The Way Things Were
By Anne Weaver

ABOUT THE WEEK OF DEC. 25, 1964, "And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night..." So begins a story first told by an ancient writer some 2,000 years ago. But it hasn't lasted that long because of the shepherds or the sheep or the three searching wise men bearing gifts, who were also part of the original story.

Shepherds have continued to watch over their sheep both night and day, many a king has toppled from his throne, and the gifts of wise men have seldom really been gems of wisdom. But still the story persists. Perhaps this is so because it had to do primarily with something very like all of us; it had to do with a man and a woman and a newborn baby.

It had to do with the miracle of new life. It had to do with a family.

Luke suggests, "...she brought forth her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn." All of us can identify with this situation, for it speaks of the same responsibility we all expect to assume as family members -- the providing of clothing, warmth, housing, care and love.

The Christmas story began with a child and a family and has continued as a season of delight to children and families everywhere. It is a good story, and perhaps its longevity is due in part to the fact that it is an integral part of the deepest religious beliefs of so many.

So Christmas in our culture has become a festival of family life centered in the interpersonal relationships of the home as well as the celebration of the birth of Christ, and this has deep significance. The world of St. Luke was steeped in persecution and oppression; the threat of the destruction of life and the futility of hope felt like little but the promise of greater destruction and futility.

Our space-pioneering world of 1964 with its doubts and fears, with its shameful waste of both economic and human resources, almost traces Luke's world. From that world comes the beautifully simple but humble story of a family and a child laid in a manger because there was no other place for his small head, hopeful because with it was the compelling promise that a commonplace family situation "...shall be a sign unto you."

So also there is some promise for our world at this Christmas time because we know deep in our hearts that as long as families last with their miracle of new life and loving concern there is hope. "Unto us a child is born..."

In THE ADIRONDACK PARK, a bronze plaque certifying the Adirondack Forest Preserve as a Registered National Historic Landmark was presented to the New York State Conservation Department by the National Park Service at ceremonies in Albany. Registration of the Adirondack Forest Preserve as a National Historic Landmark designated the northern New York wilderness as an area possessing "exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States of America."

Wilbur L. Savage, chief of Resources Management and Visitor Protection of the Northeast Region of the National Park Service, presented the plaque. Deputy Conservation Commission Dr. W. Mason Lawrence accepted the plaque and certificate of registration for the DEC.

New York was the first state in the nation to set aside wilderness as forest preserve public lands. Legislation enacted by the state in 1885 was the first comprehensive forest administration act in America. The NYS Constitutional Convention of 1894 enacted additional protection over the wilderness that has been continued as the basic controls governing the forest preserve today.

With more than 2.3 million acres in the Adirondack Forest Preserve in 1964 (2.6 million in 2013), a vast area of northern New York has been maintained as a recreational area for the people of the state.

At BLUE MONTAIN LAKE, William R. Marscher, New Hartford, won the third place grand prize in that division of the 1964 Louis A. Wehle Fishing Contest with an 18-lb., 3-oz. lake trout caught in Blue Mountain Lake June 30.

At INLET, trout could be caught at Chuck Lander's Beaver Lodge Ice Fishing shacks on Seventh Lake. Chuck had set up shop to enable any and all anglers the opportunity to hook a brook, lake or rainbow trout along with salmon, splake or perch from the waters of Seventh Lake.

1964 was the first time in the history of the Adirondack Mountains that trout waters were opened for ice fishing. Records show Oneida Lake had as many as 2,000 to 3,000 fishermen angling for pike during the ice season.

Trout fishing should prove more magnetic to the devotees of the line and reels. Two regulations had been installed in regard to 1964's ice fishing: only five tip-ups and two hand lines were permitted per fisherman. Also the regular number of trout per man still prevailed, 10.

Chuck had constructed approximately 20 fishing shacks that were heated, had benches and card tables if desired, and holes through which fishermen could drop lines. Of course, while the pinochle and pitch games were going on, there would be five tip-ups per man set outside their shack awaiting red flag salutes.

Chuck planned to bait these shacks similar to baiting a buoy to attract most of the trout for future lures. Bait was going to be available in the form of shiners, minnows and small suckers.

If fishermen had their own shacks, Chuck would permit anyone to embark upon the lake through the driveway, which would be kept clear throughout the winter. Local merchants were stocking their shelves with merchandise to enable forgetful anglers to pick up those last minute items left at home.

The monthly meeting of St. Anthony's Altar Society was held at the home of Mrs. Lansing Tiffany. After a short business meeting members had their annual Christmas Party. Gifts were brought by each member to be sent to the children of St. Patrick's Orphanage, Watertown. Games were played and the more courageous sang carols directed by the affable Father Frances Edic. Hostesses Mrs. Tiffany and Mrs. Donald Hodel served refreshments and members exchanged gifts. The next regular meeting would be held at the Community Hall with Mrs. Molly Kaiser and Mrs. Kenneth Dodd as hostesses.

At LAKE PLEASANT, Naval Aviation Officer Candidate Robert G. Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin G. Brown, Speculator, was attending Pre-Flight School at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. During the 14-week training he would study aerodynamics, mathematics, physics, naval orientation, navigation, engineering, leadership, and other subjects essential to a naval officer. Upon completion of the course he would undergo further flight training at Pensacola.