My Corner, Your Corner: It could have been a good deed

My Corner, - Your Corner - Tony Callaio
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When is a good deed not a good deed? When it never happens.

A few weeks ago, I was traveling from Pittston across the Fireman’s Memorial Bridge, better known to natives as the Water Street Bridge or the metal bridge, when I saw a young lady pushing a baby carriage. Not an unusual site, but on this particular day, it was during a violent thunder and lighting storm.

I was running the car on fumes, so it was imperative to reach the nearest gas station, which was on the corner of Luzerne and Wyoming Avenues.

As the rain became heavier and the lighting increased, I wanted to get gas and head back to the bridge to see if I could help the young mom.

As soon as I felt I had enough fuel in the car, I started it up and turned around. The woman was halfway to Wyoming Avenue when I pulled over, rolled down the window and asked if she needed a ride. “No, thank you,” she said.

I wasn’t surprised at her answer because life today is not like it was yesterday. Everyone has become a skeptic and, apparently doing a good deed is out of the question, because people seem to think nobody can be trusted.

All I kept thinking of was the child in the pram and the soaking wet mom. I couldn’t tell if the baby was covered but it’s possible he or she was wet, as well.

It was very warm so being wet wasn’t the biggest concern; it was the lightening.

Since I like to think of the glass half full, I would rather believe the woman refused the ride because she was only a block or so away from home. No matter what our age, we can always hear our mom’s words in our heads, “Never take a ride from a stranger.”

We live in a society far removed from my younger days of leaving the house or the car unlocked and hitchhiking or taking a ride from a stranger.

Maybe that young mom did have her own mother’s voice in her head when I offered to help but, as a parent, I couldn’t stop thinking of that tiny baby.

Home sweet home

Thomas Wolfe wrote an autobiographical novel entitled, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” where a writer referred to his hometown frequently in the book but the hometown folk were unhappy about his version of who they are.

You can go back home again and the proof is with Walter “Skip” Stocknick, a retired pilot with American Airlines and a 1970 graduate of Wyoming Area High School.

After Skip left high school, he went to the Naval Academy where he earned his wings and flew for the United States Navy for six years. In the early 80s, he began a 35-plus year career flying for several airlines before ending up at American.

He and his wife Karen, a native of Chesapeake, VA, who also retired from the airline industry, moved back to Skip’s beloved hometown of West Pittston in fall 2017.

Skip told me he loved moving back for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact he could buy a nice home at a fraction of the cost in other areas.

The Stocknicks have adjusted nicely back in town and Skip even decided to do some substitute teaching at Wyoming Area, something he really enjoys.

Karen has been making plenty of friends along the way and she, too, likes living in greater Pittston.

Skip is a few years older than I and I knew of him before I met him. I recall seeing his photo in the Sunday Dispatch on many occasions while at the Naval Academy and into his service years. No doubt his parents were proud of him and wanted all to know of his doings.

Karen recently shared a story here she arranged a visit with the owners of the home on Wyoming Avenue in which Skip grew up as a birthday surprise to him. She told me her husband loved seeing that home that brought back so many memories for him. I told her I had the same opportunity to do that with my old homestead a few years ago. It’s quite the experience and I recommend, if the situation ever arises, you do it, too.

Skip and Karen enjoy the local music scene and can be found at Tony’s Wine Cellar for Open Mic Night Wednesday nights. A lot of the same faces and musicians show up so it has become a warm and welcoming place for the Stocknicks.

Karen, welcome to our corner of the world. You fit in so well; now we have to work on that Virginia accent so you can sound like you grew up here.

Skip, welcome home, my friend, and thank you for your service. It’s good to have you home.

When is Baiada Bayada?

When you are Mark Baiada, chairman of the Bayada Home Health Care.

Mark stopped by the pediatrics division of Bayada last week. Barbara Pirrella-Sico, regional director for the peds department, had a small reception for Mark where he met city Mayor Michael Lombardo, along with Joleen Lazecki and Mary Kroptavich, 2nd Friday Art Walk co-chairs. Mark was very impressed with downtown Pittston.

Quote of the week

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” – Earl Warren, American politician

Thought of the week

“Health is not a condition of matter, but of mind.” – Mary Baker Eddy, American founder of Christian Science

Bumper sticker

“When you look at me, when you think of me, I’m in paradise.” – William Makepeace Thackeray, Indian born English author

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My Corner,

Your Corner

Tony Callaio