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Some thoughts as we meander through the week

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Poetic remembrance

The horrific killings at Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, will sneak back into our heads, revived through the smile of a child, an event at a school, the sight of little ones on a playground..

Recently Howard Bronder, who is a poet as well as a layout editor for the Leader Times, wrote this piece:

School's out

The little boy slept

in his Batman pajamas

dreaming of being

a super hero when

he grew up.

He could save the world

from all the bad guys

who hid in the shadows

in his bedroom closet.

His mother woke him,

helped him get dressed

and ready for school

She packed his lunch

with peanut butter

and jelly sandwiches,

potato chips.

She put a note inside

the brown bag

It said “I love you.”

The little boy got on the bus

and laughed and talked

with his best friend.

Then he got off

and went inside.

It was another day

in school.

He sat at his desk

as the teacher talked.

Then he heard a sound

like in the movies.

The shadow had escaped

from his bedroom closet

and his Batman costume

was on his bed

Waiting to save the day.

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By Michael O'Hare
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Meander: A winding course, as a stream meandering through a valley.

A quote: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” — Heraclitus, Greek philosopher.

The above definition and quote is by way of saying that this column is slow to get to its points, and don't hold me to all of the opinions expressed. They may have changed by the time you read them.

Just some thoughts:

• We make coffee using those little disposable cups, and since it can get expensive we started using the kind you can put ground coffee in and then clean them out.

As I struggled to clean wet grounds from five of the little buggers the other day, the thought occurred to me that someday some smart people will design a coffee maker where you put in a filter with more ground coffee, turn it on and it will make a whole pot from which you can pour as much as you'd like, full or a quarter cup even. Clean up will be easy. Hmmm?

• Listen closely to TV news reports — about the economy, politics, the weather, drugs, crime, or what have you — and note how many times anchors or reporters use the phrase: “It could even get worse.” No wonder we get depressed, and no wonder so many drug makers sponsor the news broadcasts.

• I read that the U.S. Census Bureau will stop asking if someone is Negro, opting instead for black or African-American. I wonder why the government finds it necessary to record ethnicity at all. I can see it useful for perhaps university researchers to do so, maybe as part of an economic or a medical study, but in this nation why does the government need to do it? I don't think it is anything nefarious, mind you, just unnecessary in a nation in which equality is cherished.

• I think senior citizens are an untapped resource in most of our communities. I know of some retirees who help at food banks and other community programs, but it seems they have the knowledge and spirit to do more to make our governments work better, to challenge our leaders and to train new leaders.

• Today, more than ever in our history, it is imperative that we are selective in how much information we take in, bombarded as we are via a myriad of mediums. But what to me is the saddest part is that more and more we keep to our own media and much of the sharing we once had is diminished. You have your music and I have mine. You have your opinions and I have mine. You like your movies and I like mine. We are little capsules of what we like, and we are less concerned with finding ways to enhance community.

• I hope day never comes when I cross the Allegheny River via area bridges and don't marvel at its existence. It is a true regional treasure, and many people in the nation don't have rivers in their immediate landscapes.

• Last week I suggested that if I had the money I would open a movie theater in which films such as those featured on Turner Movie Classics could be shown so audiences could share them together.

I heard from a reader and friend who made the following suggestions:

They keep trying to come up with a plan to enliven downtown Kittanning. I always thought they should have a multi-purpose theater. It would serve as:

1. Permanent home for the Armstrong Community Theater.

2. Winter home for Arts on the Allegheny.

3. Venue for “older” stars of the past, as does the Palace in Greensburg and the Casino in Vandergrift.

4. Show the old cult-type movies such as “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, etc.

5. Show the classics as you mentioned in your column.

6. Have an open-mic-type night to showcase local talent (No karaoke!).

I think this would bring more people to downtown than trees or park benches.

Sounds great to me; any backers? Be nice to have even one indoor theater in the county.

• Several times in recent weeks newscasters have said “the last time we experienced the resignation of a pope was 600 years ago.”

I must have been otherwise occupied and missed it.

Keep smiling.

Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to

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