Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Who Is Mrs. Claus?

While at an office Christmas party, we were all discussing family traditions for the holidays. After sharing our favorite and quirky traditions, I felt compelled to ask this question. What is Santa's wife's name? Someone quickly said "Mrs. Claus". I wasn't buying that one. I had to find the truth.

In the 1970 TV special Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town directors Rankin and Bass weaved this story. In Sombertown, Kris Kringle meets a school teacher named Jessica. Kris has to change his name to Santa and ends up marrying her. They also claim her middle name is Mary....

Digging deeper, a self proclaimed historian chronicled this account. In 1864, a beautiful servant girl named Adele was adopted by the von Hoerrneman's a Baltic-Prussian family. This family was well known as Spielzeugherstellers also known as toy makers. According to this source, Adele became Santa's wife.

I was not believing either of those stories. And then I found this next one. Not really a story but more of a historical account.

It revolves around Katherine Lee Bates [1859-1929], an American poet, writer, and educator. She is best remembered as writing the words to "America The Beautiful". As a poet, she is known for the "long" poem "Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh Ride" [1889]. She is credited with the notion that Santa had a wife. The poem is written from Mrs. Claus point of view.

Prior to the 1820's there was no Santa Claus, only a non-secular Bishop St. Nicholas who brought the gifts to all the boys and girls. It was later that St. Nick made the transition to a secular Santa. And behind every jolly man is a good wife. Bates never gives her a name but this is a poem about equality between men and women.

Goody Santa Claus depicts Mrs. Claus as wanting to accompany Santa on his Christmas Eve trip to deliver his toys to all the girls and boys -- not a stay-at-home wife. Instead, Santa's wife takes a feminist stance, demanding credit for her hard work in making Christmas possible including cooking to make Santa plump.

Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh Ride is a good read and should be included in your Christmas Eve repertoire. Although it does not settle the dispute of Mrs. Claus first name, it does give her a historical benchmark.

If you really want to know Mrs. Claus' first name..... here are a few.....
Carol, Gretchen, Mary, Jessica, Martha, Juliana, Seeki, Ahoop, and Bea.....
I guess we will never know.....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Remembering Frank Cavallario

Alexandria Bay:

In 2012 I was given the opportunity to interview Frank and Connie Cavallario.  Our conversation starts when Frank was a young boy growing up on the families vegetable farm and continues as He and Connie begin the Family Restaurant business.

As you all know, Frank and the Cavallario families businesses  are Icons in Alexandria Bay. Anything I might say about Frank would not do him justice. This is what people are saying on FaceBook:

Frank was a great person and fellow Rotarian God Bless him

Thanks for the warmth, the grace and the memories all these many years, Frank. RIP. God bless

Frank and the other Cavallarios were always good friends and treated my father like family and my sisters and me also !! He was a great guy !! He did a lot for Alex. Bay !!

We are very sad at the passing of a great Gentelman in our community RIP Frankie God be with You and your Family

I just learned (from Facebook) that Frank Cavallario died this morning.I worked at the Chez and the Steakhouse all through high school and college. I like to tell people that everything I know, I learned from Frank and Connie. I was in their kitchen when we watched Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald on tv.
Frank was a good husband, father, boss and friend.

Sorry to hear that. Definitely an icon of ABay. Glad he was there "overseeing" the food at our party two years ago. Send my regards to the family.

A good man indeed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Changing Of The Guard

Alexandria Bay:

Tonight I attended the monthly village board meeting. The purpose of my visit? To thank the DPW for the work they did on a storm drainage culvert that empties into Otter Creek.

Tonight was also the first official meeting for Trustee's J. Erck and  A. Hunter. Even though they were not my candidates, they did win the election. They also deserve to be given the elbow room to perform their duties as their predecessors before them were given. Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Voting In Alexandria

The Democrat Committee has nominated the strongest candidates to run on November 3rd.  Take note from the sample ballots below, that the Dems have recruited the best of the best regardless of political pedigree. We have registered Democrats  as well as Republicans running on the Democratic Ticket in both Village of Alexandria Bay and Town of Alexandria races.

I have read all the political endorsements in the TI SUN letters to the editor section as well as the ADs. Some of them were pointless, and redundant using buzz words to describe each candidates personal characteristics or lack there of.....

