Not sure how many actually noticed, but I've been somewhat preoccupied lately and have failed in my task of producing this column for the past couple of weeks. But, alas, I am back - much to the chagrin of my family and friends who are too often the fodder for the material contained herein.
Speaking of that, I ran into my cousin Mike last weekend, who was none too happy about the column I wrote about him awhile back. He said he doesn't recall the incident in question. Sounds a little like a Bill Clinton response to me ... selective amnesia. But, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
I'm just glad I'm the only one in the family with a forum to divulge long-lost secrets. I'd be scared to see some of my own aged stories divulged in print.
I am really glad to see the Elizabethtown Fish and Game Club reenergized. A lot of the credit should go to people like Alta Longware and club president Angie Wallace who were recently instrumental in organizing a local fishing derby on Lincoln Pond.
The turnout was phenomenal for the first event, with more than 150 adult and youth anglers attending and the fishing was fast and furious. Prizes and food for the barbecue lunch were all graciously donated by area businesses including Big Papa's Tackle, Cobble Hill, Deer's Head, Bub's Pizza and Deli, Westport Hotel, the AuSable Inn, Outdoor News, Stewart's, Cabela's, and Dick's Sporting Goods.
"Their contributions and the work of many volunteers made the derby a huge success," Wallace said.
A complete list of winners appears on this page with photographs of the event.
The club is still looking for new members and meets the first Thursday of each month at the club site on Maple Road in Elizabethtown. All are invited to attend. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., followed by a short business meeting and outdoor activities for kids. For more information, call Wallace at 873-3277.
For those who haven't heard, federal legislation that would have allowed those who hold a pistol permit to transport a handgun into nearly any other state fell short in the Senate last week by just two votes.
The move died for a number of reasons, most notably the fact opponents said it would undermine tough requirements put in place by some states for the issuance of a license to conceal a handgun - like mandatory training courses and background checks. New York and California are two such states.
Others argued the move was unconstitutional and would restrict states' rights by forcing them to accept other states' gun carry permits.
I'm not sure if either of these are legit.
First, there is no live fire requirement in New York, so some of the people who complete the required course to obtain a pistol here will do so without ever having fired one - some without ever having fired a weapon, period.
Does that make them more experienced than, say, your average Vermont resident who is allowed to carry a concealed gun without a course or permit?
I know one thing - the debate showed just how loyal our freshman Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is going to be to the constituency who put her in Washington.
On this debate, she came down squarely on the side of inner-city Democrats and voted "no." As did Chuck Schumer, of course, but not before both used the debate as a bully pulpit for anti-gun rhetoric.
"The Thune amendment would invite chaos in our cities," Gillibrand said about the proposal. Schumer added, "The passage of this amendment would have done more to threaten the safety of New Yorkers than anything since the repeal of the assault weapons ban."
First of all, the assault weapons ban wasn't repealed, it was allowed to expire and rioting in the streets hasn't exactly transpired as a result.
Violent crime has steadily dropped before, during and since the expiration of the ban. Gun incidents are now at an all-time low, while gun and ammunition sales are at an all-time high.
Further, statistics have proven time and again violent crime plummets in areas in which the citizenry is allowed licensed, concealed carry.
There is a lot to be said for the old adage that when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
So, while the "sky is falling" rhetoric spewed by Gillibrand and Schumer may bode well to their following in New York City, we common sense upstaters know better.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.