A Shirt-tail Parade
Well, Thanksgiving passed quietly and there seemed to be enough turkey to go around. The old Puritanical bird has retained its popularity in spite of the growing prominence of the Blue Eagle, and although it seems a bit harder each year to get the necessary collateral for a big Thanksgiving spread, most of us managed to dig up enough depreciated dollars to carry on. According to reports from up-county, they had a banner season in the old Beech-Nut town and there were so many birds on hand that folks were roused out of bed to be asked if they couldn't use some of the surplus.
It all happened when the Canajoharie Forest, Fish and Game Association put on a turkey shoot. There were so many prizes and so few who could hit the targets that it was decided to take a chance with members, since they couldn't, or wouldn't, take a chance with a gun. It was midnight by the time the lucky ones had been rewarded and someone (they say it was Bill Brown) decided that it would be nice if the birds were delivered. Two boys were started out immediately.
Now, there are few householders who like to be aroused at 2 a.m. by someone who has a turkey to deliver and the difficulties of early morning delivery meant that many answered the doorbell to find out that all they had coming was a big fright. But the messengers were a determined pair and even rebuffs of the sleepy-eyed Canajoharians in shirt-tails and Johnny-boys did not deter them from the successful completion of their task.
It was no concern of theirs that it was still five days to Thanksgiving and there was absolutely no need of the wee-hour rush. They had been told to get those birds to the lucky ones, and what the unlucky ones thought about it was none of their business.
If you don't believe they made a thorough job of it, ask any of the victims dragged out of bed. I heard from one who, when kidded into giving an opinion about fish and game clubs, said: "Sure I believe in clubs. I'll have one ready if they try that thing again next year."
Lo and behold if the depression hasn't brought about another blessing -- the improvement of the County Line-Eaton's Corners road. This last bad stretch in the highway between this city and the thriving little Metropolis of Burtonsville has caused no end of trouble for local commuters, but the complaints fell on deaf ears in the Duanesburg township.
To begin with, the Schenectady County authorities realized that this improvement would mean a diversion of business traffic -- that shoppers would come to Amsterdam instead of going to Schenectady. Or, at least, that there would be some choice in the matter. Another slant on the long-delayed improvement concerns the lack of any great number of voters in the district. There were other sections of the town where loyal party supporters were demanding things.
But all things have an end. Along comes the C. W. A., a half-brother of the NRA, C. C. C. and other offsprings of the New Deal and Boloney Dollar. The authorities are so hard put to it to find work projects that there is a temporary lull in the clamor for improvements. And in the silence are heard the cries of the Amsterdamians stuck in the mud on the way over to their suburban homes.
When the ruts shall have disappeared I will have left no alibis for not making that often promised trip to Burtonsville. For two years I have been contemplating a journey to that thriving little community for the purpose of getting first-hand information to be used in a special column. Local members of the Burtonsville Summer colony have assured me that it will make interesting material, and now with a new and improved highway, there can be no further cause for delay. Undoubtedly they are right. I'll have my secretary make a memo of it for early Spring.
It would appear that the residents of the Mohawk Valley are getting air-minded. The Towns Association devoted an entire evening to aeronautics at the Fort Plain meeting this week and Canajoharie people thought they heard a plane in distress Tuesday night when the siren of a low-flying airship called out a throng to see a novel stunt in air advertising, a well known brand of baked goods receiving the benefit of the ballyhoo.
Even Amsterdam may come out of the depression with an airport. If we can dig up some land, so as to speak, and show the Federal authorities that we are serious about this matter, we may get one for nothing (which is exactly the same amount that some of the critics say it will be worth). Among the various sites discussed are the Phillips Park section and land in the vicinity of the Montgomery Sanatorium. On first thought it may seem that both these locations are far removed from the city proper, but a comparison with other cities as to the proximity of their airports shows that these places are not too far away.
The correct answer to the question -- do we need an airport now? -- is obviously "no." That, however, is beside the point. When the city first began to expand, no one thought of public parks. The automobile age came and no one considered public parking places a necessity. Had there been a thought for the future in those days, we would have been saved many a municipal headache. The age of the airplane is at hand. Let us hope that coming generations will have no cause to accuse us of lack of foresight.
The was originally published December 5, 1933.