, welcome!! I hope a new world of opportunities opens up to you and you have a wonderful college experience while you are attending Glenville State College.

People say that your high school years are the best of your life. I have found that is not true for me. My college years stand out as the best! The most fun, exciting time!

Your years at Glenville State College can be the best years of your life. GSC can not only offer you an education that will last a lifetime, but friendships and memories that will too.

I've stolen some common sense items that I am going to share with you to help make GSC the best experience of your life and help you to succeed in your future.

1. Go to class. Period. Regardless of whether the professor says you have to be there or not. Just go. You will learn so much more by being in the actual classroom listening than you will reading the book. It's a good habit and a good mindset for every class you take.

2. During the first day of class, get two people's phone numbers from each and every class. No, not the hot guy or beautiful girl. Get those phone numbers because, at some point during the semester, you will have a question. If you have the telephone number of classmates, you can compare your memory of what was said during the class. If anything social works out, well that would be great, wouldn't it?

3. Take notes by hand. You can't make up an excuse that I haven't already tried. You won't remember everything to type it later unless you are Sheldon Cooper, and most of us aren't. Write the notes by hand, during class with your phone in your pocket on silent. That's how our brains encode information most effectively.

4. If you really want to get good grades to keep those scholarships or just to be as successful as possible, after class or the next day, rewrite your notes. You can outline the information, highlight important points, note what page of the textbook the material is covered on and make a list of questions.

Rewrite your notes! Rewriting helps dedicate that information into your memory.

5. Being a student is your job! If you don't do any of the suggestions in 1-4, simply do number 5, you will probably make it through college with flying colors...literally.

College is your job. Your full-time job is to be a student. So you need to be a student 40 hours a week.

Look at it this way, if you have a 15 hour class schedule, you have 25 hours each week to study or do any assigned work.

I know that sounds like a lot, but if you spend from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. everyday, Monday through Friday, in class or studying then you have every evening and weekend free to have fun!

If you start your college career doing these things, they will become habit and you will be able to better gauge how much time you actually need to spend studying in the future.

6. Go see each of your professors during their office hours. Introduce yourself and get to know them just a little bit. You will have a much better experience in class if you go talk to the professor and introduce yourself. If your professor knows you are making an effort to connect with them and that you are interested in their class, they will look at you during lectures and the look on your face will tell them whether you understand the concept they are teaching or not. They will notice. If the professor can tell you aren't understanding, they will explain it again, in a different way, so that you can grasp the concept.

7. This is the last one, I promise! Do the reading before class. I understand that you have never done this before and that you can usually get away with not doing it at all, but try it. Professors like it when you can participate in class. And seriously, if you want to be successful in life, you have to do things that you've never done before.

To summarize: You are a student and that is your job. Spend 40 hours a week on your classes and you will have a lot of time for fun! Do the reading, go to class, talk to your professors. Take responsibility for your life and your education. After all, the education you are obtaining only benefits you!

Make the most of college! It really is the best time of your life!

An unusually hot and wet spring this year was followed by an extremely hot and wet summer. Sunny skies were constantly giving way to heavy showers, only to be replaced with more sun and heat. This combination has made for a few changes from our regular summer here, in the mountains of my home. The limbs on the trees are growing twice as fast as usual and their leaves are huge. The Queen Anne's Lace, Daisies, and Black Eye Susan's are growing waist high in the meadows and on the sides of the roads. The bush in my front yard is shooting up as fast as a sunflower. The grass in my yards is thicker and taller than ever. Butterflies and bumble bees are everywhere, as are the yellow jackets and hornets. Mama deer and their babies can be seen coming out of the woods to feast on the abundance of crab apples on the ground. Squirrels with acorns are scurrying up the trees and baby birds are flying out of their nests. Everywhere I look there is an explosion of growth and life. It is incredible to see.

We humans are a little different than the rest of nature, however. Yes, our bodies do grow best in optimal conditions. We grow healthy and strong when we have good food, clean water, fresh air, and plenty of exercise. On the inside, though, it is often during the hardest of times that we grow the most. During the times of death, loss, and suffering is when our souls grow stronger and closer to God. During the bleakest wintertime is when our hearts grow more loving. During the worst times of our lives is when we help each other the most.

Why is it that we grow kinder, stronger, and wiser during the toughest times, as well as the good ones? Why is it that the worst in this world often brings out the best in us? No one knows for sure, but I am happy with the mystery. Live well, then. Love much. Grow strong. Be the person God meant for you to be during the winter nights, as well as the summer days.

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