My corner, your corner: It’s river watch time – again!

My corner, - your corner - Tony Callaio

Here we go again – it’s river watch time.

What we saw in the Wyoming Valley this past week must be what it feels like to live in the Amazon Rain Forrest.

The last time I saw so much rain for such a long period of time was in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes struck.

Last week’s pattern seemed to be similar to Agnes, having a steady flow of rain from south to north. The problem in 1972 with that pattern was the Susquehanna River begins in upstate New York and the river flows from north to south, emptying at the Chesapeake River.

The thing I couldn’t get used to was the rain would fall, and sometimes heavy, then it would turn off and, if we were lucky, the sun would pop out and I would think that maybe we’d have a bit of a reprieve. Nope, not the case because soon enough, the rains would come again.

We saw earlier in the week that Hershey Park and Knoebel’s had flooding, temporarily closing down both parks.

It doesn’t take that much rain in Greater Pittston for creeks to rise and, when we get all this rain, the Susquehanna River watch begins.

The poor folks along the river begin to feel a bit queasy when the river starts to rise and I don’t blame them. Most residents living there have become a bit wiser by not stocking the cellar and some sparsely decorating the first floor.

We get a bit spoiled during summer months when we do have a nice stretch of sunny, dry weather. I can’t imagine living in an area where it rains a lot.

I’ve never been to Seattle, but I am told it rains there frequently. Can you imagine never getting the chance to do your gardening as often as you do? How do you grow vegetables in a climate like that?

Golf courses would be green and lush, but when would you get to play?

Baseball games would be rained out constantly and forget about playing a game or two of tennis.

Car enthusiasts would never think of taking their car out in the rain so it would sit nice and pretty in a garage.

Picnics, clambakes (does anyone have those anymore?), town and church bazaars and events like the Tomato Festival may never get off the ground, let alone make any money.

By the middle of last week, local meteorologists had warned the river valley areas of water reaching flood stage in Wilkes-Barre. As we know now from the 2011 flooding in Greater Pittston, those gauge levels are different than we find in West Pittston.

There was talk of having flood gauges installed in the Pittston area. That’s a pretty good idea.

The problem is always going to be money to do so, and of course, when the waters recede and things get back to normal, all the flood protection talk recedes as well … until the next potential natural disaster.

Since I write this column towards the end of the week, it’s hard for me to predict what will happen by Sunday, but it’s another close call. I’m glad we had a reprieve on Thursday.

Last week was pretty rough all around for everyone and, even though this weekend has been promised to be rain free, the 15-day forecast is promising to be fairly rainy.

If you had a conversation with a flooded homeowner after the 1972 flood about protecting the 1.3 miles of river shoreline in West Pittston by 2018, that person would think you were crazy.

I understand the feasible study for an inflatable dam will be coming down soon for West Pittston residents; it will be interesting to see the outcome of the study.

Classmates gather

Last weekend, some of my fellow classmates gathered to celebrate a milestone birthday. It was great fun for all those who attended.

I’ve been professing for a very long time there’s no better living time capsule than a high school class reunion or party.

For just a few hours on a given day, you get to be 17 years old again. It’s a time when you can have a laugh or two about your youth. You can reflect on the best memories of a period of your life that will never, ever be duplicated.

If only we can sit down and have a chat with our 17-year-old selves — what a conversation that would be. It’s the old saying, “If I only knew then what I know now.”

There’s no denying we certainly don’t look like we used to, but there’s always a few classmates who look like they just jumped right out of the yearbook. How does that happen? I don’t think I look anything like I did when I was 18, yet others tell me differently.

For the most part, two things don’t change from your teen years: your voice and your personality. I may not recognize people a few decades after high school but, if blindfolded, I could pick a voice out of a lineup.

When I attend a class function, I sort of feel bad for the ones who decide to not attend. Another sad fact, I can only locate 50 percent of my 315 classmates, but I’ll keep trying.

Quote of the week

“Travelers, there is no path; paths are made by walking.” – Antonio Machado, Spanish poet

Thought of the week

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Benard Shaw, Irish playwright

Bumper sticker

“The more you reason, the less you create.” Raymond Chandler, American writer

My corner,

your corner

Tony Callaio

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at