In My Humble Opinion

Spring forward, but don’t look back!

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 3/4/20

Yep, it’s time to reset the clocks (Sunday, March 8), and none too soon, IMHO. It’s the looking back that is often my undoing. Even though I state publicly that I’m not a fan of …

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In My Humble Opinion

Spring forward, but don’t look back!

Posted

Yep, it’s time to reset the clocks (Sunday, March 8), and none too soon, IMHO. It’s the looking back that is often my undoing. Even though I state publicly that I’m not a fan of regret, I say and do things fairly regularly that could have been handled more delicately, or sometimes, not even at all. Hindsight, they say, is 20/20, but since my tired eyes are rheumy, wrinkled and blurred, it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees. It’s an old-timey expression, and if you don’t understand what it means, by now you know what my mother would say: “Look it up!”

As for the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, there seems to be a growing movement afoot. According to Dr. Daliah Wachs at www.change.org, the majority of U.S. states (more than 30 at last count) are debating whether to opt-out of Daylight Savings altogether. Since Daylight Saving Time was originally enacted to conserve coal during WWI, its role is now obsolete in terms of energy-saving measures. “So why put the country through time changes twice a year?” Dr. Wachs asks.  For all of you young folks out there, there’s a hashtag to make your lives even easier: #SickOfSpringForward. That way, you can address the issue with minimal effort, right on your phone, like everything else that you do.

That’s right, I’ve become a curmudgeon—the classic angry old man who screams at kids to “get off my lawn!” and who has little-to-no patience for whining, crying and the all-pervasive attitude that the world owes everyone under 30 a favor. I’m pretty sure that I was accused of being just like them in days of yore, when we were still concerned about conserving coal. But I’m looking back, and that’s against the rules today. 

There was no whining, nor crying going on at Rafter’s Tavern last Saturday when I popped in to see co-owner Keith Thomson and his photographic exhibit titled “Summer Dreams.”

“Great,” I said to Keith upon arrival at the Tavern on Upper Main in Callicoon, NY. “Just exactly what we need in Sullivan County… another photographer.” Being one myself, I felt perfectly comfortable expressing my intended-to-be-humorous disdain, but looking back? Probably could have gone unspoken. That said, Thomson’s photographs and the technique he employs while creating them are quite arresting. “Most of these are from my series ‘Photo-Impressionism,’” he explained. “I use an old 50mm lens that has some yellowing from radioactive elements, and a very soft focus, incorporating some of the defining principles of the impressionist painters.” In doing so, Thomson is able to “remove some of the details, so that the characters in the scene take on a persona that allows the viewer the ability to imagine themselves in the scene.” 

I read his bio and learned that Thomson is well respected in his field, having been featured in more than 30 high-profile exhibits, and now I can clearly (get it?) see why. The photos being exhibited at Rafter’s Tavern through March are unique, and (dare I say) dreamy. Many have the ability to evoke a sense of time and place that transcend when and where they were actually taken. “This work satisfies me in so many ways creatively,” Keith said during the opening reception, and I get it. The soft focus employed actually reminded me of faded memories from my own past, making me wistful for the pre-hashtag universe that is presently pushing my buttons. 

I neither complained, nor wept, later that same night, while on my way to a party at the Catskill Distilling Company in Bethel, NY, which also served as a 30th anniversary benefit for WJFF Radio Catskill, a non-commercial educational radio broadcaster whose mission is “to make available to its community a broad range of ideas and ideals useful to a full and enlightened life.” 

It is rare that I feel useful, and “enlightened” is definitely a work in progress, but I strutted around as if I owned the place, asking questions, taking notes and snapping photographs that will never be on display at Rafter’s Tavern. DJ Brad Mann was providing the music, which perfectly exemplified his WJFF radio show, “Neonatal Pulse,” which “serves to expose the community to something new by only playing music [which has been] released in the last seven days.” 

“Bluegrass, death metal, folk, or k-pop” he said by way of explanation. “If it was released in the last week, I’ll play it.”

Folks mingled as I imagined them expressing a “broad range of ideals” and I chatted briefly with musician Glenn Lazarro, who plays acoustic sets in the tasting room at the distillery every Saturday afternoon with Stacy Cohen, who coincidentally runs the joint. Lazarro repairs old guitars and donates them to “disadvantaged adults, kids and charitable organizations” and provided the WJFF party’s door prize, a restored Fender Squire, which a thrilled Theresa Maelia accepted from station manager Dan Rigney. “I became a WJFF member 30 years ago, and still am,” Theresa joyfully exclaimed. For you young whippersnappers who want to know more about Lazarro’s charitable work, there’s a hashtag, #Guitars4Good, and a Facebook page for old farts like me. Don’t forget, come Sunday, spring forward. As for looking back? That’s entirely up to you. 

For more information about WJFF go to www.wjffradio.org and to donate to Guitars4Good, contact Lazarro at glenn@99tigers.com. For a schedule of events at Stacy’s place in Bethel, NY, visit www.catskilldistilling.com.

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