Watoga Trail Report

Ken Springer
Watoga Park Foundation

The news from Watoga State Park and beyond

By the time you read this dispatch, the fine folks of the Allegheny Trail group are already at Watoga State Park performing maintenance on the trail where it passes through the park, as well as adjacent sections of the trail. As is their custom, they always pledge a couple of days working on trails at Watoga.

Trail gurus David Elliott and Brian Hirt originally planned to work on Jesse’s Cove Trail, but found it in such poor condition that they will, instead, be working on the far reaches of Monongaseneka Trail.

The park officials at Watoga ask that you avoid hiking on Jesse’s Cove until such time as it is repaired. Believe me, folks, at present it is the hike from …. Well, you know where.

They welcome any and all volunteers who wish to lend a hand. As usual, Sollie and Anne Workman were first in line to volunteer. Mark Mengele came in a close second, offering up his vintage Dodge Power Wagon for transportation.

The historic Pleasant Green Church on Seebert Lane is proud of the newly restored stained-glass windows that were recently re-framed by the AmeriCorps artisans from Elkins and Jane Huppert of the Levelton Charge UMC.

The church and cemetery still need helping hands to clean up the interior of the church and straighten up the graveyard. Ruth Taylor found several gravestones of freed slaves at the back of the cemetery. These gravestones are distinguished by the single link of chain attached to the stone.

All volunteers are welcome. There’s a job for everyone, ranging from dusting pews, cleaning windows and pruning, to righting the gravestones that have toppled over. Bring a lunch and meet up on Saturday, June 27, at 9 a.m. at the Pleasant Green Church on Seebert Lane. Contact Ruth Taylor at 304-653-8563 or Jane Huppert at 304-653-8861.

For all that ails you

I visited my friend Delbert up in Mudwallow, Ohio, a couple of weeks ago, to see how he has been faring during the pandemic. It seems his wife, Dolores, has required Delbert to do his “home sheltering” in the garage, saying that he wasn’t an “essential” family member and should remain in the garage until bedtime. 

Taking a seat on a tattered couch inside Delbert’s garage, I asked him if that bothered him. “Well,” he said, as he hurriedly cleaned up his workbench, “not really, I never wanted a man-cave, so I think of my garage as my laboratory, and I like being here when I am not working on trails,” emphasizing the second syllable of “la-bor-atory” as the British do. I imagined him in his dank garage, staying up all night assembling a Frankenstein monster programmed to do trail work.

It turns out that Delbert has not learned anything from his previous misadventures in inventing things. But except for his creations that had moving parts or sharp edges, none to date have done any real harm. However, his latest brainchild had (past tense) high potential for serious injury.

“With all of this time on my hands the last couple of months, I thought I might try my hand in coming up with a cure for the coronavirus,” Delbert said.

I have mentioned the fact in previous trail reports that Delbert is not burdened with the neural circuitry required for critical thinking, as his plan will clearly demonstrate.

But the fact is, he is smarter than any of the other members on his trail maintenance crew, which is not saying much for their cerebral abilities either.

“Whoa,” I said, “you’re not serious, are you?”

“As serious as a heart attack,” he replied, which happens to be exactly how I felt as I pondered his ludicrous intentions.

“Can you tell me what your formula is, or is that proprietary information?” I asked facetiously. “Well, the main ingredient is grain alcohol, but the active ingredient is top secret,” Delbert offered.

“Why a secret?” I wondered aloud.

Delbert said, “Because I want to make enough money off of the cure to buy three new chainsaws and a side-by-side for the trail crew. If word gets out too soon, Big Pharma will snap it up and patent it, and there goes our trail maintenance equipment.”

“Delbert,” I said, “the secret ingredient wouldn’t be ginseng, would it?”

His back was to me, but when he heard what I said, he whirled around wide-eyed.

“How in the world did you know?” he asked.

“For starters,” I said, “there are posters of ginseng stapled above your workbench, and I see a mason jar full of a clear liquid with a forked root floating in it.

“And what are those bottles of bleach for under your workbench?”

Delbert ignored my question.

Suddenly alarmed, I said in a much louder voice, “Delbert, surely you didn’t try…”

But before I could finish my sentence, he said, “No, I mean we did, but only once.”

Befuddled by my question, he stumbled along, “Well, we tried it out on Larry Sproat. Now Larry is a real patriot type, so he up and volunteered to down a tablespoon of bleach in a tumbler full of the Everclear* figuring he would make the sacrifice for his fellow Americans.”

“Did Larry actually have the virus?” I inquired.

“He did,” Delbert said. “A couple of weeks ago Larry attended the monthly Flat Earth Society meeting up in Columbus. Now, these are the kind of folks who think that the coronavirus is a hoax by the Chinese or Koreans or one of those other countries.

“Anyway, one of the Flat-Earthers had the virus but failed to mention it to his fellow members. It seems Larry got it when they did the society’s secret handshake, which for some odd reason, involves rubbing noses.”

“Well, Delbert,” I asked, “did your cure work?”

“We don’t think so.” Delbert said. “He vomited for two days, had diarrhea for another three days, and it hurt so much to pee he had to get up his nerve to relieve himself by drinking a shot of the Everclear, which made him pee even more.”

I asked Delbert how he was going to test the efficacy of the ginseng and grain alcohol on the coronavirus. After he looked up the definition of the word “efficacy” on his smartphone, he said, “I’m not, I got to thinking that if ginseng could cure the virus all those Chinese people, who drink ginseng anyway, they would be immune from the virus, and they’re not. So it must not work.”

“Good thinking Delbert,” I said. “So what are you going to do with all of those bottles with ginseng root floating around in 190 proof alcohol?”

“We’re going to take them over to the next Flat Earth Society meeting and sell them as a cure for impotence,” Delbert said
“You know that’s not going to work,” I said.

With a big smile on his face, Delbert replied, “No problem. They’ll be so drunk for a couple of days they won’t remember anything. And we’ll have our money for the trail maintenance equipment.”

After happily arriving home to the relative sanity of Pocahontas County, I decided to call Delbert to see how his ginseng-alcohol elixir scheme had worked out.

Delbert could barely contain his glee in recounting his visit with the Flat-Earthers.

“It worked just as planned, even better. When the Flat-Earthers heard the words, ‘and it cures impotence,’ they bought up the whole lot, twenty cases worth. Now we have our new chainsaws, and our side-by-side is on order.”

It seems that the Flat-Earthers are not only gullible men, but it turns out that they are all, to the man, impotent. And if you are wondering why there are no women associated with the Flat-Earthers of Columbus, it is because women are way too smart for such foolishness.

Delbert has demonstrated once again, that for him to do something clever, he often has to do something foolish first.

Do good, and stay healthy,
Ken Springer
*Everclear is a potent grain alcohol.

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