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Features

  • The Ocala Symphony Orchestra plays tonight on the downtown square as part of the light-up Ocala activities. As a prelude to this excellent music, I’m marching down Pun Alley beating my own drum and blowing my horn to produce the following discordant notes.

    Out of tune

  • The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage had commandeered the Christmas decorating operation for yet another year. I am not quite sure how she remembers when to start all of this, because the thought had not yet entered my mind.
    Here it is Christmas and I am about as prepared for Christmas this year as I was last year. One of the great things about my wife is that she keeps all of these holidays in order and on time. I am still reeling from my Thanksgiving Day turkey indulgence.

  • Jews have been called the People of the Book for centuries. Actually we could be called the people of the books since we are forever preoccupied with texts. In fact, Judaism is a text-based religion with its emphasis on the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Talmud and all the commentaries.
    With all the attention given to books, it is no wonder that Jews have set aside a whole month to highlight and promote writings of Jewish interest and/or by Jewish authors.
    Actually it was a librarian at the Boston Public Library who came up with the idea.

  • It was a wise person who divided the year into 12 months. I really do not know who came up with this idea but let me go on record in saying that it was a good one. Each month seems to have its own peculiar value. Some months are better than others.
    For example, I am not a member of January’s fan club. I am not sure if it is the longest month of the year but at times, it sure seems to be. I mean, after all of the excitement typically leading up to the month of January, is it any wonder it seems to be such a dull month.

  • On Dec. 5 President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of 1848 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California. It actually started earlier in that year but did not have countrywide publicity. Our own Ocala gold rush also started slowly with a few places buying gold until now we have vacant storefronts, closed gas stations and previous fast food joints all open as gold-buying business.

  • Thanksgiving is next Thursday, a day when we all should be thankful for our life, blessings, and liberty in the USA. Many celebrate by having a big turkey dinner with family members they haven’t seen for a while. It’s a day when the turkey gets stuffed in the morning and the family in the afternoon. It can also be a fun day with stories from Pun Alley.

    Good hunting
    Last year I had my chance to do the traditional thing of shooting my own turkey for Thanksgiving. Man, you should have seen the people scatter in the meat department!

  • Thanksgiving is my kind of holiday. Apart from the “thanks” part, the primary purpose of this celebration is eating. That is the one thing I do quite well.
    Thanksgiving is the beginning of a feasting frenzy that would make Richard Simmons sweat to the goodies. Any thoughts of dieting at this time of the year are merely blowing in the wind. Hopefully, not in my direction.
    Our Pilgrim Fathers came up with the idea of a Thanksgiving feast. The Pilgrim Mothers were too busy doing the wash and caring for the children to think of any more work.

  • Marie Kindler, a resident at The Bridge at Ocala, who has been at The Bridge a little over a year, celebrated her 102nd birthday on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
    She has one daughter, Evelyn. She was born in Hamburg, Germany, moved to the U.S. in 1928 when she was 18 years old. Marie lived with a very nice Jewish family. She attended school to learn English at night. She worked for the Jewish family in their home as the “upstairs girl.” She made the beds and cleaned the bathrooms.

  • Today is Veterans Day, a holiday to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.
    Our parade down Pun Alley starts with a twenty-one-pun salute to honor our veterans.

  • If you missed our first two Terrific Tuesdays, you don’t want to miss the rest! Sponsored by the Friends of Freedom Public Library, every Tuesday afternoon brings a different kind of active exhibit throughout November. Join us for terrific events from 2 to 5 p.m. Mark your calendars.

    Nov. 15
    Freedom Writers Group of Florida Writers Association presents a fascinating lineup of activities.
    In the character of “Dolores Cribbs,” storyteller Kathy Dobronyi leads off at about 2:15 talking about Florida in Cracker style.

  • I was reminded recently that the only thing growing in my family tree are fruits and nuts. Personally, I am not sure if I am a fruit or a nut. Just do not ask my wife.
    I had been away for so long I had forgotten many things about my family. My recent visit served as a refresher course reminding me why I had moved away in the first place. Memory sometimes pays little tricks causing us to remember the “good old days” and forgetting that sprinkled in among the good are ample portions of what I call good-challenged moments and characters.

  • The Third Annual Kiss the Horse for Literacy finale will take place on Dec. 3 at Hennessey Arabian Farms (12780 N.W. 35th St. Ocala) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Advance ticket prices are as follows: Adults $10, Students $5, under 10 free. At the gate, prices are: Adults $14, Students $8, under 10 free. Catering will be provided by Mojo Grill. Horse shows will occur hourly until the Kiss Off at 2:45 p.m.

  • Recently, I needed to make a trip to visit some relatives. These days, the way the economy and gas prices are it turns out to be cheaper to fly. Even though, airlines no longer serve the delicious food of which they became famous.

  • Living in the middle of horse country makes it hard for us to realize that Florida’s cattle industry is one of the 15 largest in the United States. In 1521 Ponce de Leon brought horses and cattle to Florida, making it the oldest cattle raising state in the nation.
    In addition to ranches, diary farms throughout Florida bring some stories to this week’s Pun Alley.

    Sonny’s place

  • Candy corn and other candy packages have taken over an entire aisle and customs fill up most of another aisle in the stores. Wispy appearances of ghosts, globins, and witches seem to be permeating the area.
    With Halloween this coming Monday, Pun Alley can’t resist going there for some haunts and ghostly stories.
    Actually, “Halloween” is a distortion of its original name. A long ago butcher tradition was to give customers empty sausage skins at the end of October. This day was known as Hollow Weenie Day.

    Frankly Frankenstein

  • Is it just me, or do others have trouble catching up? Just when it looks like I am almost caught up with some project or my to-do-list, something happens setting me back a few paces. One step forward, as they say and for me 17 steps backward. Or, so it seems.
    I don’t have any problem whatsoever catching a cold. I once even caught a fly in my mouth while preaching, and it is as easy as New York style cheesecake to catch the dickens from the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Catching up is another matter all together.

  • On this day in 1783 Pilâtre de Rozier made a free flight in a balloon, reaching a peak altitude of about 3,000 feet and traveling over 5 miles in 20 minutes. Pun Alley celebrates with its own hot air to raise some balloons and hopefully some smiles.

    Airborne
    A man flying in a hot air balloon was lost. When he spotted a man below, he lowered the balloon and shouted, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”
    The man below said, “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon, hovering thirty feet above this field.”

  • Storm clouds were brewing like fresh morning coffee in the normally placid parsonage this past week. I will not say that things got out of hand, which is not to say they did not. I just will not say.
    I sensed a growing controversy between my wife and myself. Its genesis came about because of some silly mix-up, I assure you. Usually, mix-ups come about because of some misunderstanding and boy, do I sure miss my understanding. I have misplaced mine for so long I honestly cannot remember when I had it last.