Bottom line, if you are a registered voter please go out and vote. If you are an absentee ballot voter, please fill it out and mail it in.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chipmunk Invader

Armed with only a pool skimming net, I scooped up the chipmunk like a lacrosse player. In one smooth motion I flung the rascal towards the open window, only to hear a hollow thud. I knew I had missed my mark as I watched Alvin ping off the upper window and do a series of slow motion back flips through the air. The furry critter landed on the carpet and took off like a shot towards our Dog Luna......

This was part of a series of botched attempts to get rid of that little furry invader. The chipmunk got into the house as Conner opened the kitchen door, exclaiming that a chipmunk had ran into the house between his feet. We ran into the house after the varmint, catching a glimpse of him entering my small man cave.

We grabbed Luna and closed the door behind us. The chipmunk was fast and evasive. I scooted out the door to grab a couple of weapons. A small baseball bat and the pool skimming net will do just fine. I hurried back to the man cave and slid through the door, shutting it behind me.

I guess you could call it Pandemonium, or maybe our version of killing Walkers like they did in the Walking Dead. After 20 minutes of chasing and corralling the critter towards our dog who did not seem to know what to do with it. I began to think that we were never going to get Alvin out of the house.

Conner finally trapped the furry invader pinning him between the net and the carpet. I moved in and aimed my bat.... bonking the little critter into unconsciousness. The invader was dead and Conner scooped him up and flung him out the window.

We put the room back together. I was sweating, the dog was panting, and Conner had a smile on his face. I knew what he was thinking...... and I said to him..... Do Not Tell Mom.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Otter Creek Nature Trail

Alexandria Bay:

Otter Creek Nature Trail is another preserve project under the direction of Thousand Islands Land Trust [T.I.L.T.]. I am especially excited about this project because it is literally a stones throw from our front door.

Others should be excited about everything this trail has to offer including an A.D.A. compliant path. I made a video of some of the highlights of this trail. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress scheduled for completion Summer of 2016.

Otter Creek Nature Trail from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

The trail entrance is located on Rt.26 on the outskirts of the Village Of Alexandria Bay.

You can Like Thousand Islands Land Trust on Face Book

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dancing Dog Liquor License Revoked

Alexandria Bay:

The NYS Alcohol Beverage Control Board whisked away the Dancing Dog Nightclub liquor license.
The reason for the revocation seems to involve a church proximity clause. It is all mumbo jumbo to me.
Bottom line is this....

The Dancing Dog has not violated any of the laws that would normally result in license revocation. 
Our Community does not need another business closed or crippled.

There is a petition circulating To Reopen The Dancing Dog Nightclub. You can sign the petition at the Dancing Dog Cafe, which is still open and serving meals daily.....

Bloggers Note: My purpose for making this post was to let as many people know that the Dancing Dog was in trouble. I and many others feel that the decision of the ABC BOARD was made in haste and without due process. Anytime a state or federal agency usurps "Due Process" it becomes everyone's concern

click to enlarge

Friday, August 28, 2015


Village of Alexandria Bay:

A meeting of Registered  Village Democrats will be held on Thursday September 10th 2015 @ 5:30 pm Village Of Alexandria Bay Community Room 110 Walton Street.

Members will be caucusing for the following Village Board seats:

One Mayor 2 year term
Two Village Trustee Seats 2 year term

Town Of Alexandria:

A meeting of Registered  Town Democrats will be held on Friday September 11th 2015 @ 5:30 pm 
Village Of Alexandria Bay Community Room 110 Walton Street.

Members will be caucusing for the following Town Board seats:

One Town Supervisor 2 year term
Two Town Councilpersons 4 year term

Members will also be caucusing for the following Town Office:

One Town Justice 4 year term

Candidates from each caucus will appear on the November 3rd Election Day Ballot

Friday, August 21, 2015

T.I.P.S. To Insure Proper Service

Alexandria Bay:

I have not been downtown in over a year. It was not any one thing but a whole list of why I stopped frequenting bars. "Just fed up with all the B.S." is what I tell anyone that wants to really know.

"I am never going back there again" were the words I had to eat.  Eat them I did, because I was compelled to attend a music event. An event that  no fan would miss. So I put on my big boy pants and entered the establishment I had not been to in over a year but used to visit almost daily. I was prepared for the.... "Hey! Where ya been"? And all the other trite sayings that go with a wayward loyal customer that makes a return after a lengthy hiatus.

So I ordered a beer and it was set in front of me. I had a five in hand but I was told.... "Hey... this one is on us.... we missed you"! I thought to myself "ok, I felt like the prodigal customer". But I also thought "you are still on probation".

