Life in the Shadows

According to reports, moles have invaded the home of the Buttonballs and “right field looks like it has varicose veins.”

Mayor Chibble says the town needs to establish rules for the new Marsuoin Park restrooms, “before things get out of hand.” In related news, the Castor Area Spastic Colon Club has announced an ambitious plan to build public restrooms at seven additional sites throughout the region.

In celebration of Earth Day, Burson’s Hardware is offering 30 percent off pesticides, weed killers, and chainsaws. “Kill some bugs, wilt some weeds, and drop a tree,” says Burson.

For members of the Church of the Lost Sheep who heard last week’s sermon about inherited sin, Minister Westminster says his great-grandmother owned a brothel in New Jersey and admits the fact may have helped form his theology. He also says that several of the hymnbook ribbons have become frayed and asks if someone who smokes could melt the ends with their lighter — but not during services.

Happy birthday, Wilson Hahn (April 21). Wilson will be sixty-five years old and doesn’t care who knows it because Haverhill’s Vanilla Mundungus pipe tobacco is on sale through the end of the month. Don’t you love how people sneak free advertising into this column?

Curly Dowd wants to know if he’ll still be able to pick berries in the new cemetery, Ponder Gardens. “If they leave the patch intact, mourners can eat blackberries while they consider how life is a vapor,” Curly says.

Minister Westminster says that when fish jump out of the water, they’re being baptized.

I found this amusing notice in a July, 1850 issue of the Evening Shade: “Patrick Coble of nearby Castor, Pennsylvania, fiancee of Priscilla Wilson of this town, drowned Thursday last in Little Rindle Creek while washing sheep. He was in the company of Miss Wilson and Mr. Isaac Henry of Philadelphia, a family friend who also drowned while attempting to save Mr. Coble. Miss Wilson, whose body has not been located, is assumed to have perished as well, either from attempting to save Mr. Coble, to whom she was engaged, or Mr. Henry, with whom she was reported to be with child. An unidentified neighbor who could not swim and did not wish to drown watched the sad spectacle unfold, later saying that the sheep had shown ‘typical ovine indifference’ throughout the tragic ordeal.”

This follow-up notice was published several days later: “Miss Wilson’s body was this morning discovered in the Ohio River by a steamboat worker in frightful condition. Citizens are admonished to take extra care when washing sheep.” A steamboat worker in frightful condition. It’s comforting to know that even in 1850, people dangled their participles.

Ada Sanderling says that she does not like the word “dangled,” and wishes I wouldn’t use it. I’ll add that to my list, Aunt Ada, right beneath “moist” and “crotch of a tree.”

Charlene Rapp, whose grandmother smoked a pipe, wants to know if it’s legal for Cass Padden to keep an owl in his garage.

This Saturday, April 22, I will be signing copies of “Life in the Shadows: the 2017 Sycamore Shadows Yearbook” 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the third annual Lady Slippers Arts Festival at the East Liverpool Country Club.

NEXT WEEK: Look for the comic, “Strange Shadows”

(Send feedback or questions about Sycamore Shadows to or via mail at P.O. Box 326, East Liverpool, Ohio 43920. Visit to purchase the 2017 Sycamore Shadows Yearbook. )