Weather report from Yaphank

Middle Island Mail

February 19,. 1936
Weather Report from Yaphank

 Flash! During the recent record breaking cold spell, low cold weather records were registered from many parts of the country. But the cities and villages that entered in the Olympic-like cold weather marathon conducted by the radio announcers, have nothing on Suffolk’s dear old homelike Yaphank. “No siree, by gosh” declare two charter members of Yaphank’s Hot Stove League, John “Ed” Davis and James Coomes.

Our inquiring reporter last Saturday decided to break a trail through the snow drifts and learn if reports emanating from Yaphank regarding low temperatures and a flock of wild ducks starving to death there were true. We broke through all right- in fact, sped there, for by that time old Sol had melted the snow sufficiently to enable a car to turn a corner without skidding. When we arrived at the headquarters of the League we found Davis shoveling a path through the snow from Yaphank Boulevard to his property.

He became indignant when we questioned his reported statement that thousands of wild ducks frequenting Yaphank pond, were so weak from lack of food they might be caught by hand, dropping his shovel he directed us to drive to the rear of the local school so he could prove his statement. About 50 feet of open water separated the north shore from ice that covered the remainder of the lake as far as the eye could see. This ice was doffed with wild duck of four varieties. And, strange to say they did not take flight although only5O feet separated them from us, until an airplane flying overhead frightened them. After flying about 1,000 feet they alighted on the ice, further east. True, they were not so starved but what they could fly but it was the closest we had ever been to wild ducks without scaring them and nobody could be found in Yaphank who should remember similar happening. We did not have time to count the ducks but we will agree there were thousands.

This fowl question settled, we repaired to the headquarters of League where we found Coomes and another member in session. The League has plenty of time during the cold spell to decide the issues of say, being in constant communication with Albany, Washington D.C and foreign nations with the aid of the radio, Naturally, the question of cold weather had been debated pro and con, and, we, being a neutral party, were promptly selected by the League to decide an argument that had continued since the middle of the cold spell.

Davis said he experienced more cold than Coomes did and the latter insisted otherwise. After hearing both sides we left, promising to take the questions under advisement and render an opinion in our next issue. In the interval we respectfully request our readers to assist us by writing their opinions, Here are two “whopping” cold weather stories from Yaphank to be judged.

Davis claims, one morning, two weeks ago, upon failing to notice smoke coming from the kitchen chimney of the Coomes homestead, he became alarmed, because Coomes arises every morning at 5 o’clock, Hastening into his clothes he races over to Coomes’ homestead and peered through the glass door of its living room which is heated by a large oil burning heater. To his surprise he saw Coomes down on his knees on the floor, one hand holding the frozen flame of the heater and the other an axe, with which he was attempting to chop the icicle-shaped flame off the wick so he could relight the stove.

“You call that cold?” sneered Coomes. And he told this one. The day after the flame of his oil heater froze up he decided to walk over to Sweezy’s pond to test the thickness of the ice before taking a swim, Upon reaching the pond he saw Davis standing on the 26-inch ice beside a hole he had cut in it and swinging with both arms a baseball bat. As he drew nearer he learned that Davis was not practicing batting, neither was he fanning himself. Davis, after cuffing a hole in the ice stuck a long pole in the mud bottom of the lake and tied a bunch of worms to it, about five feet above the ice. As the hungry fish leaped from the bottom of the pond to grab the worms, Davis would slay them with the bat.

(Editor’s note – Only one opinion to a reader. Address Inquiring Reporter)


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