Later, after finishing my welcome back beer, I ordered another one. Come hell or high water, I was paying for this one because in my mind nobody rides for free. Everybody deserves to make a buck. So I handed over my five and it was taken without any squawking. I patiently waited for my buck and a quarter change, but it never came. Apparently the bartender got busy. This happens, so I waited till I could get their attention. That never happened, so I said to myself, "Jim, you were going to put that buck and a quarter in the T.I.P.S. jar any ways". But, the fact remains..... I WANTED TO MAKE THAT DECISION. I get satisfaction from making that ceremonial  T.I.P.S. jar donation.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I made a special trip to the same bar to listen to one of my favorite solo musicians. I ordered a beer from that same bartender and handed over a ten. Got my change back and tossed a buck and a quarter into the T.I.P.S. jar. Feeling pretty happy I sat down with my beer and listened to the music.

Later, I went to order another beer but this time it was a different bartender. One that I do not know. So I handed her four ones keeping a single in my hand. She was pleasant enough so I had every intention of scooping up my quarter change and tossing it in the T.I.P.S. jar with the single. I watched in dismay as she took it upon herself to take my quarter change right from the till and toss it into the jar that was located at my left elbow. I heard it clink and thought SON OF A BITCH..... did she just do that? I had to bite my lip and not let out a spew of WTF OMG WTF. I know it was only a quarter but I WANTED TO MAKE THAT DECISION. I wanted to be generous and add a buck to that quarter because the bartender was pleasant. So I slipped the buck into my pocket and grabbed my beer. Listened to the music and left.

Since this bar is on my personal probation..... I WILL NEVER EVER BE BACK. And you can take that to the bank with the quarter you stole from me!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pat Fitzsimmons: A Video Memoriam

In this post, are a series of videos that I took over the past 5 years of Pat Fitzsimmons. Pat loved to perform with fellow musicians and family members who shared the same love for music.

The video's vary in recorded quality but are none the less moments
captured of Pat doing what he loved the most.

Bloggers NoteAs a young boy, I marveled at Pats defiance of gravity as he flung himself skyward off of ski jumps at Dry Hill. Years would pass and I was a ski instructor at Dry Hill. I found myself in awe as I watched a man gracefully ski down the slopes wearing a trench coat, not your usual attire for sure. Of course it was Pat, donning the boards after a hiatus from skiing. It was years later that I started following The Fitzsimmon's family as they performed around Alex Bay. In conversation, Pat and I chuckled at how we orbited each others lives but never really met until then. He was a gentle man who loved his family and friends. Even though we did not spend a lot of time together as friends, Pat always made me feel as though we had been friends for life......

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why You Should Go To The Antique Boat Museum

Clayton New York:

I Found An Island In Her Arms from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

The Antique Boat Museum recently held a media event. TV, radio, news papers, chamber of commerce, and YES even BLOGGERs were invited. Part of the getting to know ABM was a boat ride around Calumet island on the Miss Thousand Islands II. The Miss TI is a Hacker - Craft triple cock pit runabout

Avalanche from Jim Cummings on Vimeo. the 10th Mountain Division's Rock Band.... all the members are Soldiers. They performed at the 50th Annual Antique Boat Show in Clayton New York

Antique Boat Museum: A Brief History from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

It all started in 1965 with a boat show that featured Idyll Oaks. Over the past 5 decades, many Classic and Antique boats have been spotlighted at this yearly boat show. This video chronicles a condensed version of that history and the beauty of each naughtical artifact

La Duchesse from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

49th Annual Antique Boat Show & Auction from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.


Friday, July 17, 2015

A Thief In The Night

Alexandria Bay:

A couple of nights ago 4 cars were entered in the middle of the night. Thieves were looking for cash. In one instance the thief was scared away when the owner of the vehicle hollered at the thief after hearing noises then saw his dome light come on. Nothing was missing from his vehicle.

The next morning the man alerted his neighbor that she should check her vehicle. She had locked her car as she does every night and hung her keys on a hook just inside her house.  She was surprised to find that her car was unlocked, the keys laying on the driver seat and then she noticed that her wallet was missing. Evidently the thief knew where she hung her keys inside her house. She reported this to the police and told them her wallet contained a considerable amount of cash.  Her wallet was located later that day at the village park.  The cash was gone but all the other contents were returned.

