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Cunningham's Corner

So it came to be that I found myself Friday morning next to the grapes at a Stop & Shop grocery store in Mahopac, not far from the cut fresh fruit and mere feet away from the vineripened tomatoes. Because who doesn’t want a vineripened tomato?

And if you didn’t know you wanted one, by golly, you would want one in this sparkling new grocery in Mahopac. A host of community groups, including the Mahopac Lions and the Fire Department, were on hand to join in the celebration. Political leaders were there, and local spiritual leaders to say a prayer or blessing. It seemed fitting; if we pray before meals, shouldn’t we likewise pray for the store and its workers? All this optimism was not merely a ribbon cutting stunt: Local business people and town leaders believe the new store will mark a turnaround for this shopping plaza on Route 6. It’s seen its share of bad luck; at the other end of the plaza from Stop & Shop is a Kmart.

You might recall I’ve written before about attorney Joseph J. Tock, and our running discussion of the benefits of a good Manhattan now and then. He was there, too, next to the apples, and we continued the discussion for a bit; it was Friday after all. We agreed the quality of the ingredients is central. He told me the new grocery is a big deal for this part of Mahopac, a good thing for both business and for residents.

So, we had an election last week: Did you vote? Turnout was extremely high for a midterm election. Sure, everyone has free speech, but I’m not sure you have agency or standing to complain if you didn’t vote. To all who wrote letters to our paper about the races, thank you. Your views, I’m sure, helped shape the opinions of at least some neighbors, maybe many of them.

Only days later, Sunday, was Veterans Day. I’ve noticed several salutary things about how we’re viewing the observance these days. One, we are using it more as a teaching and instructional activity in our schools. Our Eric Gross wrote on page 1 about some of those efforts. I could be wrong, yes, but these efforts seem more extensive to me right now. Second, we don’t seem to be using the day to parse the validity of this war and that conflict in the way we have in some past decades (Vietnam, for instance). I am not saying we shouldn’t ever reflect on the origins or rationale for a particular war. Merely that the soldiers who were ordered to go to that part of the world to take part in it were doing an honorable thing.

Finally, we have a greater appreciation for history this year. Propelled, no doubt, by the accelerating rate at which World War II veterans are dying, but also by the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The Southeast Museum and Brewster High School have done phenomenal work in informing the public about the close ties so many local families had to what was then just the Great War. Brewster High School performed The Letters: Voices from The Great War to tremendous acclaim this past weekend. Roderick Cassidy, a combat veteran of Afghanistan and the recipient of the Bronze Star and two Meritorious Service Medals, is a lawyer who also advanced our understanding. The Southeast man, something of a student of military history and a member of VFW Post 672, wrote Putnam County Veterans of World War I, released this year. It identifies 699 men and women who served in the war cause, from the military to the Red Cross, and 23 Putnam men who died.

The book is available exclusively through the Southeast Museum.

Until next week.

Douglas Cunningham is editor and publisher of the Courier and the Putnam County News & Recorder in Cold Spring. Reach him at, or just call 845-265-2468.

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