Another Fall, Another Back to School, Another Leaving


I realize there are those who revel in the back-toschool time. The kids will be occupied, and order restored. Fall sports are in the offing, and I think many kids are genuinely excited to return.

But. Perhaps it is age – mine, I mean – I’ve found this time bittersweet for some years now. It’s a marker that there are only so many more years before they dive into the world. Only so many years when I can be of help or, even more painful, they will want or need my help. I know it is completely logical and rational, this construct in which hundreds and thousands and then tens of thousands of kids return to class.

So I have decided even more than before to celebrate the moments we have. Time is so fleeting. Don’t waste it. We of course can’t stop it. Don’t miss living it.

Another note: We have at several points in this issue various warnings about not passing stopped school buses. What the hell are people thinking, the people who do this? Have they lost their minds? Are they careless? On their phone, or texting? Is there a fire? I don’t get it, not at all. I’m horrified that this happens in our county. And I hope Sheriff Langley’s deputies, or the troopers or town police, will see you if blow past a school bus, and hunt you down and haul you into an unforgiving town court where scorn and fines and points on your license will rain down. Really.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo thinks we need new license plates. Professes the license plate readers at the toll booths will read new plates better. The owner of every car older than 10 years will have to get new plates, at a cost of $25. We own one of those cars, among some 3 million New Yorkers, and the plates look fine. (See related story, page 1.)

Plus, plus, this is part of, or sort-of-kind-of tied, to a contest to pick a new plate design. Four of the proposed designs feature a variant of the Statue of Liberty. One features the new Tappan Zee Bridge. (We’ll now take a short break while the klaxons go off, because I refuse to call it the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. It is an affront to public safety to change the name of something this well known simply to honor the current governor’s father.)

Anyway, does anyone think the Liberty votes will be split, and the Tappan Zee plate will squeak in as the new plate? I kind of think that might happen.

Meanwhile, as we’re voting on license plates in a contest we didn’t want and don’t need, we have roads that need repair, bridges that need painting, and urgently needed railroad tunnels unbuilt under the Hudson River.

We won’t even talk about the business climate, and taxes, and whether perhaps New Yorkers would appreciate restraint in this area.

But we’ll have new plates! The heart flutters.

Douglas Cunningham is editor of the Putnam County Courier and the Putnam County News and Recorder. Reach him direct at 845- 265-2468, or by email at He is open to speaking before school classes or civic groups; just send a note along.

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