Later that day, I talked to a husband and wife. The husband told me that his wallet was taken from his vehicle sometime the night before. He also told me that he had other valuables in his vehicle but the thieves did not take any of them. His wife mentioned that the contents of her vehicle felt out of place. They admitted that both of their vehicles are never locked.

Advice from the Local Police: Lock your cars and keep the keys in your locked house. The PD also advised residents to lock their house even if you are just going to be gone for a few minutes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The River Just Got Closer

My wife and I were trying to create that St. Lawrence River look when we had our deck built. Honey, I think we nailed it.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dream Getaway

From my crude drawings and lots of discussions, a deck comes to life, fulfilling our dream.  Many people were involved, starting with our loan officer, North Country Hearth and Home and then wrapping it all up were the crew from Milt Davis Construction. Thank You!

Related Video

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Selfie With Pope Francis

Our son Conner is on the tail end of his trip to Rome when he took this photo. He has been to many many points of interest. But I am willing to bet this is probably the highlight of his journey.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pool Time Is Just Around The Corner

Our new pool was installed the other day. My wife had it marked down on the calendar as Splash Day. It only took about 6 hours to install and fill with water.  It will take days for the water temperature to rise from 52 degrees to something a little more comfortable. Many thanks to all the helpful and friendly people at North Country Hearth and Home for making the install a stress free experience.

I took tons of photo's and arranged them in a video format..... enjoy.... maybe you will take the plunge!

The new deck in the background was constructed by Milt Davis Construction

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Remembering My Mentor

Joel Kellogg...

He hummed, he hawed, and he laughed! 
Joel was the first Corrections Officer I ever met.
He took me under his wing and taught me the ways of the prison.
They were all his ways, according to him.
He never lit the cigar that perpetually hung from the corner of his mouth.
But that stogie would slowly disappear as he chewed it and hummed a tune only he could recognize.
Joel was a tough old bird who had a hidden soft side, that I only knew.
When he was surprised he could raise an eyebrow above his receding hair line, which was a neat little trick.
I learned early on to watch out when both brows were raised.
I am glad he got to enjoy life after corrections. Something we all deserve!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Feeding The St. Lawrence River

A second video about spring run off...

The snow is still melting, collecting in a dale along the Otter Creek Nature Trail. Follow its odyssey as it becomes a raging tributary, feeding the St. Lawrence River.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Run Off

I took some video along Route 12 between Hammond and Alex Bay. The melting snow had pooled enough to start cascading down the rock cut walls. These water falls appear once a year and do not last long....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Buy 2 Reg. Subs Get 3rd Free

Jreck Subs Alex Bay:

Dave is doing another FLASH SALE! Today and tomorrow only, buy two whole regular (mixed cold cuts) subs and get a third one FREE! Not valid with any other offers. While supplies last. Valid only 3/28 and 3/29/15

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beware The Ides Of March

I know it is only March, but after the long winter and the recent "nice" weather.... I had hopes! I was foolishly thinking that winter was gone and spring was just around the corner.  I woke up this morning, looking out the window, I felt betrayed. Stabbed in the back by Mother Nature. Up till yesterday our new deck had finally become bare.... free of any trace of wintry evidence.  Now it has a thin layer of snow..... Beware the Ides Of March!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Time Management

Coping With That Lost Hour:

Starting at 2pm this afternoon, I am going to set our clocks ahead 5 minutes on every hour. By 2 am, that lost hour wont seem so bad.

Not much to write about these days.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

[koh-ur-shuh n]

the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Waiting For The Bus

Alexandria Bay:

Everyone else is either delayed or closed. Not Alexandria Central! I am wondering what they were thinking. This bus stop is in front of my house. The ACS Buses were driving very slow and running late.....

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Playing Fetch On The Ice

Clayton NY:

While video taping some skaters at the outdoor rink, I was distracted by a beautiful Border Collie playing fetch with his owner, Ken Brabant....

Playing Fetch On The Ice from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Homage To The Victims At Charlie Hebdo

Last night, local song writer and musician David Knapp sent me a song, LIVE STANDING UP, that he wrote with Jeremy Taylor back in the early 80's . Some years later he and Tom O'Riley along with Duckie Carlisle would perform and record this song as The Snow Monkeys! David was so pumped up about it because as he said... this song is so about the terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo. Then he asked me... Jim is there anyway you can build a video around this song....... so I did