The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Columnists

December 10, 2011

ARLENE JOHNS | Finding a gift that is on-target

— Joe is having trouble deciding what he wants for Christmas.

The poor guy is agonizing over which of three gifts he should ask for.

On the one hand, a pair of snowmobile bibs would be great. He has a new sled to try out as soon as Jackson Township is blessed with 6 or more inches of snow. His current bibs apparently allow snow to blow in the cracks. Perhaps there is something more airtight?

I’ve checked NASA’s website, but they don’t seem to have anything like that for sale. And even if they did, would a nice shade of shiny silver really match the sled?

Another option is something that would be both practical and entertaining.

A hunter since he was old enough to wear the orange hat, my husband has every gadget necessary for a successful hunt.

Although I hear how much deer meat cuts down on our food budget, I’m not convinced.

He has about $20,000 worth of equipment to bring in that 40 pounds of fresh meat.

But just when I think he has everything he could ever want to bag the elusive buck, he finds something new.

This year it is a hunter’s safety vest. No, I’m not talking about the blaze orange garment that lets everyone within a five-mile radius tell the difference between the hunter and the hunted.

This vest is supposed to keep the hunter from falling from the 20-foot tree stand he parks himself on at 4:30 in the morning.

I guess I can see how that could help. Joe falls asleep standing during church, so I am pretty sure he catches a few winks on his precarious perch.

We checked out the vests the other day at Gander Mountain.

There were several to choose from. The most inexpensive looked good to me until Joe picked it up to try it on.

Belts and buckles fell from everywhere!

I just couldn’t imagine how long it would take Joe to put that thing on. He would either have to start dressing the night before the big hunt or he wouldn’t get into the woods until 10 o’clock – long after the big bucks had exited the woods.

And once garbed in the lifesaving vest, I was not sure Joe would be able to figure out how to clip himself to the tree.

I could just imagine him hanging by an ankle from a branch 20 feet above the ground.

No, if Santa goes for the vest, he might as well go for the user-friendly $200 model.

Joe’s other gift option is an electric smoker.

For sure, he already has one that seems to do a fine job making the six varieties of jerky, meat sticks and bologna he proudly hands out to anyone brave enough to give it a taste.

But an electric smoker would allow for more output than the charcoal one.

Just last night he picked up a kit to make meat sticks.

As soon as we got home, he took it apart and eagerly started reading the directions.

“Hey Hon,” he said. “This kit has enough casing for 46 feet of meat sticks. That’s almost as long as the house.”

I wonder if you can use meat sticks to lash yourself to a tree stand 20 feet in the air?

Arlene Johns is The Tribune-Democrat’s city editor.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Columnists
  • Local Columnists

    Robin L. Quillon
    Chip Minemyer
    Tom Lavis
    Mike Mastovich
    Cory Isenberg
    Eric Knopsnyder
    Ralph Couey
    Zachary Hubbard
    Michele Bender
    Bill Eggert
    David Knepper

    William Lloyd

    July 6, 2010

  • Curtis, Shawn SHAWN CURTIS | Pirates win has familiar feel

    As much as all the fuzzy feelings of the 2013 season came to an end when Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano fired a first-pitch strike to Emilio Bonifacio at 1:14 p.m. on Monday afternoon at PNC Park, the 1-0 win took the shape that many Pittsburgh wins did a season ago.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eric Knopsnyder ERIC KNOPSNYDER | A fresh take on funnies

    Did you notice some funny business in our comics pages recently?
    Many of you did and contacted the newsroom to ask why “Doonesbury” and “For Better or For Worse” were no longer appearing in our publication.
    There’s a simple explanation: They are no longer being produced.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Basketball officials never win

    Today’s column bounces from local politics to basketball after two previous articles concentrated on Jesse Topper’s successful launch into a new career as a state representative.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Michele Mikesic Bender | Playing the name game

    So, did you decide on the ‘popcorn dress’  for the church dinner?” asked Judi, my Communion Lady.
    “No, I think the ‘hydrangea dress’ might be better,’’ I answered.
    “You name your clothes?” Denise’s jaw dropped.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Bill Eggert | A heartfelt message of thanks

    February is the month the medical community sets aside for matters related to heart health. That makes sense, given that Valentine’s Day is right in the middle of the month. So it was ironic that I found myself dealing with the matter of the heart in a serious way this month.
    This column is a valentine to the staff of the Conemaugh Health System.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Answering the call, wherever it leads

    My last column dwelled extensively on the qualifications of Jesse Topper, the multitalented, highly-respected and popular former executive minister at Bedford Methodist Church.
    Left unanswered was the question “why” – why did the newly-elected state representive choose to turn away from what many believed was his destiny to be an ordained pastor?

    February 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL: Election win a loss for church

    Folks at Bedford United Methodist Church had a difficult decision to make at Tuesday’s special election to determine the successor to the late state Rep. Dick Hess.
    It was all about wanting the best for Republican candidate Jesse Topper but not wanting to deal with the likelihood of his leaving his church position for an opportunity that is far different from what he is so ably doing.

    January 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Bill Eggert: Elvis remains the King

    Last week we marked the birthday of an American original: the late Elvis Presley.
    Jan. 8, 2015, will mark his 80th birthday.
    This is hard to wrap our minds around given Elvis always seems to remain forever young, frozen in time.

    January 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG Best New Years Eves ever

    Happy 2014!  2014? How did that happen?

    January 4, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads